• For First Time, EU Senior Official Publicly States That Palestinian Textbooks Are ‘Deeply Problematic’ , Ahead of EU Parliament Meeting to Discuss Freezing Funds

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    EJP — September 10, 2021
    At a meeting of the European Parliament’s Working Group Against Antisemitism on Thursday in Brussels to discuss an EU study on Palestinian textbooks, Henrike Trautmann, head of unit at the European Commission Directorate General which oversees all aid to the Palestinian education sector, said: “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.” The EU study, by German Georg Eckert Institute reviewing the Palestinian textbooks, was published last June. The European Parliament’s Budget Committee will meet at the end of this month to vote on 2022 allocations to the Palestinian Authority. Several proposals have been tabled to freeze a portion of funding to the PA until the textbooks are changed. The European Parliament’s Budget Committee will meet at the end of this month to vote on 2022 allocations to the Palestinian Authority. Several proposals have been tabled to freeze a portion of funding to the PA until the textbooks are changed. Two weeks ago, at a hearing of the European Parliament foreign affairs committee, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, acknowledged that Palestinian textbooks contain problematic material, while still insisting that the agency takes steps to prevent it from being taught, but without showing that how this is actually accomplished. He also stated that antisemitism, intolerance glorification of terrorism is present in PA textbooks in UNRWA schools and affirmed that his agency had revised the textbooks used in its schools following allegations of antisemitic content. But several members of the committee questioned him on continued teaching of hate, violence and antisemitism in the textbooks and UNRWA materials, citing a recent report by IMPACT-se, an organization that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula for compliance with UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance.  The EU is UNRWA’s largest and most consistent institutional donor. In June, European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, whose department covers aid to UNRWA, issued statements calling to consider conditioning aid to the Palestinian education sector on “full adherence to UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, co-existence, non-violence” and a “need for Palestinian education reform.”

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  • EU Commission Directorate Condemns Antisemitism in Palestinian Textbooks

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    The Jerusalem Post — September 10, 2021
    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.” “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. 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 is 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 a yet unreleased report on UAE educational literature or 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.”   IMPACT-se Review of GEI Report on PA Curriculum

  • Top EU Official Denounces Incitement, Racism in Palestinian Authority Textbooks, Demands Changes

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    The Algemeiner — September 9, 2021
    A top European Union official has denounced Palestinian Authority textbooks as “deeply problematic” after a study found that the educational materials promote antisemitic tropes, glorify violence against civilians, and erase Israel from maps of the region. At a meeting of the EU Parliament’s Working Group Against Antisemitism, Acting Director Henrike Trautmann of the EU Commission said, “It is very clear that the study does reveal the existence of very deeply problematic content.” He asserted that “changes to the curriculum are essential” and “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 … be addressed and taken out.” The EU Parliament’s Budget Committee is set to meet this month on budget allocations, and several proposals have been raised to freeze aid to the Palestinian Authority if textbooks are not changed. Marcus Sheff, CEO of the organization IMPACT-se, which researches Palestinian educational materials, commented, “This statement by a senior EU official that the textbooks in the Palestinian education sector it supports cannot continue to incite children to hatred and violence is particularly relevant, coming just a couple of weeks before the parliament debates freezing funding to the Palestinian Authority until changes are made.” “There exists real strength of feeling and a common purpose across the political spectrum in Brussels that incitement in Palestinian textbooks now has to stop, and that European Union institutions will take a lead role in the process,” he said. The EU’s study was conducted by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (GEI) and analyzed 156 textbooks and 16 teacher guides published between 2017 and 2019 by the Palestinian Ministry of Education in a range of subjects. At a Sept. 2 hearing, European parliament members were unanimous in condemning material revealed by the report.

  • EU Official Says Palestinian Textbooks Have ‘Deeply Problematic Content’—Watchdog

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    The Times of Israel — September 9, 2021
    The acting director of the European Commission, the European Union’s executive branch, has said that official Palestinian school textbooks contain “very deeply problematic content” and that changes are “essential,” according to an Israeli watchdog group. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) says in a statement that the comments were made this morning by Henrike Trautmann during a meeting of the EU Parliament’s Working Group Against Antisemitism in Brussels. “It is very clear that the study does reveal the existence of very deeply problematic content. … changes to the curriculum are essential,” said Trautmann, whose directorate oversees all aid to the Palestinian education sector, according to IMPACT-se. “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,” she adds. No operative decision has been made to cut any funds. The parliament’s Budget Committee will make that—and other—decisions at a meeting later this month.

  • EU Lawmakers ‘Unanimous’ in Denouncing Antisemitic Content in Palestinian Authority Textbooks

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    The Algemeiner — September 3, 2021
    Members of the European Parliament (MEP) at a Thursday meeting were unanimous in condemning incitement and antisemitic content found by a recent study of Palestinian Authority textbooks, in what one nonprofit called a “watershed moment” in the campaign to reform the curricula. Members of the Foreign Affairs, Budgetary Control and Cultural committees met to discuss an EU-commissioned report by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (GEI), which concluded that PA textbooks promote antisemitic tropes, glorify terrorists and violence against civilians, and erase Israel from maps of the region. German MEP Niclas Herbst, Budget Committee Vice Chair, said that there should be zero tolerance for antisemitism and the promotion of violence. “All Palestinian pupils have the right for an education free of hatred and as long as we, the European Union finance an education system we are also responsible for this,” Herbst said. “If we want to keep our credibility we need to talk about the funding of the educational system in general, because we cannot accept that this is financed with EU taxpayer money,” the conservative MEP said. “We should have zero tolerance when it comes to antisemitism and it has to be free of hate speech.” IMPACT-se, an Israel-based nonprofit which assessed a revised PA curriculum in 2016 and whose work was cited by the GEI, called Thursday’s hearing a “watershed moment.” “Today we saw unanimous acceptance by these leading European Parliament members from the three relevant committees, and in a special session, that the Palestinian curriculum incites violence and hate,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “Every single speaker condemned the antisemitism in the textbooks. The European Commission representative came to the meeting to add his voice to the powerful testimonies of members in condemning hate in the textbooks.” Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the American Jewish Committee’s Brussels-based EU Office, commented that it was “difficult to imagine a policy more at odds with EU values and the stated goals of working toward peace and the creation of a democratic Palestinian state than indoctrinating schoolchildren to hate.” “The European Commission must act decisively to help preserve both the possibility of a negotiated two-state solution and its own standing as an honest broker,” he added.

  • UNRWA Head: PA Textbooks Do Include Antisemitism, Glorification of Terrorism

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    JNS — September 3, 2021
    The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) acknowledged that antisemitism and the glorification of terror can be found in school textbooks distributed by the Palestinian Authority, though insisted that it is not taught by his agency. UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini made the admission on Wednesday after being questioned by the European Union Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee about the continued teaching of hate, violence and antisemitism in PA textbooks and UNRWA school material. He was also asked about problematic material created by UNRWA staff that is detailed in a January report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), which also released a follow-up report in February. “We largely agree with the conclusion that there are a number of issues needing to be addressed,” he said. Antisemitism, intolerance—absolutely, these are the type of issues which have been identified by UNRWA through the review of 150 books, and we keep reviewing each of the books being issued by the authorities whenever they need to be used in our class[es].” Lazzarini also claimed that UNRWA takes action when it comes to topics such as the glorification of terrorism in textbooks. “Whenever we enter difficult issues, we give guidance to our teachers on how to use it or we ask for it not to be taught in the class, especially when we start to talk about glorification of terrorism, for example, which has also been an issue,” he said. German Parliament member Dietmar Köster, from the left-wing Socialists and Democrats Party, said that in light of UNRWA’s “serious shortcomings in recent years,” he believes that the European Parliament “has no other choice but to discuss the question of whether we need stricter oversight over the agency.” The European Union is UNRWA’s largest and most consistent donor, according to IMPACT-se.

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  • UNWRA Chief Acknowledges Antisemitism, Glorification of Terrorism in Palestinian Textbooks

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    EJP — September 2, 2021
    The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, acknowledged that Palestinian textbooks contain problematic material, while still insisting that the agency takes steps to prevent it from being taught, without showing how this is actually accomplished. But several members of the committee questioned him on continued teaching of hate, violence and antisemitism in Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks and UNRWA materials, citing a recent report by IMPACT-se, an organization that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula for compliance with UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance. In April, the EU Parliament passed an unprecedented resolution condemning UNRWA, becoming the first legislature to censure UNRWA over teaching hate and incitement to violence using Palestinian Authority textbooks. The adopted text demanded that hateful material be “removed immediately” and insists that EU funding “must be made conditional” on educational material promoting peace and tolerance. n April, the EU Parliament passed an unprecedented resolution condemning UNRWA, becoming the first legislature to censure UNRWA over teaching hate and incitement to violence using Palestinian Authority textbooks. The adopted text demanded that hateful material be “removed immediately” and insists that EU funding “must be made conditional” on educational material promoting peace and tolerance. But he was challenged by several parliamentarians. German MEP Dietmar Köster, a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), questioned Lazzarini on the textbooks. “UNRWA admitted that between March and November 2020, its own education directors produced educational material branded with UNRWA logo that incites to violence, calls for jihad and rejects peacemaking as identified in IMPACT-se report. Slovak MEP Miriam Lexmann, from the European People’s Party, the largest political group in the EU parliament, challenged Lazzarini when she asked: “What concrete steps have been taken? What has been done to collect these materials back from 320,000 students? We know if these books remain with the students, they will create further damage.”

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  • UNRWA Head Faces Questions at EU Parliament Over ‘Hate Speech, Violence’ in Palestinian Textbooks

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    The Algemeiner — September 1, 2021
    Members of the European Parliament pressed the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Wednesday over reports of incitement to violence and prejudice found in Palestinian textbooks used in it schools. In a hearing with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs raised the possibility of greater scrutiny over educational materials used by the UN agency, which serves the descendants of Palestinian refugees from Israel’s 1947–48 War of Independence. “I have serious concerns regarding the textbooks,” said German MEP Dietmar Köster, from the left-leaning Socialists and Democrats party. “In view of UNRWA’s serious shortcomings in recent years, I believe the European Parliament has no other choice but to discuss the question of whether we need stricter oversight over the agency.” Köster also cited research from IMPACT-se, an Israel-based nonprofit which studies curricula in the Middle East, that found UNRWA-branded educational materials had included calls to violence and a rejection of peacemaking efforts. At Wednesday’s hearing, Lazzarini agreed that the recent EU-commissioned report raised “a number of issues which need to be addressed,” but insisted that UNRWA takes effective steps to do so. “We as UNRWA have identified three categories of problems in the textbooks when it comes to being in line with UN value[s], which is age appropriateness, gender perception, and then the issues related to incitement to violence, discrimination, and so on,” he said. “These are the type of issues which have been identified by UNRWA through the review of 150 books and we keep reviewing each of the books being issued by the authorities whenever they need to be used in our class[es].” Commenting on the testimony, IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said that committee members had “made clear that they will resist the European Union becoming a party to radicalizing Palestinian children.” “UNRWA Commissioner General Lazzarini correctly pointed to the antisemitism, intolerance, and glorification of terrorism in the textbooks, and this is a new development,” Sheff commented. “There must, however, be certainty that these are not taught in UNRWA schools. Sadly, certainty is still greatly lacking.”

  • Would You Really Accept a Racist Chapter in Your Kid’s Textbook?

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    Haaretz (Marcus Sheff) — August 16, 2021
    In his recent opinion piece, entitled “No, Palestinian Textbooks are not Antisemitic,” Dr. Assaf David railed against a study published by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research on the Palestinian Authority’s textbooks. David set out to do battle against an imaginary “conservative” conspiracy whose goal is to tarnish the image of the occupied Palestinian people, apparently by scrutinizing its textbooks. In the process, he also attacks The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) accusing it of “generalizing and exaggerated conclusions based on methodological shortcomings”—his confused translation of criticism that appeared in GEI’s report. David has decided, based on absolutely no evidence at all, to smear IMPACT-se with the label “conservative.” However, opposing hate education does not make one right-wing, or any-wing. This is lazy thinking, lacking any intellectual rigor. The many studies IMPACT-se has published over the course of decades about textbooks in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Jordan and others are based on UNESCO values—respect for the Other, peacemaking as the way to resolve conflict, gender equality, LGBTQ equality—and the premise that resolving disputes peacefully is a supreme value that contributes to advancing human rights, tolerance and educating toward the acceptance of others. These values aren’t the exclusive property of anyone’s political worldview. Academic integrity means seeking the truth, even if it isn’t what we would like it to be…

  • Mideast Powers Vie to Shape the Next Generation of Muslims

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    BESA — August 13, 2021
    Reports published earlier this year by the Israel-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) chart a notable divergence in educational approaches across the Muslim world. At one end of the spectrum are Pakistan and Turkey, two of the more populous Muslim countries. Their claim to leadership of the Muslim world is rooted in conservative if not ultra-conservative interpretations of Islam that increasingly shape their education systems. Saudi Arabia and the UAE reside at the other end of the spectrum with their reduced emphasis on religion in education and emphasis on science as well as religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue. Straddling the two approaches is Qatar, the world’s only other Wahhabi state alongside Saudi Arabia—even if it adhered to a more liberal interpretation long before the rise of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Since coming to office, Prince Muhammad has significantly reduced the role of ultra-conservative religious figures and institutions, cut back on global funding of Wahhabi activity, enhanced women’s rights, and built a Western-style entertainment sector. Sandwiched between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Qatar sees global support of political Islam, including the Muslim Brotherhood, as its best defense against the Saudi and Iranian governance models. Qatari textbooks reflect the tightrope the Gulf state walks between professing adherence to concepts of democratic freedoms, human rights, tolerance, and pluralism, yet refusing to break with antisemitic and anti-Christian notions as well as philosophies of jihad and martyrdom prevalent in political Islam. What the different approaches have in common is what makes both problematic: an endorsement of autocratic or strongman rule by either explicitly propagating absolute obedience to the ruler or the increasingly authoritarian environment in which the Islamicized education systems are being rolled out. Underlying the different approaches to education are diverging interpretations of what Islam represents and what constitutes a moderate form of the faith as well as seemingly haphazard definitions put forward by various leaders…

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  • Over 100 UNRWA Teachers Incite Violence, Antisemitism Online: Report

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    The Jerusalem Post — August 3, 2021
    Over 100 teachers and staff of schools run by UNRWA have been explicitly and publicly promoting hateful content, particularly against Jews and Israelis, including celebrating deaths, according to a new report by the NGO UN Watch. UNRWA, which operates several schools for Palestinians, is now coming under fire for the comments made by its educators and staff. As documented in a UN Watch report titled “Beyond the Textbooks,” multiple cases are outlined showing instances of incitement. This, the report claims, flies in the face of UNRWA’s own rules and values, specifically a zero-tolerance rule for racism, discrimination and antisemitism. This is not the first time the organization has been under fire for controversy surrounding incitement. In early 2021, a report by the Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School, or IMPACT-se, found that many of the textbooks issued by the organization were rife with examples of encouragement of violence and demonization of Israel and of Jews. The report had said that the textbooks present “ambivalent—sometimes hostile—attitudes towards Jews and the characteristics they attribute to the Jewish people. … Frequent use of negative attributions in relation to the Jewish people …  suggest a conscious perpetuation of anti-Jewish prejudice, especially when embedded in the current political context.” An exercise in one religious studies textbook asks students to discuss the “repeated attempts by the Jews to kill the prophet” Muhammad and asks who are “other enemies of Islam.” One Arabic grammar booklet features phrases like “Jihad is one of the doors to Paradise.” Another reads that “The Palestinians are lions in fighting the enemies.” One book has a poem about how “a raging fire awaits the Occupation,” while another states that “The motherland is worthy of any kind of sacrifice” and “the Enemy [committed] heinous offences against … the mujahideen,” Arabic for anyone fighting a jihad, or holy war. In response, UNRWA claimed that the textbooks were “mistakenly included” and promised to take steps to investigate how it happened.

  • EU Study on PA Textbooks Includes Unused ‘Ghost Books’List Title

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    Israel Hayom — July 11, 2021
    A European Union report on the Palestinian Authority’s education system examined textbooks that were never taught in PA schools, Israel Hayom has ascertained. The EU study, which was conducted by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Germany, examined 156 textbooks that were received by the EU and represent around one-half of all PA textbooks. The study was concluded in 2020 and was to be published shortly after, but then the EU sought to include another 18 textbooks in the study, claiming they were being taught in Palestinian schools in that school year. That the textbooks were forced into the study after it had already been completed, the very fact that they were received from the EU, and their absence from the official PA portal, raised the question of whether they were being used at all in PA schools. The surprising answer: They were not being used. Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se, an international research and policy institute that analyzes school textbooks throughout the world and has a proven track record of examining PA textbooks, told Israel Hayom in the wake of the revelation that “there’s no reason for textbooks that never saw the light of day to be included in a report on textbooks that are actually being taught. Using these ‘ghost books’ raised many questions about the credibility of the findings, and it appears there was an attempt to shoot the arrow and then run to mark the target.” Chief Operating Officer of IMPACT-se Arik Agassi added that the study’s findings also contradict themselves. According to Agassi, the Palestinian textbooks don’t meet the criteria established by UNESCO, which the Georg Eckert Institute essentially concedes. “In the body of the study, it was stated several times that ‘antisemitism and glorification of violence exist’ in relation to Jews and Israel and that this content was ‘incompatible with UNESCO’s criteria.’ But these findings were obscured in the report’s conclusions and were especially absent from the executive summary. The Georg Eckert Institute is aware of this contradiction and in the FAQ section, which it published last week, it essentially admitted there’s an issue here. Indeed, our conclusion, as an organization that has researched Palestinian textbooks for many years, is that they don’t meet UNESCO’s standards,” said Agassi.

  • EU Commissioner Says the EU Should Condition Its Funding of the PA on Removal of Antisemitism and Incitement to Violence in Textbooks

    EJP — June 23, 2021
    European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, declared that the European Union should consider conditioning funding to the Palestinian Authority on the removal of antisemitism and incitement to violence from its textbooks. Varhelyi’s statement followed the publication last Friday of a long-awaited EU-commissioned report on Palestinian textbooks which show instances of antisemitism and incitement to violence. The study, completed in February, includes dozens of examples of encouragement of violence and demonization of Israel and of Jews. The EU commissioned the report in 2019 from the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research and kept it under wraps for four months following its completion. The EU directly funds the salaries of teachers and the writers of the textbooks, which encourage and glorify violence against Israelis and Jews, according to the report. The report is almost 200 pages long and examines 156 textbooks and 16 teachers’ guides. The texts are mostly from 2017–19, but 18 are from 2020. he Vice President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schnias, who has the fight against antisemitism in his portfolio, also commented the publication of the report by saying: “Hate and antisemitism have no place in classrooms or anywhere. Peace, tolerance and non-violence must be fully respected; they are non-negotiable.” Said Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, a research and policy institute that monitors and analyzes education in the world and which independently assessed the EU report: “We are extremely grateful to Commissioner Varhelyi for his integrity. Ultimately, his department gives aid to the Palestinian Authority’s education system and it commissioned the report on Palestinian textbooks. We commend him for his leadership, for cutting through the noise around this report and clearly stating that the EU cannot be a party to the funding of hate-teaching…. The Palestinian Authority must ensure the high standards in fostering a culture of peace and coexistence”  IMPACT-se May 2021 PA report

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  • EU Commissioner Echoes Call to Condition Funding of Palestinian Schools on Removal of Antisemitism from Textbooks

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    The Algemeiner — June 22, 2021
    A European Union commissioner has said that funding from the 27-member bloc of nations for schools in the Palestinian Authority (PA) must be conditioned on respect in the curriculum for tolerance and non-violence alongside the outright rejection of antisemitism. In a tweet on Monday, Oliver Varhelyi—the EU’s Enlargement Commissioner—urged the EU to adopt a “firm commitment to fight antisemitism and engage with the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to promote quality education for Palestinian children and ensure full adherence to UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, co-existence and non-violence in Palestinian textbooks.” Varhelyi emphasized that the “conditionality of our financial assistance in the educational sector needs to be duly considered”—implying that the PA may face a loss in funding should it fail to comply with EU demands to remove violent and antisemitic incitement from school textbooks. Varhelyi’s statement followed the publication last Friday of a report produced by the Germany-based Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research that analyzed 156 textbooks and 16 teacher guides published between 2017 and 2019 by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, in a range of subjects. Last week, a cross-party group of 22 European Parliament members sent a letter to the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, demanding aid be withheld to the PA over “preach[ing] antisemitism, incitement, and the glorification of violence and terrorism…. violating fundamental EU values and our declared goal to help advance peace and the Two-State Solution.” Varhelyi’s adoption of a similar stance towards the PA was enthusiastically welcomed by an Israel-based research institute that has published several reports on the deficiencies of Palestinian schools.  “We are extremely grateful to Mr. Varhelyi for his integrity,” Marcus Sheff—director of IMPACT-se, which surveys school textbooks in the Middle East for bias, racism, antisemitism and other forms of hatred—said in a statement. “Ultimately, his department gives aid to the Palestinian Authority’s education system and it commissioned the report on Palestinian textbooks. We commend him for his leadership, for cutting through the noise around this report and clearly stating that the EU cannot be a party to the funding of hate-teaching.”

