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June 10, 2021 2:26 pm

German Politicians Demand Immediate Publication of ‘Secret’ EU Report Exposing Antisemitic Incitement in Palestinian Schools

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A religious instruction exercise in a Palestinian school textbook asking students to consider the role of women in “jihad against the Jewish Zionist occupation.” Image: Screenshot

The German government has demanded that the EU finally publish a revealing report into antisemitic incitement in Palestinian school textbooks that was commissioned more than two years ago, but has yet to see the light of day.

On Sunday, the German newspaper Bild published excerpts from the report, which it said had been kept under “lock and key” since being commissioned in 2019 by Frederica Mogherini, the then EU foreign affairs representative.

“From the report it becomes clear: Palestinian children are brought up in the classroom with antisemitic agitation and incitement to violence — financed by the EU!” Bild stated in its coverage.

A statement from German federal foreign ministry on Wednesday confirmed that officials in Berlin “have been campaigning within the EU for the report’s publication for a long time.” It stressed that the availability of the report was essential if “a fact-based discussion on the contents of Palestinian textbooks is to be conducted on the basis of the scientific findings.”

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A foreign ministry spokesperson meanwhile told Bild that “a confidential draft of the study is available. The federal government has advocated publication several times vis-à-vis the EU. The EU has now promised this.”

The foreign ministry’s comments followed protests from several members of the European Parliament that the 194-page report — compiled by the Georg Eckert Institute, which specializes in school textbook research and monitoring — had not been shared with them.

Niclas Herbst, an MEP from Germany’s ruling CDU Party, told Bild that the “secrecy of the EU Commission is counterproductive and incomprehensible.” His stance was echoed by Frank Müller-Rosentritt, a member of Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, for the center-right FDP Party, who declared that anything short of the report’s publication would call into question the strategy of the federal government in combating antisemitism.”

Said Muller-Rosentritt: “One cannot speak in Germany of wanting to intensify this fight while at the same time financing the production of school books that call for terror against Jews.”

For his part, Herbst — who serves as deputy chairman of the European Parliament’s budgetary committee — added that the European Commission was ignoring the parliament’s call in April for the textbooks currently used in Palestinian schools to be withdrawn from circulation. He said that future funding was conditional on verifiable compliance with the standards for school textbooks set by UNESCO, the international educational and cultural agency.

An April 28 resolution passed by the European Parliament expressed “concern about the agitation and violence that is taught in Palestinian textbooks” used in schools maintained by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency that services the descendants of Palestinian refugees of Israel’s 1947-48 War of Independence.

“In addition, Parliament demands that UNRWA publish all teaching materials used to ensure that the content corresponds to the values ​​of the United Nations and does not incite hatred,” the resolution continued.

Bild published several excerpts from the EU report, which highlighted the glorification of Palestinian terrorism against Israel and the promotion of age-old antisemitic stereotypes to Palestinian schoolchildren.

One exercise in religious instruction for fifth-grade students invited classroom discussion on “the attempts of the Jews to kill the Prophet Muhammad.” A related exercise asked students to consider “the role of Palestinian women in jihad and their willingness to make sacrifices and steadfastness in the face of the Jewish-Zionist occupation.”

The Israeli research organization Impact-se — which regularly surveys school textbooks in the Middle East for bias, racism, antisemitism and other forms of hatred — said on Wednesday that the EU had to urgently address the Palestinian school curriculum.

“The EU’s own report states that the Palestinian textbooks promote antisemitism, encourage violence, erase peace agreements and delegitimize Israel,” the group’s CEO, Marcus Sheff, said in a statement.

“The European parliament passed a resolution calling for the conditioning of financial aid to the Palestinian Authority on school books complying with standards of peace and tolerance. Not publishing the report is clearly not an effective strategy. The EU has to finally act to remove the hate and demand a peace curriculum for Palestinian school children,” Sheff said.

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