How British educational policy exacerbated social fragmentation in Palestine.
In April 1946 the Director of Education for the Government of Palestine, Jerome Farrell, penned a lengthy memorandum about the state of Jewish and Arab education. Directed to the Colonial Office in London and written during the waning days of the British Empire, Farrell’s memo came in the wake of two commissions (the McNair Commission and Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry) that examined the role of education in producing Palestine’s impending political crisis. One of the recurring themes in both commissions’ reports was the improper politicization of Palestine’s school for nationalist ends, a matter about which Farrell found himself in total agreement. What he could not agree with was the recommendation—found in both reports—that the government should grant both Jewish and Arab communities increased educational autonomy going forward. As he wrote,
if unselfishness, peace and goodwill are principal aims of education it will be difficult to reconcile the two relevant recommendations which each Report in effect makes and which, bluntly stated, are (a) that a ‘fiery nationalism’ shall be eradicated from the schools, (b) that control of education shall be vested in fiery nationalist politicians.
The attempt to keep politics out of the classroom did in fact represent a very real form of colonial power, one which labored for the preservation of British rule.