JERUSALEM — A State Department-funded study released Monday on the contentious issue of how Israelis and Palestinians depict each other in textbooks says both are locked into narratives that portray the other side as the enemy and erase it from maps, yet do not dehumanize each other.
The independent study, billed as the first empirical and quantitative analysis of textbooks on both sides, was boycotted by Israel’s Education Ministry, which refused to cooperate. The ministry called the study biased and said it was based on a false comparison between the Israeli and Palestinian school systems.
Accusations of Palestinian incitement against Israel in public declarations, media and textbooks have been a recurrent theme in statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his government, prompting countercharges from the Palestinian Authority.
While various surveys of Israeli and Palestinian textbooks have been conducted over the years, organizers of the latest study said it was the most systematic and comprehensive of books from both sides. It examined 94 Palestinian and 74 Israeli books, evaluating more than 3,000 texts, as well as photos and maps.