A guest post by AKUS
The recent Daphna Baram article which forced a retraction from the Guardian dealt with the issue of dual narratives in Israeli and Palestinian schools. But there is a third narrative – Israeli and Jewish history as it exists in the minds of certain “below the line” commenters on “Comment is Free”.
I’ve noticed this commenter, “tinlaurelledandhardy”, before. She reminds me of the bimbo “Old Christine” played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, or the latest star of the current US election cycle, Christine (“That’s in the First Amendment?”) O’Donnell. She specializes in particularly ignorant comments and on the Baram thread she surpassed herself, revealing how important it is that the Israeli narrative be taught in whichever school she attended or attends.
“To be fair”, “tinlaurelledandhardy” must have been under a rock not to hear about the Palestinian side and never wandered into a bookstore or library. Perhaps no-one texted her about it.
Leaving that aside, Shlomo Sand’s “excellent book”, which is a fabrication from start to finish, first appeared in Hebrew, of course. Sand is a lecturer in French Cinema and other non-genealogical studies at the University of Tel Aviv. “To be fair”, “tinlaurelledandhardy” would probably be surprised to learn that courses there are taught in Hebrew and Sand’s book was originally published (Resling, 2008) as מתי ואיך הומצא העם היהודי? (Matai ve’eich humtsa ha‘am hayehudi? – When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?).
It was later translated into English with the CiF-grabbing title “The Invention of the Jewish People”, guaranteed to reinforce precisely the stereotypes and narratives that the naïve professors at Ben Gurion University who wrote Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative claim they wish break down. (By the way – read the Arab narrative. The distortion of history is appalling).
As for the “false memory” of Masada invoked by “tinlaurelledandhardy”, this is yet another attempt to write Jews out of their own history. How did all those ruins and remainders of palaces get to Masada and why were they there? Is it all a sort of Israeli Disney-land created in the dead of night by the Mossad or Jewish leprechauns? And that funny old history book by Josephus – is it a 2,000 year old forgery?
Clearly “Learning Israel’s Historical narrative” should be a required course not just for Israelis and Palestinians, but for a much wider audience.