Israel’s Education Ministry decided today to ban the word “nakba” from school textbooks. Arabic for “catastrophe,” this controversial term, used by most Arabs to describe the eviction or flight of Palestinians in 1948, has been judged “propaganda” by the Netanyahu government and, as such, a threat to national security. “It is inconceivable that in Israel we would talk about the establishment of the state as a catastrophe,” explained Yisrael Twito, an Education Ministry spokesman, according to Reuters. Well, sure. But couldn’t it also make sense, even from a conservative-patriotic point of view, to instruct children on how others view the establishment of the state? Banning speech is always illiberal, but in this case, it’s also self-defeating for Israel’s right-wing. It’ll make it that much harder for Western defenders to contrast the virtues of a Middle Eastern democracy against so many despotic Arab regimes.

Israel Bans ‘Catastrophe’ Term From Arab Schools [Reuters]