January 12, 2014 – The Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB) is currently developing a curriculum titled “Democratic Values and Combatting Anti-Semitism,” a three-day seminar to be offered to German schools, universities, and adult education institutions. Targum Shlishi is helping to fund preliminary work on this curriculum, which is intended to educate both students and teachers about how anti-Semitism, Islamism, and Israel-hatred affect and endanger basic democratic values.
“In German media and especially in German school textbooks there is an astounding misrepresentation of the State of Israel. Recent studies show that there is rarely any mention of Israel as a democratic western state or of Israel as a civil society in our textbooks. The Arab-Israeli conflict is often presented in textbooks under didactic constructs of ‘controversy,’ and ‘multiperspectivity.’ Textbook authors tend to present Palestinians as victims and Israelis as perpetrators, and Arab suicide bombings are rarely mentioned,” explains Michael Spaney, executive director of MFFB. “Given these kinds of textbooks, an adequate and accurate understanding of Israel is impossible for our students. Teachers who have a positive attitude towards Israel have told us that they can’t find appropriate teaching materials.”
Beginning in 2014, MFFB will pilot an educational seminar developed to teach students about democracy and its basic values; Middle Eastern history, Jewish history, and the history of Israel; the link between left-wing and Israel-related anti-Semitism and threats to democracy; recognizing Israel as a democratic, Jewish state; and understanding the need for Arab/Muslim communities and societies to combat anti-Semitism. “We are taking into account the fact that most teachers have prejudices towards Israel—our goal is to educate teachers as well as students as we address these biases and promote democracy,” Spaney explains.
In 2008, MFFB initiated the Stop the Bomb campaign in Germany, focused on preventing a nuclear armed Iran and supporting democratic and secular Iranian opposition forces. Targum Shlishi helped support this campaign. Among other activities, MFFB has hosted two international conferences on Iran and established an academic debate series in Berlin about Middle East issues, featuring distinguished speakers from Israel, the U.S., the Middle East, and Germany.
In its ongoing effort to educate the German public about the threat of radical Islam to Israel in particular and to the West in general, MFFB has held lectures in every major German with internationally renowned speakers from the U.S, Israel, and elsewhere.
About Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin The Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB) is a German political consulting organization that seeks to promote democracy and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa and to combat anti-Semitism, hostility towards Israel, and right-wing extremism in Germany and elsewhere. The organization supports and protects Jewish life in the Diaspora and Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself. A nonprofit organization founded in 2007, MFFB consists of academics, scholars, journalists, members of Jewish organizations, and Iranians in exile. To learn more, visit the MFFB’s website (in German and English): www.mideastfreedomforum.org.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi, a Raquel and Aryeh Rubin Foundation, is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website at www.targumshlishi.org.