NPR—Gradstein’s report on “mixed” school

From: Ali Abunimah
To: National Public Radio (,
Subject: Gradstein leaves out a tiny detail

2 July 2003

Dear NPR News,

Today on Morning Edition, Linda Gradstein gave an upbeat report about a mixed school for Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jews. She reported how successful the school is and how more and more parents are signing up. She stated that “normally” Arabs and Jews attend separate schools in Israel. But she left out one tiny little detail.

The reason that Palestinians in Israel and Jews go to different schools is because it is Israeli state policy to segregate the schools, and there are two parallel, separate and unequal education systems with Arab schools receiving a fraction of the funding received by Jewish schools. The state education system that exists in Israel today is almost exactly what was outlawed by Brown v Board of Education in this country, and what was abolished with the fall of apartheid in South Africa.

Isn’t it the height of dishonesty for Gradstein to elide this fact and make it sound as if this segregation is by choice?

If Israel were serious about civil and political rights for all its citizens, it would abolish the separate and unequal schools and give Arab children the same opportunities and advantages enjoyed by Jews. Rather than misleadingly focusing on the bright exception, Gradstein ought to inform NPR’s listeners about the institutionalized and legal system of racism that keeps Palestinian citizens of Israel as second-class citizens.


Ali Abunimah