  • Ticking Time Bomb

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    The German Times — June 2021
    After being kept under wraps for weeks, the EU study that was supposed to investigate the extent of Jew-hatred and calls for violence in Palestinian schoolbooks was surprisingly published last week. Brussels directly funds the salaries of Palestinian teachers and the publishers of these textbooks, which, the report indicates, encourage and glorify violence against Israelis and Jews. It has been found that textbooks in Turkey and Qatar, also have such content, which encourages hatred and religious motivated extremism. Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, an organization that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula for compliance with UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance, underlined the power that textbooks hold. “They can serve to either increase the tolerance or intolerance of societies.” He looks with great concern at the Middle East region, especially at the Palestinian territories. “School books there are a blueprint for radicalization and extremism,” he warned. Values to be taught, such as moderation, tolerance and peace-making are completely absent from these textbooks. Even though there has been progress in the curricula in the region and these values are being taken up by some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, there are still negative examples, Sheff underlined. In Turkey for instance, under President Erdogan, a radicalization of the curriculum is taking place in which jihad is glorified in schools and an aggressive neo-Ottomanism is taught as a central value. Iranian textbooks call for the demonization of Jews and Israel and convey Iran’s hegemonic claim in the region. In general, the issue of hate in the educational sector continues to be underestimated. It requires an urgent change of course and more engagement.  IMPACT-se May 2021 PA report

  • EU Publishes Delayed Report on PA Textbooks, Finds Extensive Evidence of Incitement to Violence

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    i24 — June 21, 2021
    The European Union recently published its much-delayed report on Palestinian textbooks, which showed that the curriculum for school-age children consists of a diet of antisemitism, incitement to violence, and encouragement of martyrdom. The report was supposedly ready as early as February of this year, but it was likely suppressed due to its explosive contents. German newspaper BILD‘s recent exposé led EU, German and Norwegian European lawmakers to criticize the EU Commission for preventing the document’s publication. Furthermore, IMPACT-se, an organization that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula for compliance with UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance, independently assessed the EU report, highlighting inconsistencies and attempts to bury uncomfortable findings in the footnotes. “The Executive Summary and Conclusion are incongruent with the body of the report; they argue that textbooks align with UNESCO standards, while the actual analysis of the report shows widespread antisemitism, violence, dehumanization, and rejection of peace, a clear violation of UNESCO standard,” IMPACT-se maintained. Last week, 22 members of the European Parliament from a range of political parties called on EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to withhold aid to the Palestinian Authority over the books. In addition to antisemitism, the books glorify terrorists, reject any peacemaking overtures, encourage violence against civilians, and promote jihad and martyrdom. Most textbooks have maps that erase the State of Israel, portray the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea as Palestine, make no reference to towns and cities exclusively established by Jewish immigrants—even Tel Aviv is not charted on the maps—and refer to Israel with the term “Zionist occupation.”  IMPACT-se May 2021 report

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  • Will the EU Finally Take Action to Condition Funding to the Palestinian Authority on Reforms to Its Curriculum Which Is Antisemitic and Incites Violence?

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    EJP — June 20, 2021
    The European Union has finally released its much delayed report on Palestinian textbooks, confirming that Palestinian Authority textbooks contain antisemitism and incitement to violence. The report comes after a group of nearly two-dozen European lawmakers sent a letter to the president of the EU. Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, demanding the withholding of aid until such content ends. “The report has been released after three declarations of the European parliament condemning anti-Semitism and hate in the PA curriculum, dozens of questions in parliaments around Europe and the EU sitting on the final version for months,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. IMPACT-se, a research and policy institute that monitors and analyzes education in the world, independently assessed the EU report which found that Palestinian textbooks—funded by the EU—contain antisemitism, incite children to hatred and violence and delegitimize the State of Israel. “While deeply flawed, it states what has been obvious to all for years: that the Palestinian Authority systematically incites over a million children to antisemitism, hate and violence every school day. The question remains: Will the EU finally take action to condition funding to the Palestinian authority on reforms to the curriculum as the European parliament has demanded?” According to IMPACT-se, the report “confirms that antisemitism, glorification of terrorists and their acts, calls to jihad and martyrdom, negation of Israel’s existence and messages which exacerbate the conflict are present throughout the PA curriculum.” However, the watchdog group said that the EU report also has “serious shortcomings” in terms of how it presents its findings and what it missed. In early June, the German newspaper BILD published findings from the report and asked why they were never publicized. The report was commissioned in 2019 by then-EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and examined teaching instructions published by the Palestinian Ministry of Education between 2017 and 2020.  IMPACT-se May 2021 PA report

  • EU Releases Delayed Report Confirming Incitement, Antisemitism in Palestinian Textbooks

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    JNS — June 18, 2021
    The European Union released its delayed report on Palestinian textbooks on Thursday, confirming that Palestinian Authority textbooks contain antisemitism and incitement to violence. “The report has been released after three declarations of the European parliament condemning antisemitism and hate in the PA curriculum, dozens of questions in parliaments around Europe and the EU sitting on the final version for months,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “While deeply flawed, it states what has been obvious to all for years: that the Palestinian Authority systematically incites over a million children to antisemitism, hate and violence every school day. The question remains: Will the EU finally take action to condition funding to the Palestinian authority on reforms to the curriculum as the European parliament has demanded?” According to IMPACT-se, the report “confirms that antisemitism, glorification of terrorists and their acts, calls to jihad and martyrdom, negation of Israel’s existence and messages which exacerbate the conflict are present throughout the PA curriculum.” However, the watchdog group said that the EU report also has “serious shortcomings” in terms of how it presents its findings and what it missed. In early June, the German newspaper BILD published findings from the report and asked why they were never publicized. The publication stated that the report was commissioned in 2019 by then-EU foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini and examined teaching instructions published by the Palestinian Ministry of Education between 2017 and 2020. The release of the report comes after a group of nearly two-dozen European lawmakers sent a letter to the president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, demanding the withholding of aid until the incitement and antisemitism in PA textbooks ends. Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Brussels-based EU Office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute, called on the EU to take action to bring an end to incitement in PA textbooks, including possibly withholding aid. “The deeply troubling study was long in the making and confirms what previous reports had documented over the past several years: The Palestinian Authority systematically poisons the minds of Palestinian children, teaching them hatred against Jews, the glorification of terror and the denial of Israel’s right to exist. This outrage has been allowed to continue for far too long and I urge the Commission to take immediate action,” said Schwammenthal.  IMPACT-se May 2021 PA report

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  • After Delay, EU Releases Report Detailing Antisemitism, Incitement to Violence in Palestinian Textbooks

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    The Algemeiner — June 18, 2021
    A European Union analysis of Palestinian textbooks was published Friday, following demands from European Parliament members to release the long-awaited report, as well as calls to withhold aid from the Palestinian Authority over violent and antisemitic incitement found in its educational materials. The report—produced by the Germany-based Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research—analyzed 156 textbooks and 16 teacher guides published between 2017 and 2019 by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, in a range of subjects. It found that PA textbooks trafficked in antisemitic tropes, removed previously-included references to to Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements, and “glorified” as heroes terrorists convicted of killing Israelis. They also portrayed violence against civilians as part of a “narrative of resistance,” and conspicuously delegitimized Israel, erasing the Jewish state from maps and even avoiding mentioning its name. IMPACT-se, an Israel-based nonprofit which has studied PA textbooks, said that the report had “serious shortcomings,” drawing summary conclusions that were “incongruent” with the materials described in the report’s body.  “They argue that textbooks align with UNESCO standards, while the actual analysis of the report shows widespread antisemitism, violence, dehumanization, and rejection of peace, a clear violation of UNESCO standards,” the group said. “The authors strain to justify problematic findings; miss blatant violations of UNESCO standards in books the analyze, and they actively amplify singular positive messages to create an artificial sense of balance.” Nevertheless, said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff, while the report was “deeply flawed, it states what has been obvious to all for years: that the Palestinian Authority systematically incites over a million children to antisemitism, hate and violence every school day.” The Anti-Defamation League commented, “Glad the EU released this report on egregious hate & violence in PA textbooks. It has flaws (the books now are not meaningfully better & do not meet UNESCO standards), but transparency helps. Now the EU must ensure aid does not enable ongoing incitement.” European and German legislators had previously criticized the EU for delaying the release of report, which was commissioned in 2019 by Frederica Mogherini, then EU foreign affairs representative. Niclas Herbst, an Member of European Parliament from Germany’s ruling CDU Party, told the German newspaper BILD that the “secrecy of the EU Commission is counterproductive and incomprehensible.” “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,” commented German parliament member Frank Müller-Rosentritt.   IMPACT-se May 2021 PA report

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  • Blinken Acknowledges UN Schools Teach Antisemitism

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    Israel Today – June 18, 2021
    U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed for the first time in his own voice that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) disseminates antisemitic and anti-Israel information in its educational materials, as part of a testimony he gave at a June 8 Senate Appropriations Committee. UNRWA is the United Nation’s dedicated body for dealing with the Palestinian “refugee” issue. The Palestinian Arabs are the only refugee population out of many genuine refugee populations in the world to have its own dedicated UN body. He went on to say that the US State Department would “look very carefully” at the existing mechanisms under UNRWA for dealing with incitement in educational materials. This is the first time that a Democratic administration has acknowledged the existence of antisemitic and violent content in UNRWA’s educational materials. The IMPACT-se Research and Policy Institute, which researches and analyzes textbook content around the world, contacted and briefed the offices of the Senate and Congressional members of the Appropriations Committee prior to the Blinken hearing on UNRWA textbook content. In February, the US State Department asked IMPACT-se to provide it with policy recommendations following a briefing the institute had with the team tasked with renewing funding and relations with UNRWA. In January, IMPACT-se released the first study analyzing the teaching materials produced and written by UNRWA (with the UN agency logo). IMPACT found that the materials are full of hatred, encouragement of jihad and violence, and devoid of any content promoting peace, peace-making and tolerance. In April, the EU Parliament became the first legislature in the world to adopt a formal condemnation of UNRWA for inciting hatred and violence in its teaching materials. IMPACT-se Director General Marcus Chef said: ”UNRWA had been telling donor countries for years that it combats incitement in the Palestinian textbooks. In fact, we found that, in places, UNRWA’s own content is even worse than that of the Palestinian Authority. It is right and proper that the U.S. State Department is now going to focus on eradicating hate education in UNRWA schools. The era of UNRWA trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes while teaching hate every day needs to be well and truly over.” VP of IMPACT-se Eric Agassi said this is the beginning of a process of changing the trend in the administration’s response by demanding UNRWA reforms in education in exchange for returning the funding it pledged. This follows the institute’s quiet and effective work with the State Department and Congress.  Follow-up report

  • Erdogan’s Silent Revolution Seeks More Than Pious Youth

    Al-Monitor — June 17, 2021
    Turkish exceptionalism in the Middle East when it comes to secular education is over. Although Turkish textbooks had problems in the past of omitting embarrassing moments in history, never before have K-12 public school students been taught to feel obliged to see jihad as a responsibility of every good Muslim. Darwin’s theory of evolution was deemed too complex for high school students and taken out of the curriculum in 2017. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s legacy on the education system has been profound. His oft-repeated goal to raise “pious generations” is coupled with his praise of Imam Hatip High Schools (IHL). IHLs were originally designed to train government appointed clergy, but since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2003, their numbers have surpassed 5,000. Gradually, middle schools were converted to Imam schools and tens of thousands of students were left with no choice but to attend these schools. In March, the Jerusalem-based research institute IMPACT-se, published a study of 28 new Turkish textbooks that revealed anti-Americanism, antisemitism, Turkish ultra-nationalism as well as sympathy for causes of jihadist movements that are now routinely encouraged. Non-Muslims are regularly referred to as “infidels” in textbooks. And the concept of jihad is seen as a key term, researchers found, that has been set at the foundation of the new curriculum. Teaching Sunni Islamic values poses concerns even for pious Muslims. For example, students are taught about polygamy as an Islamic practice and the ability of men to receive swift verbal divorce. These Islamist values are reinforced by a new style of Turkish sitcoms, where polygamy is regularly portrayed. Women are frequently portrayed with head covers  in textbooks and books the education ministry recommends for young children. IMPACT-se’s report quotes a passage from the 2014 Basic Religious Knowledge textbook as the first in advocating the hijab. “Veiling, which started with Prophet Adam and Eve, is a reminder to all the nations by the prophets, as an order of Allah. Likewise, the last Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also put forward a set of principles in this regard.” There are several eye-opening statements added in the new Turkish curriculum. For example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is described as religious war against Muslims. The report reveals that there is a strong effort to delegitimize Zionism, with books referring to the “Zionism problem” as a plan to bring bloodshed to the Middle East. “Jihad war has been introduced into textbooks and turned into the ‘new normal’ with martyrdom in battle glorified,” the report notes. In several instances verses from Quran are used to support the idea of jihad.

  • US Ambassador Commits to Reforming UNRWA and UN Human Rights Council

    (Image: U.S. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield) Jewish Insider_UNRWA_Screen

    Jewish Insider — June 17, 2021
    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told U.S. legislators that the Biden administration is conducting strict oversight and pursuing reforms of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as well as the U.N. Human Rights Council. UNRWA has faced criticism for alleged ties to terrorists, disputes over its definition of Palestinian refugees and distribution of educational materials containing antisemitic, anti-Israel and violence-promoting content. “We are putting all of our weight behind monitoring everything that UNRWA does and monitoring the funding that the U.S. government provides to this organization,” she said. Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, an Israel-based NGO that monitors UNRWA educational materials, was skeptical of the U.N. agency’s efforts to reform its curricula, but praised the U.S. for “working hard to deal with” the issue. “Much more clarity is needed,” Sheff told Jewish Insider. “I think UNRWA is simply back to its years-long modus operandi of assuring donor countries it is dealing with the hate while precisely nothing changes in the UNRWA classrooms where the Palestinian textbooks are taught. After UNRWA printed its own hateful teaching materials last year, this unverifiable self-regulation ship has obviously sailed.” The ambassador also defended the Biden administration’s decision to rejoin the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has faced repeated accusations of anti-Israel and antisemitic bias. The ambassador told lawmakers she believes some members of the Human Rights Council are antisemitic, but that Michelle Bachelet, the body’s commissioner, is not. She argued that the council proposes fewer anti-Israel measures when the U.S. is a member and insisted that the U.S. can reform the body. “We know it’s tough. We’re not going into this with any starry eyes,” she said. “It’s going to take hard work, but it’s going to take the work of linking and being flanked by our allies to push back on these efforts,” she said.

  • Lawmakers Call on the EU to Make Public Report on Antisemitic Palestinian School Textbooks

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    EJP — June 15, 2021
    Following the exposure of an unpublished EU report on Palestinian school textbooks last week by German newspaper BILD, several lawmakers have called to make the report public. IMPACT-se, a research and policy institute that monitors and analyzes education, has obtained a copy of the report, which found that Palestinian textbooks—funded by the EU—contain antisemitism, incite children to hatred and violence and delegitimize the State of Israel. In 2019, then EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, told European lawmakers that the European Union would fund a study on Palestinian school textbooks “with a view to identifying possible incitement to hatred and violence and any possible lack of compliance with UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance in education.” Initially commissioned in 2019, the final report has been delayed for two years and has still not been made public. A follow up piece in the daily BILD stated that the EU Commission misled policymakers who requested a copy of the report and were denied on the basis that it had not yet been “finalized” despite the report being submitted by the reviewing institute in March. The German government has called on the EU to make public the secretive report, citing public interest and concerns over whether German taxpayer money is being used to fund hate. A spokesperson for the German development ministry told BILD that “a confidential draft of the study is available. The federal government has advocated publication several times vis-à-vis the EU … which directly funds the salaries of Palestinian teachers and the publishers of textbooks,” has now promised [that the report would be published]. IMPACT-se, which for the analysis of textbooks uses international standards on peace and tolerance as derived from UNESCO declarations and resolutions to determine compliance and to advocate for change when necessary, received a copy and independently assessed the EU report. While not reviewing the whole curriculum and missing quite a bit, it confirms many of IMPACT-se’s own findings. The EU’s report states that the Palestinian textbooks promote antisemitism, encourage violence, erase peace agreements and delegitimize Israel.

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  • MEP’s Call on UN Chief to Investigate UNRWA Over Hate Teaching

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    i24 — June 14, 2021
    A cross-party group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) sent a letter Monday to the UN Secretary-General and EU Commission president demanding an investigation into the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) over the revelations of antisemitism and incitement to violence in its educational materials. The 26 MEPs, who represent all the major parties in the European Parliament, initiated by MEP David Lega (EPP, Sweden) and MEP Miriam Lexmann (EPP, Slovakia), raised significant concerns about the kinds of materials that UNRWA uses. The letter expressed alarm about “UNRWA’s continued use of hateful school materials that encourage violence, reject peace, and demonizes both Israel and the Jewish people. We deeply deplore the agency’s lack of oversight, transparency and accountability with regard to the repeated revelations of teaching hate and incitement to Palestinian children under UNRWA’s care.” The letter expressed alarm about “UNRWA’s continued use of hateful school materials that encourage violence, reject peace, and demonizes both Israel and the Jewish people. We deeply deplore the agency’s lack of oversight, transparency and accountability with regard to the repeated revelations of teaching hate and incitement to Palestinian children under UNRWA’s care.” Crucially, the letter condemns the use of EU taxpayers’ money to fund hate teaching and antisemitic provocation, which the authors maintained was a “grave misuse in violation of our values.” They added that the revelations were particularly “disturbing” given that UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini addressed the European Parliament just last November, he personally guaranteed that in UNRWA schools ‘there is absolutely no room for any teaching which would encourage violence, discrimination, racism or antisemitism.'” “The EU condemned UNRWA in May for teaching hate and these members of the European parliament are absolutely right in turning to Secretary-General Guterres for answers they have not been able to receive from UNRWA itself, including who authored and authorized the hateful UNRWA-produced teaching material,” maintained IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff.  IMPACT-se UNRWA report

  • US to Aid UNWRA on Condition of New Curriculum

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    The Jerusalem Post — June 11, 2021
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the Biden administration’s renewal of funding for UNRWA is conditional on anti-Israel and anti-Jewish education reform on Tuesday, referencing educational materials that erase Israel from maps and praise terrorism and martyrdom. “We’re also determined that UNRWA pursue very necessary reforms in terms of some of the abuses of the system that have taken place in the past, particularly the challenge that we’ve seen in disseminating in its educational products antisemitic or anti-Israel information, so we’re very focused on that,” Blinken said before the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate regarding the State Department’s budget requests for the 2022 fiscal year. He continued, adding that the State Department would be “looking very, very carefully” at the mechanisms that the refugee organization for Palestinians says it has in place in order to address problematic educational materials, which were discovered by a January 2021 review by Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a non-profit that monitors the content of school textbooks. IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff called on the U.S. State Department to make the subject a priority. “UNRWA had been telling donor countries for years that it combats incitement in the Palestinian textbooks. In fact, we found that, in places, UNRWA’s own content is even worse than that of the Palestinian Authority. It is right and proper that the U.S. State Department is now going to focus on eradicating hate education in UNRWA schools. The era of UNRWA trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes while teaching hate every day needs to be well and truly over,” he said. The U.S. State Department reportedly became aware of the UNRWA curriculum in February. The European Parliament also expressed outrage upon being briefed earlier this year of the hate being taught to children. Canada, which pledged $24 million to UNRWA in 2020, and Australia have also announced investigations into the refugee organization.  Feb UNRWA report

