On January 4, 2005, Israel Resource News Agency, acting under the auspices of the Center for Near East Policy Research sponsored the “Knesset Forum on the Middle East” in the Israeli Knesset – the very first of its kind at the Knesset. Forty-two diplomats from 18 countries attended; this included personnel from the US Embassy and US Consulate. The venue of the Forum provided it with a dramatic authenticity.
Dr. Michael Widlanski, political science and communications lecturer at the Hebrew University and an expert on Palestinian media, made a presentation on the current state of Palestinian media, which continues to incite. It was clear from their responses that representatives of various countries were greatly eager for solid information in this regard and that the Center for Near East Policy Research had provided an important service.
Dr. Arnon Gross, Deputy Director of the Voice of Israel Arabic Service, spoke about the newest Palestinian Authority textbooks, which have been translated and analyzed under the auspices of the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace. Dr. Groiss’s report addressed several significant factors: the texts contain anti-Semitism, Israelis are not recognized as a legitimate “other,” the existence of Israel is often denied (particularly in maps), Jewish connection to the land is ignored, and jihad rather than peace is promoted.
This is of particular significance because of the international funding of the Palestinian educational system. It was exceedingly important for those present to receive an accurate picture of precisely what is being funded, and there was a strong sense among the organizers of the Forum that what learned in this regard would be carried back to the respective governments. After Dr. Groiss’s presentation, Members of Knesset from Shinui and Likud appealed to the conscience of the diplomats to stop aiding the PA educational system. A dramatic moment followed when the representative from Italy, which has previously funded the textbooks, announced to the representatives of other nations present that Italy has ceased doing so.