Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace
Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) is a Zionist NGO monitoring school textbooks used in the Middle East to determine if they are critical of Israel and to pressure the various governments to change the way Israel is portrayed. Its mission as found on its website states:
- Founded in 1998, CMIP examines the content of school textbooks used in the Middle East, to determine whether children are being taught to accept and recognize the right of the “other” to exist. It is our belief that education should be utilized to encourage an attitude of tolerance, pluralism, and democracy, and to promote peaceful means of solving conflicts.
Akiva Eldar, a journalist working for Ha'aretz, provides a insight into CMIPs activities:
- In recent years Marcus has been making a living translating and disseminating defamatory communications against Israel, extracted by his staff from Palestinian publications. Marcus, a settler, used to work for David Bar Illan, Benjamin Netanyahu's PR chief, and served on the Joint Israeli Palestinian Anti-Incitement Committee. Marcus's center routinely feeds the media with excerpts from "Palestinian" textbooks that call for Israel's annihilation. He doesn't bother to point out that the texts quoted in fact come from Egypt and Jordan.
Among the main critics of CMIP is Nathan J. Brown, a Jewish American Political Science professor at George Washington Univ. His assessment of CMIP is revealing:
- Then where had the persistent reports of incitement come from? A little digging turned up the ultimate source: an organization calling itself the “Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace” (CMIP). The organization’s publications constituted virtually the only source in English—and certainly the most widely quoted one—on the Palestinian textbooks.
As I dug a little more, I found a series of problems with the organization’s reports. Their method was to follow harsh criticisms with quotation after quotation purporting to prove a point. However, a close reading revealed that many quotations did not support the strong charges. And those that did came not from the 1994 books that I had read but from the Jordanian and Egyptian books that the PA was working to replace. Criticizing the PA for interim use of the books was certainly fair. But the CMIP neglected to mention that the Israeli government distributed the same books in East Jerusalem schools while it refused to distribute the innocuous 1994 “National Education” supplements (because they were clearly written by the PA meaning that their use might have undermined Israeli claims to sovereignty in all of the city). Nor did the report mention the dramatic changes in the supplementary 1994 books. Similarly ignored was a richly documented Palestinian project to devise its new curriculum. A 600-page official report mercilessly criticizing existing educational practices had been published in 1996.In 1997, the Palestinian legislature and cabinet approved the Ministry of Education’s plan—based partly on the 1996 report—to write the new curriculum. Neither document contained anything anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic, so the CMIP showed no interest.
In short, the CMIP reports read as if they were written by a ruthless prosecuting attorney anxious for a conviction at any cost. I realized from the research of Israeli academics (and also from my own children’s experience in an Israeli school for a year) that a hostile and highly selective report on Israeli education might produce a similarly misleading result. Israeli educators in the secular schools have begun an effort to revamp their textbooks to rid them of stereotypes and incendiary material. The fact that the effort has not been completed and that religious schools have shown far less enthusiasm for the project would have left enough selections for a Palestinian zealot to compile quite a report. Since almost all Israeli maps mark no border between the West Bank and Gaza, such a merciless critic might be able to claim (inaccurately) that Israelis are unwilling to consider territorial compromise. Thankfully, no such report has been written. (And when the CMIP finally issued its own report on Israeli textbooks, the organization showed a hitherto hidden ability stress context and be judicious and understanding, even when discovering some fairly distasteful material.
- Arnon Groiss, Director of Research
- Yohanan Manor, Acting Chairman
- Naomi Babbin, Managing Director
- Itamar Marcus, Director (1998 to 2000)
- Antoine Sfeir, Directeur, “Les Cahiers de l’Orient Contemporain”
- Johannes J G Jansen, (aka Hans) Chair for Contemporary Islamic Thought in the Department of Arabic, Persian and Turkish at the University of Utrecht, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Leiden University
- Kemal Kirisci, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Bogazici University, Istanbul
- Emmanuel Sivan, Faculty at the Institute of Languages, Literature and Art, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Emmanuel Ottolenghi, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford
- Orit Ichilov, School of Education, Tel Aviv University
- Daniel Pipes, Founder and Director, Middle East Forum
- Dana Lindaman, PhD candidate, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Harvard University.
- 4 Rav Ashe Street
- Jerusalem 93309
- Tel: 972-2-6481660
- Fax: 972-2-6482823
- CMIP website: www.edume.org
- Akiva Eldar, "What Did You Study In School Today, Palestinian Child?", Haaretz, 2 January 2001. (only accessible online via the Haaretz archive for $2.50)
- Fouad Moughrabi,"Battle of the Books in Palestine", The Nation, 1 October 2001.