  • US Sets Conditions for Renewed UNRWA Funding

    (Biden Image) Israel Hayom_UNRWA- Blinken_Screen

    Israel Hayom — June 11, 2021
    The U.S. State Department plans to condition aid money to the UN body for Palestinian refugees, according to a budget authorization request sent to the U.S. Congress for approval, Thursday. In the document, the U.S. State Department listed a series of reforms UNRWA would need to implement before receiving U.S. aid. The main demand set out in the document … is for the UN body to take effective steps to ensure the educational content taught in UN schools and summer camps respects human rights and does not incite. David Bedein, director of the Center for Near East Policy Research, has monitored UNRWA’s problematic conduct and the use of its facilities for terrorist activities and incitement for years. He called the document “a surprising change in the U.S.’s approach to UNRWA…. “Although there weren’t any expectations from the current administration, it seems they also understand that after 4,300 rockets [were fired] from [the] Gaza [Strip] at Israel, with the incitement of 82% of Gaza’s citizens who reside in one of UNRWA’s 10 refugee camps, the time has come for a revolution on the subject,” Bedein said. In addition, IMPACT-se, an international research and policy institute that analyzes school textbooks throughout the world and has a proven track record of examining PA textbooks, contacted and then briefed the offices of U.S. members of Congress ahead of a hearing they held with Blinken on the education materials used by UNRWA. The State Department asked IMPACT-se to offer recommendations following a briefing with a new team tasked with renewing funding and ties with UNRWA.   IMPACT-se report on UNRWA

  • EU Unpublished Report Finds Palestinian Textbooks Contain Antisemitism, Incitement

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    JNS — June 10, 2021
    An unpublished report by the European Union on Palestinian textbooks confirmed that the Palestinian curriculum includes antisemitic content, incitement of violence and the delegitimization of Israel. The German newspaper BILD published findings from the report on Tuesday and asked why they were never publicized. The publication stated that the report was commissioned in 2019 by then-EU foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini and examined teaching instructions published by the Palestinian Ministry of Education between 2017 and 2020. The report, written by the German Georg-Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, was also seen by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli NGO that has previously drawn attention to similar offensive content in Palestinian textbooks. According to IMPACT-se, the institute found in textbooks the “frequent use of negative attributions in relation to the Jewish people in, for example, textbook exercises [that] suggest a conscious perpetuation of anti-Jewish prejudice.” It even discovered a textbook chapter that “sends the message that the Jews as a collective are dangerous and deceptive, and demonizes them. It generates feelings of hatred towards Jews.” The examined material also contained depictions of Israeli violence that “tend to dehumanize the Israeli adversary; occasionally with accusations of malice or deception.” When discussing violent actions by Palestinians against Israel, the textbooks label them as part of “a heroic struggle” against the Jewish state; in general, portrayals of violence perpetrated by the Israeli protagonists present them as “a homogenous entity mostly referred to as the ‘(Zionist) occupation’ or by similar epithets.” “This as yet unpublished EU report into Palestinian textbooks is a damning indictment of the Palestinian Authority’s systematic and purposeful insertion of antisemitism, hate and incitement to violence in its textbooks,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. A spokesperson for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the findings “prove Israel’s consistent claim that incitement is constantly present in Palestinian Authority textbooks … a claim that Israel has raised with the European Union and its member states for many years.” Instead of educating for tolerance, coexistence, peace and non-violence—as is required under UNESCO’s mandatory standards—Palestinian textbooks include antisemitic components, deny the existence of the State of Israel and glorify violence as a method of resolving the conflict,” said the spokesperson.

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  • Unpublished EU Report: Palestinian Textbooks Contain Antisemitism and Hatred of Jews

    Audiatur Online (German)_Unpublished EU PA Review_Screen

    Audiatur Online (German) — June 10, 2021
    An unpublished report by the European Union on Palestinian textbooks shows that the Palestinian curriculum contains antisemitic content, incitement to violence and delegitimization of Israel. The German BILD newspaper published results from the report on Tuesday and asked why they were never published. According to BILD, the 2019 report was commissioned by the then EU foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini and reviewed teaching instructions from the Palestinian Ministry of Education from 2017 to 2020. The report, which was written by the German Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, was also viewed by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli non-governmental organization that had previously referred to similar hateful content in Palestinian school textbooks. According to IMPACT-se, the institute found “frequent use of negative attributions in relation to the Jewish people in school book assignments that suggest a conscious maintenance of anti-Jewish prejudices.” A textbook chapter  …  “conveys the message that the Jews as a collective are dangerous and deceptive and demonizes them. It creates feelings of hatred towards Jews.” “This as yet unpublished EU report on Palestinian textbooks is a crushing charge against the Palestinian Authority, which systematically and purposefully incorporates antisemitism, hatred and incitement to violence into their textbooks,” said Marcus Sheff, managing director of IMPACT-se. The results of the study show a clear finding. For a long time, Palestinian children and young people have been systematically indoctrinated and educated in schools of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and UNRWA, the UN refugee organization responsible for Palestinians, about hatred and violence against Jews. Terrorists are being stylized as role models, according to the Mideast Freedom Forum in Berlin. When the EU Commission will publish the report is still unclear, according to the BILD newspaper report….

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

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    The Algemeiner — June 10, 2021
    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. 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. Said member of the German Parliament, 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.” 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.  IMPACT-se Report

  • Renewal of UNRWA Funding Conditional on Anti-Israel and Anti-Jewish Education Reform: Blinken

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    The Jerusalem Post — June 9, 2021
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the Biden administration’s renewal of funding for UNRWA is conditional on anti-Israel and anti-Jewish education reform on Tuesday, referencing educational materials that erase Israel from maps and praise terrorism and martyrdom. “We’re also determined that UNRWA pursue very necessary reforms in terms of some of the abuses of the system that have taken place in the past, particularly the challenge that we’ve seen in disseminating in its educational products antisemitic or anti-Israel information, so we’re very focused on that,” Blinken said before the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate regarding the State Department’s budget requests for the 2022 fiscal year. He continued, adding that the State Department would be “looking very, very carefully” at the mechanisms that the refugee organization for Palestinians says it has in place in order to address problematic educational materials, which were discovered by a January 2021 review by Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a non-profit that monitors the content of school textbooks. IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff called on the U.S. State Department to make the subject a priority. “UNRWA had been telling donor countries for years that it combats incitement in the Palestinian textbooks. In fact, we found that, in places, UNRWA’s own content is even worse than that of the Palestinian Authority. It is right and proper that the U.S. State Department is now going to focus on eradicating hate education in UNRWA schools. The era of UNRWA trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes while teaching hate every day needs to be well and truly over,” he said. The U.S. State Department reportedly became aware of the UNRWA curriculum in February. The European Parliament also expressed outrage upon being briefed earlier this year of the hate being taught to children. Canada, which pledged $24 million to UNRWA in 2020, and Australia have also announced investigations into the refugee organization.

  • Blinken Exposes UNRWA Antisemitism

    Joods.nl (Netherlands) — June 9, 2021
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the renewal of the Biden administration’s funding for UNRWA is dependent on anti-Israel and anti-Jewish education reforms. “We are determined that UNRWA is pursuing much-needed reforms in terms of some of the abuses of the system that have occurred in the past, especially the challenge we have seen in disseminating in its educational products. We are very focused on Israel information,” Blinken said during the Foreign Ministry’s budget request for fiscal year 2022. He added that the State Department would look “very, very carefully” at the mechanisms the refugee organization says it has for Palestinians to deal with problematic educational materials. The CEO of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) Marcus Sheff, called on the US State Department to make this topic a priority.  “UNRWA has been telling donor countries for years that it is fighting incitement in Palestinian textbooks. In fact, we found that UNRWA’s own content is even worse than the Palestinian Authority’s in some places. That is why the U.S. State Department is now going to focus on eliminating hate education in UNRWA schools. The era of UNRWA that terrifies everyone and instills hatred every day must really be over,” he stressed. The European Parliament also expressed its outrage when it was informed earlier this year about the hatred of Jews being taught to children. Canada and Australia have also announced an investigation into the refugee agency. The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it would provide $235 million in aid to the Palestinians, restart UNRWA funding and restore other aid terminated by former President Donald Trump.

  • EU Study Finds Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks, Kept From Public

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    The Jerusalem Post — June 9, 2021
    Palestinian Authority textbooks encourage violence against Israelis and include antisemitic messages, according to an unpublished report commissioned by the European Union in 2019 and obtained by The Jerusalem Post. The European Commission kept the report under wraps after receiving it from the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research earlier this year. Brussels directly funds the salaries of teachers and the publishers of textbooks, which, the report indicates, encourage and glorify violence against Israelis and Jews. The report, which is almost 200 pages long, examines 156 textbooks and 16 teachers’ guides. The texts are mostly from 2017-2019 but 18 are from 2020. Excerpts from the report were published in German newspaper BILD earlier this week. The European Commission said that it “takes this study seriously and will act on its findings as appropriate, with a view to bring about the full adherence to UNESCO standards in all Palestinian education materials.” The Foreign Ministry responded to the leaked report, saying that the research “proves Israel’s consistent claim that incitement is constantly present in Palestinian Authority textbooks. This is a claim that Israel has raised with the EU and its member states for many years…. Following BILD’s report, IMPACT-se, which monitors textbooks in the Middle East, released a statement reiterating what it has been claiming for years. “This report confirms the findings published by IMPACT-se over the last five years,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said. “The question is, will EU policy-makers finally take action to condition EU funding to the PA on positive reforms to the curriculum as the European Parliament has demanded on several occasions.” Also Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the State Department would be “looking very, very carefully” at how UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, addresses hateful messages in its textbooks. Earlier this year, the US announced that it would contribute $150 million to UNRWA. IMPACT-se released two reports this year finding that UNRWA created, printed and distributed material rejecting peace, glorifying terrorism and inciting violence.  Jan UNRWA Report    Feb UNRWA Report

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  • Ahead of EU Review of Palestinian Textbooks, New Report Shows More Rejection of Peace and Promotion of Hate

    EJP_Unpublished EU PA Review-Screen

    EJP — June 7, 2021
    Ahead of publication of the EU review into Palestinian textbooks, a new report finds that they have significantly deteriorated in terms of rejection of peace and promotion of hate. The new report by IMPACT-se (Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education) on the Palestinian curriculum has found it still openly promotes antisemitism, incites Palestinian children to violence and martyrdom and methodologically omits any discussion of peace in the context of Israel. IMPACT-se is a world leader in researching, translating and exposing intolerance in school textbooks from the Middle East and beyond, while advocating for positive change. The report shows that peace agreements, summits and proposals that were previously included in the Palestinian curriculum have been removed. This included Yasser Arafat’s call for a new era of peace, non-violence and coexistence, the name “Israel” on maps and the only existing lesson about peace advocacy as a universal ideal. Content continues to promote terrorists as heroes, encourage violent jihad and promote antisemitic tropes. Of the few changes made to the 2020–21 Palestinian Authority curriculum, most were minimal or cosmetic in nature. Problematic material remained mainly intact, or in some cases, made worse. The study comes ahead of the publication of the EU-funded review of Palestinian textbooks that was initially commissioned in April 2019. The review, conducted by the German Georg Eckert Institute, was initiated “with a view to identifying possible incitement to hatred and violence and any possible lack of compliance with UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance in education.” But the review has been riddled with errors from the start of the research process, casting serious doubt over the credibility of the final report. This concern has been echoed by parliamentarians from the EU, UK, Germany and Norway. IMPACT-se’s year-on-year analysis demonstrates the curriculum has moved further away from meeting UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance. This is despite promises made by the Palestinian Prime Minister and Minister for Education that positive changes would be made….

  • New Qatari School Textbooks Glorify Hamas, Reject Peace Between Israel and Arab States

    JNS_Qatar-Screen

    JNS — May 28, 21021
    Qatar prides itself on its high level of education and yet its own textbooks clearly do not meet accepted international standards, according to a new report by IMPACT-se, a research institute that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula within the prism of UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance. Its updated report evaluates the current Qatari curriculum in conjunction with the London-based think tank the Henry Jackson Society. Some of the key findings show that hatred towards Jews and clear anti-Semitism remain central themes of the curriculum. Jews are characterized as having global control. The persecution of Jews is justified by blaming the rise of the Nazi Party as a result of Jewish greed after World War I. Jews today are presented as disloyal, inherently treacherous and hostile enemies who seek “to bring the Muslims’ downfall and the end of Islam.” In addition, the curriculum openly rejects the normalization and peace-making between Israel and Arab nations. In the fall of 2020, Israel codified ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain as part of the Abraham Accords, followed by Sudan and Morocco. Hamas, recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, is described in the textbooks as a legitimate “Islamic resistance” movement which seeks to “oppose the Zionist project.” David Roberts of King’s College London, author of the report’s foreword and one of the most prominent Qatar experts today, told JNS “a state’s education curriculum feeds the waters in which state policy-makers swim.” He added that the Qatari curriculum “is a clear reflection of the direction of Qatari foreign policy, currently going through a period of change and testing the slowly venturing forth from a radical Islamist curriculum.”

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  • Qatar’s Curriculum Filled With Antisemitism, Anti-Israel Propaganda

    Ynet — May 25, 2021
    A recent report shows that Qatar’s curriculum is full of anti-Israel sentiment as well as extreme anti-Semitism and thus does not meet the UN’s educational standards on issues of acceptance, peace and tolerance. The report was published by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) and Includes an analysis of 314 textbooks studied in the Qatar over the last four years. According to the report, inciteful material was found across all grades and subjects, which often includes praise of Hamas rocket fire on Israel’s civilian population, the erasure of Israel from maps and claims that the “Zionists plot to harm Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Terrorist attacks are also described as a legitimate response to “Israeli oppression.” “From the first day of its establishment, Israel has been working to exterminate the Palestinian people, to Judaize Palestine and to erase any organization or institution that seeks to exalt anything Palestinian,” one textbook reads. “The heroic Palestinian people did not accept this and carried out the great intifada in 1987,” it says. The curriculum also portrays Jews as the reason for the development of the Nazi party in Germany, and as those who manipulate the world economy for their own gain. Jews are also portrayed as disloyal and treacherous by nature, and as those seeking to put an end to Islam and believe in the Prophet Mohammed. While the report does claim that the Qatari curriculum appears to be in a phase of transformation, and “somewhat less radical than previous versions,” it does note that the process of moderation is in its infancy. “Although there have been some changes in the textbooks, Qatar has persistently continued to promote extremist jihadist ideals,” added IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “Students are encouraged to look at the world through a lens created by the Muslim Brotherhood and anti-Semitism remains a key element in its education,” he said.

  • Antisemitism ‘Central’ to Qatari Education, NGO Report Claims

    i24 — May 25, 2021
    The Qatari education system continues to perpetuate anti-Semitic conspiracies and to delegitimize Israel, an examination of its teaching curriculum by NGOs suggest. The report “Understanding Qatari Ambition” was compiled by the research institute IMPACT-se in conjunction with the London-based think tank Henry Jackson Society. “Antisemitism is central to the curriculum. Students are taught that Jews played a large role in Germany’s defeat and downfall during the First World War,” the report says. “Jews are to blame for the rise of the Nazi Party by manipulating financial markets and creating wealth for themselves,” it continues, noting that the Holocaust is ignored throughout the curriculum. Israel, often labeled as the Zionist Entity, remains illegitimate, and while it can be engaged diplomatically, the education system discourages normalization between it and Arab states, IMPACT-se explained. Violence, including Hamas’ use of rockets, is glorified, the report states, as is the extremist Wahhabist creed of Salafism, predominant in Saudi Arabia. IMPACT-se describes its research as an analysis of schoolbooks and state education through the prism of UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance. Its report focuses on Qatar’s school curriculum for grades 1–12.  Marcus Sheff Video Interview

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  • Report: Qatar’s Grade School Curriculum Praises ‘Brave’ Hamas Attacks, Rejects Arab Normalization With Israel

    Algemeiner_Qatar-Screen

    The Algemeiner — May 24, 2021
    Qatar’s grades 1-12 curriculum contains extremely positive views of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, according to a new report, even as the Gulf state is being looked to as a major source of cash for the reconstruction of Gaza following Hamas’ latest war on Israel. According to a report by the group IMPACT-se, which studies curricula in various countries according to established United Nations standards, the Qatari educational system continues to propagate antisemitic themes, the glorification of violence, and the delegitimization of Israel, along with deeply problematic views of the Hamas militant group. Despite Hamas’ terrorist activity, Qatari educational materials refer to it as an “Islamic resistance” movement that works to “oppose the Zionist project.” Palestinian terrorism in general is portrayed as legitimate, with atrocities being referred to as “armed” or “military” operations. Any normalization between Israel and Arab countries, despite the recent Abraham Accords struck between the Jewish state and two of Qatar’s Gulf neighbors is vehemently rejected. One textbook asked students to suggest a list of ideas to protect against “normalization in all its forms,” warning against so-called Israeli efforts to “Judaize” Jerusalem. The IMPACT-se report does note some improvement over previous Qatari educational materials, calling the latest versions “less radical,” though adding that “the process of moderation is in its infancy.” “Some particularly offensive material has been removed after decades of radical propaganda in Qatari schools; however, the curriculum still does not meet international standards of peace and tolerance,” the report said. IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff commented, “The Qataris might take this opportunity to promote peace in the region and stop describing Hamas firing of thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian populations as ‘brave’ and ‘remarkable’ in their textbooks.” “Some changes to the textbooks have been made, but the country stubbornly persists in its promotion of radical jihadi ideals,” he asserted. “Students are encouraged to look at the world through a Muslim Brotherhood-created lens, and antisemitism remains a central component of Qatari education.”

  • Understanding Qatari Ambition: The Curriculum 2016—20 (Updated)

    This IMPACT-se report continues to focus on Qatar’s school curriculum for grades 1–12. It has been updated in conjunction with the London-based think tank, Henry Jackson Society and a foreword by Dr. David Roberts of King’s College London. TShadow of Rulers Over Dohahe study assesses over 314 textbooks, building upon previous IMPACT-se research within the prism of UNESCO standards and other UN and international declarations, recommendations and documents relating to education for peace and tolerance. Our review determined that the Qatari curriculum does not yet meet those international standards. As highlighted in the foreword, the curriculum reflects in many ways, the same overall tension facing Qatar’s leadership—between Qatar’s Islamist affinities and its desire to be seen as an open, neutral and progressive leader in the Arabian Gulf. Textbooks teach Qatari children to accept others different than themselves and advocate for peace—at the same time echoing antisemitic canards and reinforcing the Qatari regime’s support for Islamist terror organizations. While the curriculum emphasizes nationalist identities over tribal affiliations, it is also influenced by pan-Islamic and pan-Arab nationalism as well as elements of Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood. Despite a slight movement away from radical jihadism, much remains. Nevertheless, Qatar’s curriculum remains heavily influenced by Western educators—displaying the Qatari gift for embracing contradictions.  2021 Report

  • The 2020–21 Palestinian School Curriculum Grades 1–12—Selected Examples

    This updated May 2021 IMPACT-se study analyzed textbooks used for the 2020-21 Palestinian curriculum (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and UNRWA) and includes selected examples from the research of 222 textbooks. Of those, 105 textbooks have not changed at all and remain as they were in 2019. Essentially, there were that no substantive positive changes made to the current Palestinian curriculum. Textbooks remain openly antisemitic and continue to encourage violence, jihad and martyrdom while peace is still not taught as preferable or even possible. Based on IMPACT-se’s UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance, our findings show that the new PA curriculum does not meet these international standards and in some cases have even added more problematic content, compared to the previous curriculum.   Selected Examples   Changes

  • Encroachment of Pan-Turkism in Education

    Ekathimerini.com — May 21, 2021
    A curriculum focused on Pan-Turkism, neo-Ottomanism and Turkey’s global dominance has developed from an ideological mix of Islamism and nationalism which began to invade Turkish elementary and high school education as early as the 1990s and continued following the victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2002 elections. All of this is portrayed in a report covering 28 Turkish textbooks that were published over the last two years, jointly released by Israeli institute IMPACT-se and British think tank Henry Jackson Institute reveals that Turkey has now surpassed Saudi Arabia as the center of criticism leveled against the West conclude that the Turkish educational system, which until recently was a leading example in the Islamic world for its secular approach and tolerance for minorities … has regressed into a … depiction of principles and concepts including jihad, the martyrdom of soldiers who die in battle, as well as the emergence of neo-Ottomanism and pan-Turkism as guiding nationalist and religious world theories. The report also states that, in terms of religious education, the Turkish school curriculum looks solely to the teachings of Sunni Islam and fosters a sympathetic outlook on the motives of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda. Despite the shifts that had already taken place after 2002, the changes observed over the last three years represent the first true intervention in school textbooks that took place during the Erdogan years. And despite positive references to Judaism and Jewish culture in the new textbooks, including mentioning the Holocaust for the first time, these books are a stark contrast with the new atmosphere of positive reform that has lately defined education in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and the UAE. Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, stresses that “the idea that jihad is today a part of the Turkish educational program that idealizes the idea of martyrdom in battle may be in line with what we already know of Erdogan but continues to be a shock.”

