As I noted a couple of days ago, it’s too bad that Maureen Dowd lacks an inquiring mind when it comes to Saudi assertions that Israeli arithmetic textbooks have word-problems about killing Arabs. However, ampersand, of “Alas, a Blog” has looked into the question, and finds that even critical studies of Israeli educational practices, by scholars who actually read the textbooks, find no evidence for those claims. I’m not very surprised, though I am relieved.


A Common Ground News Service report of a comparative study of Israeli and Palestinian textbooks.

Nathan Brown’s study of Palestinian textbooks, with a link to a critique. Brown finds that the Jordanian and Egyptian textbooks previously used in Palestinian schools were pretty raw in their anti-Semitism, but that the Palestinian Authority’s own textbooks, now being introduced, are much better.

A PLO submission on the subject, which finds some references to Arabs as “Ishmaelites,” which it reasonably sees as offensive, but nothing resembling what Dowd quoted her Saudi source as asserting was there.

If some reader can provide evidence to the contrary, about either side, I’ll be happy to pass it on.

Still no response to my other query: What limits, if any, ought to apply to the curriculum in voucher-supported private schools? If there are limits, who should enforce them and how?


Clayton Cramer provides the expected conservative non-answer: “Public schools indoctrinate too, nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-na, so there!” He seems to think there’s a strong parallel between teaching tolerance for non-standard family structures and teaching violence and hatred. Of course he doesn’t provide examples where the public schools directly teach violence, because they don’t. And if they did, voters could organize to do something about it. My question is how to handle that problem once decision-making has been decentralized by a voucher system. Now a possible answer is, “It’s up to the parents. If they want their children taught to hate, no one else should interfere.” But I’m still curious about whether any voucher advocate wants to step up and give that answer

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: