Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Why one-sided 'coexistence' is doomed to fail
One-sided coexistence initiatives, educating the Israeli but not the Arab side for peace, are based on nonsense, false analogies, misinformation, propaganda and naivete, declares Seth Frantzman in this hard-hitting opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post.
A similar story was related by Douglas Alexander, the British Shadow Foreign Secretary for Labor in the UK. He writes about visiting the Eshkol regional council bordering the Gaza Strip and meeting a Jewish teacher who educates for coexistence.
“She told me that her job was to teach [Jewish] children the curriculum, but she felt impelled to try and teach them something else...her ambition was that no child leave her classroom believing that the Palestinian children on the other side of the border were the enemy.”
See, these Israeli children get the wrong idea from the missiles that fall on their kibbutzim – they feel Gaza is a place that breeds hatred and murder. But in fact, as the Israeli coexistence-monger wants to show, those on the other side are not enemies.
Many coexistence programs are predicated on a remarkably similar pattern. Some Israeli with a rose-colored view of the “other” decides to work on their own initiative, and sometimes with financial backing, to spread the word that the Palestinians are not the enemy.
Since most Israelis supposedly don’t meet Palestinians, the Israeli coexistence-expert must tell them the story of the “real Palestinians.” Even though the Israelis who preach coexistence may themselves never meet the Palestinians, they see themselves as the medium, communicating to the Israelis for the Arabs, because they “know the real Arab soul.”
In some cases, as with the Abraham Fund’s program Language as a Cultural Bridge, Arab teachers are brought to Jewish schools to teach Jewish students Arabic. The pattern is frequently the same; Jewish students learn about Arabs, there is rarely an attempt to have them go to an Arab school or have Arabs learn about Jews.
Behind this phenomenon lies the assumption that Arabs are not in need of coexistence messages. Sister Renee Sousa, head of a Catholic School in Kafr Kanna, told Pacific Standard Magazine, “our [Arab] students understand the language and culture of the Jews, but it’s not vice-versa.”
The reason the coexistence embodied by the actions of the teacher in the Eshkol regional council or Parents Circle doesn’t materialize is simple: it is based on nonsense, false analogies, misinformation, propaganda and naivete.
While Israeli children in the Eshkol Regional Council learn that Palestinian children “are not the enemy,” Palestinian children across the border in Gaza are raised on a program of intense nationalism, devotion to the “struggle” and to their religion.
There is a reason Parent’s Circle gives lectures “mainly” to Israelis – the Palestinians who participate evidently don’t take back the lessons they claim to learn at the meetings to their villages. For coexistence groups there are no lectures to Palestinian high school students about accepting the other. Damelin (a Parent's Circle activist) wants to visit the man who killed her son in prison, fine. But there is no Palestinian Damelin who desires to visit the Israeli who shot their cousin.
Read article in full
How coexistence projects can hinder peace
An exercise in Jewish self-debasement
One land, two stories, more understanding: This coexistence story presents a false equivalence between Palestinians and Jewish victims, when both are indirect and direct victims of Arab intolerance. Shockingly, it concludes by promoting the 'one-state solution' to a Jewish audience.