  • Reform Gaza’s Education System

    Israel Hayom (Opinion) — May 18, 2021
    In the first decade of its operation, UNRWA committed to removing contents that encourage hatred, specifically towards Israel, from school textbooks and materials. Unfortunately, this task did not succeed, nor did it properly monitor the issue. UNRWA uses Palestinian Authority official textbooks which are used in hundreds of schools in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, according to the mandate given to them by the Host Country curriculum. But recently the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) claimed that it was actually UNRWA employees who composed and disseminated problematic educational materials that could be interpreted as harsher and more extreme than those approved even by the PA itself. The textbooks include content that has already been strongly condemned by the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination in 2019. Over the past year, UNRWA has written, produced and distributed educational materials for use in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which reached more than 320,000 students, including, according to some claims, such problematic content. Programs and curricula have often been set and approved for use by the Palestinian Authority itself. UNRWA Commissioner General Philip Lazarini and other UNRWA officials, who were exposed to the materials, were forced to admit that this content was contrary to UN values and pledged to address the issue by November 2020. But from information and findings we have, they did not do so.

  • UNRWA Textbooks Draw European Censure

    AIJAC_EU Parlia Condemns UNRWA_Screen

    AIJAC — May 11, 2021
    In a step hailed as “unprecedented,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been censured by the European Parliament for the use of school textbooks that contain hate speech and incitement to violence becoming the first legislature to adopt a resolution expressing concern “about the hate speech and violence taught in Palestinian school textbooks and used in schools by UNRWA”and “about the effectiveness of UNRWA’s mechanisms of adherence to UN values” in its educational materials. The EP resolution’s adoption followed publication of research by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, or IMPACT-se, an organization which monitors educational content and compares it against international standards on peace and tolerance derived from UNESCO declarations and resolutions. IMPACT-se’s January 2021 report examined materials produced by UNRWA to facilitate at-home learning between March and September 2020. The report contains example after example of the insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad into Palestinian textbooks across all grades and subjects, including math and science. It found that the curriculum was imbued with extreme nationalist and Islamist ideologies, and lacked any material on the historical Jewish presence in today’s Israel and Palestinian territories, or on positive portrayals of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. A ninth-grade Social Studies booklet produced by UNRWA accuses Israel of deliberately polluting Palestinian territories, stealing, and spreading disease by dumping radioactive and toxic waste. Economic ties between the Israeli and Palestinian economies are depicted as a measure intended to weaken the Palestinians. The report concluded: “The unavoidable impression is that UNRWA, as a UN organization, knowingly teaches material that is inconsistent with UN values in its Gaza Strip and West Bank schools. In addition, UNRWA’s lack of transparency to address such problematic issues make it impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts.” IMPACT-se director Marcus Sheff stated, “UNRWA is complicit in radicalizing schoolchildren through the glorification of terrorists, encouragement to violence and teaching of blood libels to Palestinian schoolchildren.”  February 2021 Report

  • Watchdog Says US Senator Missed Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks by Visiting UNRWA Program in Jordan

    Algemeiner_US Sen Misses Chance_Screen

    The Algemeiner — May 6, 2021
    A watchdog group said that US Senator Chris Murphy missed hateful and inciting Palestinian educational materials by visiting a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) facility in Jordan, after the Connecticut Democrat said the Trump administration was “wrong” to withdraw funding for the body’s education programs. The visit comes just a month after the US State Department in April resumed $150 million in financial assistance to the UNRWA after the Trump administration cut off aid to the Palestinians, first announced in Aug. 2018 amid a deterioration of relations between the White House and the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. The UN agency is dedicated solely to the descendants of Palestinian refugees and has been denounced by Israel for propagating antisemitism. “The Senator visited a Jordanian school where it is gratifying that politics is not taught in relation to learning about air conditioning repair, “Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se—an Israeli research organization that monitors school curricula throughout the Middle East—told The Algemeiner. “However, if he had visited Gaza and the West Bank where the large majority of UNRWA schools are situated and where the Palestinian Authority textbooks are taught, he would have found that fourth grade children learn math through counting suicide bombers and that tenth graders are told that Jews control finance, media and governments. There is a very good reason why in April, the US Mission to the UN insisted on UNRWA taking steps to meaningful reforms,” said Sheff. On April 28, the European Parliament passed a resolution expressing concern at the “hate speech and violence” taught in Palestinian schools run by the UNRWA.  IMPACT-se Report

  • EU Parliament Passes Resolution Censuring UNRWA for Teaching Hate in Schools

    JNS_EU Parlia Condemns UNRWA_Screen

    JNS — April 29, 2021
    The European Union Parliament passed a resolution on Wednesday that targeted the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for teaching “hate speech and violence” in its schools demanding that hateful material be “removed immediately” from UNRWA-run schools and insisting that E.U. funding “must be made conditional” on the educational content complying with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and non-violence. UNRWA’s teaching materials came under fire in two reports published in January and February 2021 by IMPACT-se. The watchdog group found that educational writings created, printed and distributed by the U.N. agency included content that rejected peace while glorifying terrorism and incitement to violence. UNRWA tried to defend the existence of what it called “inappropriate material,” saying that it was “mistakenly” distributed to students at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority in the European Parliament engaged in intense lobbying to stop the resolution that was passed this week with P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh even appearing in front of the parliament’s Committee of Foreign Affairs to defend the curriculum taught in UNRWA schools. IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said the resolution is an “important step in the fight to prevent UNRWA from inciting many thousands of children every school day to violence, extremism and anti-Semitism.” He added, “It is the very first time a legislature has stepped up and said to UNRWA, ‘enough.’ Today, the European Parliament has shown the way for all those who do not want to write blank checks to this deeply flawed organization. It is crystal-clear that an external audit of UNRWA’s teaching materials is necessary before millions of taxpayer dollars are transferred to finance the daily radicalization of children.”

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  • EU Parliament Condemns UNRWA for ‘Teaching Hate, Violence’ in PA Schools

    Israel Hayom_EU Parlia Condemns UNRWA_Screen

    Israel Hayom — April 29, 2021
    The European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution condemning the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for teaching hate and violence in Palestinian Authority schools. The resolution expresses concern “about the hate speech and violence taught in Palestinian school textbooks and used in schools by UNRWA” and insists that financial aid be conditioned on the removal of educational materials that promote hatred and incitement to violence. “This is a really important step in the fight to prevent UNRWA from inciting many thousands of children every school-day to violence, extremism and antisemitism,” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, a non-profit organization that monitors the content of school textbooks, said in reaction to the resolution being adopted. The legislation passed despite lobbying efforts against it by UNRWA and the PA, including Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh appearing in front of the parliament’s Committee of Foreign Affairs a week before the vote. Last year, the EU passed three similar resolutions calling out the PA for not removing hateful materials from its textbooks used by UNRWA in the Palestinian education system. Norwegian lawmakers in December 2020 voted to cut the financial assistance to the PA over antisemitic outbursts and incitement to violence in its educational materials. IMPACT-se Report

  • EU Condemns UNRWA for ‘Hate Speech and Violence’ Taught in PA Schools

    YNET — April 29, 2021
    The European Union on Wednesday passed an unprecedented resolution to condemn the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees for printing, distributing and using textbooks inciting and endorsing violence against Israel and the Jewish people in Palestinian Authority schools. The resolution expresses concern “about the hate speech and violence taught in Palestinian school textbooks and used in schools” by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and insists that financial aid be conditioned on the removal of educational materials that promote hatred and incitement to violence. The resolution was brought to a vote following efforts by IMPACT-se, a non-profit organization that monitors the content of school textbooks, which also published two extensive reports on the UNRWA curriculum [in January and February]. Examples given by IMPACT-se include Arabic grammar exercises that use the violent language, such as one that accuses the “Zionists” of deliberately setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. “This is a really important step in the fight to prevent UNRWA from inciting many thousands of children every school-day to violence, extremism and antisemitism,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff in reaction to the adoption of the resolution. The vote on the resolution took place despite lobbying efforts by UNRWA and the PA, including an appearance by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in front of the ECommittee of Foreign Affairs a week before the vote. ast year, the EU passed three similar resolutions calling out the PA for not removing hateful materials from its textbooks used by UNRWA in the Palestinian education system. Norwegian lawmakers in December 2020 voted to cut the financial assistance to the PA over anti-Semitic content and incitement to violence in its educational materials. The governments of Canada and Australia have also recently announced that they are launching an investigation against UNRWA following the extreme and violent content included in its study materials.

  • EU Moves to Stop Funding Palestinian Terrorists, Inciting Textbooks

    JP_EU Parlia Condemns UNRWA_Screen

    The Jerusalem Post — April 28, 2021
    The European Parliament Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to ensure EU funds do not reach anyone affiliated with terrorists. It also rapped UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, for inciting hate and violence in its textbooks. The legislature’s annual budgetary report says the EU must “thoroughly verify” that its funds are not “allocated or linked to any cause or form of terrorism and/or religious and political radicalization.” Any funds that did go to any person or organization with terrorist ties must be “proactively recovered, and recipients involved are excluded from future union funding.” ALSO IN the budget review was a call for EU aid to UNRWA to be conditioned on the UN agency removing incitement from its school textbooks. The European Parliament “is concerned about the hate speech and violence taught in Palestinian school textbooks and used in schools by UNRWA … [and] insists that UNRWA acts in full transparency … to ensure that content adheres to UN values and does not encourage hatred.”It “requests that all school material which is not in compliance with these standards be removed immediately; insists that the earmarking of EU funding such as PEGASE for salaries paid to teachers and public servants in the education sector must be made conditional on educational material and course content complying with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and nonviolence.” IMPACT-se, an organization that analyzes textbooks in the Middle East, released two reports this year finding that UNRWA created, printed and distributed material rejecting peace, glorifying terrorism and inciting violence. UNRWA said the material, which was given out at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, came from host countries; that they “acted quickly to remedy the situation”; and developed an online learning platform to ensure students only get approved educational materials. However, IMPACT-se continued to find materials that incite violence the following month. IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff called the resolution “a really important step in the fight to prevent UNRWA from inciting many thousands of children every school-day to violence, extremism and antisemitism. It is the very first time a legislature has stepped up and said to UNRWA, ‘Enough.'”  Jan Report  Feb Report

  • EU Parliament Condemns UNRWA for ‘Hate Speech and Violence’ Taught in PA Schools

    i24_EU Parlia Condemns UNRWA_Screen

    i24 — April 28, 2021
    The European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution condemning the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for teaching hate and violence in Palestinian Authority (PA) schools. The resolution expresses concern “about the hate speech and violence taught in Palestinian school textbooks and used in schools by UNRWA” and insists that financial aid be conditioned on the removal of educational materials that promote hatred and incitement to violence. “This is a really important step in the fight to prevent UNRWA from inciting many thousands of children every school-day to violence, extremism and antisemitism,” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, a non-profit organization that monitors the content of school textbooks, said in reaction to the resolution being adopted. The legislation passed despite lobbying efforts against it by UNRWA and the PA, including Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh appearing in front of the parliament’s Committee of Foreign Affairs a week before the vote. Last year, the EU passed three similar resolutions calling out the PA for not removing hateful materials from its textbooks used by UNRWA in the Palestinian education system.  IMPACT-se Report

  • European Parliament Condemns UNWRA for Teaching Hate and Inciting to Violence in Schools

    EJP_EU Parlia Condemns UNRWA_Screen EJP — April 28, 2021 The European Parliament adopted Wednesday an unprecedented resolution condemning UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, for teaching hate and incitement to violence in its schools. The resolution demands that hateful material be “removed immediately” and insists that EU funding “must be made conditional” on educational material promoting peace and tolerance. IMPACT-se, an Israeli NGO, played a crucial role in initiating the adoption of these measures, working alongside dozens of parliament members from across the political groups in Brussels over the past six months. The legislation was adopted despite an intensive lobbying campaign by UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority in the European Parliament to stop the resolution. UNRWA’s own teaching materials were placed in the international spotlight following two reports published in January and February 2021 by IMPACT-se that found material created, printed, and distributed by UNRWA contained content that rejects peace and glorifies terrorism and incitement to violence. The reports show that school material distributed by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) continues to glorify jihad and incite violence in 2021 despite promises by UNRWA that the hateful content would be removed. It found that “a spelling exercise created by UNRWA condemns peace and normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states”; “another exercise describes ‘pieces of corpses’ being dispersed throughout city streets to teach grade-nine spelling”; and Israel, a U.N. member state, “is solely referred to as ‘the Enemy’ or ‘the Occupation’ and is erased from maps of the region.” The report claims that material covered distributed from March 2020 to September 2020 “egregiously violated U.N. values, UNESCO standards, and UNRWA’s stated principles.” According to Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, “This is an important step in the fight to prevent UNRWA from inciting many thousands of children every school-day to violence, extremism and antisemitism. It is the very first time a legislature has stepped up said to UNWRA, ‘enough,’” He added, “UNRWA’s reaction to the legislation is just another indication of its profound malaise. Instead of honest reflection and a determination to do better, it concentrated on lobbying efforts that rolled out the same disingenuous and debunked claims. But today, the European Parliament has shown the way for all those who do not want to write blank checks to this deeply flawed organization. It is now crustal clear that an external audit of UNWRA’s teaching materials is necessary before millions of taxpayer dollars are transferred to finance the daily radicalization of children.”

  • Turkish, Not Saudi, Schoolbooks Under Scrutiny

    BESA — April 28, 2021
    In a sign of the times, Turkish schoolbooks have replaced Saudi texts as the focus of criticism of supremacist and intolerant curricula in the Muslim world. according to a recently released analysis of 28 Turkish textbooks, that country’s education system, which was once a model of secularism that taught evolution, cultural openness, tolerance toward minorities, and Kurdish as a minority language, has increasingly replaced those concepts with notions of jihad, martyrdom in battle, and a neo-Ottoman and pan-Turkist ethno-religious worldview in its curricula. The report, by Israeli research group IMPACT-se and Britain’s Henry Jackson Society, asserted that recent curricula—in a NATO country that has long aspired to EU membership—include anti-American and anti-Armenian messages, display “sympathy for the motivations of ISIS and Al-Qaeda,” focus exclusively on Sunni Muslim teachings, and replace electives such as Kurdish with religious courses. The textbooks promote concepts like “Turkish World Domination” and the Turkish or Ottoman “Ideal of the World Order,” the report said. “Education is a prime pillar in [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s efforts to drape the country in the cloak of Sharia… The Ministry of Education has been pressuring citizens to conform to conservative Islamic practices in public schools,” commented Turkey scholar Soner Cagaptay in a foreword to the study. The fact of the matter is that the textbooks, despite positive references to Hebrew, Jewish civilization, and, for the first time, the Holocaust, contrast starkly with the latest reformed curricula in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as efforts by Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim civil society movement, to remove legal categories such as infidels from the faith’s jurisprudence. IMPACT-se and Human Rights Watch recently reported, for the first time in two decades of post-9/11 pressure on Saudi Arabia to remove supremacist references to Jews, Christians, and Shiites, that the kingdom had made significant progress in revising textbooks. By the same token, the UAE last year amended its textbooks as it forged diplomatic relations with Israel. “The treaty is not just presented as a fact in the textbook. Students are presented with religious, ethical, and national reasons to support the agreement and employ critical thinking in completing an exercise about the importance of peacemaking,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said. “The idea that jihad is now part of the Turkish curriculum, that martyrdom in battle is now glorified, might not be surprising given what we know about Erdogan … But seeing it in black and white is quite a shock,” Sheff added in a separate interview, noting that the president has fired some 21,000 teachers and arrested large numbers of academics in recent years. “There was no reason to think he wouldn’t try to influence textbooks,” Sheff said.

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  • Houthis Recruit Child Soldiers

    Daily Tribune_Houthis

    The Daily Tribune (Bahrain) — April 25, 2021
    New evidence has emerged throwing light on Iran-backed Houthi militias role in recruiting child soldiers. Recent videos surfaced on social media purportedly show the militarisation of school in Yemen controlled by Iran-backed Houthis. The Al-Arabiya report citing new video clips says young children reportedly from alAssriyah Modern School in Sana’a act out a play where a boy is called to war and iskilled in battle, supposedly becoming a martyr. The boy’s mother in the act then hands his rifle to another child. “For the sake of pride, for the sake of dignity, we must sacrifice so that future generations live in pride and honor,” the boy says in the performance watched by other schoolchildren. The Houthi militia has forcibly recruited 10,300 children in Yemen since 2014, according to a report released in February by The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and the SAM for Rights and Liberties. The same report showed that the Iran-backed Houthis use schools and other educational centers to recruit minors into their ranks. The militia has also targeted the education system by disseminating propagandist textbooks spreading hate against the group’s opponents as part of the school curriculum, according to a study published by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE). Reading material for schoolchildren reportedly shows graphic images of deceased bodies and portrays the U.S. as a “Greater Satan” responsible for the evils of the world.

  • UNRWA Textbooks Must Be Monitored

    Israel Hayom — April 20, 2021
    The Biden administration plans to provide $235 million in aid to the Palestinians, reinstating part of the assistance package that was axed by his predecessor, President Donald Trump. The Biden administration should have made reinstating Palestinian aid conditional. This would mean that if the Palestinian Authority did not actively participate in finding a realistic solution to the conflict rather than rejecting out of hand each and every peace initiative, the UNRWA would threaten to pull out. This renewal should also require that UNRWA textbooks are monitored and faculty members are screened. The Biden administration says that it has a commitment from the UNRWA of “zero tolerance” for antisemitism, racism or discrimination. But how can such promises be kept if the UNRWA is well-known for its mismanagement and for antisemitic content in its textbooks? An Israeli watchdog, IMPACT-se, discovered the incitement to violence and hatred in the UNRWA educational textbooks and analyzed the Palestinian textbooks and found that children were asked to do mathematics problems using martyrs from the First Intifada to calculate equations, students were told to “defend the motherland with blood,” and the instructors were claiming that Israel deliberately dumps radioactive and toxic waste in the West Bank. This shows that incitement to violence is not just embedded in the educational curriculum, but is being promulgated by the instructors as well. UNRWA must monitor not only the curriculum but its faculty members too. The Arab Gulf states are keen to raise their children to peace, while the Palestinian Authority insists on raising the next generation to hate. This gap will widen even more after the Abraham Accords. For instance, the UAE 2020 Islamic studies textbook praises the peace initiative with Israel by stating that cooperation and peace are fundamental Islamic values and UAE national characteristics. Another example is a social studies textbook, which mentions Judaism as belonging in the Arab region. This approach differs sharply from how the Palestinian are raising their children, which will further deepen the divisions between the two nations.

  • Yemen‘s Houthis ’Indoctrinating Children With Violence and Antisemitism’

    The National_Houthis_Screen

    The National — April 16, 2021
    Yemeni children are being indoctrinated with violent and anti-Semitic propaganda in areas controlled by the Iran-backed Houthis, a teachers’ union said. Yahya Al-Yinai, a spokesman for the Yemeni Teachers Syndicate, told the Daily Telegraph that the rebel group had overhauled the teaching curriculum and installed its supporters as principals in nearly 90 per cent of the schools it controls. He accused Iran of orchestrating the changes in a policy of “cultural colonialism” to spread its revolutionary ideology into Yemen. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (Impact-se) recently produced a report which said the Houthis”textbooks sought to indoctrinate children to sacrifice their lives. Marcus Sheff, the chief executive of Impact-se, said that the Houthis appeared to have “no red lines” in their education drive. “The closest we have seen to being this extreme is ISIS materials,” he said. Houthi textbooks included graphic images of dead children and glorified violence as “the only solution for resolving conflicts,” the Impact-se report said. The United States was described as the “Greater Satan” and as the enemy of all Arabs and Muslims, it said. The American flag was used in images as a symbol of “oppression, colonialism or simply the enemy,” researchers found. Children were taught a Houthi slogan including the words “Death to America, Death to Israel” as part of an exercise on learning Arabic, the report said. Meanwhile, the 1979 Iranian revolution was “awarded much praise.” A UN expert group in Yemen previously raised concern about the “military use of schools” depriving children of their right to education. The experts warned of the “manipulation of education, and targeting of educators,” while there were also reports of the Houthis using schools for weapons storage.

