Thursday, March 18, 2010

Israel's Department of Education's "Problematic Content" in the Universal Declaration of HR's 'Article 18'...

This is quite incredible, and fails to make it into Western media! The Israeli Department of Education recalled copies of a book, entitled "We Are all Born Free-- the Human Rights Declaration in Pictures", which had been ordered for a settler kindergarden in the West Bank. The book was deemed to have "problematic content"-- specifically, two articles from the declaration that establish "freedom of thought, conscience and religion", and freedom of movement.

Censoring the UN (from Maariv, translated by the OCHA)
The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is considered to be a document that bridges differences of religion, race and gender and protects the weak all over the globe. But there are some people in the Israeli Education Ministry who believe that Israel’s children’s should not be exposed to this international document, no matter how seminal it is. The Ariel municipality has returned to the Kinneret publishing house 300 copies of a book that incorporates the declaration’s articles, because of what it called “problematic content.”
The book, “We Were All Born Free—the Human Rights Declaration in Pictures” was published in a prestigious edition together with the Amnesty organization. Among the dozens of pages of the elegant book are 30 illustrations by leading world artists, who were asked to simplify the sections of the declaration to make it suitable for children.
The Ariel municipality decided to buy hundreds of copies of the book to distribute them as a gift to kindergarten children. But after the Education Ministry’s intervention, the books were returned, even though they had already been bought with money and a message from the municipality pasted in them. This is because the Education Ministry inspectors from the state religious department did not like two illustrations and two sections of the declaration, and decided to disqualify the book.
One of the controversial pictures relates to the section of the declaration that says everyone has the right to music, art and sport and which shows, in profile, the exposed chest of a woman. Another illustration relating to the article that says that nobody has the right to hurt or torture, shows a doll with a blood-stained dress.
But the Education Ministry was not only upset by the illustrations: the inspectors also disqualified the book because of two sections of the declaration, considered one of the most important documents ever adopted by the international community. One of these is Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” The other relates to the right to move to another country if a person does not feel protected in his own country.
The Education Ministry issued a statement saying: “After the Ariel municipality’s consultation with the inspectors of state and state-religious kindergartens, the municipality decided not to give out the books since they are not suitable for five year-old children.”
Mayor Ron Nahman said, “it is positive and good to hand out a book about children’s rights. But our attention was drawn to two sentences that are not exactly what we teach the children. The Education Ministry said this was wrong and we accepted its decision.” Nahman said he did not know about any problems with the illustrations, just the articles, but Education Ministry sources confirmed that the pictures were the problem.

Ma’ariv (16.3.2010, p. 17) by Efrat Zemer


Impertinent Bloedi said...

Hat tip: Bloedi!

Unknown said...

Could you provide a link to the OCHA/Maariv story?