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Education and Universities

 “Evidence is mounting that massive funds are being infused from avowed fundamentalist governments and terrorist groups into colleges and universities to fund radicalized professors radicalizing students who along with their community handlers have brought us radical protests shutting out Jewish students and faculty and others from end of semester academic activities in the name of freeing Palestinians and expressing support for Judenrein campuses.”

By Paul Heller

The teachings of the Jewish sages on the importance of study can be broadened to emphasize the universal significance of academic pursuits, particularly in shaping an individual’s academic career and contributing to society at large.Firstly, just as Torah study is regarded as a foundational pillar in Jewish tradition, academic study serves as the cornerstone of personal and intellectual growth in any field. Whether one is pursuing a career in science, humanities, or any other discipline, rigorous academic study is essential for gaining expertise, developing critical thinking skills, and fostering innovation.Rabbi Akiva’s assertion that “Study is great, for it leads to action” highlights the practical implications of academic study. In an academic career, knowledge acquisition is not an end in itself but a means to drive meaningful action and contribute to the advancement of knowledge within one’s field. Academic research, informed by rigorous study, leads to discoveries, inventions, and advancements that have the potential to benefit society on a global scale.Additionally, the emphasis on lifelong learning in Jewish tradition resonates with the idea of continuous professional development in an academic career. Scholars are encouraged to remain curious, engage in ongoing study, and pursue new avenues of research to stay abreast of developments in their field and contribute to the advancement of knowledge over time. In conclusion, the teachings of the Jewish sages on the importance of study can be applied universally to underscore the significance of academic pursuits in shaping individuals’ careers and contributing to the betterment of society. Just as study is foundational to Jewish life, academic study is fundamental to personal growth, intellectual advancement, and societal progress in all fields of endeavour.

Quoting my cousin Professor Edward Beck in blogs of Times of Israel: “Evidence is mounting that massive funds are being infused from avowed fundamentalist governments and terrorist groups into colleges and universities to fund radicalized professors radicalizing students who along with their community handlers have brought us radical protests shutting out Jewish students and faculty and others from end of semester academic activities in the name of freeing Palestinians and expressing support for Judenrein campuses.”

In the West Bank, Gaza and now Universities in the West, misinformation about conspiracy theories can lead to disorientation of the entire decades-long historical trajectory of the conflict and undo the previous reconciliation efforts. As with he influence of information on smaller children and their perception of the news is not well understood, small children may be influenced by malicious and false information. Since Palestinian society is a highly emotional collective, it is easy to temporarily convince the brain in old patterns.

Online disinformation has a strong impact in the Palestinian population and has reached the academic world. One might look further into the following categories of online disinformation:

  • Disinformation about Conspiracy Theories (Mein Kampf by A Hitler, translated to Arabic was found spread over in Gaza by the IDF)

  • Disinformation and Denial

  • Disinformation about General Violence and Terrorism

  • Disinformation concerning the Israeli right to exist calling it occupation and its role in the Palestinian Situation.

Children are vulnerable to disinformation because the promotion of false news is designed to manipulate them in particular. Palestinian children have been endangered by the spread of ‘hate speech’, showing the impact of the manipulation of facts for the promotion of fear, anger, and hate. Although a lot of progress has been made in the fields of communication and misinformation in various social media and their impact on society at large, little attention has been paid to the media environment in Palestine and its impact on adolescents and children in particular. Disinformation manifests in the development of various types and forms, but so far it has not established a common definition and does not identify its possible summation. However, these subcultures are different. One of the most important classifications of various types is related to the nature of disinformation. In particular, it is defined in a narrow sense as “deliberate attempts to influence public opinion through false or biased information reported through newspapers (and media)”. In this case, it is emphasized that it seems to recognize disinformation as a malicious intention or a strategic tool used by the author to influence the audience. Due to technology, news continues to expand and the news chain time is increasingly reduced; social media has become a blank book for disinformation because it can easily spread and become viral.

Disinformation was defined by the European Union as the ability to create, modify or destroy feelings aimed at certain actions, practices, actions, etc. that distort the truth, which can produce a series of effects ranging from feelings of trust, such as advising consumers to “collect reliable information, effectively identify internal and external sources of information, and feel hesitant to make satisfactory decisions”, to significant media influence, including “changing attitudes and creating a sense of division or stacking, rather than promoting understanding and tolerance”. Moreover, disinformation is a phenomenon that is particularly dangerous as it has a negative impact on the freedom of individuals, people’s abilities, and the media.