  • Houthis Indoctrinating Children in Yemen ‘With Violent, Anti-Semitic and Extremist Material’

    The Telegraph_Houthis_Screen

    The Telegraph — April 15, 2021
    Three million Yemeni children living in areas under Houthi control are being indoctrinated with education material filled with violent, anti-Semitic propaganda, an official from the Yemeni Teachers Syndicate has told the Telegraph. Yahya Al-Yinai, the union’s head of media, said he had documented hundreds of changes to the teaching curriculum by the Iran-backed group, which since 2014 has fought a war against the government of Yemen. The group has also replaced nearly 90 percent of school principals with pro-Houthi figures, he told The Telegraph. Iran is overseeing the changes, he said, accusing Tehran of pursuing a “policy of cultural colonialism” by trying to introduce the “ideology of the Khomeinist revolution in Yemen through public education.” The group’s worldview is reflected in its slogan, which translates as, “Allah is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam,” which was officially adopted after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Houthis say the slogan is not to be taken literally. “We do not really want death to anyone,” a spokesperson for the group said in 2014. The slogan is simply against the interference of those governments.” An issue of the pro-Houthi magazine Jihad, which is aimed at children, shows a photo of a young Yemeni girl lying on the ground next to a school bag and exercise books, apparently dead. The caption reads: “She was killed on her way to school by an airstrike of the Saudi aggression.” “The graphic nature of the material really took us aback,” said Marcus Sheff, who heads IMPACT-se, an Israel-based research, policy and advocacy organization which produced a recent report reviewing Houthi educational material. The report argues that the rebels have made education a core pillar of their campaign to increase their influence and that their teachings illustrate why they are resistant to peaceful conflict resolution. In the material reviewed, “peace is explicitly dismissed as a form of ‘capitulation,’ and people who advocate for it are framed as fools, cowards and even traitors,” said Arik Agassi, the organization’s COO. An official in the Houthi education ministry did not respond to requests for comment but the rebels have repeatedly blamed the Saudi-led air campaign for exposing Yemen’s children to violence. Mr Sheff says the Houthi education materials represent some of the more egregious violations of UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance in current Middle Eastern curricula reviewed in 25 years of research. “There are usually at least some restraints that other extremist states put on themselves with relation to their education materials but the Houthis seem to have no red lines,” he said. “The closest we have seen to being this is extreme is ISIS materials.”

  • Yemeni Teachers’ Union Slams Houthi Curriculum Takeover

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    Arab News — April 15, 2021
    Yemen’s union of teachers has denounced the Iran-backed Houthi militia’s takeover of the country’s schools and curriculum, and accused Tehran of using the education system to pursue a “policy of cultural colonialism.” Yahya Al-Yinai, head of media at the Yemeni Teachers Syndicate, told the Daily Telegraph that the Houthis have made hundreds of changes to the teaching curriculum since they seized power in a violent 2014 coup. He also said they have replaced nearly 90 percent of school principals with pro-Houthi allies. Al-Yinai accused Iran of overseeing the changes, saying it is pursuing a :policy of cultural colonialism” by trying to introduce the “ideology of the Khomeinist revolution in Yemen through public education.” A report by education watchdog IMPACT-se found that they have been using this position of power to foster hostility to the U.S., Saudi Arabia and other adversaries of Iran. IMPACT-se found that the materials used to educate them are “rife with violence and imagery of death, irrespective of the age of the target audience.” These images, which include pictures of dead children, are used “to portray the Houthis’ enemies as monstrous and inhumane.” The organization found that through their signature magazine Jihad, the Houthis aim to indoctrinate Yemen’s next generation toward violence and extremism. “The Houthi materials grossly violate the ideal of peacemaking, entirely dismissing peace as an option in international conflict resolution, and condemning those who advocate for it as cowardly, foolish or traitorous,” IMPACT-se found. “Instead, violent jihad, sacrifice in battle, and supporting the war effort in any way possible is held up as an ideal and a central virtue.” Marcus Sheff, IMPACT-se’s CEO, told Arab News: “Despite lip service to Yemeni nationhood, the Houthis are far more interested in radicalizing than in homogeneous education.” He said the violent and graphic Houthi education materials could have a lasting impact on children exposed to them. “Any changes that radicalize—and traumatize—young children are significant,” he added. “These changes fly in the face of those in the region who are trying to moderate curricula, not to incite violence and hate, as are the Houthis.” Arik Agrissi, chief operating officer at IMPACT-se, said: “Textbooks can act as either a barrier or blueprint to radicalization. In the Houthis’ case, it’s explicitly the latter.”

  • J Street and Americans for Peace Now Back Bill That Restricts Israeli Spending of US Aid

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    JTA — April 14, 2021
    Days after resuming U.S. funding for the troubled U.N. agency that administers to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the Biden administration says it has the commitment of UNRWA to “zero tolerance” for antisemitism, racism or discrimination. In January, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, a watchdog, reported that UNRWA textbooks were “rife with problematic content that contradicts stated U.N. values.” The Biden official said the U.S. government is “completely committed to ensuring that U.S. assistance to the Palestinians through UNRWA, like all other U.S. assistance, is delivered consistent with the principles of transparency, accountability, efficiency, effectiveness and neutrality.” “UNWRA has made clear their rock-solid commitments to the United States on the issues of transparency, accountability, and neutrality in all its operations,” a senior U.S. official said in an interview this weekend, describing the process that led last week to the administration announcing the resumption of funding for the agency. “And what neutrality means in the context of the United Nations is zero tolerance for racism, discrimination, and antisemitism.” President Donald Trump ended assistance to UNRWA in 2018. Trump administration officials said the agency’s precept—treating millions of Palestinians as refugees — perpetuated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That was the claim by Israel’s U.S. ambassador, Gilad Erdan, in a highly unusual rebuke of the Biden administration when the $150 million in assistance was announced. The Biden official rejected the precept that designating the descendants of Palestinian refugees as refugees perpetuated the conflict. The refugee problem would be addressed in a two-state solution, the official said, which was the end goal of the Biden administration.

    Other news outlets with this article:
    Jewish Exponent

  • Biden Administration Says UNRWA Commits to ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Antisemitism

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    The Times of Israel — April 13, 2021
    Days after resuming US funding for the troubled UN agency that administers to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the Biden administration says it has the commitment of UNRWA to “zero tolerance” for antisemitism, racism or discrimination. UNRWA has been plagued for years by reports of mismanagement and of antisemitic content in the textbooks used by the agency in the schools it administers. The Trump administration ended assistance to UNRWA in 2018, saying the agency’s precept—treating millions of Palestinians as refugees—perpetuated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In January, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, a watchdog, reported that UNRWA textbooks were “rife with problematic content that contradicts stated U.N. values.” A Biden official agreed that there were “significant” examples of antisemitism in the textbooks. The official, however, said the Biden administration rejected the precept that designating the descendants of Palestinian refugees as refugees perpetuated the conflict. The refugee problem would be addressed in a two-state solution, the official said, which was the end goal of the Biden administration. Israel, however, has long pushed for UNRWA’s closure, arguing that it helps perpetuate the conflict with the Palestinians since it confers refugee status upon descendants of those originally displaced around the time of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.

  • America Has Made a Serious Mistake on UNRWA

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    JNS — April 9, 2021
    The Biden administration’s decision to include $150 million for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as part of its restoration of more than $200 million of financial aid to the Palestinians symbolizes its deeper refusal to recognize the gargantuan obstacle this agency has placed in the way of resolving their ongoing conflict with Israel. Palestinians registered with UNRWA as refugees are able to pass their refugee status to succeeding generations, essentially assigning the entire Palestinian population, whether in the Palestinian territories, Syria or Lebanon to refugee status. Israel is blamed for this condition and UNRWA provides Palestinians with the requisite ideological tools to preserve their generalized hatred of Israel. In the very schools portrayed by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken as providing an essential service, it is also the case that hatred and contempt for Jews and Israel is ingrained as a habit of mind, pressed upon impressionable kids in the playground, in math class and certainly in their history and language studies. For those tempted to believe that Palestinian schoolchildren would be provided with a more benign view of Israel in the event of achieving Palestinian statehood, consider IMPACT-se’s assessment of how they are taught to perceive Jews. “UNRWA-produced materials were also found to consistently ignore Jewish history, despite Jews being one of the major ethnic groups of the region. Historical Jewish presence in the region is not discussed and no substantial information was provided about Jewish culture or religion which would have been well within UNRWA’s mandate to ‘enrich the curriculum,'” the report remarked. “The majority of references with regard to this issue included allegations that Israel is striving to systematically ‘Judaize’ Jerusalem … Jews are rarely mentioned in non-negative or neutral contexts.”

    Other news outlets with this article:
    Israel Hayom
    The Algemeiner
    J-Wire
    Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle

  • Biden Funding Decision Inflames Debate Over Textbooks for Palestinian Refugees

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    The Hill — April 9, 2021
    Groups concerned about antisemitism are urging President Biden to take a closer look at U.S. funding for a program giving Palestinian refugee children “textbooks riddled with hateful lessons” as Biden resumes humanitarian assistance to the agency providing them. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and a chorus of pro-Israel groups are calling for the Biden administration to carry out strict oversight of textbooks and learning tools used by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the primary humanitarian assistance organization for Palestinian refugees. A number of pro-Israel groups and free speech advocates, including Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America and the Anti-Defamation League, are urging lawmakers to lobby U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to ensure the UNRWA’s textbooks are absent documented language of “incitement to violence and antisemitic hatred.” “UNRWA rejects allegations that it teaches hate or antisemitism,” Elizabeth Campbell, the director the UNRWA’s Representative Office of Washington, wrote in response for comment to The Hill. “We do teach human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance, and our teachers, school environments, and student graduates are a testament to these values. A report in January published by the Jerusalem-based advocacy group IMPACT-SE said that decades of research on Palestinian Authority textbooks provided in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have “consistently shown a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects.” IMPACT-SE’s report further said that UNRWA-produced materials, particularly in Gaza, employed problematic language found in the Palestinian Authority textbooks. ” “The material is characterized by an unambiguous adoption of the Palestinian and the Pan-Arab nationalist narrative, completely abandoning any façade of UN-mandated neutrality; an unapologetic attempt to erase and delegitimize Israel, a UN member state, and to a large extent the Jewish people as well; multiple occurrences of unfounded, incendiary conspiracy theories that stoke hostility; and the encouragement of violent conflict resolution, with no equivalent encouragement of peacemaking,” the organization wrote in its report.

  • Pro-Israel Groups Press Congress on Hate in UNRWA School Texts

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    The Jerusalem Post — April 8, 2021
    A coalition of organizations led by Hadassah is lobbying Congress to sign a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, urging him to make sure that UNRWA “expeditiously make public all information regarding its review and teaching procedures, as well as the content of all textbook pages currently being used in these schools.” A letter circulating among members of Congress also calls on the UN to independently review these procedures and make those findings publicly available. Hadassah holds special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Among the organizations that are working with Hadassah on the new initiative: the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), IMPACT-se, B’nai B’rith International, Union of Orthodox Jewish congregations (OU), the Zionist Organization of America, and Christians United for Israel. The coalition started sending letters to Congressional members on Wednesday, the same day the Biden administration announced its intention to restore funding for the organization. “As representatives of leading organizations in the American pro-Israel community, we urge you to join in this effort by signing the attached letter to Secretary-General Guterres,” the coalition wrote in a letter to members of Congress. “It is critical that we stand together to demand systemic reform to educational materials used by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) before one more child is taught from textbooks riddled with hateful lessons,” the letter reads. “We encourage the US Congress to use its influence for changes that will aid the possibilities of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, reduce antisemitic sentiment, and help serve an antidote to the dangerous phenomenon of hatred toward Jews,” the coalition wrote to members of Congress. Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act. The bill requires the secretary of state to submit a report to Congress reviewing textbooks produced by the Palestinian Authority. Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act. The bill requires the secretary of state to submit a report to Congress reviewing textbooks produced by the Palestinian Authority.  IMPACT-se PA Report   IMPACT-se UNRWA Report

  • Pro-Israel Groups Press Congress to Help End ‘Hateful Content’ in UNRWA Schools

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    JNS — April 8, 2021
    Several pro-Israel and Jewish organizations are urging U.S. legislators to pressure the United Nations to end hateful antisemitic content found in the curriculum of schools run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The letter to Congress—spearheaded by Hadassah and signed by more than a dozen leading Jewish and pro-Israel groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith, the Orthodox Union, the Zionist Organization of America, the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement and Christians United for Israel—calls on lawmakers to urge “U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to shield students in U.N.-run schools from lessons steeped in anti-Semitism and supportive of violence.” “It is critical that we stand together to demand systemic reform to educational materials used by … UNRWA before one more child is taught from textbooks riddled with hateful lessons,” the letter states. It cited a recent report by IMPACT-se that discovered how UNRWA staff have authored and disseminated educational content, which in some cases was “more egregious than that of the Palestinian Authority.” It further adds that “Guterres can play an important role to ensure transparency, accountability and oversight that will stop the decades-long practice of teaching children to hate.” The letter comes as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced it is restoring $150 million in aid to UNRWA that had been cut under the Trump administration.

    Other news outlets with this article include:
    Cleveland Jewish News
    The Algemeiner

  • US Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Make State Dept. Review PA Textbooks

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    The Jerusalem Post — April 7, 2021
    A bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced on Monday the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act. The bill requires the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress reviewing textbooks produced by the Palestinian Authority. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) sponsored the bill along with Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) and Rep. David Trone (D-MD). There are concerns that such textbooks produced by the Palestinian Authority “include language and imagery that encourage violence and hatred toward other nations and ethnic groups,” Sherman said in a statement. “Such content is particularly concerning given the use of such materials in educational settings for children as young as primary school age.” “We are glad to see Congress raising the alarm about Palestinian educational materials that are antisemitic and contain language delegitimizing Israel as a Jewish and democratic state” ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said. “Teaching hateful content in schools is simply inexcusable. The Palestinian Authority must proactively take steps to stop the teaching of intolerance and to advance peace and acceptance—including in its schools,” he added. The Bill is a result of a report by IMPACT-se, which monitors values of peace and tolerance in textbooks. Its CEO, Marcus Sheff said “The curriculum taught in Palestinian Authority and UNRWA schools eradicates the possibility of peace. This has gone on for far too long. This bill’s welcome reintroduction will send a clear message that Congress will not tolerate the teaching of hate and antisemitism in Palestinian schools.”

  • Biden Admin Restores $235 Million in Aid to Palestinians Stopped by Trump

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    American Military News — April 7, 2021
    President Joe Biden’s State Department announced it is restarting $235 million in economic, development, and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people paused under President Donald Trump. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the aid to the Palestinian people “includes … $150 million in humanitarian assistance for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).” Israeli officials have expressed apprehension towards the Biden administration’s move. BBC reported Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the UNRWA “perpetuates the conflict” between Israel and the Palestinian people “and does not contribute to its resolution.” It maintained aid “should be accompanied by substantial and necessary changes in the nature, goals and conduct of the organization.” In January, IMPACT-se reported UNRWA had distributed educational materials repeatedly referring to Israel as “The Enemy” while glorifying “martyrdom” and “jihad” and promoting disparaging Palestinian narratives about Israel. Some UNRWA education materials repeated the claim Israel, referred to as “the Zionists,” was responsible for a 1969 arson attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Denis Rohan, a Christian Australian tourist, was arrested and claimed responsibility for the Al-Aqsa Mosque attack.

  • Bipartisan House Members Reintroduce Palestinian Education Bill

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    Jewish Insider — April 7, 2021
    A bipartisan group of House legislators reintroduced a bill on Monday calling for a State Department assessment of lesson plans created by the Palestinian Authority and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The legislation comes as UNRWA faces criticism for including material that encourages violence and intolerance in its curricula. The Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act was reintroduced this week by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Brian Mast (R-FL) and David Trone (D-MD). ur bill… requires the State Department to issue a report on the curriculum and textbooks used by the PA and UNRWA, including the United States’ diplomatic efforts to encourage peace and tolerance in Palestinian education,” Sherman told Jewish Insider. “The U.S. should review the curricula in both PA- and UNRWA-controlled schools periodically to ensure that Israel is not demonized, and that tolerance, not violence, is being taught to the students in those schools. Our goal is to ensure we have an accurate picture of the curricula and textbooks in PA and UNRWA schools so that any problems can be fixed.” Sherman told JI that the bill failed to make it to the floor last term due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has slowed legislative progress in the House. But the bill’s backers are optimistic for a better result this term. “I find it hard to believe that any real, genuine objection to it can be expected,” said Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se — which monitors the content of school textbooks for compliance with international standards. “From speaking to [representatives] on both sides of the aisle, there is absolute support that [education supporting peace and tolerance] is the education that Palestinian children really need.”  Sheff indicated that the administration’s moves toward resuming aid make the legislation all the more pressing.

  • US Boosts Aid to Palestinians as Some in Congress Cry Foul

    Israel Hayom_UNRWA-US Congress_Screen

    Israel Hayom — April 7, 2021
    The Biden administration is moving again to increase US assistance to the Palestinians as it fires up a new Mideast policy that is directly opposite of the one pursued by its predecessor. The administration is also expected as early as this week to announce a resumption in funding to the UN agency that deals with Palestinian refugees, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The Trump administration had slashed funding to the Palestinians to almost nothing and ended support for the UN agency as it adopted a staunchly pro-Israel approach in its handling of the Middle East. Meanwhile, a bill aiming to scrutinize the Palestinian educational curriculum for violent content has been reintroduced to the US Congress. According to IMPACT-se, an Israeli non-profit organization reviewing regional educational programs, H.R.2374 aims to require the State Department to assess whether materials “encouraging violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups” are still present in Palestinian textbooks. The government body will also be required to check what steps the Palestinian Authority is taking to ensure its textbooks comply with the UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance of 1995. Washington will also be required to check if any of its funds provided to the PA have been used in distributing radicalization materials or tackling those and review the US efforts to “encourage accountability in Palestinian education.” The bipartisan legislation was introduced to the House of Representatives by California Democrat Brad Sherman and co-sponsored by New York and Florida Republicans Lee Zeldin and Brian Mast, as well as New Jersey and Maryland Democrats Josh Gottheimer and David Trone. Earlier, IMPACT-se reported on pro-violence materials being used in Palestinian schools, including those run by UNRWA.

  • US: Bill on Scrutinizing Palestinian Curriculum for Calls to Violence Bback in Congress

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    i24 — April 6, 2021
    A bill aiming to scrutinize the Palestinian educational curriculum for pro-violence materials had been reintroduced to the U.S. Congress, according to IMPACT-se, an Israeli non-profit reviewing regional educational programs. The bill (H.R.2374), aims to require the State Department to assess whether materials “encouraging violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups” are still present in Palestinian textbooks. The government body will also be required to check what steps the Palestinian Authority is taking to ensure its textbooks comply with the UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance of 1995. Washington will also be required to check if any of its funds provided to the PA have been used in distributing radicalization materials or tackling those and review the US efforts to “encourage accountability in Palestinian education.” The bipartisan legislation was introduced to the House of Representatives by California Democrat Brad Sherman and co-sponsored by New York and Florida Republicans Lee Zeldin and Brian Mast, as well as New Jersey and Maryland Democrats Josh Gottheimer and David Trone. “Last Congress, this bill passed the Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously. I hope to work with my colleagues to build on this support and secure the passage of this bill in the 117th Congress,” Sherman said in a statement. Earlier, IMPACT-se reported on pro-violence materials being used in Palestinian schools, including those run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians’ (UNRWA).  IMPACT-se Report

  • US Lawmakers Reintroduce Bill to Address Hate, Violence in Palestinian Schools

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    JNS — April 6, 2021
    A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has reintroduced a bill to require the U.S. State Department to address hate and violence in the Palestinian school curriculum. The measure—the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act (H.R. 2374)—was introduced by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), David Trone (D-Md.) and Brian Mast (R-Fla.). It calls on the State Department to take a number of steps to monitor the Palestinian Authority educational curriculum. … “The United States has provided millions of dollars to support the education of Palestinian children with the stated goal of equipping Palestinians with the tools to build a democratic, secular and politically moderate Palestinian civil society as a driver for peace. As a result of the GAO’s findings, it is necessary for Congress to request additional reports from the State Department to ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars promote dignity and tolerance, and that the educational materials such schools employ do not incite hatred,” said Sherman. The bill’s reintroduction was praised by IMPACT-se, a research, policy and advocacy organization that monitors and analyzes education. “The curriculum taught in Palestinian Authority and UNRWA schools eradicates the possibility of peace. It incites Palestinian children to violence and encourages them to acts of jihad and martyrdom. This has gone on for far too long,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “This bill’s welcome reintroduction will send a clear message that Congress will not tolerate the teaching of hate and antisemitism in Palestinian schools.”

