Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Teaching little American children, Hamas-Style

Seattle Methodist Church blazes a new path:

Among the latest exploits of the United Methodist Women’s Division is a children’s book intended to instill anti-Israel themes among Methodist younsters. Innocuously called, “From Palestine to Seattle; Becoming Neighbors and Friends,” the booklet portrays Israel as an oppressor of Palestinians while omitting all mention of terrorism. It was written by Mary Davis, a former United Methodist missionary in “Palestine,” where she led “study tours,” whose political content no doubt was predictable.

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From Palestine to Seattle” is accompanied by a more detailed teacher’s guide. “How would you feel if you were not allowed to visit a certain place?” the teacher is instructed to ask the children, so as to understand how Palestinians must hurt when Israel demands travel passes. “Say that Palestinians are sometimes not allowed to go into some areas of Israel,” the teachers are instructed. “Sometimes they are kept away from going to the places where they work or are kept away from their own farmlands.” The children are never told the reasons for this purportedly outrageous restriction. The children’s Israeli friend, Miriam, tells them of her fear about a “bomb.” But the children never hear who or what might ignite such a bomb. Unlike the helpful picture of the gun-toting Israeli soldiers scaring the children, there are no illustrations of Palestinian suicide bombers blowing up children and adults.

The teacher is also urged to ask the children to remember brave people who “took a stand,” like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks. Queen Esther and Daniel in the Bible are also cited. They are reminded of the Israeli soldier in the story who “took a stand” by refusing to man an Israeli checkpoint. There are no similar examples cited of taking a stand against Palestinian terror or Islamist repression. Presumably that would be too complex for the children, who are instead encouraged by the teacher’s guide to gather a pile of stones. They are to be told that in “Palestine,” stones can represent the rubble left when Israelis have bulldozed Palestinian homes for having done “something” against the Israeli government. Stones can “also be the means by which a young person resists the presence of Israeli soldiers in the town.” Palestinian youth “sometimes throw stones at the soldiers.” Likewise, in ancient times, the stones could “mark a holy place,” the teacher’s guide recalls, in a helpful comparison.

Such a good and compassionate message these kids are being taught. Maybe the French should take lessons...

Ignorance does not lead to enlightenment, and ignorant teachers can only produce generations of ignorant children. So instead of reducing ignorance by teaching, these teachers multiply it exponentially. A child touched at an early age by distortion and defamation has very hard time as an adult to recognize, identify and distinguish good from bad. The difference between the Methodist method and the Hamas method is not about the substance of the message taught but about the volume in which is it delivered.

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