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For a Bright Post-Hamas Future, Gaza Needs Education Reform

Illustrative: Palestinian children compelled to participate in a Hamas military parade. Photo: Twitter.

One of the key questions occupying politicians, academics, media personalities, and concerned laypeople is what will happen to Gaza the day after the Israel-Hamas war is over, and the terrorist organization is routed from leadership of the coastal enclave.

Along with concerns about who will administer the Gaza Strip, how its infrastructure will be rebuilt, and how a sense of security will return to Israel’s border communities, there is also the question of how Palestinian society in Gaza will be de-radicalized after 18 years of Hamas control.

The key to that question is education reform.

To those who claim that the effect of Israel’s war against Hamas on the average Palestinian civilian — coupled with decades of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish education — is a surefire recipe for continued radicalism in the Gaza Strip, there is a historical precedent for education reform helping to de-radicalize and moderate societies that were headed by political movements just as fanatical as Hamas.

Following the end of World War II, both Germany* and Japan underwent a process of de-radicalization that worked to upend the militaristic political and social infrastructure that guided their aggressive expansionism, ultimately leading to world war.

Under the initial influence of the Allied forces and later under the initiative of local civil servants, both Germany and Japan reformed their education systems by emphasizing the value of democracy, removing ultra-nationalism and militarism from the school curricula, giving a greater role to local authorities instead of the central government, and updating the teacher accreditation system.

It should be noted that these reforms occurred after the destruction and displacement wrought by the Allies in their fight against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Despite the resentment that the German and Japanese peoples might have felt against the Allies for their conduct during the war, this did not produce a more radical society than existed prior to the defeat of each major Axis power.

While the German and Japanese societies did not change overnight, the education reforms implemented in the immediate aftermath of World War II helped pave the way for each country to become the strong democracies and robust economies that they are today.

Even in the past few years, we have seen how education reform is part and parcel of peace processes and de-radicalization.

Following the signing of the Abraham Accords with Israel in 2020, the United Arab Emirates has undertaken a process of moderating its educational texts, removing harmful passages about both Jews and Israel. While there are some negative depictions of Israel still available in certain texts, the moderation process has been deemed “overwhelmingly positive.”

This moderation of the UAE’s school curriculum has also included the recent introduction of Holocaust studies for both primary and secondary school students.

In Bahrain (another Abraham Accord signee), there have been steps toward moderating that country’s educational curriculum about Israel, but grassroots opposition from local religious figures has called into question how far these reforms will go.

Even Saudi Arabia — a regional powerhouse that has slowly opened up to Israel even though the two countries do not share official relations — has undertaken an incremental moderation of its educational texts concerning Israel and the Jewish people. While negative depictions of Israel still exist in these texts, this moderation process is a promising first step.

After Hamas no longer controls Gaza, the local education system must undergo a comprehensive reform to undo the damage wrought by 18 years of Hamas leadership.

However, it is just as important to know who will be conducting this reform.

Both the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, the main UN body operating in Palestinian areas, have been mentioned as being prime actors in the rehabilitation of Gaza following the war. However, these two bodies are already part of the problem: UNRWA runs several schools in Gaza, while Hamas uses the core PA curriculum in its local schools.

According to the education monitoring organization IMPACT-se, textbooks used in both PA and UNRWA schools extol terrorism, advocate for the destruction of Israel, and perpetuate antisemitic stereotypes.

If the international community wishes for a bright future for a post-Hamas Gaza, it must insist on a democratic and moderate curriculum introduced into local Palestinian schools that will negate terrorism and promote peaceful relations with neighboring Israel.

If teaching materials akin to those offered by the PA and UNRWA are used to replace those used by Hamas, this is not a recipe for a brighter Gazan future. Instead, it is a formula for another October 7.

* While the initial education reforms in post-war Germany were similar under the guiding hand of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, there ultimately were differences between how the education systems were reformed in West Germany and East Germany.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post For a Bright Post-Hamas Future, Gaza Needs Education Reform first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets

Terrorists in Gaza using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets. Photo: Screenshot

Terrorists in Gaza have been using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets they were preparing to shoot at Israelis, new video circulating on social media reveals, underscoring the challenges of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in the Hamas-ruled enclave without it being stolen.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — which is the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasused bags from Turkey and UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians — to prop up the rockets, according to the video.

At least three of the bags say they contain “wheat flour,” and the bag from Turkey specifically says it is supposed to go “to the Palestinian people.” It is unclear whether the bags had previously been opened to extract the food and then refilled with sand, for example, or if it still contained the food that was intended to feed Palestinian civilians.

“Any chance the media would cover this, yet another violation of international humanitarian law?” pro-Israel commentator Hen Mazzig wrote on X/Twitter while sharing the video.

Rafah, Gaza: Hamas is using UN humanitarian aid bags as rocket launchers today.