    Other news outlets with JNS article:
    The Cleveland Jewish News

  • US Lawmakers Reintroduce Bill to Require State Department Review of Palestinian Curriculum

    The Algemeiner — April 6, 2021
    A group of four US lawmakers reintroduced on Monday a bipartisan bill that would require the US State Department to annually review textbooks and educational materials used by the Palestinian Authority for violent content, and to determine how US funds are used. If passed, the so-called Bipartisan Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act would mandate that the State Department monitor the steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to reform the curriculum taught at schools to “conform with standards of peace and tolerance,” including the removal of content and passages embracing violence or intolerance. It also calls for a detailed report on how US funds are being used to address educational materials used by the Palestinian Authority to encourage violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups. Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), David Trone (D-MD) and Brian Mast (R-FL) co-sponsored the bill, a version of which was put forward in 2019, during the previous session of Congress, but which did not receive a vote. “The United States has provided millions of dollars to support the education of Palestinian children with the stated goal of equipping Palestinians with the tools to build a democratic, secular, and politically moderate Palestinian civil society as a driver for peace. As a result of the [US Government Accountability Office] findings, it is necessary for Congress to request additional reports from the State Department to ensure US taxpayer dollars promote dignity and tolerance, and that the educational materials such schools employ do not incite hatred,” said Congressman Brad Sherman in a statement. “This bill’s welcome reintroduction will send a clear message that Congress will not tolerate the teaching of hate and antisemitism in Palestinian schools,” said Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, a Jerusalem-based nonprofit that studies school curriculum and that lobbied for the legislation.  IMPACT -se Report

  • Houthis Push Anti-Jewish, Anti-Israel Rhetoric Through Yemeni Textbooks, Report Says

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    YNet — April 1, 2021
    The Ansar Allah Houthis, an Iranian proxy movement, have penetrated the mainstream Yemeni education system and are spreading anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish rhetoric, a study published this week by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE) said. The Mideast educational watchdog’s report reviewed materials produced by the Houthis for use in their network of summer camps and extra-curricular classes as well as take-home materials including a monthly children’s “educational” magazine called Jihad. As an Iranian proxy, the Houthi materials mimic much of the Khomeinist rhetoric of that regime and represent some of the more egregious violations of UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance among current Middle Eastern education. Some disturbing instances include images of graphic violence including pictures of dead children featuring in material for preteens. Researchers say that the materials feature severe anti-Semitic rhetoric including Holocaust-related imagery such as a yellow Star of David and barbed wire used in lessons on how to oppose all forms of normalization with the “Zionist-American hegemony.” The Houthi slogan, “Allah is the greatest—Death to America—Death to Israel—Curse on the Jews—Victory to Islam” is taught in an Arabic numeral exercise and the Jewish state is described as a “cancerous tumor.” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said that the materials “are a worrying insight into the violent ideology of the Houthis, and an extreme example of how education can be used as a weapon to ignite conflict and hatred.” The organization’s COO, Arik Agassi, said that the Houthis recent actions—such as rejecting a U.S.-mediated ceasefire with Saudi Arabia, and expelling most of the remaining Jews in Yemen in areas under their control—and the rhetoric in their textbooks “leave no room for interpretation as to their true desires and intentions for the future of Yemen and the region, through a violent and uncompromising struggle for without Jews, Israel and American-Saudi influence.”

  • Iran Using Yemen’s Education System to Glorify Jihad

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    The Jerusalem Post — March 30, 2021
    Yemen’s Houthi movement, considered a proxy of Iran, is using the country’s education system to spread its influence and the “glorification of jihad” among children, a new study has found. The report “constitutes one of the most concerning of IMPACT-se’s assessments of Middle Eastern curricula,” according to the institute, which monitors school textbooks and curriculums around the world. IMPACT-se’s review refers to the situation in Yemen that began in 2015, when Houthi rebels took control of the capital of Sanaa. Until then, “Yemen was considered an exception to the disappointing developments of the Arab Spring,” the report states, noting that Yemen was relatively “stable and hopeful,” with regional specialists expecting it to become the first Arab nation that adopts the federal model. However, things took an unexpected turn, when Iran, recognizing the opportunity to expand its influence, implemented its militia doctrine in Yemen. …  Recognizing the need to bestow Iranian values and culture among its distant proxies, “education became a focal point for Tehran’s empire builders,” according to IMPACT-se. The report explains that the Iranian curriculum, spread among its proxies, teaches children the importance of “uniting the Muslims against Western enemies.” These findings “are a worrying insight into the violent Houthi mindset and an extreme example of how education can be weaponized to perpetuate conflict,” concluded IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. Examples include textbooks that describe the U.S. as the “Greater Satan” and use the American flag as a symbol of oppression, which children must defend themselves from. Jews specifically are also a main focus of Houthi education, according to IMPACT-se, with learning materials accusing Jews for “nefarious conspiracies,” and presenting them as a “unique enemy of Islam and the people of Yemen.”

  • Houthi Educational Materials Straight out of Iranian Terrorist Textbook

    i24_Yemen-Houthis_Screen

    i24 — March 29, 2021
    A newly released report into educational materials published in the areas of Yemen that the Houthi rebels run has highlighted a familiar animus toward the Jewish people and Israel. However, as IMPACT-se Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School reveals in its report, much of the Houthis’ attitudes toward the United States, Israel and Jews, identically mirrors that of its financial backers in Tehran. Indeed, IMPACT-se notes that Ansar Allah organization—the Houthis—”has made education a core tenet of their campaign to spread its influence over the Yemeni region.” “The combination of the textbooks’ graphic depiction of deceased children, prevalent hatred, glorification of violence as the only solution for resolving conflicts, the indoctrination of children to sacrifice their lives, and the overall Manichean worldview, run contrary to UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance and are unacceptable in any society.” The report argues that the research acts as a real-world case study for how the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps works to recruit and coordinate its client organizations across the Arab world. “These Houthi educational materials mimic much of the Khomeinist rhetoric of the Iranian regime, of which it is a proxy. They are a worrying insight into the violent Houthi mindset and an extreme example of how education can be weaponized to perpetuate conflict,” maintained IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff.

  • How the Houthis Teach Yemeni Youth to Hate

    Arab News — March 23, 2021
    The Iran-backed Houthi militia is using graphic violent imagery, including pictures of dead children, in educational materials to condition young Yemenis to support violence and hate the US, Saudi Arabia and Jews, according to a new report released on Tuesday by education watchdog IMPACT-se. “The Houthi materials grossly violate the ideal of peacemaking, entirely dismissing peace as an option in international conflict resolution, and condemning those who advocate for it as cowardly, foolish or traitorous,” IMPACT-se said. “Instead, violent jihad, sacrifice in battle, and supporting the war effort in any way possible is held up as an ideal and a central virtue.” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, told Arab News: “Extremist education has always been a focal point of the Houthis’ agenda since the movement’s inception.” He warned that this kind of education is likely to cause serious harm to the children exposed to it. “Exposure to violence harms children’s emotional and psychological development, and presents an increased risk of developing school-related problems, including mental health issues and learning disabilities,” Sheff said. “Children are easily influenced and impressionable — that’s why societies protect them from harm. But equally, children can be radicalized through extremist educational materials. That’s clearly the intent here,” he added.

  • In The Bull’s Eye: Turkish, Not Saudi, Schoolbooks---Analysis

    Eurasia Review_Turkey-2 Curriculum_Screen

    Eurasia Review — March 21, 2021
    Once a model of secularism with an education system that taught evolution, cultural openness, and tolerance towards minorities that included Kurdish as a minority language, Turkish curricula have increasingly replaced those concepts with notions of jihad, martyrdom in battle and a neo-Ottoman and pan-Turkist ethno-religious worldview, according to a just-released analysis of 28 textbooks. The report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli research group, and the Henry Jackson Society in Britain, asserted that recent curricula, in a country that is a member of NATO and long aspired for European Union membership, include anti-American and anti-Armenian attitudes, display “sympathy for the motivations of ISIS and Al-Qaeda,” focus exclusively on Sunni Muslim teachings, and replace electives such as Kurdish with religious courses. The textbooks promote concepts such as “Turkish World Domination” and the Turkish or Ottoman “Ideal of the World Order,” the report said. Critics link the backslide in Turkish schoolbooks to Mr. Erdogan’s Islamist inclinations and support for the Muslim Brotherhood that has found a home in Istanbul since Egypt’s brutal crackdown on the group in 2013 … despite positive references to Hebrew, Jewish civilization and, for the first time, the Holocaust Impact-se and Human Rights Watch last month reported for the first time in two decades of post-9/11 pressure on Saudi Arabia to remove supremacist references to Jews, Christians, and Shiites that the kingdom had made significant progress in revising textbooks. By the same token, the UAE last year amended its textbooks as it forged diplomatic relations with Israel. “The treaty is not just presented as a fact in the textbook. Students are presented with the religious, ethical and national reasons to support the agreement and employ critical thinking in completing an exercise about the importance of peace-making,” Impact-se CEO Marcus Sheff said. “The idea that jihad war is now part of the Turkish curriculum, that martyrdom in battle is now glorified, might not be surprising given what we know about Erdogan. … But seeing it in black and white is quite a shock,” Mr. Sheff added in a separate interview, noting that the president has fired some 21,000 teachers and arrested large numbers of academics in recent years. “There was no reason to think he wouldn’t try to influence textbooks,” Mr. Sheff said.

    Other news outlets with this article:
    The Globalist

  • ‘Weaponized’ Textbooks in Turkey Call Jews and Christians ‘Infidels’

    Heritage Florida Jewish News — March 19, 2021
    A new study by the Jerusalem-based watchdog group IMPACT-se shows that school textbooks in Turkey are becoming more Islamicized and now refer to Jews and Christians as “infidels.” Researchers found a change in Turkish school textbooks that previously referred to Jews and Christians as “People of the Book.” “Some anti-Christian and anti-Jewish sentiment has been introduced; in both cases the pejorative infidels is used, rather than the traditional term, ‘People of the Book,’” the report said. “The curriculum demonizes Zionism and verges on anti-Semitic messaging by describing some Jewish schools in post-WWI Turkey as hostile to the country’s independence.” The IMPACT-se study did find a positive note, discovering that Holocaust studies have been introduced under Erdogan, making Turkey the second Muslim-majority country, after Azerbaijan, to include the genocide as part of the mandatory curriculum. Erdogan has invoked the Holocaust repeatedly in speaking about the treatment of Muslims in Europe today. Israel’s conflict with Palestinians, who are referred to as “Muslims,” is described as a religious war where Israel is the aggressor. IMPACT-se noted that Turkey’s previous tolerance in education has dwindled as the curriculum has been radicalized. Jihad war has been introduced into textbooks and turned into the “new normal,” with martyrdom in battle glorified, the report said. The report shows that the curriculum “adopts an anti-American stance, displaying sympathy for the motivations of ISIS and Al-Qaeda,” adding that the new content “conveys subtle anti-democratic messaging, describing former political allies as terrorists, and suggesting that civil activism … is manipulated by suspect capitalist and foreign powers.”

  • IMPACT-se Report: Turkish Curriculum ‘Has Been Radicalized’

    Arab News — March 18, 2021
    Turkey’s school curriculum and textbooks have been radicalized in recent years, according to a new report that found that anti-American sentiment, Turkish nationalism, and “sympathy for the motivations” of Daesh and Al-Qaeda have permeated teaching. The report also found that Turkish students are now being taught that all non-Muslims are “infidels,” including Christians and Jews, who had previously been referred to as “People of the Book.” Turkey’s “curriculum adopts an anti-American stance, displaying sympathy for the motivations of ISIS (Daesh) and Al-Qaeda,” said the report, produced by education monitoring group IMPACT-se and British think tank the Henry Jackson Society. Focused on changes to the curriculum since the 2016 coup attempt, the report said: “Tolerance has dwindled as the curriculum has been radicalized. Jihad war has been introduced into textbooks and turned into the ‘new normal,’ with martyrdom in battle glorified.” It added: “There is teaching of ethno-nationalist religious objectives in the spirit of neo-Ottomanism and Pan-Turkism.” Anti-American sentiment, the report found, has been in ascendance in the Turkish curriculum, and is being used to deflect from the government’s economic failings. “The U.S. is also accused as the mastermind of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and blamed for the escalation of the recent economic crisis,” it said. Turkey’s curriculum, he said, is “very specific to the kind of society Erdogan wants to create. There’s this nostalgia for an age of Turkish domination. There’s an introduction of Islamist ideas that weren’t in the (old) Turkish curriculum.” Sheff added: “The idea that jihad war is now part of the Turkish curriculum, that martyrdom in battle is now glorified, might not be surprising given what we know about Erdogan … But seeing it in black and white is quite a shock.” Sheff said the 2016 coup attempt was a turning point for Turkish society and heralded a widespread crackdown. Despite the curriculum’s worrying new direction, he said textbooks and curriculums in the Middle East can, and do, change “quite rapidly”—often for the better. IMPACT-se has celebrated improvements to the Saudi curriculum in recent years, as well as “root and branch” reforms to UAE textbooks. “Even when the Turkish curriculum has deteriorated to the point it has, with strength of will and political leadership, changes could be made in a positive direction,” Sheff said. “But that isn’t what we’re looking at now.”

  • Despite Extreme Educational Materials, Biden Admin Considers Funding UNRWA Again

    The Jerusalem Post — March 15, 2021
    UNRWA has faced criticism for perpetuating the refugee status of Palestinians for generations and preventing them from resettling. The agency also has had numerous scandals with UNRWA textbooks teaching violence and terrorism in Palestinian schools. The agency itself is also the single largest employer of Palestinians in the Palestinian territories, meaning if they solved the refugee issue, these Palestinians would be out of jobs. The U.S. was the world’s single largest funder of UNRWA, amounting to over $360 million annually, until the Trump administration cut funding in 2018, calling the agency “irredeemably flawed.” Since then, throughout the pandemic, UNRWA was found once again to have incitement to violence in their textbooks teaching children in Gaza blood libels and glorifying “martyrs.” These textbooks were condemned by the European Parliament, among others. In a report issued at the beginning of 2021, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that UNRWA materials are even more extreme than some of the textbooks issued by the PA itself. Yet at the same time this report confirms the problem of UNRWA, the Biden administration is talking about restoring $360 million in funding to it.

  • New Report on Changes in Turkish Curriculum Shows Radicalization, Antisemitic Messaging and Demonization of Israel

    EJP — March 8, 2021
    A new report of the current Turkish school curriculum by IMPACT-se, a Jerusalem-based research and policy institute that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula within the prism of UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance, in conjunction with the Henry Jackson Society shows that the curriculum has been radicalized in recent years including antisemitic messaging and demonization of Israel. “School books have been weaponized in Erdogan’s attempts to Islamize Turkish society and to harken back to a nostalgic age of Turkish domination. We note increased demonization of Israel and anti-Semitic aspersions that must make Turkish-Jewish school students feel unsafe,” said Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se. Dr. Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, commented in the foreword to the new report: “Education is a prime pillar in Erdogan’s efforts to throw a membrane of sharia over the country.” “The Islamization of the curriculum by Erdogan is in line with his grand narrative of an Islamic Turkish revival. Jihad is inserted into religious studies and it is characterized as a nationalist pursuit. Democratic values are denigrated while Western civilization and non-Muslims are maligned as ‘infidels’ and funders of terrorism. Textbooks have become a primary vehicle for Erdogan’s Turkish revolution.” The institute notes that this is the first time that President Erdogan has made significant changes to Turkey’s state approved school textbooks since taking power in 2003.

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    EUReporter

  • Turkish Curriculum Takes Anti-Israel Turn Under Erdogan

    Israel Hayom_Turkey-2 Curriculum_Screen

    Israel Hayom — March 7, 2021
    Not only did the political cooperation between Turkey and Israel deteriorate ever since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took office almost 16 years ago, but the Turkish school curriculum has been radicalized to reflect the country’s anti-Israel stance, a new report published by IMPACT-Se, an international research and policy institute that monitors culture tolerance in schools, revealed. The curriculum further tries to delegitimize Zionism, attributing to it every recent Middle Eastern conflict. Students in Turkey are taught that Israel’s founding in 1948 and the subsequent victory in its War of Independence would never have been possible were it not for American and European support. It further calls the Gaza Strip “the biggest open-air prison.” On a more positive note, the Turkish curriculum mentions the Holocaust, including Auschwitz and Kristallnacht, albeit briefly. “The Turkish curriculum is a cause for concern because in 20-30 years, these students will be the decision-makers, and they will have no positive information about Israel, only negative,” the report’s author, Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak told Israel Hayom.

  • Turkish Textbooks Increasingly Demonize Israel and Zionism, Refer to Jews as ‘Infidels,’ Says New Report

    Algemeiner_Turkey-2 Curriculum_Screen

    The Algemeiner — March 4, 2021
    A new report has found that the latest editions of Turkish school textbooks take a strongly negative view of Israel and now describe Jews as “infidels.” The report by IMPACT-se, which examines education materials on the basis of UNESCO standards related to peace, human rights, and tolerance, has found an increasing “Islamization” of the Turkish curriculum, in accordance with the Islamist AKP government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The report notes that previous curricula have referred to Jews as “people of the book,” but Jews are now referred to solely as “infidels,” as are Christians. Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se, commented, “We have identified a marked deterioration in Turkish textbooks since our last review in 2016.” “School books have been weaponized in Erdogan’s attempts to Islamize Turkish society and to hark back to a nostalgic age of Turkish domination,” he said. “We note increased demonization of Israel and antisemitic aspersions that must make Turkish-Jewish school students feel unsafe.” It also said the curriculum seeks to demonize Zionism, calling it “the Zionism Problem” and claiming it is an imperialist conspiracy to take over all the land between the Nile and Euphrates rivers — a common antisemitic conspiracy theory in the Muslim world. However, the report notes, certain textbooks do show respect for Judaism itself and the Hebrew and Aramaic languages many of its sacred texts are written in. Some textbooks, moreover, do teach about the Holocaust, though the report refers to much of this curriculum as “underdeveloped.” IMPACT-se found that the textbooks are increasingly radicalized by the ideology of political Islam, promoting a combination of ethnic, nationalist, and religious imperialism involving concepts such as “Turkish World Domination” and a neo-Ottoman “Ideal of the World Order.

  • History, the Holocaust and Hatred in Turkey’s School Textbooks

    JNS_Turkey-2 Curriculum_Screen

    JNS — March 4, 2021
    A new study of the Turkish school curriculum conducted by IMPACT-se—an Israeli research institute that publishes consistently excellent reports into the teaching of bigotry and hatred in schools across the region—explains clearly why far-fetched stories such as those about a “Second Israel in Kurdistan” can be accepted so easily. In Turkish schools, history and politics are taught in strict accordance with the neo-Ottoman and Islamist leanings of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party. Among the main findings was that the Turkish school curriculum had been “significantly radicalized in recent years” There are concepts such as ‘Turkish World Domination’ and Turkish or Ottoman ‘Ideal of the World Order.’” Christians and Jews are characterized as infidels instead of “People of the Book,” as was the case in the past. This is hardcore antisemitism that shares the same ultra-conspiratorial view of any form of Jewish self-organization that is similarly found in the charter of Hamas, the AKP’s Palestinian comrades in the wider Muslim Brotherhood movement. But there is also, on the surface, an anomaly. While Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood more broadly traffic in Holocaust denial, the report notes that in the Turkish curriculum, the Holocaust is “specifically mentioned,” however briefly. The latest school textbook for history includes an “undeveloped section” that mentions anti-Semitism before World War II, as well as “an image and brief section on Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass), Auschwitz, and the six million ‘victims’ (including Jews) who were killed by the Nazis.”

