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July 06, 2005

Nick TV Stumbles in Explaining the Middle East to Children

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Linda Ellerbee in 2003

On July 3, 2005, Nickelodeon TV broadcast a Linda Ellerbee production, entitled Give Peace A Chance? calling for open dialogue between the region’s children as a way to achieve peace. The 24-minute documentary included interviews with Palestinian and Israeli children, as well as comments from Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian spokeswoman, and Yossi Beilin, a far-left politician who is known for his sharp criticism of Israel's policies and whose views garner scant support among Israelis.

Ellerbee's history lesson included: “War broke out” in 1948 between Arabs and Jews (more accurate version: “the Arab nations attacked Israel”); “Settlements are on what the international community considers Palestinian land” (in fact, ownership of the land is disputed). Ellerbee also implied a false moral equivalency between Palestinian attacks on Israelis and Israeli military defensive actions: “There has been pain and violence on both sides.”

In the last segment, Ellerbee visits the Peres Center for Peace where Palestinian and Israeli children play soccer together. The soccer program organizer tells Ellerbee about the Palestinian child who had intended to become a suicide bomber but changed his mind after playing there and having realized the Israelis “are not so bad.”

However, Ellerbee’s bomber lesson earns a failing grade for omitting the main reason for child suicide/homicide bombers: The pervasive Palestinian societal and media indoctrination of young children to become so-called “martyrs.”

Posted by MK at July 6, 2005 02:54 PM

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