My roommate and I have taken in a 15-year-old girl recently. Her mother is a meth addict and her home life has been remarkably unstable; she’s an amazing kid and a very attentive student (and the only living teenage girl I’ve met so far who didn’t know who Grumpy Cat was and didn’t care). One of my primary duties is helping her with homework.
When I sat down for the first time to help her with a world history assignment, I nearly fell over. The teacher had handed out a map that they were to label and color. It was a map of the Mideast as it was during the time of Alexander the Great – and it, like the textbook she was copying from, had the area we know as Israel labeled clearly as Palestine.
This was the first of many untruths that I discovered in her history book – which, notably, was published by National Geographic. The anti-Zionist crowd would proudly crow about such a thing; it’s a blatant lie. At the time of Alexander the Great’s rule over Asia Minor, the name “Palestine” had not even been invented yet. The region was taken over first by the Babylonians, then by the Persians – but it was always home to the Jews and was often referred to as Judea. There was a neighboring “state” known as Philistia, which tried to take Israel over at one point and lost (read about King David’s early life). The Romans took the region from the Persians around 63 BC, but the overwhelming majority of the people in Judea were still Jews. Then, in 70 AD, a major rebellion was mounted. The Bar Kokhba revolt (led by Simon Bar Kochba, who some believed was the promised Messiah at the time) was soundly crushed by the Romans. Emperor Hadrian was infuriated by the continued Jewish rebellions, so he ordered the complete destruction of Jerusalem – including leveling the Second Temple. The Western Wall is all that still stands and is among some of the best archaeological evidence that Jews have had the longest presence in the region.
Hadrian almost immediately made all things Jewish illegal. Religious observations were banned – even to admit you were a Jew could result in execution. Jews had to preserve their history, lineage, and faith in complete secrecy after Hadrian passed down his edicts. Not only that, but he re-named the region known as Judea. It became known as Palestine, after the Philistines that the Israelites had so famously defeated centuries before.
To label the area as Palestine several hundred years before the name came into usage is, I think, deliberate. If the anti-Zionists in education can establish Palestine as a legitimate entity during a period before the current age, then claims that today’s Palestinians have to the area are justified. It’s a slow way to redefine the truth. A slow introduction to half-truths and lies by omission is the only way to get people to accept a lie; Adolf Hitler learned quickly that if you try to introduce an extreme too quickly, the people won’t tolerate it. That was how he ended up in prison. When he got out, he started over, slowly introducing extremes to Germany until they became a way of life.
The same thing has been done by Holocaust deniers. I’ve heard people try to tell me that, in fact, it wasn’t really six million Jews killed in the camps – it was more like one and a half million. That is a partial truth. On a stone marker in front of Auschwitz, visitors can see that one and a half million Jews died in the camp. Of course, that is just the number that died at one single camp, but those who want others to believe that it never happened will start there – as if Auschwitz were the only concentration camp run by the Nazis.
Not only does this girl’s history book dishonestly establish Palestine long before its time, it fails to point out that the Muslims actually invaded Palestine in 632 AD and took it by force from the Byzantine Empire. When the Muslims invaded, they killed off the peasant Arabs living in the area. They had decided that the farmers and shepherds that inhabited the area were inferior and weren’t worthy to own the land. The book barely mentions that the Crusaders targeted Jews on their trek to Jerusalem, instead focusing on the economic and political impacts that the Crusades had on Europe.
Still later in the book, when talking about more modern history, further egregious omissions are made. “Jihad” is defined as “an emotional and spiritual struggle.” When I was 15, my history book rightly defined it as “holy war.” When discussing 9/11, the book describes the 19 hijackers as “international terrorists” rather than telling the truth, that 15 of them were from Saudi Arabia and ALL of them were jihadists. It misrepresents the term “infidels”, claiming that it was the European Crusaders who coined the term to describe Muslims as unbelievers. All of this is done by design to blunt the fact that jihad is alive and well in the Middle East. It is deliberately twisted to blind this generation to the reality that Muslim terrorists are very real, many Muslims aren’t willing to admit it, and we are still in very real danger from their extreme ideology. The book spends far too much time teaching smoke and mirrors about Islam, leaving out key points about the life and beliefs of Muhammad – while practically ignoring the beliefs of Jews.
Hysterically, the book has an exercise called “critical thinking skillbuilder: distinguishing between fact and opinion.”