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December 21, 2022 1:14 pm

‘Teaching of Antisemitism’: European Union Parliament Passes Resolution Condemning Bigotry in Palestinian Textbooks


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Palestinian employees of UNRWA in Gaza City demonstrate against the US decision in Jan 2018 to cut contributions to the agency. Photo: Reuters/Mohammed Salem.

The European Union (EU) Parliament has passed a resolution denouncing antisemitism in textbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Approved on the Dec. 14, the resolution cited “hatred, incitement to violence, and antisemitism” in textbooks given to hundreds of thousands of students as being in tension with European values and a “key impediment to the resolution of the conflict.”

“All schoolbooks and school materials funded by Union funds must be in line with [United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization] standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and non-violence,” it added. “[The European Parliament]…strongly condemns the hate speech, violence, and antisemitism that continue to be found on Palestinian Authority education curricula.”

A review of the Palestinian Territories education system by Israeli education watchdog Impact-se, which was released in July, found that the UNRWA provided curriculum describes Jews as “impure and inherently treacherous” and teaches that murdering Israelis leads to glory and martyrdom. The findings were made after UNRWA’s maintaining several times that antisemitism was purged from Palestinian schools.

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Examples included in Impact-se’s findings include a grammar lesson that uses the sentence, “The Palestinians sacrifice their blood to liberate Jerusalem,” and “Arabic Drill Cards” for 9th graders that say, “When the [Muslim] nation is negligent in protecting al-Aqsa, then the Jews will dare to defile it.” Neither does Israel appear on any maps.

Both the US and the EU combined provide UNRWA over $400 million a year.

“Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are in lockstep on the teaching of antisemitism, and incitement to violence in Palestinian schools,” Impact-se CEO Marcus Sheff said on Wednesday. “They have made it crystal clear that they have no intention whatsoever of listening to the EU, which is the biggest donor to the Palestinian educational sector and for change in the curriculum. These textbooks are also used by UNRWA, which is financially supported by the United States.”

The European Jewish Congress welcomed the resolution.

Education is the most valuable means to counter prejudice and hatred, as well as progress toward peace and coexistence,” the group said on Twitter.

The resolution was strongly criticized by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, with the PA calling it “efforts by certain quarters in the European Parliament to inject false claims and attacks against Palestinian children, institutions, and [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] (UNRWA)” the United Nations body that directly funds and supplies its education system with curricular materials.

Hamas said the resolution contains “fallacies” and shows “an appalling bias towards Israel.”

Follow reporter Dion J. Pierre at @DionJPierre.

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