Any chance the media would cover this, yet another, violation of International Humanitarian Law? pic.twitter.com/eNIy2SU0Ep

— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) May 29, 2024

Almost every day for the past seven months, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations have been shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas, which is a war crime. Tens of thousands of Israelis are internally displaced and unable to return to their homes as a result.

There is mounting evidence that Hamas has also operated in civilian clothing and in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals. However, these violations of international law are rarely noted by much of the media.

The latest video of terrorists using humanitarian aid for military purposes underscores the issue of making sure such aid gets to Palestinian civilians. 

The US built a pier to deliver 2,000,000 meals daily to Palestinian civilians, but after a few weeks of operation, the Pentagon said none of the aid unloaded from the pier had made it to those who needed it. On one occasion, about 70 percent of the aid has been stolen while en route to a UN warehouse. In other cases, it just never showed up.

Israeli estimates suggest approximately 60 percent of the aid that has gone into Gaza has been stolen — either by Hamas or other groups and individuals. Oftentimes, that aid is then sold to the population at high prices, making it difficult to impossible for most Gazans to gain access to it. 

According to Ehud Yaari, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hamas has made more than $500 million in profit from selling humanitarian aid since Oct. 7.

The terror group began the war last October by massacring 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 250 people hostage, about half of whom have still not been released.

The post ‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas

Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has endorsed Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace antisemitic violence.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

.@Columbia and @BarnardCollege, @ColumbiaSJP is actively promoting terrorism and anti-Israel rhetoric on their social media channels. They are sounding more and more like Hamas spokespeople every day. When is the university going to permanently ban this “student group”? pic.twitter.com/FE0VbgmFLA

— Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus (@CampusJewHate) May 26, 2024

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has reformed under multiple organizations since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, has been central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The group’s behavior after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Center for League Justice (SCLJ).

The complaint alleges that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, the pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library, according to the lawsuit. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Following the incidents, pleas for help allegedly went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while SJP held its demonstrations. The school’s apparent powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events while no one explained the inconsistency.

The explosion of end-of-year protests held by the group forced Columbia officials to shutter the campus in April and institute virtual learning. Later, the group occupied Hamilton Hall, forcing President Minouche Shafik to call on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for help, a decision she hesitated to make. According to The Columbia Spectator, over 108 arrests were made.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Amid the chaos, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety. Ultimately, the university cancelled its main commencement ceremony.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Guitarist Eric Clapton Says ‘Israel Is Running the World,’ Criticizes US Hearings on Campus Antisemitism

Eric Clapton during his guest appearance on the YouTube channel “The Real Music Observer” on May 22, 2024. Photo: YouTube screenshot

British singer-songwriter and guitarist Eric Clapton promoted the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Israel runs the world during an interview last week on the YouTube channel “The Real Music Observer.”

The Grammy Award winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 79, referenced recent US congressional hearings where lawmakers grilled presidents of elite universities about surging antisemitism and rampant anti-Israel demonstrations on their campuses.

“I was so enthused about what was going on at Columbia [University] and everywhere. And then I saw, what I couldn’t believe, because it freaked me out, were the Senate hearings, which were like the Nuremberg trials, you know?” Clapton said during his guest appearance on “The Real Music Observer,” hosted by David Spuria. “The Senate committee would be asking pointed questions to presidents of universities, saying, ‘I just want to hear yes or no. Don’t talk to me about context. Yes or no, are you promoting antisemitism in your college? Yes or no.’ And I thought, what is this, the Spanish Inquisition? And it is! It’s AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee], it’s the lobby. Israel is running the show. Israel is running the world.”

The hearings that Clapton referenced were held by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, not a Senate panel.

In November, a little more than a month after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, Clapton released an instrumental song called “Voice of a Child.” The song’s music video features photos from pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel rallies around the world as well as images of destruction in the Gaza Strip. The music video completely overlooks the Oct. 7 massacre that sparked the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Clapton has recently been performing with a guitar that he painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag. Talking about the guitar while appearing on “The Real Music Observer,” he said, “We’re doing a thing now on this tour that I wrote originally as a tribute to Jeff Beck [who died in 2023]. I performed it at a tribute concert and then I didn’t play it anymore. But for this tour I’m doing it under a different guise. It’s the same tune, but I devoted it to the situation in Gaza. It’s called ‘Blue Dust’ because that’s what’s probably going to be left there. And I play a guitar that’s painted like the Palestinian flag.”

Clapton is a close friend of former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, who has openly expressed antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments, and has performed in garments that resemble a Nazi SS officer uniform. Clapton has defended Waters in the past, claiming that people “misinterpret” the latter’s position on Israel, and said last week that it takes “guts” to share political opinions like his.

The post Guitarist Eric Clapton Says ‘Israel Is Running the World,’ Criticizes US Hearings on Campus Antisemitism first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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