Thursday, November 8, 2007

Meeting the Other in Israel and Palestine

Teaching Israeli and Palestinian Children to "Get Along" at Best Only Buries the Real Problems


"One hesitates to criticize these enterprises. They're so well meaning, and it seems so curmudgeonly. But the myriad efforts around the world to bring the children of political conflicts, most notably the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, together in some kind of forced intimacy -- schools or camps or the like -- so that they can get to know each other and learn that each is human, can and often do actually perpetuate the conflict. These well intentioned efforts ultimately divert attention from real problems, real grievances, and lull people into thinking that all this sweetness and light is some kind of progress toward resolving the conflict......

True coexistence is different from simply getting along. Teaching children to get along, that their parents' enemies are human beings who should not be dehumanized or demonized, is nice, but it is woefully insufficient and indeed fatally complacency-inducing. Unless their parents themselves learn to coexist, and to coexist in total equality, justice, and mutual dignity -- unless their parents engage in a serious effort to alter the dismal reality on the ground of complete and perpetual Jewish domination over Palestinians -- a few childhood lessons in civility will be useless."

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