The controversial head of the left-wing Peace Now organization is calling to cancel an annual day commemorating the Israeli towns in Gaza that were demolished in the 2005 “Disengagement.”
Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer slammed Gush Katif Day as “right-wing propaganda” and “manipulative.”
In a letter to Education Minister Shai Piron, Oppenheimer requested that he prohibit marking the day in schools. Many religious-Zionist schools mark Gush Katif Day, as do dozens of secular schools.
Oppenheimer said he has been contacted by teachers, who wish to remain anonymous, who were upset by the planned commemoration. “The teachers told me how all the programs prepared for the day were written in a one-sided manner which presents the Disengagement solely from the perspective of those who were evicted, and does not allow the expression of positions other than the right-wing narrative,” he charged.
“The material contains no mention of the difficult defense situation, or demographic reality, on the eve of the Disengagement, or the price Israel paid over the years in which it maintained settlements in the Gaza Strip,” he continued.
“In practice, Gush Katif Day has become a day of right-wing propaganda which tries to create an inaccurate, one-sided narrative, with no debate or other opinions to balance it out,” he accused. “Schools get the materials from the Gush Katif Committee, a body with a clear ideological and political agenda.”
“The school system cannot force controversial political messages on its teachers and students, without giving a platform to the other side as well,” he added.
Oppenheimer is no stranger to controversy. He recently praised a Palestinian Arab mob for beating several Jewish men, and in the past has criticized a survivor of terrorism for displaying his dead parents' picture and has expressed pride in increasing American pressure on Israel.