The Palestinian Authority funds a monthly educational magazine for children calledZayzafuna. The magazine is made up of material written by the magazine's staff and also includes essays and poems written by children. Accordingly, Zayzafuna both represents the values of the educators and serves as a window into the minds of the participating Palestinian children. The magazine is published with the sponsorship of the PLO's Palestinian National Committee for Education, Culture and Sciences.
Most of the content in Zayzafuna is positive and educational. It promotes family values, encourages children to read and to participate in building a modern, democratic society. However, these positive messages are directed at Palestinian society, Muslims, Christians and Druze. When it comes to portraying Israel and Jews, Zayzafuna changes its tone and includes items glorifying Jihad against Israel and praising Martyrdom death for Allah, and the Martyrs themselves.
The most extreme expression of demonization of Jews is the inclusion of an essay submitted by a teenage girl in which Hitler is presented as a positive figure to be admired because he killed Jews in order to benefit the world.
The girl in her dream asks Hitler: "You're the one who killed the Jews?" Hitler responds: "Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world." Like the other hate messages, this appears in a story with positive messages by other admired figures, including a Muslim Nobel Prize recipient and a math scholar. See the full text below.
In addition, the magazine portrays a world where "Palestine" has replaced Israel by referring to Israeli cities such as Haifa and Jaffa as places in "Palestine" or as "occupied" cites. It denies Israel's right to exist by saying that Israel is on "stolen" or "occupied" land, and demonizes Israel and Jews. Approximately one fourth of the children's submissions are on nationalistic topics, and among them are expressions of hatred and delegitimization against Jews and Israel that mirror the messages transmitted by the PA leadership through official media, PA education and other structures under their control.
It is specifically because this is not a hate magazine, but in general a positive publication promoting good values, that the hatred expressed towards Israel and Jews is so damaging. All the positive messages about coexistence and peace, which abound throughout the magazine, apply to everyone but Israelis and Jews. The message ofZayzafuna concerning Israelis and Jews is that they are in a unique category separated from other peoples and religious groups: For others - peace, cooperation and coexistence; for Israelis and Jews - hatred, confrontation and Jihad.
Hitler admired because he murdered Jews
The Zayzafuna magazine chose to publish an essay written by a girl in 10th grade in which Hitler is admired because he killed the Jews - an act that is presented as a positive accomplishment for the benefit of humanity. The girl describes a dream in which she meets four historical figures, all of whom are presented as admired role models, and each one's special accomplishment is the topic of a short conversation with the girl. Three of them are the ninth-century Muslim mathematician Al-Khwarizmi; Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz; and Saladin, the Muslim leader who defeated the Christian Crusaders and conquered Jerusalem in the 12th century. The fourth and only non-Muslim role model in the dream is Adolf Hitler.
All four are presented as positive figures and each one offers advice to the young girl, which she accepts. Hitler is admired because he killed the Jews "so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world." Hitler advises the girl to "be resilient and patient" in facing the suffering the Jews are causing. The girl thanks Hitler for his advice.
Significantly, Zayzafuna's editors chose to include this submission in the magazine, without dissociating themselves from the admiration of Hitler. They found it an acceptable message to have Hitler appear with other role models for Palestinian children.
The following is the essay in Zayzafuna presenting Hitler with other positive role models.
"One hot day, I was very tired after a hard day... and suddenly I saw four white doors in front of me. I opened them in no particular order.
I opened the f irst door and saw a beautiful place full of f lowers. I was surprised to see a man there. I asked him, 'Who are you?'
He said, 'I am Al-Khwarizmi.' [Ninth century Persian mathematician who lived in Baghdad, known for his contribution to the development of algebra.]
I said: 'You're the one who invented mathematics and arithmetic?' He said: 'Yes. What's your situation like today?'
I said: 'The Arabs and Muslims are in a deep sleep; they can't do anything. They have moved away from all the sciences.'
He [Al-Khwarizmi] said: 'Yes, I know that. The day will come when the Arabs will return to their glory. And you - you have a great duty, which is to take an interest in the Islamic sciences and to protect them from being forgotten.'
I said, 'I promise,' and left the door.
