DAVID ASMAN: Are children as young as eleven being taught to hate even more than they already do? According to one Israeli group, a new textbook is being distributed to Palestinian students, teaching them to denyIsrael's existence and even to think of fighting the Israelis as a holy Islamic duty. Joining me now: counter-terrorism analyst and author of American Jihad, Terrorists Living Among Us, Steve Emerson, and the former legal adviser to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Diana Buttu. Thank you both for coming in. Now Steve, what are the Palestinian children being taught by these textbooks?
STEVEN EMERSON: Well, unfortunately they are being taught a continuation of what they've been taught for many years, that is, is hatred of the Jews, hatred of the infidels, that the war with the Jews is an Islamic mandate. That jihad has to be part of their obligation to evict the Jews from Palestine , and that that's the only solution that's possible. There isn't any other type of solution that's possible. It only perpetrates…
ASMAN: Who is funding these textbooks Steve?
EMERSON: Well in fact, apparently the Belgian government provided funding to the Palestinian Authority to basically come up with new textbooks because the old textbooks were so full of venom that the European governments said - well we'll fund new textbooks to get rid of the old venom. But in fact, the old venom is still there. And the Belgian government has egg all over its face because its been funding textbooks that teach virulent hatred of the Jews and infidels.
ASMAN: Ms. Buttu, is that true, that these textbooks do teach hatred?
DIANA BUTTU, FORMER PLO LEGAL ADVISOR: Absolutely not. I think it's very important to know where this report is coming from, and it's coming from a right-wing settler, a person who has illegally been living on Palestinian land and a person who has it in his interests to make every claim possible so that there is not peace, rather than every claim possible in order to try to reach peace…
ASMAN: Well, what do these textbooks say then? What the specifics of the textbook?
BUTTU: Certainly, there has been…all of these textbooks have been reviewed by the only independent reviewer that happens to be a Jewish American professor by the name of Nathan Brown who has come up with a number of recommendations and a number of conclusions, all of which have said that these tests books pass muster. When he compared them with Israeli textbooks he found that they were much better than the Israeli textbooks, and not only has Nathan Brown confirmed this, but the UN itself has confirmed this. I think the real problem is what is in the Israeli textbooks…
ASMAN: Do these textbooks eliminate Israel essentially, geographically and politically from the map of the Middle East ?
BUTTU: Absolutely not. In fact, these textbooks themselves go to great lengths to talk about Jewish connection to historic Palestine and the fact that Israel does exist. Unlike Israeli textbooks, there is, in fact, a border that is represented.
ASMAN: Alright. Steve, let me get back to you. It sounds like we have a disagreement about what these books actually state.
EMERSON: David, I have never read such an apologia for radical Islamic and hatred of Jews as I've just heard. There is a fact here; there is a truth here. The textbooks have not been reviewed…
BUTTU: I haven't mentioned one thing about Jews whatsoever. I think the most important thing is to really recognize what it is that…
EMERSON: The textbooks absolutely state hatred of the Jews. They don't have any reference at all to Israel .
BUTTU: Mr. Emerson, do you read Arabic?
EMERSON: Ms. Buttu, you obviously don't read Arabic because you don't understand what's in those textbooks. And you make a claim that somehow they pass muster, when you do not even know what's in the textbooks. So don't tell me that you're an expert on this.
BUTTU: It is not even a question of whether I'm an expert.
EMERSON: You're an apologist.
BUTTU: I do speak, read, and write Arabic fluently, Mr. Emerson, but more importantly…
EMERSON: Did you read that textbook? Did you read that textbook?
BUTTU: There have been independent studies of these books themselves…
EMERSON: Of that book itself? Did you read that textbook?
BUTTU: I think there is a very important lesson here, which is that it doesn't matter what it is that children are taught. It matters with their life experience is. And for the majority of Palestinians…
EMERSON: Wait, wait, wait.
BUTTU: …their life experience is that the only Israelis that they see are soldiers and settlers…
ASMAN: OK. Folks, I'm afraid that we ' re going to have to leave it at that. Steve Emerson, Diana Buttu, we thank you both for coming. You can check on line and decide for yourself what the truth is.