Monday, February 13, 2012

Daoud Kuttab Defends the Indefensible

Daoud Kuttab, who you may remember as having given up a veneer of journalistic objectivity (if it was ever there to begin with), has hit upon the controversy over Palestinian textbooks. You remember, the Palestinians are often accused of teaching Jew hatred in textbooks, but the truth is that they teach Jew hatred in other ways. An honest journalist, in his place, would approach the issue from that point of view: That the Palestinians have a long way to go in order to make peace with the Israelis but not every accusation leveled against them is true. That isn't what Mr. Kuttab does. He doesn't given an inch in defense of his fellow Palestinians. Let's take a look, because it is really quite informative.

He comes out swinging with some insults and a biased source:
"Apologists for Israel's continued occupation and control over Palestinian lives have long contended Israel is more interested in peace than the Palestinians. One exaggerated argument, repeatedly put forward to justify military rule, is that Palestinians teach their children to hate Jews."
First off, you may notice that his source there at the end is "If Americans Knew," which is just as much a one sided website as you can find on this topic. It doesn't even pretend to be pro-Palestinian, unlike our author. But I don't mind: If Mr. Kuttab can use "If Americans Knew" guilt free, that means I can Palestinian Media Watch guilt free. PMW is often cited in the comments section as well as other blogs, and though our anti-Zionist friends love to insult them as being "right wing" (definitely true), they also can't prove anything PMW publishes is wrong or misleading. So there is that.

Secondly, just take a look at Mr. Kuttab's phrasing there for a minute. Putting aside the usual insults (it's becoming more and more rare to see a "pro-Palestinian" article without them, at least on the HP), he claims that Israel is not more interested in peace with the Palestinians and that the Palestinians don't teach their children to hate Jews. Now, if Mr. Kuttab was honest he would admit that there are segments of Palestinian society where hatred is taught. But because he isn't, he focuses with laser-like intensity on the issue of textbooks and textbooks alone, ignoring the rest. Huzzah for truth.

After citing a study that didn't find any hatred in textbooks (notice the key phrasing) Mr. Kuttab launches into full on cringing victim mode:
"But the anti-Palestinian attacks never stopped. All the efforts to respond scientifically and comprehensively to the unsubstantiated barrage of attacks failed to change the narrative that anti-Palestinian forces, especially in the United States, were keen on perpetuating."
Aww, poor baby! Maybe it's because less than a month ago your friends were glorifying murderers on the "moderate" PA television network. And that the same network showed a slide declaring that Palestinian children should die for the land. Mr. Kuttab is insulting to everyone's intelligence to parse words and split hairs like he does, and still tries to hold his head up high as the righteous victim. Let's not forget also that the only reason why Palestinian textbooks are clean right now is because they were forced to be cleaned up by those same Europeans and Americans who are criticizing them now. Does Mr. Kuttab sincerely think that the Palestinian Authority would have changed the textbooks on their own without outside interference? Maybe he does, but don't expect me to believe him. If the Palestinians didn't agree with those messages, they never would have taught them to their children in the first place.

At this point Mr. Kuttab attacks Newt Gingrich for getting his facts wrong. Which is legitimate on its own, but his convenient omission of all the other kinds of Palestinian incitement sinks his point of view before it even gets out of the harbor. He also whines some more that all the studies of textbooks showed that there was nothing there. Studies of other things besides textbooks are left unmentioned. Naturally. Then we go off on a complete tangent:
"Still worse is what is happening in the U.S. Congress. A hold has been placed on U.S. funding for Palestinian health and educational programs. The hold, which was placed last fall by a Republican representative from Florida, is intended to punish the Palestinian Authority because its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, dared to ask the United Nations to recognize Palestine as a state"
I don't really see what this has to do with the subject at hand, but okay. Also, if you are expecting any of our "America firster" friends to be complaining about the U.S. footing the bill for people who hate us, you're barking up the wrong tree. Aside from the last bit, that's the usual hypocrisy we have come to expect from Arabists. If America had punished Israel for defying us  (even if that meant doing what they thought was right) and cut off funding, Daoud and his friends would be cheering and dancing in the streets.  I don't like to get personal but I can't help but wonder if it's just the fact that we are talking about Mr. Kuttab's fellow Palestinians that they get a pass. The truth is that you can't take American money in one hand and give them the finger with the other. And before our trolls try to accuse me of giving Israel a double standard: The same thing applies. If Israel defies America and America chooses to punish them, you sure won't hear me complain. To paraphrase an old commercial, "it's your money, use it how you want to!"

At this point we get something interesting. Mr. Kuttab complains that America is cutting off aid to the Palestinians will include, "the Palestinian version of Sesame Street." Naturally he bills this as a massive tragedy. But on the other hand, isn't the whole point that the Palestinians are barely scraping by a living? Why do they need two million dollars to teach their kids something they should be teaching anyway: peace? Does Israel need money to teach their kids not to hate Palestinians? Or is this another classic double standard.

But of course we later see that Mr. Kuttab may not actually care about the Palestinian kids:
"Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and executive producer of Sharaa Simsim, the Palestinian version of Sesame Street."
Ah. I wonder how much American tax money is going directly into Mr. Kuttab's pocket. That's not to say that Sharaa Simsim is evil or something, just that if the nationalities were reversed I think many of our "mere anti-Zionist" friends would have quite a bit to say on such a clear conflict of interest.

After moaning some more about how the U.S. Congress doesn't treat its allies and people who danced on 9/11 equally, Mr. Kuttab finishes up with still more whining and playing the victim (just in case you aren't sick of it yet):
"Bashing Palestinians remains an easy political pastime, especially at election time. It is tragic, however, that demagogic electioneering -- and outright lies -- can lead to the loss of responsible children's television programming for Palestinian kids. And it is telling that broader funding for Palestinian civil society can be closed off simply because Palestinian leaders asserted the right of Palestinians to live free in a state of our own."
Yes, let's close with one more example of some of that "responsible children's television programming:"

I'd love to hear what Mr. Kuttab has to say about that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey guys we've started to employ a slight comment policy. We used to have completely open comments but then people abused it. So our comment policy is such: No obvious trolling or spamming. And be warned: unlike the Huffington Post we actually enforce our comment policy.