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May 14, 2020 4:12 pm

EU Parliament Raises Alarm Over Hate Speech and Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks

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avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The European Parliament’s debating chamber during a plenary session, in Strasbourg, France. Photo: David Iliff.

The European Parliament passed three resolutions on Thursday expressing concern that Palestinian educational materials contained hate speech and incitement to violence.

The resolutions noted “the need to guarantee that no Union funds … are used to finance textbooks and educational material which incite religious radicalization, intolerance, ethnic violence, and martyrdom among children.”

They also pointed out that “problematic material in Palestinian school textbooks has still not been removed,” and raised alarm “about the continued failure to act effectively against hate speech and violence in school textbooks.”

The European Commission — the EU’s executive arm — was called on to “ensure that all third entities only use Union funds to provide for textbooks and teaching material that reflect common values and fully comply with UNESCO standards promoting peace, tolerance, and coexistence in school education.”

Marcus Sheff — CEO of the watchdog group IMPACT-se, which examines and critiques Palestinian educational materials — said the resolutions showed that the European Parliament was “clearly exasperated by the continued payment of massive grants to the Palestinian educational sector, which is then promptly turned into one of the most hate-filled, violent, and extreme curricula worldwide.”

The American Jewish Committee Transatlantic Institute praised the resolutions, with Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC’s EU office, saying, “The European Parliament deserves praise for calling out the Palestinian Authority’s systematic incitement in school textbooks. By putting both Ramallah and the EU Commission on notice, lawmakers took a clear stand against EU funds being misused to poison the minds of young Palestinians.”

“Palestinian incitement remains one of the main obstacles to a negotiated two-state solution with Israel,” he added.

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