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Ed Webb

Bahrain's PR offensive enlists Israeli help. Pro-regime group plans to work 'closely' w... - 0 views

  • BFEA and MEMRI will be working together to improve perceptions of Bahrain
  • It is unclear whether BFEA is aware of MEMRI's Israeli connection. Albawaba describes MEMRI as an "independent, non-partisan research institute" – which it is not.
  • MEMRI was set up in 1998 by Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence, and Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli-born American, ostensibly to "bridge the language gap between the Middle East and the West". An early version of its website also said it aimed to emphasise "the continuing relevance of Zionism to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel" but this was later deleted (though preserved in an internet archive).
Ed Webb

Israel's army and schools work hand in hand, say teachers - 0 views

  • officers from a military intelligence unit called Telem design much of the Arabic language curriculum
  • “The military are part and parcel of the education system. The goal of Arabic teaching is to educate the children to be useful components in the military system, to train them to become intelligence officers.”
  • Mendel said Arabic was taught “without sentiment”, an aim established in the state’s earliest years.

    “The fear was that, if students had a good relationship with the language and saw Arabs as potential friends, they might cross over to the other side and they would be of no use to the Israeli security system. That was the reason the field of Arabic studies was made free of Arabs.”

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  • many fear that the situation will only get worse under the new education minister, Naftali Bennett, who heads Jewish Home, the settler movement’s far-right party
  • Nearly 300 schools have been encouraged to join an IDF-education ministry programme called “Path of Values”, whose official goal is to “strengthen the ties and cooperation between schools and the army”.
  • “Militarism is in every aspect of our society, so it is not surprising it is prominent in schools too,” said Amit Shilo, an activist with New Profile, an organisation opposed to the influence of the army on Israeli public life.

    “We are taught violence is the first and best solution to every problem, and that it is the way to solve our conflict with our neighbours.”

  • Each school is now graded annually by the education ministry not only on its academic excellence but also on the draft rate among pupils and the percentages qualifying for elite units, especially in combat or intelligence roles.
  • Zeev Dagani, head teacher of a leading Tel Aviv school who opted out of the programme at its launch in 2010, faced death threats and was called before a parliamentary committee to explain his actions.
  • Adam Verete, a Jewish philosophy teacher at a school in Tivon, near Haifa, was sacked last year after he hosted a class debate on whether the IDF could justifiably claim to be the world’s most moral army.
  • Revital, an Arabic language teacher, said the army’s lesson plans were popular with pupils. “I don’t approve of them, but the students like them. They celebrate and laugh when they kill the terrorists.”

    Revital said she had been disciplined for speaking her mind in class and was now much more cautious.

    “You end up hesitating before saying anything that isn’t what everyone else is saying. I find myself hesitating a lot more than I did 20 years ago. There is a lot more fascism and racism around in the wider society,” she said.

  • “You have to watch yourself because the pupils are getting more nationalistic, more religious all the time. The society, the media and the education system are all moving to the right.”

    A 2010 survey found that 56 per cent of Jewish pupils believed their fellow Palestinian citizens should be stripped of the vote, and 21 per cent thought it was legitimate to call out “Death to the Arabs”.

Ed Webb

Netanyahu campaign video: A victory for the Left means an ISIS invasion | +972 Magazine - 0 views

  • The video opens with bearded men traveling in a pickup truck, flying the black IS flag with its distinctive white calligraphy. The driver of the truck pulls up beside another car and honks for the other driver’s attention. The IS guy in the passenger seat leans out the window and asks him, in Hebrew with a comically exaggerated Arabic accent, “Hey bro, how do you get to Jerusalem?” The driver of the car shouts back (in Israeli Hebrew), “Take a left!”

    Then there’s the slogan, in red Hebrew letters emblazoned on a gray, bullet-marked background: “THE LEFT WILL SURRENDER TO TERROR.”

    One of the IS guys fires celebratory bullets skyward and the driver peels off, ostensibly in the direction of Jerusalem, as they all shout exultantly in Arabic, “Shukran, ya ward!” (“Thanks, bro!”). The camera pans briefly to the rear of the truck to focus on a popular Israeli bumper sticker that reads, “Anyone but Bibi.”

    The tagline: “It’s us, or them. Only the Likud. Only Netanyahu.”

    The snatch of Arabic rap lyrics is excerpted from a song by an Amman-based Palestinian group called Torabyeh: “I want to be buried in the same cemetery that my grandfather was buried in. And since my childhood I’ve been dreaming to be a soldier and as time passed I discovered who I want to belong to: Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, Hamas or…Jabha …”

  • Netanyahu has for years been promoting his message about the threat to Israeli security posed by Islamic extremism, never missing an opportunity to list Hamas along with the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and even Fatah, mixing them all up so that the average Israeli Jew reflexively associates Arabs and Islam with terror. Like all accomplished populists, he understands the power of repeating a mendacious slogan, and he is an expert at exploiting popular fears and racism.
  • The popular Israeli narrative is so reactionary and confused these days, that if one were to walk the streets asking average citizens if there was a difference between Fatah and Al Qaeda, most people would be hard-pressed to answer coherently. Go ahead and try to explain to an Israeli audience that Hamas is a small offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, that it is basically a technocratic political party, that it is extremely unpopular in Gaza and that it has nothing to do with expansionist jihadism. Try telling people that if Israel would lift the siege on Gaza, disgruntled Palestinians in Gaza would probably kick Hamas out of power immediately. Just try. The best you can hope for is that you’d be told that you’re a traitor who should go live in Gaza.
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