Given the fact that children have had no real influence on the political happenings in Palestine, the focus might not determine changes on a political level. If the future and hope of a society lay entirely on children, steps or programmes should be taken to prevent children from being affected by disinformation. Children are important because they grow into the future of this world, regardless of the experiences that they encounter. Since the start of time, their education has always been a goal, an imperative need of society. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the children’s specialist at the United Nations Human Rights Council, children are the most vulnerable of all groups to disinformation. Consequently, it is specifically important to study the impact of disinformation on the most marginalized group in Palestine as well as other countries in the region, which are children. Palestine has many public elites, each of whom sits on top of their respective pyramid while throwing down the “traditional fire” at the “upstart the disgruntled, the ashy “tales of the marginalized Palestinian groups.

The PLO has also used its status as the UN-recognized representative of the Palestinian people to advocate a political position. Neither UNRWA nor the PLO appeared to overtly use such materials with the explicit aim of modifying attitudes, beliefs, or knowledge to completely match Palestinian children. This was despite the fact that both organizations had a strong political thrust. However, this neglect seemed to come less from the failure of the medium to convince the students than from the perception that there was already near universal knowledge of the conflict.

UNRWA and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) used official channels to promote disinformation. The PLO, which is internationally recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, used formal channels to disseminate propaganda to children. In the PLO’s controlled media outlets, public education, and religious or community-based after-school programs, false narratives were aired and developed. UNRWA, which functions under the patronage of these same elements, used similar channels to promote the same narrative. The history of Palestinian rejectionism is presented with what can only be described as a counter-factual approach that directly contradicts recognized historical accounts. The law is portrayed as an exercise in colonialism – a perception that is deliberately aggressive in its framing. In fact, the law is the only outcome that promotes peace in the eyes of most international actors.

The enabling and advancing role disinformation can play was clearly illustrated by the October 7th massacre events. Furthermore, this role negatively impacts both Israelis and Palestinians and spans throughout the world. In addressing and discussing policy issues in Palestine and elsewhere, Israel and Palestine-related issues, especially clashes and peace processes, Jerusalem, the rights of Palestinian refugees as well as Palestinians in general are significant and yet largely ignored aspects when we talk about the Israel-Palestine conflict. The common habit in the international press and official media to cover events connected to the above-mentioned aspects with the blind eye is a restricting factor of public awareness.

There is no denying, however, that a review of the Palestinian textbooks highlights several methods for addressing, recognizing, and accepting disagreement that encourage the promotion and development of critical thinking. An illustrative example may related to an image of a map captioned as such, among other things. This is related to the concept of hatred against Judaism by Hamas once it gained control of the Gaza Strip, which was quickly incorporated into the kindergarten curriculum.

In interviews, the directors of kindergartens affiliated with Hamas openly launch criticisms on the grounds that children in the previous government and Fatah school system were being brainwashed, which is no longer the case. The directors of the schools claim that the children in their educational institutions say “no” and are starting to ask questions about the legitimacy of the existence of Israel, which the Fatah-run institutions did not support.

A look at posts on social network sites, particularly Facebook, shows that hatred for Israelis in general and Jewish people in particular is intensified because of the disinformation that Palestinians are exposed to, particularly the children. The posts frequently present Israelis and Jewish people as Nazi. This practice is not surprising given that one of the prominent aspects in the Palestinian struggle is the avoidance of the Holocaust. This is followed by the use of elementary and secondary school textbooks to claim there is no Holocaust. The Israeli army held a lesson with the Palestinian Authority’s Educational Administration and presented to visiting academics the content of the Palestinian textbooks. It was reported that the Hamas faction also uses Holocaust denial as a means of educating Palestinian children with studies in accordance with its ideology.

This is particularly effective in the Third World, where the media literacy levels are low. With human beings having a natural inclination towards seeking and accepting information that confirms or strengthens pre-existing biases, the elderly and the weak-willed are fair targets. They tend to share stories, memes and screenshots from their safe social media spaces at an alarming stage while skeptical views usually encounter resistance. Disinformation campaigns are well orchestrated, integrating local actors who speak the target’s language, understand their attitudes, and have groundwork engagement. Reaching out to these local influences mirror political statements that resonate with the local or national needs, a move that the modern digitalized and globalized public tends to accept. Random findings or counter-narratives are carefully sidestepped by ignoring or refuting them with the aim of confusing and dimming the overall informational ambiance.

Modern digital and technological advancement have not only necessitated the reformation of traditional worldview but have also lent an edge to current tactics. Disinformation campaigns mitigate the potential of open verification on digital platforms by ensuring the engagement through algorithms which are calculated enough to boost the level of ado on a given issue, while still making the campaign appear human and social engagement-based. Social media platforms become vehicles to broker the concept of modern warfare, in which attention is considered the most cherished asset, second only to authority and power. This is the age of “influence operations,” which seek the domination of social media platforms and other online communities by state, non-state, local or international actors through the creation of, and reliance upon, subversively engaging material that proliferate and circulate that conforms to multi-sided psychological needs, such as the need for certainty, to a point where they begin to shape the behaviour, and attitudes of the target audience.

