Total Pageviews

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Misleading Textbook Used in Portland College

Nadene Goldfoot
After teaching for 22 years in Public Schools in Oregon, I moved to Israel to teach.  From 1980 to the end of 1985 I lived in Israel and taught in the Safed Junior High.  .  Upon returning to Portland I took a class at our Portland State U in Middle East History to renew my certification..  The textbook used was MiddleEast Past & Present by Yahya Armajani and Thomas M. Ricks.   As it turns out, Dr. Yahya Armajani was listed as James Wallace Professor of History, Emeritus at Macalester College, which is in St Paul, Minnesota.  Thomas M. Ricks was listed as hailing from Birzeit University which is in the West Bank, only 4.5 miles N of Ramallah.  It is a Palestinian University and has its own slant about Israel that collides with mine.

On page 367 about Israel being a Zionist State I find that the author shows no understanding at all as to why it was established.  It's as if he were an alien from outer space and came upon its creation without any background information.  He mentions it being established as a refuge for only Jews and says that "non-Jews felt themselves to be out of place."  Then he goes on to say just what the Israeli government did for incoming Jews and wrote conveying just how bitter he was about it. 

I shudder to think of what a lop-sided view so many students taking this course got out of such a class.  Between the lectures I remember and this one book, I wonder if anyone bothered to read other material to get another viewpoint.  I doubt it. 

I remember being very disgusted and writing my essay exam furiously giving the instuctor some facts he may never had heard about; especially if he's the one who picked this textbook.  I did get an A out of the course, so perhaps he did some checking. 

Is this the type of educational material used in my home town that causes so much of the anti-Israel attitude I see popping up in the Oregonian newspaper and online with Oregon Live so often?  Most young college students are not experienced enough in life to realize what is being fed to them and may not even think about finding other material.  It would be easy to just get them converted to one way of thinking.  As I look back on my first years of college, it was the returning GI's who asked the questions in class, not the recent high school grads.  We were too shy and unsure of ourselves.  I write this hoping that anyone reading will check out the books presented in class and be sure that they read all sides of a topic before coming to conclusions. As for this textbook, it just said Berzeit University.  I had to check it out online to find where it was located.  Then I knew for sure why it was written is such a slanted manner.   

No comments: