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EU Commission directorate condemns antisemitism in Palestinian textbooks

CM 10/09/2021


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Acting Director Henrike Trautmann, whose EU Commission directorate oversees all aid to the Palestinian education sector, condemned antisemitic and violent content in Palestinian textbooks in a meeting of the EU Parliament’s Working Group Against Antisemitism on Thursday. 
In a review of a recently released study on Palestinian Authority textbooks, Trautmann said that “It is very clear that the study does reveal the existence of very deeply problematic content…changes to the curriculum are essential…Full compliance of all educational material with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and non-violence must be ensured as must any reference of antisemitic nature need to be addressed and taken out.”
“It’s totally clear that even a little bit of antisemitism is not ok…this is why the commission is determined to instill a process here with concrete progress and we will consider appropriate measures as necessary in this regard if progress is not seen in the roadmap we are setting up, ” said Trautmann.

The Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) mission is to promote EU values, policies and assistance in neighboring and candidate states. According to its website, it “manages the bulk of the Union’s financial and technical assistance to the neighborhood and enlargement countries.” 
“A critical point has been reached, the commission of the European Union has made it quite clear that the textbooks are ‘problematic’ and this can not carry on, and they can no longer ignore what is obvious to everybody,” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, told The Jerusalem Post.
Impact-se is an organization that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula for hateful and violent content in line with international standards of peace and tolerance and makes policy recommendations 
The strongly-worded statement on Palestinian educational materials comes in the wake of the European Union releasing its report on Palestinian Authority textbooks.
As the Jerusalem Post previously reported, after working on a study of Palestinian textbooks for two years, “the commission admitted to sitting on their report for several months — due to the controversy — It only went to daylight because German media obtained a copy.”
The Thursday meeting by the EU Working Group on Antisemitism was convened to discuss the report. 
“The topic of antisemitism in textbooks is of particular interest and concern to the working group against antisemitism and the Jewish community,” MEP Nicola Beer, chair of the group, said at the beginning of the meeting. “We deeply believe in European values…and we are happy about the changes we’ve made this year…the more it hurts us to read about the content of textbooks that only exists thanks to the educational infrastructure that the EU along with other donors enables the PA to have.” 
The Thursday meeting was the third of its kind since the report was released. The EU Parliament’s Budget Committee will meet later in September month to vote on 2022 allocations. 
“At the end of the month, there will be a debate on the issue with the budget committee, and they have some amendments ready,” on the partial freezing of PA educational aid, Sheff told The Post.
“I think that the EU parliament has made its position clear about EU taxpayers supporting Palestinian Authority hate speech,” said Sheff. “There are those in parliament that are still prepared to overlook schoolbooks that incite children to violence. I believe they’re in the minority, but It will be a spirited debate.”
“The Commission must demand that the PA change the curriculum before 2022 or face the consequences of the withdrawal of support for hate speech,” Sheff continued. “Ultimately we need a curriculum of peace, reconciliation, a curriculum that stands by the UNESCO standards…these are not difficult things to achieve.”
The EU report is around 200 pages long and reviews 156 textbooks and 16 teachers’ guides.
The report on PA textbooks includes dozens of examples of encouragement of violence and demonization of Israel and of Jews.
In one example, Dalal Mugrahbi — A terrorist involved in the Coastal Road Massacre which killed 38 Israelis, among them 13 children —is glorified and treated as a role model. 
In one exercise a science lesson about Newton’s Second Law is accompanied by an illustration of Palestinians using slingshots against Israeli soldiers.
According to Sheff, the report is “far from perfect” and leaves out or fails to properly analyze violent and hateful content.
“The report did not point out that the Munich massacre glorified,” Sheff noted to the Post. One textbook refers to Molotov cocktails thrown at Jews as a barbeque party, but the writers of the report did not treat it as incitement.
While IMPACT-se has seen progress in other places in the Middle East, such as in an as of yet released report on UAE educational literature, in Saudi Arabian and Jordanian textbooks, Sheff is not so optimistic about changes to the Palestinian Authority textbooks. 
“This is not something that happened by accident,” said Sheff. “The curriculum is a key part of the PA’s strategy.”
“The problem isn’t just the writing and printing of textbooks. At the moment, the EU supports a whole educational infrastructure. It’s employees and teachers, that teach hate to children and encourages them to sacrifice themselves.”
In a press release on the EU Commission’s new statements, IMPACT-se noted that “Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has consistently rejected making changes to the textbooks.”
In a translation by IMPACT-se, Shtayyeh said that “The Palestinian curriculum cannot be judged by standards far removed from [the Palestinian] people’s history and culture.”
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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