At the conclusion of the latest installment of the endless Arab war against Israel, the leaders of Hamas simultaneously accused Israel of “genocide” against the residents of Gaza and took to the streets, dancing, ululating, and jubilating in celebration of their “victory” over the Zionist enemy. That is to say, what the novelist Thane Rosenbaum called Hamas’s “civilian death strategy”—deliberately bringing about the greatest possible number of Arab (as well as Jewish) deaths—had achieved a political triumph in the court of world opinion.
What is naively called the “Arab-Israeli conflict” has a deep-seated pathological fanaticism at its core. American secondary school students will learn nothing about it from a new curriculum that amounts to a regimen of crude indoctrination depicting Israel as the devil’s very own experiment station, black as Gehenna and the pit of Hell. But this is what a duo of Washington State Palestinophiles named Ed Mast and Linda Bevis, founders of the local Palestine Solidarity Committee, have been promoting with passionate intensity for some time.
In early October, Bevis appeared, by invitation, at the Washington State Council for the Social Studies, the annual meeting of the state’s social studies teachers, to preside over a workshop in which she could recommend the Bevis and Mast curriculum as a replacement for the material in currently used textbooks. (The conference’s keynote speaker was a zealous Israel-hater named Jen Marlowe, stalwart of the “Jenin Freedom Theater.”) Bevis is a regular at similar conferences and held forth a week later at the “Teaching for Social Justice” gathering in Portland. At least three schools are known to have adopted her materials; Bevis has not divulged the names of schools where she has been active.
The tawdry character of the Bevis and Mast curriculum is inherent in its bizarre title: “The Palestine Teaching Trunk.” Its designers noticed that the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center had packaged materials relating to the Holocaust in one of the trunks used by Jews who were shipped off to the death camps of Europe. But how dare the Jews monopolize all that beautiful Holocaust suffering which other groups, and none more so than the Palestinian Arabs, would very much like, ex post facto, to claim for themselves? And so it came to pass that Bevis and Mast collected their own CDs and sacred relics of the “Palestinian cause” into an online “trunk.”
Palestinian appropriation of Jewish symbols and Jewish history, especially the Holocaust, is, along with the importing of rockets and building of underground tunnels into Israel, a flourishing industry in Gaza. Nobody could have been surprised when a filmmaker arrived there in August to begin work on a “Palestinian” version of The Diary of Anne Frank. It has often been noted that the most important date in Palestinian calendars is not any Arab, Muslim, or native Palestinian event but May 14, 1948, the day Israel was founded. The depiction of Palestinian Arabs as Jews naturally involved turning Israelis into Nazis, a practice in which Mahmoud Abbas, the first elected president of the Palestinian authority, received expert training in the Soviet Union, where he earned a Ph.D. for a dissertation arguing that Zionist Jews encouraged Nazism in order to gain sympathy for Jewish immigration to Palestine. The level of “scholarship” in Abbas’s dissertation is emulated in a very large proportion of the books on the Recommended Reading List of the trunk.