Iranization and global caliphate aspirations long-term effects are; disillusionment, distrust in authority, law enforcement and diplomacy attempts, tearing apart society, loss of skills for better options, prison and violence as functions, support for war and victims’ guilt. In order to maintain long-term power in Gaza, to prevent thinning support for an armed fight against Israel and to make shiftless isolation in Alliance rationale, as a result, to obtain legitimacy on the international arena, Iran aims not simply to take advantage and rebuild devastated Gaza just like their opponents. Rather, it is building scaffolding diplomatically, economically and militarily to support the Iranian leadership, religion and to escalate war. Encouraging children at a young age by unethical humanitarian awareness rhetoric, teaches children and future generations how to adopt a particular political Islam milieu, isolating their religious and individual foundation from a process of critical thought. In Iran-Gaza axis relations, numerous Gazan buying divides the Palestinian, especially Shia and Sunni Gazans who study in Iranian schools. When Iran immerses Gaza youth into Qom depths, it purposefully don’t indigent ethnic or religious backgrounds.

The impact of Iran on influencing the Gazan children is the strongest among the local and regional influencers. The countries and organizations viewed as having a significant influence on Palestinian children in Gaza are decreasing. On the other side, Iran is viewed as fairly influential by only 7% of the sample, but in fact Iranian-owned TV channels are 65.8% the main source of information addressed to 90% of children in the Gaza Strip. The impact of Iran on influencing the Gazan children is the strongest among the local and regional influencers. Iranian textbooks aim to undermine the Palestinian sense of nation consciousness by framing it as anti-religion, ensure anti-Israeli and anti-American ideology through study material, supplying vital financial support, and providing arms with age-appropriate military training sessions and activities for all the school-level children.

The truth is of paramount importance in the Palestinian Territories. First of all, because the fanatical fever that animates most of the people in the area of the State of Israel carries them to death with suicidal ardour. Secondly, because the aforementioned forces implement a denigration campaign aimed at Israel and Jews, which acts as a call to hate and destruction of lives and minds. Mythology and erasure took place in Palestine for years. It is necessary to establish from the outset the truth, defined as the truth in practice, rather than the political truth inherent in systems abhorrent to individuals, esoteric in nature. And rather than Pilates defining itself as having no definition. It is to condense this truth in reality that the documentation of student teachers in History would tend. Because the philologist deceives us, but Reality is.

Something that is presented as entertaining fiction like a movie is not perceived as a lie, but when something that is presented as fact or documentary posing to reveal the reality is indeed an imagination, a lie, an ideological manipulation, a politically motivated narrative distortion, or a manipulation by charitable or terrorist organizations, the real consequences are not only negative but also heinous. It encourages little by little a deformation of thought, allowing with an increasing acuteness the Armenian Genocide in Turkey and their forced stoning, and the atrocities committed regularly by Hamas and the use of children in terror or demonstrations, and demonstrations in gilets jaunes as in France or extinguishing hongkongais against the Communist Party of China.

The prevalence of antisemitism today is also reflected in the increasing incidents against Jews in Europe and the United States blaming the Jews for the problems of their own communities and among the far left wing that call it Zionism and Israel, something which happened in Nazi Germany and ended with the genocide of 6 million Jews. Teaching students about holocaust and antisemitism should include this modern phenomenon as well. Antisemitism in traditional and right-wing populations is called hard antisemitism, based on a right-wing nationalistic and religio-centric worldview; while in the left, it is called an anti-Semitic anti-Zionism, a term that is more regulated and conservative than those on the far left, which actually ignores also the secular Jews experience that is linked to Judaism as a religion and to the link to the Land of Israel and the State of Israel. This reference is also important in promoting students’ critical thinking, the ability to challenge and recognize prejudiced conversations about Jews and Israel and to defend themselves in non-confrontational ways.

One of first tasks of educators and curriculum developers is to recognize the nature of the stereotypes and prejudices being conveyed regarding Jews and Israel, and to be able to tie them to the phenomenon of antisemitism to guide them on how to promote among their students thoughtful, informed and critical thinking about these stereotypes. This is particularly important in our educational setting since it has become clear that much of antisemitism takes place in the higher education, including at the college level. Antisemitism should also be taught to Palestinian students, because identities often develop through recognition of the other; and because many stereotypes about Jews and antisemitism come from Western sources.

Neglecting these realities may lead us down a path towards another world war, where nations may only realize too late that the Palestinian conflict was utilized as a tool to propagate extremist Islamism into a new global threat to create a caliphate, since the State concept isn’t part of their interpretation. This threat, which initially targets Jews as it did in Germany in 1933, ultimately affects all “infidels”. It is crucial to remember that the staggering death toll of World War II serves as a solemn reminder of the profound devastation that war inflicts upon humanity. The immense suffering endured by millions during this dark chapter underscores the critical importance of peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding in today’s world.

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