I recently spoke to middle school children in the school district where I live about Al Nakba. I took two handouts with me. One was the map of North America, showing the tribes and the territories they inhabited prior to Europe’s conquest of this continent. The other was the “Palestinian loss of land” postcard, showing the respective Jewish and non-Jewish populations of historic Palestine, from 1946 to 2011.The point of the exercise was to teach kids that the US is as immoral as Israel is, responsible for genocide of native people.
The response was very revealing. Students looked at the map of North America with curiosity, interest, but also with no guilt, no accountability. It felt “safe” to them to read the names of the tribes that lived where they, the descendants of immigrants, now do. Many had a one-word comment: “Cool.” They liked that map, not recognizing it was a visual representation of devastation, even genocide.
With the “Loss of Palestinian land” postcard, there was … silence. I prodded the students for some response, some feedback, and it became clear the silence was not because they had nothing to say, but rather because they were shocked at what the postcard depicted. One seventh grade Social Studies teacher kept looking at the map, and asking out loud “How could this happen? What were they thinking? The United Nations did this? What were they thinking?” And again, like a broken record, “what were they thinking?”
The secondary point is to teach kids lies about Israel based on "The Map That Lies," the thoroughly debunked anti-Israel propaganda graphic that MSNBC and McGraw-Hill have both apologized for promoting and have specifically said was false. No respected media or educational institution has stood behind this piece of agitprop.
American school students are being lied to and their clueless social studies teachers don't know enough basic Middle East history to argue. The Israel haters are methodically indoctrinating American students - and their teachers - with lies, and they are starting propagandizing them when they are very young.
As far as I can tell, no Zionist organization is even thinking about lesson plans for elementary and middle school students that can support teachers telling the truth.
(h/t Alyssa Kaplan)
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