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    Cleveland Jewish News

  • Turkey School Textbooks Call Jews and Christians ‘Infidels’

    JTA_Turkey-2 Curriculum_Screen

    JTA — March 4, 2021
    School textbooks in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been revised to refer to Jews and Christians as “infidels,” according to a new study. Whereas previous textbooks referred to members of those religions as “People of the Book,” textbooks such as “Fundamental Religious Knowledge,” a publication released after 2017 that is part of the mandatory curriculum in Turkish elementary schools, have switched to calling them by the pejorative, according to the study published Thursday by the IMPACT-se watchdog group. However, Holocaust studies have been introduced under Erdogan, making Turkey the second Muslim-majority country, after Azerbaijan, to include the genocide as part of the mandatory curriculum. Erdogan has invoked the Holocaust repeatedly in speaking about the treatment of Muslims in Europe today. The changes coincide with radicalization in Turkish schools following the failed 2016 coup against Erdogan, leader of the Islamist Justice and Development Party, according to Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se. “School books have been weaponized in Erdogan’s attempts to Islamize Turkish society and to hark back to a nostalgic age of Turkish domination,” Sheff wrote, adding that his group has identified “increased demonization of Israel and antisemitic aspersions.”
    Israel’s conflict with Palestinians, who are referred to as “Muslims,” is described as a religious war where Israel is the aggressor.

    Other news outlets with the JTA article:
    The Jerusalem Post

  • The Erdogan Revolution in the Turkish Curriculum

    The Jewish Voice_Turkey Curriculum_Screen

    The Jewish Voice — March 2021
    IMPACT-se, a research and policy institute that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula within the prism of UNESCO-defined standards on peace and tolerance, has released a report in conjunction with the Henry Jackson Society evaluating the current Turkish school curriculum. This report is the fourth undertaken by IMPACT-se into the Turkish curriculum and a distinct trend line of deterioration can be drawn from this latest research in regards to meeting UNESCO defined standards of peace and tolerance. Said Marcus Sheff, IMPACT-se CEO, “We have identified a marked deterioration in Turkish textbooks since our last review in 2016. President Erdogan fired 21,000 teachers and arrested hundreds more after the failed coup of the same year. There is no reason to think that he would not influence Turkish textbooks as well. School books have been weaponized in Erdogan’s attempts to Islamize Turkish society and to hark back to a nostalgic age of Turkish domination. We note increased demonization of Israel and antisemitic aspersions that must make Turkish-Jewish school students feel unsafe.” Dr. Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, comments in the foreword to this report: “Education is a prime pillar in Erdogan’s efforts to throw a membrane of sharia over the country.” The insertion of jihad into religious studies and the characterization of it as a nationalist pursuit are deeply worrying and run contrary to any supposed human rights education. Democratic values are denigrated while Western civilization and non-Muslims are maligned as ‘infidels’ and funders of terrorism. Textbooks can be seen as a primary site for Erdogan’s slow revolution of Turkish society.

  • Review of Houthi Educational Materials in Yemen_2015-19

    The Ansar Allah Houthis, have penetrated the mainstream Yemeni education system as part ofHouthi Mag. Covers a campaign to spread their influence over the region. This exclusive IMPACT-se report reviews materials produced by the Houthis for use in its network of summer camps and extra-curricular classes as well as take-home materials including a monthly children’s “educational” magazine called Jihad. As an Iranian proxy, the Houthi materials mimic much of the Khomeinist rhetoric of that regime and represent some of the more egregious violations of UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance among current Middle Eastern education. The report offers a worrying insight into the violent Houthi mindset and extreme example of how education can be weaponized to perpetuate conflict. Report

  • The Erdogan Revolution in the Turkish Curriculum Textbooks

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made significant changes to Turkey’s state-approved schooAttaturk over Erdogan's Shoulderl textbooks since taking power in 2003. This report is the fourth undertaken by IMPACT-se into the Turkish curriculum. We have identified a marked deterioration in Turkish textbooks since our last review in 2016, in regards to meeting UNESCO defined standards of peace and tolerance. On the contrary, textbooks have been weaponized in Erdogan’s efforts to Islamize Turkish society and to hark back to a nostalgic age of Turkish domination. The Islamization of the curriculum is a direct attempt to shape future generations to fit in with his grand narrative of an Islamic/pan-Turkish revival.                                                                                          March 2021 Report   Exec Summary

  • IMPACT-se Report: UNRWA Home Study Materials for Kids Glorifying Terrorists

    CBN_UNRWA-Post-Nov

    CBN — February 26, 2021
    The United Nations body responsible for overseeing Palestinian Refugee Education said recently it had removed violent and anti-Israel content from special materials it published to help Palestinian children study at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement came after it was challenged by a report from IMPACT-se. But a new investigation questioned that so-called resolution and found the changes didn’t go far enough. “We found that it contains various violations of UN values, of UNESCO standards and of UNWRA’s own principles. These were educational materials, which were distributed to over 320,000 Palestinian children across the West Bank and Gaza,” said Marcus Sheff, CEO of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se). IMPACT-se produced a report on January 13 that lays out examples found throughout the curriculum. Following the January IMPACT-se report, UNWRA admitted to the problem and assured governments it had been addressed. A follow-up study by the IMPACT team, however, shows that was not the case. “Within these materials, we also found hateful material; material which young people anywhere should not be studying and certainly not being taught by a UN organization,” Sheff said. “So, you know, I think what we see here is that … UNWRA is absolutely part of the problem in relation to the incitement to young people in the region,” Former President Trump cut funding to UNRWA because of this kind of incitement in Palestinian schools. President Biden has pledged to resume humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Sheff maintains the world should expect transparency from any United Nations body and until UNRWA can prove otherwise, it should be understood the organization teaches hate.

  • Canada Deepens Probe Into UNRWA’s Anti-Israel School Textbook Materials

    JP_UNRWA Canada

    The Jerusalem Post — February 25, 2021
    A February report by IMPACT-se shows that educational materials for Palestinian students have not been changed to be less anti-Israel since UNRWA promised it would tweak them back in November, when the UN organization in charge of Palestinian relief came under investigation for the materials. Last month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was forced to answer for it in the Canadian Parliament. Canada has committed C$90 million ($72 m.) in the last year to UNRWA. Since the report, the materials have actually been locked away, “blocking further external scrutiny,” the report states. Conservative MP Marty Morantz raised concerns over the problematic UNRWA-subsidized material being taught to Palestinian children. Morantz quoted some examples, including encouraging Palestinian students to “defend the motherland with blood,” and “portraying child-murdering terrorists as heroes,” while depicting Israel as the enemy. Trudeau responded that Canada’s “continued presence in UNRWA continues to ensure that the materials and the funds that are vehicled to the Palestinians” are done properly. “The prime minister just said a moment ago that he’d stand up [against] antisemitism whenever and wherever it occurs,” Morantz shot back. “Well, here it is—stand up to it! … This government talks about supporting a peaceful two-state solution, yet we see the funding of an agency to push hatred, not peace.” The main argument against UNRWA is that in publishing and circulating these materials, they are contradicting one of the main tenets of the UN Charter—the peaceful resolution of disputes—by encouraging violent resistance instead of teaching non-violent conflict resolution and peacemaking.

  • US to Resume Funding of UN Agency That Teaches Israel is Evil

    The Washington Times_UNRWA-FUNDING

    The Washington Times — February 20, 2021
    The United Nations Relief & Works Agency, or UNRWA, an agency that’s supposed to provide health, education and social services to select Palestinian populations, has been just caught—again—pushing through schools via online and study-at-home materials that Israel is basically the devil. A report released by the Israeli non-governmental organization Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, IMPACT-se, found, as part of UNRWA’s “self-study cards” issued for grades one through nine, “a spelling exercise which teaches ninth graders to condemn Arab-Israeli peace and normalization initiatives” and that claims such peace agreements “only serve to weaken the resolve of Palestinians.” The report also detailed how this same spelling exercise contained a passage that “extols violent resistance” against Israel, seemingly in reference to the Abraham Accords, as well as to other peace deals between Israel and Jordan or Egypt. A previous investigation by IMPACT-se that covered the periods of March through September found study cards that were similarly problematic, similarly anti-Israel. UNRWA, confronted with the inappropriate study materials, said it addressed the problem and removed “all instances of hate and incitement. “The teaching of Palestinian nationalism remains a central theme in the UNRWA-labeled content, in contravention of UNRWA’s principle of neutrality,” IMPACT-se wrote. The findings are all the more egregious because UNRWA had just pledged a few months ago to clean up its anti-Israel act. “The acting U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Richard Mills, told the Security Council that [President] Biden supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” BBC wrote. “To help advance one, he said, the U.S. would ‘restore credible engagement.’” That’s code for kicking in the U.S. bucks. In 2018, Trump, angered by UNRWA’s heavy pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel slant, cut off $300 million or so in aid. His State Department, in announcing the cut, said America “will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.” There’s a new man in town, though. “UNRWA Launches 2020 Budget Appeal for US $1.4 Billion,” UNRWA said in a January release. No doubt, from Biden, they’ll get it—and more.

  • UN-Funded Palestinian Curriculum Incites Hatred for Israel, Promotes JihadList Title

    The Foreign Desk_UNRWA-Post-Nov

    The Foreign Desk — February 19, 2021
    Palestinian schools and curriculum funded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) incites hatred for Israel and promotes jihad, according to a January 2021 IMPACT-se report. “Our extensive research of PA (Palestinian Authority) school textbooks has consistently shown a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects, with the proliferation of extreme nationalism and Islamist ideologies throughout the curriculum, including science and math textbooks,” reads the report. The PA curriculum teaches Palestinian children to reject “the possibility of peace with Israel” and does not include teaching on “any historical Jewish presence in the modern-day territories of Israel and the PA.” Despite this fact, the UNRWA continues to use 58 percent of its budget to fund education within PA territory, according to IMPACT-se. UNRWA’s excuse for continuing to fund the material without any attempts to alter the content is that it would “impeded the PA’s ‘national sovereignty.'” UNRWA’s stated review criteria ignore the majority of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) standards such as peace-making as the ultimate goal to solve conflict, respect for non-Palestinian Other, and incitement to violence,” reads the IMPACT-se report. Throughout the study, IMPACT-se found no evidence that material produced by UNRWA to supplement PA curriculum made any attempt to condemn the anti-Israel, violent, and terrorist-glorifying narratives pushed on children by PA textbooks. IMPACT-se evaluated 122 booklets funded by the UNRWA “in close conjunction with the relevant PA textbooks” to obtain the study’s results.

  • IMPACT-se Report Reveals UNRWA Continues Anti-Semitic Hate, Incitement in Schools

    JNS_UNRWA-Post-Nov

    JNS — February 18, 2021
    School material distributed by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) continues to glorify Islamic jihad and incite violence in 2021 despite promises by UNRWA that the hateful content would be removed by last November, revealed a report published on Wednesday. The report was released by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli non-governmental organization, and highlighted UNRWA-distributed material dated from November 2020 to January 2021. It found that “a spelling exercise created by UNRWA condemns peace and normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states”; “another exercise describes ‘pieces of corpses’ being dispersed throughout city streets to teach grade-nine spelling”; and Israel, a U.N. member state, “is solely referred to as ‘the Enemy’ or ‘the Occupation’ and is erased from maps of the region.” IMPACT-se first published a report in January about the existence of this material, which “egregiously violated U.N. values, UNESCO standards, and UNRWA’s stated principles,” stated the organization. The material covered by the original report was distributed from March 2020 to September 2020. UNRWA confirmed the existence of “inappropriate” material distributed to Palestinian students, though claimed that all instances of hate and incitement have been removed by November 2020, a period of eight months during which the material was taught. UNRWA’s assertion about the removal of hateful content was echoed by government figures from countries donating to UNRWA. However, IMPACT-se’s new report proves UNRWA’s claim to be false. “UNRWA promised that it had removed all the hateful content that its teachers had written. Sadly, as this research shows, this is simply not the case,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “It does not appear that the organization is institutionally capable of fulfilling its basic duty of care to the children in its schools. Donor countries need to start asking much more pointed questions of UNRWA if they want to stop financing this ongoing hate-teaching.

    Other news outlets with this article:
    EJP
    Israel Hayom
    Cleveland Jewish News

  • New Gaza Educational Materials Continue to Promote Violence

    Jewish Insider_UNRWA-Post-Nov

    Jewish Insider — February 18, 2021
    One month after the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) acknowledged that anti-Israel content had been printed in workbooks distributed throughout Gaza in the fall, the organization is again under scrutiny for materials distributed in December and January that glorify violence and characterize Israelis as “our enemies.” A report released Wednesday by IMPACT-se, an Israel-based watchdog organization that monitors Arabic-language educational content, highlighted learning materials that it claims glorify violence. Much of the material, including numerous references to Israelis as “enemies,” was created by UNRWA-trained educators. In a January grammar exercise, a flashcard reads “the Occupier commits all kinds of torture.” An exercise in verb conjugation includes the line “jihad is the road of glory.” Social studies curricula don’t acknowledge the existence of Israel, referring to the area known before 1948 as the British Mandate as “Palestine.” In a Twitter thread last month, UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said that “Local reference to inappropriate pages [from] textbooks that were mistakenly distributed during COVID19 lockdown were quickly replaced with content that adheres to UN values.” “UNRWA has both said they had no choice but to teach [the curriculum] but also has always said they have all these guardrails about how it can be moderated,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff told JI. “Nobody has ever extracted from UNRWA a real practical example of how this is done. Does a teacher in an UNRWA school in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip tell people not to read that particular sentence about Dalal Mughrabi [a Palestinian militant who died in a 1978 terror attack that killed 34 Israelis] because it is problematic? We’ve never understood it, [and] they’ve never explained it.”

  • UNRWA Scandal Continues as US Prepares to Send Millions

    New York Post — February 17, 2021
    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency that an agency that teaches Palestinian children to hate “the Enemy” Israel and believe “jihad is the road of glory,” is now set to receive hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars a year. UNRWA began producing its own educational material last year to aid at-home learning during the pandemic—and some of its content is more venomous than Palestinian Authority propaganda. The Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education blew the lid off the scandalous teaching materials in November, revealing they glorified terrorism in the cause of destroying Israel. Canada and Australia opened investigations, but UNRWA claimed it had dealt with the matter internally and replaced the “inappropriate” material. It didn’t. Though UNRWA blocked access to its material, IMPACT-se found it and released a report Wednesday showing the agency still teaches hate and intolerance to more than 320,000 Palestinian children. A math problem asks students the number of martyrs from the first intifada. A grammar exercise includes the sentences “The Occupier commits all kinds of torture” and “We are an occupied people.” An Arabic-language lesson has kids write out a text read by a family member that says that “our Arab relatives have sadly recognized our Enemies and began interacting with them,” referring to the Abraham Accords, and insists one day “our Enemies will be banished, God willing, as failing losers.” President Donald Trump was right to cut off funding—$360 million a year—to UNRWA, which devotes most of its budget to “education.” Biden ought to rethink his plan to reverse that: These hatemongers don’t deserve a dime.

  • MPs Express Anger Over Funding of Hateful Palestinian School Textbooks

    The JC_UK PA Funded

    The Jewish Chronicle — February 12, 2021
    Conservative and Labour parliamentarians have expressed anger that Palestinian children are being indoctrinated by school textbooks that teach them hatred in classes that are funded by British taxpayers. In an online event, MP and Conservative Friends of Israel chair Sephen Crabb voiced his belief that “there is a direct link between this indoctrination and the participation of Palestinian minors in acts of violence against Israelis and we should be in no doubt that Palestinian incitement makes peace harder to achieve.” The event, jointly hosted by The Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Zionist Federation and We Believe in Israel, was also addressed by Marcus Sheff, CEO at the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, which has researched Palestinian textbooks. MP Steve McCabe, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, agreed that the content of the PA’s curriculum was unacceptable. “LFI have been warning the government about this since [the curriculum] was introduced in 2017. People will say that the UK does not directly fund the textbooks, but we do fund the 33,000 teachers and civil servants who design the curriculum and deliver it, so who prints the textbooks is of little consequence. He added: “LFI think the UK should suspend all aid to the PA which directly or indirectly finances the teaching and implementing of curriculum until there are wholesale revisions. We propose that the money should be used instead to Palestinian NGOs that have a proven track record of promoting peace initiatives in schools, designed to foster tolerance, coexistence, and respect for the ‘other.’”

  • JN Investigation: How UK Gives Annual Nod to Hate-Filled Palestinian Education

    Jewish News UK PA Funded

    Jewish News — February 11, 2021
    Despite numerous assurances from the Palestinian education minister, detailed reports of the contents of Palestinian textbooks over the past five years from the Israel-based Institute IMPACT-se show that as recently as September last year, Palestinian school students were still learning math by adding up the number of “martyrs,” including those who have led suicide bombings on buses and shopping centers. In its analysis of the most recent books, researchers found that “no changes, in relation to hate and incitement, have been made to 82 percent of the Palestinian Authority’s 2020-21 school textbooks made available this month by the Palestinian Ministry of Education for the 2020-21 academic year.” The curriculum is taught in Palestinian Authority and UNRWA schools in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. Not only does Britain continue to pay—in the past five years it has spent an estimated £105 million on Palestinian education professionals, including on the salaries of teachers who write the textbooks—but it appears to have a blind spot when it comes to challenging the Palestinians on the content of those books. The UK and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have a Memorandum of Understanding, which supposedly commits the Palestinians not only to “uphold the principle of non-violence,” but to take action against “incitement to violence, including addressing allegations of incitement in the educational curriculum.” However, the UK’s criteria for judging the PA’s performance appear narrow. It deemed an internal government target in the 2017-18 MoU for the PA to carry out “curriculum reform” was met, but then admitted it did not include the actual contents of the curriculum. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: “UK aid does not pay for textbooks in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” but did not address the claim by IMPACT-se that the textbooks are often written by Palestinian teachers, whose salaries are paid through UK aid. They added: “The UK government strongly condemns all forms of violence. We have repeatedly raised concerns regarding allegations of incitement to violence in the PA’s curriculum at the highest levels and lobbied European partners to commission an independent review.” Conservative MP Jon Gullis said: “UK taxpayers rightly expect their hard-earned money to be used to support prospects for peace, yet this expectation is not being met…

    Related/Follow-up articles:
    JN — Feb 11, 2021 “We Must Suspend Aid That Finances Hate-Filled Curriculum” (MP Steve McCabe)
    JN — Feb 11, 2021 “Opinion—Marcus Sheff: UK Has Kept Doggedly to Same Wrong Path”
    JN — Feb 18, 2021 “Opinion: Push for UK to Stop Funding Hate”

  • Canadian-Funded UNRWA Promotes Hate and Incitement (Again)

    HonestReporting Canada_UNRWA- Canada

    HonestReporting Canada — February 11, 2021
    On January 22, Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, announced that Canada will conduct an independent investigation after reports emerged that UNRWA-produced educational materials given to Palestinian children were found to have promoted hate and incitement to violence. She added that UNRWA “acknowledged its error” and that corrective steps have been taken, but that Canada will also be investigating how the materials in question ended up in the hands of children. While these are certainly positive steps taken by Canada, as is Minister Gould’s raising the Canadian government’s concerns directly to UNRWA Commissioner-General Phillippe Lazzarini, they are also too little, too late. For years, it’s been widely reported that UNRWA has been a toxic influence in the Middle East, whether due to its close relationship with the Hamas terrorist group, its long history in promoting anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda and hate speech, and by pushing forward an agenda counterproductive to peace. A study by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that every single UNRWA-produced textbook in the fields of Arabic, history, social studies and national education for children between grades two and 12 included anti-Israel content, including incitement against Jews. Such a widespread problem is clearly not by accident or happenstance, but rather a focused strategy to poison the minds of the next generation of Palestinian children against Israel and Jews in general. Canada needs to do more than accept UNRWA’s claims that an “error” took place. An error is an accident that happens on occasion. But UNRWA’s publishing of anti-Israel propaganda is not a mistake, nor is it new; it is by design and it’s systemic.