I turned to the next door; there Hitler awaited me. I said, 'You're the one who killed the Jews?'
He [Hitler] said: 'Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world. And what I ask of you is to be resilient and patient, concerning the suffering that Palestine is experiencing at their hands.'
I said [to Hitler]: 'Thanks for the advice.'
Then I turned to the third door, and met Naguib Mahfouz [Nobel Prize- winning Egyptian author], who was the one who knew best the value of time and how to use it.
He said: 'People's pastime, these days, has become killing time and wasting it, as though they are punishing themselves. So strive to use your time in the best way.'
At the fourth door I meet Saladin Al-Ayoubi [Muslim leader who defeated the Christian crusaders and conquered Jerusalem in the twelfth century]. He said: 'I am Saladin.'
I said: 'You were the one who liberated Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa [Mosque].' He answered: 'Yes.'
I said: 'Return, oh Saladin, for Jerusalem and Palestine cry out and no one answers.'
He [Saladin] said: 'I know, but every time has its men, and the right man to liberate Jerusalem is still to come.'
And before I could finish my dream, the alarm clock rang and I woke up. It was seven in the morning, and I needed to go to school early, because I had promised Naguib Mahfouz that I would use time well."
[Zayzafuna, February 2011]
Although repugnant, a Palestinian teenager's admiration for Hitler because he killed Jews, alongside other Muslim role models, is not unexpected. As PMW documents,Palestinian children are brought up with the teaching that killing Israelis and Jews is heroic. The PA has named streets, schools, sporting events and more after Palestinian terrorists who have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians. In Palestinian cultural, educational and social events, every Palestinian child is exposed to repeated glorification of terrorists who have killed Jews. Palestinian children have participated in summer camps named after Dalal Mughrabi who led a bus hijacking in which 37 civilians were killed, and played in football tournaments named after Abd Al-Basset Odeh, a suicide bomber who killed 31 Israelis at a Passover dinner. It is not surprising that a Palestinian child who has been educated to see those who have murdered Jews as heroes and role models will conclude that Hitler, the one who murdered the most Jews in history, is likewise worthy of admiration.
About the publishers and advisory staff of Zayzafuna:
The magazine is published by the Zayzafuna Association for Development of Children's Culture, and sponsored by the PLO's Palestinian National Committee for Education, Culture and Sciences.
The magazine's advisory board is comprised of Palestinian Authority officials and educators, including PA Deputy Minister of Education Jihad Zakarneh, and former PA Minister for Women's Affairs Zuheira Kamal. [Zayzafuna, February 2011]
The Zayzafuna magazine is part of a larger education program funded by the Palestinian Authority which contributed 90,000 Shekel ($24,370) in 2010 and 10,000 Shekel ($2,700) a month in 2011.
Since August 2011, the magazine is also sponsored by UNESCO and the MDG Achievement Fund (MDG-F), a UN humanitarian foundation funded by the Spanish government. [Zayzafuna, August 2011.] In the October 2011 issue a note appears: "Opinions expressed in this magazine don't necessarily express UNESCO's views."
Deputy Chairman of the Zayzafuna organization Abd Al-Karim Ziyada has explained the following about the funding of Zayzafuna:
"The magazine has advertisements, which cover some of the costs. For the year 2010-2011 we have subscriptions by students and schools, and that also helps [funding the magazine]. We are fortunate in that the Palestinian Authority and the Prime Minister [Salam Fayyad] have helped us this year with aid in the amount of 90,000 Shekel ($24,370) to cover the magazine and organization costs, and that has given us a push forward. Allah be praised, there is a new agreement for a monthly [PA] payment of 10,000 Shekel ($2,700) to cover the magazine [costs]."
[PA TV (Fatah), May 9 and 13, 2011]This excerpt above is from a chapter in the book Deception: Betraying the Peace Process, recently published by PMW. The book includes a longer analysis of the other material as well found in issues of Zayzafuna from May 2010 through August 2011, focusing on messages relating to Israelis and Jews. A short summary of the positive messages in Zayzafuna and that are unconnected to Israel, is also included.
To purchase Deception: Betraying the Peace Process click here