Click here to see video of
Senator Hillary Clinton:
Good morning everyone, and thank you very much for being here.
It is my privilege once again to join Palestinian Media Watch for
this press conference, and for the latest report that they have
compiled about the Palestinian textbooks.
Director Itamar Marcus, who has been a steadfast leader, has helped
to deliver this message which we repeat again today - we must stop
the propaganda to which Palestinian children are being exposed. That
must be a priority for all people who care about children, who care
about the kind of peace, stability, safety and security that Israel
deserves to be guaranteed. And it should be a priority for everyone
who cares about the future of the Palestinian people. I’m also
pleased that with us today is Associate Director Barbara Crook, with
whom I have also met in the past to discuss these issues.
I have been speaking out against the incitement of hate and violence
in Palestinian textbooks for years. In 2000 I joined Nobel peace
prize winner Elie Wiesel in New York to denounce the lessons of
hatred and violence that are part of the curricula in Palestinian
schools. I wrote, with my colleague Senator Schumer, a letter to
President Bush, urging his Administration to do everything in its
power to persuade the Palestinians to reverse their hateful rhetoric
and embrace the opportunity to move toward a strong and lasting peace
in the region.
I joined with Itamar at a Senate hearing, where I reiterated the
importance of our country making it clear in every way - these
children deserves an education that instills respect for life and
peace instead of glorifying death and violence. The videos we viewed
at that Senate hearing were a clear example of child abuse. I said
that at the time and I repeat it again today. Children were
encouraged to see martyrdom and armed struggle and the murder of
innocent people as ideals to strive for.
Today, we are here once again to release a report that is deeply
disturbing, particularly for the denial of Israel’s existence and the
historical omissions of the Holocaust, to cite just two examples.
These textbooks do not give Palestinian children an education; they
give them an indoctrination. When we viewed this report in
combination with other media that these children are exposed to, we
see a larger picture that is disturbing. It is disturbing on a human
level, it is disturbing to me as a mother, it is disturbing to me as
a United States Senator, because it basically, profoundly poisons the
minds of these children.
Hate has no place in the curriculum of schools, and the glorification
of violence has no place in the education of children.
This propaganda is dangerous. You know, words really matter. Some
people sort of downplay the importance of words. But words really
matter. Because in idealizing for children a world without Israel,
children are taught never to accept the reality of the State of
Israel, never to strive for a better future that would hold out the
promise of peace and security to them, and is basically a message of
pessimism and fatalism that undermines the possibility for these
children living lives of fulfillment and productivity.
This has dire consequences for prospects of peace for generations to
Very briefly, the report finds the following in these textbooks: the
founding of Israel is described as “a catastrophe that is
unprecedented in history.” There is a portrayal of the region in both
maps and text in which Israel does not exist. There is the denial of
the Holocaust by the omission of historical facts connecting Nazi
ideology and actions with the persecution and murder of Jews. For
example, the report states, “The textbook teaches the military and
the political events of WWII in significant detail including sections
on Nazi racist ideology, yet neither the persecution of Jews or the
Holocaust is even mentioned.”
Now we will hear more in a minute about this, but I believe education
is one of the keys to lasting peace and security in the Middle East
and the greater region. For this reason I am deeply concerned by
these findings. We cannot build a peaceful, stable, safe future on
such a hate-filled violent and radical foundation.
In the years since, I and others - who have been doing it long before
I did in 2000- raised this issue, there has still not been an
adequate repudiation of this by the Palestinian Authority. A few days
ago several of my colleagues from the New York City Council,
including my friend the Speaker Chris Quinn, were in Sderot, and the
city came under attack from Palestinian rocket fire. The attacks are
not diminishing, they are continuing. Every opportunity that there
can be for an attack seems to be seized by those who are
rejectionists of any different future. And I worry about the chance
for peace when the next generation is learning that fighting Israel
is a glorious, religious battle for Islam, as this report points out.
So it is now my privilege to introduce Itamar Marcus, Director of
Palestinian Media Watch, who will present the deeply disturbing
findings of this report and speak to the importance of action.Click here to see video of
Clinton´s remarks followed
by Itamar Marcus´s overview of report