Monday, July 23, 2007

IF TRUTH IS MEANINGLESS IN JOURNALISM--CAN HISTORY BE FAR BEHIND? I wrote earlier about Penelope Trunk's interpretation of journalism:
Journalists who think they are telling "the truth" don't understand the truth. We each have our own truth. When you leave out details, you might leave out what is unimportant to you but very important to someone else, and things start feeling untrue to the person who wishes you included something else.
Now, everyone is entitled to their own history as well. Emanuele Ottolenghi writes:
School textbooks used by Israeli Arabs will henceforth embrace the new historians’ version of history: the 1948 Israeli War of Independence is now officially “al-Naqba” (the Catastrophe), in books vetted by Israel’s Education Ministry. Education Minister Yuli Tamir defended her decision by saying that “the Arab public deserves to be allowed to express their feelings.” The Minister is entitled to believe, of course, that textbooks are the natural conduit for the expression of collective feelings—rather than the preferred instrument of instruction in history. But the real question is not whether Israeli Arabs—or a guilt-ridden minister—should be allowed to “express their feelings.” They are, and they do (as anyone who has spent any time in Israel can tell you). The real question is: should the discipline of history be the victim of those feelings? (Hillel Halkin’s 1999 COMMENTARY article “Was Zionism Unjust?” suggests an answer.) [emphasis added]
These days, history as much a weapon as a discipline--one that Israel has relinquished to her enemies.

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Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Israeli Officials are now helping the Palestinian cause.

Daled Amos said...

One could argue that Israeli Officials have been doing this for a while--this is just a new area.