Er was eens een scholiere kwaad op ons: ze had haar werkstuk over Israel en het conflict gebaseerd op Israel-Palestina.Info, en vervolgens een onvoldoende gekregen van haar leraar.
Uiteraard wijs ik alle scholieren die ons om informatie vragen voor hun werkstukken er op dat ze meerdere bronnen (en niet alleen websites maar ook degelijke boeken) moeten raadplegen, en de verschillende standpunten zelf tegen elkaar moeten afwegen om tot een onderbouwde eigen mening te komen. Ook op onze speciale scholierenpagina wordt daarop gewezen.
Dat sluit niet uit dat er leraren zijn die zo’n eenzijdige of radicale mening hebben over het conflict dat ze alles zullen afkeuren wat daar teveel van afwijkt. En dat er scholieren zijn die zelfs op basis van goede bronnen slechte werkstukken produceren.
Ook niet alle schoolboeken zijn uitgewogen of geven een duidelijk beeld, zoals het hieronder besproken lesboek voor 4 VMBO, dat het wel tamelijk bont maakt. Dat bijvoorbeeld Begin een terrorist wordt genoemd is tot daaraan toe (de Irgoen deed in de jaren ’40 aan terreuraanslagen), maar dat Arafat dat niet wordt genoemd is vrij bizar.
Dutch textbook: Jews murdered Arabs, Begin was a terrorist
Required high school schoolbook says that during Israel's founding, Jewish militias committed murder against Palestinians, and that Menachem Begin 'was known as a terrorist and a radical'.
Itamar Eichner, Hillel Posek
An official Dutch textbook says that "Jewish militias committed murder in Arab villages" during the formation of the Israeli state, and that as a consequence "hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled and arrived at refugee camps beyond the border".
The history book, which was approved by the Dutch Education Ministry ahead of final examinations, also describes former Prime Minister Menachem Begin as a terrorist.
An Israeli-Dutch 16-year-old, Barak Gorani, a student at the Maimonedes Jewish School in Amsterdam, complained about the Israel-related content in the book.
The teen was dismayed to see that under the text quoted above, and without any connection to the period of Israel's founding, there was a photo from 2000 showing a Palestinian boy throwing stones at an Israeli tank.
The photo's caption read: "Small resistance against Israel's takeover of Palestinian lands in 2000. Nine days later, a 13-year-old boy was shot dead in a situation similar to that seen in the picture."
The caption for a picture of Menachem Begin described him as a "terrorist and peacemaker". The book noted that Begin has become known as a peacemaker, "which is surprising, as for a large part of his life he was known as a terrorist and a radical.
"Begin was born in an area of Russia that was given to Poland after the First World War," the book continued. "After the German invasion, Begin escaped to Palestine, where he became the leader of radical Zionists. They wanted to conquer biblical Israel, which was much larger than the Zionist state declared by Ben-Gurion.
"Begin's was also radical in his methods. His militias murdered Palestinian citizens and committed acts of terror."
The book then discussed Begin's involvement in the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, his decades as opposition leader, and his achievement in 1977 of a peace deal with Egypt.
Regarding the Six-Day War of 1967, the schoolbook said that the areas over which Israel gained control – the Sinai Desert, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem – "have been recognized ever since as occupied territories."
Teenager Barak Gorani, who describes himself as an Israeli patriot, complained to his teacher about the book. The teacher agreed that the text was riddled with historical errors, but that she was required to teach it because the Education Ministry required it.
Gorani then turned to his father, who got in touch with the Israeli embassy and showed them the relevant pages.
Gorani's father told the embassy that he was amazed no one complained before his son read the book. "The Dutch, even the Jews, let it pass in silence," he said.
He added that the conclusion students reading the book would reach is that the Jews continue to murder and massacre Palestinians to this day, and therefore cannot return to their native land.
"Why do they show a picture of a tank from the year 2000 for a section about 1948?" he asked. "This is meant to create the impression that nothing has changed since then and we still kill children.
"This is a provocative image accompanied by provocative text. My son is required to study this book if he wants to pass his final history exams and that cannot be allowed."
The Israeli embassy in the Netherlands issued a statement on the controversial content, saying that it was examining whether there was distortion of facts "or even incitement".