Israeli educators condemn agreement with Myanmar


YANGON — A group of teachers and academics in Israel has called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel an agreement with Myanmar on cooperation in education, an Israeli newspaper has reported.

The agreement was signed in Israel last May by Deputy Foreign Minister, Ms Tzipi Hotovely, and the Myanmar ambassador, U Maung Maung Lynn.

It was reported at the time that activities to be promoted under the agreement included education in Myanmar about the Holocaust and that each country would be allowed to decide how it was depicted in history textbooks.

Leading Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, said the group, which was apparently unaware that Myanmar was no longer under military rule, was opposed to it interfering in school curricula in Israel.

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“It’s inconceivable that while the Burmese junta is busy committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, it has the right to interfere in curricula in Israel”, the group said in a letter to Netanyahu, who is also foreign minister, Haaretz reported.

“Every program in Israeli schools that relates to Burma must deal with the reality in which this country’s history over the last decades is characterized by genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the denial of basic human rights, and by a military regime which murders, rapes, tortures and makes citizens disappear, particularly directing its crimes at ethnic minorities,” the letter said.

It described the agreement as a “scandalous accord which shames and sullies the entire Israeli education system…as citizens and as educators and members of the academic world we believe there is a black flag flying over this accord.”

The two countries have had close ties since they established diplomatic relations in 1953. In 1948, newly independent Myanmar became the first country in Asia to recognize Israel as an independent state.

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