When discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict, we expect our teachers and educators to allow for a fair hearing of the controversial issues involved to enable heated two-way debates that add to the marketplace of ideas, instead of one-way diatribes that inflame tensions, mislead peers, and bring prospects for peace to a dead-end.
“The latest issue of its magazine features an anti-Israel article by retired Surrey teacher Bob Rosen who notes in his diatribe that the federation’s representative assembly had ‘called for the development of a curriculum unit that allows a fair and comprehensive all-sided discussion of the Israel/Palestinian issue. Teachers need to understand what’s going on in that region and discuss it with their students.’
But after making this worthy point, Rosen then goes on to lambast Israel without so much as an attempt to balance to his pro-Palestinian positions…
So much for an all-sided discussion of the Israeli/Palestinian issue. That the federation magazine would choose to print Rosen’s piece is deeply worrying.“
Here are just a couple of the many myths that Rosen feebly tried to peddle:
Myth: “Many in Palestine and elsewhere are proposing the idea of a single state inhabited by Jews and Palestinians who have full equality under the law. This is now seen by many supporters of the Palestinian cause as both a more practical and more principled solution than trying to establish a state in the fragmented Occupied Territories.” – Bob Rosen
Fact: While some Palestinians may view the one-state solution as “practical” and “principled,:” Israelis certainly do not. At its most basic level, the one-state solution denies the right of Jews to self-determination in their historical homeland and calls into question the very legitimacy of Israel as a state. A bi-national state would have the same consequence as the so-called “right of return” – the negation of Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians, by virtue of a higher birthrate, would turn Jews into a minority before voting in favour of another Muslim Arab state in place of Israel. The one-state solution is a thinly veiled strategy for destroying the State of Israel and questioning its very right to exist.
Myth: “… there has been a spate of actions by government bodies in Canada in an attempt to brand critics of Israeli policies as anti-Semitic…the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCPA), which has been conducting a series of one-sided hearings aimed at defining pointed criticism of Israel as the “new anti-Semitism.” They are now preparing to make a report to Parliament proposing legislation that could make such criticisms of Israel a violation of Canadian law.“– Bob Rosen
Fact: TheOttawa Protocol, a document which represents global cooperation in the fight against antisemitism, unequivocally states that “Criticism of Israel is not antisemitic, and saying so is wrong. But singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium – let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction – is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.”
Myth: “The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has once again been thrown into high relief by the action of Israeli forces in boarding a relief ship bound for Gaza to attempt to break the crippling land and sea blockade of that territory by the Israeli military.” – Bob Rosen
Fact: The primary objective of the flotilla was not to deliver aid packages to Gaza, but to spread anti-Israel propaganda in cooperation with Gaza’s Hamas rulers. In fact, contrary to Rosen’s claim, the Turkish ship known as the Mavi Marmara, did not carry any humanitarian supplies or “relief” at all.
Myth: “There are more than 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.” – Bob Rosen
Fact: Israel does not have any Palestinian “political” prisoners in its jails. The term “political prisoner“ conveys that these individuals were imprisoned solely for their political views. Palestinian detainees have been imprisoned for various offences, including but not limited to: their involvement in terrorism, whether as a perpetrator, financier, accomplice, or by being a member of an outlawed group like Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
Myth: “Much of the best land and water access in the territories continues to be taken by illegal Israeli settlements, which are connected to each other by a series of Jewish-only roads that Palestinians are not allowed to ride on.” – Bob Rosen
Myth:“Currently, an ever-greater number of Jews in Canada and around the world are distancing themselves from the policies of the Israeli government… “There is also a growing number of organizations of dissenting Jews in the US, England, and elsewhere who are speaking out in opposition to the actions of the state of Israel.” – Bob Rosen
Fact: A recent Gallup poll noted that U.S. support for Israel was near an all-time high with 67 percent of Americans holding a favourable opinion of Israel. Rosen’s failure to provide facts to qualify his contentions that there’s a groundswell of opposition against Israel, prove that his claims don’t hold up to scrutiny.
Myth: “Currently, the Israeli military has been enforcing a blockade in Gaza since 2005. This aggressive action sharply limits the import of vital goods…“– Bob Rosen
Fact: The joint Egyptian/Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip came in 2007 after Hamas, a designated terror group, wrested control of the territory from Fatah in a violent coup. Under Hamas’ tutelage, the Gaza Strip was increasingly used as a launching pad for thousands of rockets against the Israeli city of Sderot. Despite being under the brunt of incessant rocket fire, Israel has facilitated the transfer of vital goods and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and has recently liberalized the blockade of civilian goods going into the Strip.
Myth: “South African leaders Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela have said that the conditions of Palestinians in the territories are worse than those faced by blacks under the apartheid system there.“
Furthermore, while promoting a series of fringe anti-Israel organizations including “Independent Jewish Voices (IJV),”it must have slipped Rosen’s mind to mention that he’s listed as a member of the B.C. chapter of IJV. The fact that Rosen didn’t inform this magazine’s editor about his obvious conflict of interest again reveals that he lacks any academic credibility.
Rosen also complained ad nauseam about Israeli security measures which make life difficult for Palestinians, but failed to adequately acknowledge that Palestinian terror brought on necessary measures like checkpoints and the security barrier. As a school teacher and Past President of the Surrey Teachers Association, Mr. Rosen should be sensitized to the fact that Israeli nursery’s, elementary + high schools, rabbinical seminaries and university campuses have all been targets of Palestinian terror.
We could go on and on debunking this diatribe, but needless to say, let our critique serve as a teachable moment for the B.C. Teachers Federation Magazine that biased anti-Israel commentaries will not be tolerated anymore.
How You Can Make A Difference
Send your considered comments to the B.C. Teacher Federation Magazine’s editor, David Denyer, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-800-663-9163. If you’re an educator, please reference your credentials in your correspondence with the magazine. Please refer to Bob Rosen’s op-ed entitled “Is it anti-Semitic to criticize Israel?” that was published in the November/December 2010 edition. ______________________________________________________________________________________