I did a sarcastic post on The Washington Post running an op-ed denouncing an Arabic textbook and the comment thread revealed a lot of substantive problems with the column. One commenter, for example, takes issue with the claim that there was anti-Israel cartography in the book:
I learned Arabic at Columbia using that same curriculum. From what I recall, they didn’t “eliminate” Israel from the map in the book, but wrote “Israel and Palestine” over Israel and the Occupied Territories. I am pro-Israel, and think that Israel should exist alongside Palestine, and I think that the book was being reasonable just putting both on the map, without delineating the borders of each, which are tough to determine until a treaty is reached.
Brian Ulrich had these insights:
In fairness, Maha’s constant whining got really damned annoying, and could drive anyone over the edge.
He should take Persian, in which our book had some sort of pro-monarchist slant that talked endlessly about Nawruz and Zoroastrianism while almost totally ignoring Islam. Then there are the Hebrew texts which have sample sentences like, “We only want to live in peace.”