  • Pointing to COVID-Related Economy, UAE Says It Will Not Fund UNRWA in 2021

    JNS — February 9, 2021
    The United Arab Emirates says it does not plan to fund the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, this year as part of a “wiser way of utilizing funds,” according to Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem al-Hashimy, reported Reuters. Hashimy said the decision, made for the second year in a row, was not connected to the UAE’s establishing diplomatic relations with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, but instead due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The UAE, which currently chairs UNRWA’s advisory committee, contributed $50 million to the agency in 2019 and $20 in 2018. Although no donations have been made since 2019, Hashimy said that private charities in the UAE have contributed $1 million to the agency during that time. The minister also noted that the UAE was talking with the agency’s leadership “on how to enhance the effectiveness of aid.” The minister also noted that the UAE was talking with the agency’s leadership “on how to enhance the effectiveness of aid.” Corruption scandals have plagued UNRWA, including those involving sexual misconduct, nepotism, business-class travel expenses and retaliation against whistleblowers, which have been detailed in a report by the BESA Center. Additionally, textbooks provided for Palestinian children by UNRWA have been found to be rife with problematic content that contradicts stated U.N. values, as detailed in a survey published in January by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli non-governmental organization.

    Other outlets with JNS article:
    Cleveland Jewish News

  • UNRWA Textbooks Under Scrutiny by EU Parliament Committee

    JNS_UNRWA-EU Funding

    JNS — February 8, 2021
    Palestinian textbooks provided by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) came under scrutiny during a recent hearing of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The attention was prompted by a report issued by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli non-governmental organization that found the textbooks “to be rife with problematic content that contradicts stated U.N. values.” Christian Democrat Miriam Lexmann posed questions to the committee during a hearing with Special Adviser to the U.N. Secretary-General Fabrizio Hochschild-Drummond. Based on IMPACT-se’s report, she called for scrutiny of UNRWA, saying that parliament “must ensure that the money of the European taxpayer is not used to produce material filled with hate speech, anti-Semitism and the glorification of jihad.” A broad survey of new UNRWA-labeled materials drafted and produced by its educational staff in Gaza and the West Bank found that the textbooks encouraged violence, jihad and martyrdom; rejected peace; and were filled with intolerance and demonization of Jews and Israelis. The books consistently engage in conspiracy theories and libel, and they fail to acknowledge the existence of the State of Israel and Jewish history in the region. Responding to the report, UNRWA Commissioner-General Phillipe Lazzarini said in a tweet that there is “no place for discrimination and incitement to hatred or violence in UNRWA schools. Local references to inappropriate pages from textbooks that were mistakenly distributed during COVID19 lockdown were quickly replaced with content that adheres to U.N. values.”

    Other outlets with JNS article:
    The Algemeiner
    European Jewish News

  • European Parliament Raises Issue With UNRWA Textbooks Promoting Hate

    JP_UNRWA-EU Funding

    The Jerusalem Post — February 7, 2021
    The European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee raised issue with the current teaching materials being circulated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to Palestinian youth, during a hearing with Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General Fabrizio Hochschild-Drummond. UNRWA recently handed out textbooks which glorified “martyrs” – people who died committing acts of terror against Israel, or in the name of Islam, including suicide bombers and mass murderers – and calls for “jihad,” to hundreds of thousands of students across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. UNRWA says that these books were “mistakenly” handed out and that they are “taking steps” to address it. Many of the books seem to be based on Palestinian Authority education resources. A ninth-grade social studies booklet accuses Israel of deliberately polluting Palestinian territories and spreading disease by dumping radioactive and toxic waste, a Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) report said. Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry State Secretary Audun Halvorsen reacted to the IMPACT-se report in Norway Today. He called the dissemination of the materials “unfortunate,” while parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Party Hans Grøvan called it “completely unacceptable.” UNRWA’s Gaza director Matthias Schmale denies any “hostile” teachings in UNRWA schools, despite the organization already confirming the “inappropriate” material has been distributed to more than 300,000 Palestinian students across the territories. Schmale rejected any diversion from the Palestinian curriculum, and to keep it as is. UNRWA has instructed teachers to “alter or skip pages that the UNRWA deemed inappropriate” as a most recent measure to prevent the materials from being shown, according to IMPACT-se.

  • Saudi Arabia Starting to Delete Antisemitism From Textbooks

    WIN_Saudi Revision

    WIN — January 31, 2021
    The newest editions of Saudi Arabian textbooks for the current school year have made great strides in deleting antisemitic and anti-Israel passages, according to a report by an NGO that monitors global curricula for hatred and extremism. “The Saudi authorities have begun a process of rooting out anti-Jewish hate,” said the CEO of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), Marus Sheff, in December when releasing his organization’s latest findings. Most positive references to jihad (holy war) and martyrdom have been dropped, as has the prophecy of an end-of-days type of war when Muslims are supposed to kill all Jews. The antisemitic lie that Jews, euphemistically called “Zionist forces,” control the world through money (and drugs and women) was scrubbed. Even a whole chapter entitled “The Zionist Danger” that delegitimized Israel no longer exists. Other content offensive to Western sensibilities has also been excluded from the new editions, such as advocating the death penalty for homosexuals, adulterers and infidels. To Sunni Moslems, these would include Shiite Moslems as well as Christians and Jews. The report readily notes that the change in outlook is a work in progress, as many textbooks say that Jews and Christians are “enemies of Islam” and will be condemned to eternal hell. The NGO also noted that “anti-Israel content does still remain in the curriculum.” The country still does not exist in textbook maps of the Middle East and it is never referred to by name; it is only “the Zionist enemy.” “There’s still a very heavy focus on enmity with Israel and Zionism — which sometimes involved anti-Semitism,” said David Weinberg, Washington Director for International Affairs at the Anti-Defamation League to Time Magazine. “They’re not there yet.” “No question about it, there is still a way to go,” Sheff said in the same article.

  • Saudi Arabia Has Been Scrubbing Its Textbooks of Antisemitic and Misogynistic Passage

    School buses in Riyadh during school closure

    The Washington Post — January 30, 2021
    IMPACT-se’s research on the new 2020 Saudi Arabian curriculum is covered, including the removal of an infamous hadith that called for Muslims to fight and kill all Jews on the Day of Judgement and a section that supported capital punishment for homosexual relationships. The article notes that IMPACT-se’s earlier report on the previous Saudi curriculum was highly critical, and was presented to the Royal Court and Saudi Ministry officials with detailed changes that should be made.  IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff says in the article that the new 2020 textbooks show Saudi Arabia has demonstrated a concerted effort to make content more moderate. A State Department official told the Post, “We are encouraged by the positive changes in influential textbooks used throughout Saudi Arabia.” ADL’s David Weinberg is quoted as saying, “Finally, after years of unremarkable changes, they’ve finally excised some of the hate and incitement in very real ways [although] there is still a very heavy focus on enmity with Israel and Zionism.” Sheff said that textbooks have an overwhelming influence in the Middle East, where students see their curriculum as communicating messages formulated by the state. “There is an understanding of the direct link between textbooks’ power to radicalize young people. And it works the other way around: Textbooks have this power to act as a barrier to radicalization.”

  • Following IMPACT-se UNRWA Report, Jewish Leaders Raise Concerns About Biden’s UN Approach

    Jewish Insider_UNRWA_re Jewish Leaders

    Jewish Insider — January 25, 2021
    Earlier this month, the United Nations agency tasked with working with Palestinians said it mistakenly issued textbooks that call for jihad, or holy war, against Israel. The agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said it was “taking steps” to address their glorification of “martyrs” and calls for “jihad.” UNRWA issued the apology after the Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, IMPACT-se, released a report analyzing Palestinian textbooks that are used by hundreds of thousands of students in the West Bank and Gaza. The Biden administration is expected to move to restore funding to the Palestinians, aid the Trump administration withdrew in September 2018. The move would be consistent with Biden’s pledge to “repair our alliances and engage the world once more,” but Jewish leaders and others are looking on with caution, hoping the new administration does not repeat what some believe were mistakes of the past. Regarding UNRWA, the American Jewish Committee’s CEO David Harris said it too has had a “persistent problem of incitement and hatred in their {UNRWA] schools and other facilities. American re-engagement [with UNRWA] must also focus determinedly on ending these practices, which, let’s be clear, undermine the integrity of the world body.”

  • When the UN is more anti-Israel than the Palestinian Authority

    MENA Watch (German) January 24, 2021
    After there was clear criticism of antisemitic and terror-glorifying textbooks by the Palestinian Authority that are used in United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees schools, UNRWA promised to provide its own supplementary teaching and learning materials that would not incite hatred of Jews. Now it turns out this material is, on the contrary, at least in part, not better. A few days ago, the Israeli institute, IMPACT-se, published an explosive report, stating that UNRWA, has produced worksheets for schoolchildren which stir up hatred of Jews and Israel. This finding is extremely embarrassing for the charity, after it had previously given assurance that it would make extensive efforts to ensure the quality and balance of the teaching. Since it itself has no mandate to change the curricula and textbooks of the countries in which there are UNRWA schools, it has developed supplementary teaching and learning materials and set up programs for further training for teachers. The aid organization has now distributed its own supplementary work materials, including flash cards given to students for homeschooling in subjects such as Arabic, English and social sciences during the corona pandemic. IMPACT-se has evaluated the documents and has come to the conclusion that they too are “permeated with hatred and encouragement to jihad, violence and martyrdom.” The material produced by UNRWA, according to the report, is “in places more extremist than the material from the Palestinian Authority that it supplements.” UNRWA General Secretary Lazzarini weighed in: “Such cases are also misused to discredit our work as a whole,” he said in October last year. UNRWA is paying “strict attention to ensuring that no content is taught in our schools that contradicts the principles of the United Nations” and will follow the recommendations of the EU on school books.

  • New York Times Quotes IMPACT-se in Assessment of New US-Saudi Relationship

    NYT — January 19, 2021
    The New York Times quoted IMPACT-se’s report on the updated Saudi curriculum today as evidence of significant progress in the Kingdom, in a wider piece about the potential relationship between Saudi Arabia and the new US administration. The article suggests the textbook report findings point to Saudi Arabia going through a process of modernization, which might ease tensions with a Saudi-critical President Biden. The report cited the recent review of Saudi textbooks by IMPACT-se, which found that most of the material deemed anti-Semitic had been taken out, as had text praising jihad and saying gays and lesbians should be punished with death and noted many changes since its previous report last year. Marcus Sheff, the group’s chief executive, told the Times in an interview that the Saudis were moving in the right direction, and faster than they had before. “This curriculum is not free from of hate, not free of incitement,”he said, “but Saudi Arabia has clearly made a concerted effort, an institutional effort, to modernize the curriculum.”

  • Shocking Incitement in UNRWA School Materials

    The Australian Jewish News — January 21, 2021
    THE head of a Middle East monitoring group has declared governments “can no longer trust” the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency after disturbing examples of bias and incitement were found in teaching materials it authored. Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, has taken aim at UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) for producing the materials used by school students in Gaza and the West Bank. UNRWA has previously distributed Palestinian Authority-produced material. “After years of hearing UNRWA’s claims that it does not teach hate and has safeguards in place, we have for the first time taken a peek behind the curtain and what we see is shocking,” Sheff told The AJN. IMPACT-se’s report into the material labels it “rife with problematic content that contradicts stated U.N. values…. A U.N. organisation has created radical teaching material that promotes violence, hate and blood libels [and] has systematically distributed it to over 300,000 schoolchildren.” Australia has this year reduced its funding to UNRWA from $20 million to $10 million per year. Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said it has long been clear that UNRWA “has become a serious barrier to Israeli–Palestinian peace in numerous ways, of which the textbook issue is just one.” He called on the government to review “whether its commitment to UNRWA is the best way to further our national interest.”

    Other news outlets with reports based on this article:
    TOI
    TOI (French)

  • UNWRA Admits Its Educational Material Distributed to Palestinian Students Exhorts to Violence

    EJP — January 16, 2021
    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which serves Palestinian refugees, has admitted that its educational materials contain exhortations to violence, hate speech, and terrorism that violate U.N. regulations. UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini admitted that “inappropriate” material was indeed distributed to over 300,000 students in UNRWA’s care. His statement came one day after the release of a report by the group IMPACT-se (Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School) examining the UNWRA materials. The report, which contains the first-ever audit of UNRWA-produced educational materials, uncovered extremist content which does not comply with U.N. standards or UNRWA’s own stated principles. The report found the UNRWA-produced material contained content that encouraged violence, glorified jihad and martyrdom, erased the U.N.-member Israel, from maps, and reproduced libels and conspiracies that fuel hostility and intolerance. “After years of hearing UNRWA’s claims that it does not teach hate and has safeguards in place, we have for the first time taken a peep behind the curtain and what we see is shocking,’’ said Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se. ‘’It is time for UNRWA to finally come clean about its teaching of the radical Palestinian curriculum. Platitudes about removing the Palestinian Authority’s problematic material will no longer cut it when UNRWA itself is part of the problem.”

  • UN Aid Agency for Palestinians Says It Mistakenly Gave out Textbooks Calling for Jihad

    JTA_UNRWA-PA

    JTA — January 15, 2021
    The United Nations’ aid agency for Palestinians said it is “taking steps” to address the glorification of “martyrs” and calls for “jihad” in books it handed out to students. One Arabic grammar booklet features phrases like “Jihad is one of the doors to Paradise.” Another reads that “The Palestinians are lions in fighting the enemies.” A ninth-grade social studies booklet accuses Israel of deliberately polluting Palestinian territories and spreading disease by dumping radioactive and toxic waste. UNRWA spokeswoman Tamara Alrifai told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that these and other texts were “not in line with U.N. values” and “mistakenly included” as the agency rushed to supply students’ teaching aids during the COVID-19 lockdown. UNRWA made the statements Thursday following a report published a day earlier by the Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School, or IMPACT-se, saying the books went to hundreds of thousands of students in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. Many seem to be based on Palestinian Authority resources… and mislabel Israel as “Palestine” or erase the country from maps of the Middle East.

    Other news outlets with JTA’s article include:
    Cleveland Jewish News

  • UN Agency Head Admits Printing ‘Inappropriate’ Content in Palestinian Classroom Materials

    Jewish Insider — January 14, 2021
    To complement the Palestinian Authority’s curriculum, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) printed and distributed its own materials, which repeatedly refer to Israel as “the enemy” and also include instructions in a math workbook for students to select the correct number of “martyrs” from the first intifada. A grammar booklet published by UNRWA includes the sentences, “Jihad is one of the doors to Paradise,” and “The Palestinians have become an example of sacrifice.” In a series of tweets, UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini indicated that the material in question was distributed in error, and that the agency had replaced the offending pages with “content that adheres to U.N. values.” Lazzarini’s tweets came in the wake of a report by IMPACT-se, a watchdog organization that monitors content in educational materials distributed in schools throughout the Middle East. “This avoidance of peace education is absolutely appalling. A U.N. organization has to teach the children to whom it has a duty of care about the possibility of peace,” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, told JI. “They don’t just avoid it. They make absolutely no effort whatsoever to do that.”

    Related Article:
    Jewish Leaders Raise Concerns About Biden’s U.N. Approach (Jan 25, 2021)

  • Monitoring Group: UNRWA Textbooks Glorify Terror, Deny Israel’s Existence

    Times of Israel — January 14, 2021
    An Israeli watchdog found that a new series of educational textbooks produced by a United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees contains incitement to violence and hatred, and glorifies terrorism. The new textbooks were produced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a branch of the international body that runs schools, health clinics and other social services for millions of Palestinian refugees around the Middle East. The books were part of a new curriculum issued by the agency during the coronavirus pandemic to facilitate distance learning. The review conducted by The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli watchdog that analyzes Palestinian textbooks, found UNRWA-produced material “to be rife with problematic content that contradicts stated UN values.” “UNRWA is complicit in radicalizing schoolchildren through the glorification of terrorists, encouragement to violence and teaching of blood libels to Palestinian schoolchildren,” said IMPACT-se director Marcus Sheff. Palestinian Authority textbooks have come under fire in the past for what critics have deemed to be hateful, anti-Semitic content. However, IMPACT-se said that the “UNRWA-created material is, in places, more extremist than PA material it complements.”

  • Study Reveals Rampant Anti-Semitism, Hate, in PA, Gaza UNRWA School Materials

    Jewish Press_UNRWA-PA Hate

    Jewish Press — January 14, 2021
    The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), this month issued its “Review of UNRWA-Produced Study Materials in the Palestinian Territories,” revealing that they “are rife with material which does not comply with UN values.” Palestinian Authority textbooks have come under fire in the past for what critics have deemed to be hateful, anti-Semitic content. However, IMPACT-se said that the “UNRWA-created material is, in places, more extremist than the PA material it complements. This inappropriate material is present “across nearly all sets, subjects and grades, although some appears more frequently in certain subjects than others,” according to the report. The UNRWA content is characterized by an unambiguous adoption of the Palestinian and the Pan-Arab nationalist narrative, completely abandoning any façade of UN-mandated neutrality; an unapologetic attempt to erase and delegitimize Israel, a UN member state, and to a large extent the Jewish people as well; multiple occurrences of unfounded, incendiary conspiracy theories that stoke hostility; and the encouragement of violent conflict resolution, with no equivalent encouragement of peacemaking.

  • Report on UNRWA Study Materials Exposes yet Again Shocking Facts About Palestinian Education

    CIDI (Dutch) — January 14, 2021
    IMPACT-SE has investigated newly developed educational materials used by UNRWA, aimed at home education during the corona pandemic. The investigation found that the materials are not aligned with UN goals and are guilty of inciting violence, rejecting peace, and denying Israel and Jewish history and presence in the region. The research shows that the materials do not meet the standards of the United Nations, and that feedback and revision as a result of previous studies are only applied sparingly to the teaching material. This study looked at self-study materials, which UNRWA issued from spring 2020. The majority of the materials are used in the Gaza Strip, but some also in the West Bank. In addition, it is largely based on the PA curriculum, with some modifications and omissions. This is not the first time that Palestinian educational material has been cast in a bad light because of its content. As a result of an earlier investigation into Palestinian textbooks by the PA itself, parliamentary questions were asked in 2017 about the hateful and intolerant content and Dutch funding [of PA textbooks].

  • UNRWA’s Education Filled With Hate, Calls to Jihad and Violence: Report

    The Jerusalem Post — January 13, 2021
    Educational content produced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is filled with hate and encouragement to jihad, violence and martyrdom, and entirely devoid of any material that promotes peace and peace-making, according a report by the research institute IMPACT-se. According to IMPACT-se, this UNRWA-created material is, in places, more extremist than Palestinian Authority material it complements. UNRWA Commissioner-General Phillippe Lazzarini stated in a Jerusalem Post press interview: “Let’s be clear: There is no glorification of martyrs being taught in UNRWA schools….” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff explained that last year, Lazzarini “launched a charm offensive, promising politicians and media that UNRWA schools are ‘a haven for tolerance.’ But the reality is that through its own-branded material, UNRWA is complicit in radicalizing [Palestinian] schoolchildren through the glorification of terrorists, encouragement to violence and teaching of blood libels.” Sheff added: “Let’s be clear: UNRWA is a United Nations organization, funded by the international donor community. The majority of its budget is earmarked for education. It is not unreasonable for donor countries to ensure their funding is not used to teach hate, or that prospective donors conduct due diligence of UNRWA school materials before they transfer funds.

  • Education at UNRWA Is Filled With Hatred, Calls for Jihad, and Violence: IMPACT-se Report

    i24 (French) — January 13, 2021
    The educational content produced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is filled with hatred, encouragement of jihad, violence and martyrdom, and is entirely devoid of any material that promotes peace, according to the IMPACT-se research institute. According to a [recent] report, the children of the Gaza Strip are systematically called to “defend the homeland with blood”. These calls may take the form of a math problem, when students are asked to identify the correct number of martyrs in the first Intifada, or when they are taught that the territory where Israel is located is, in fact, “modern Palestine,” without dividing lines. When mentioned, Israel is generally referred to as “the enemy” or “the Zionist occupier,” a flagrant violation of UN principles of neutrality, which UNRWA should prioritize, IMPACT-se reported. The report goes on to expose the conspiracies propagated in educational materials, such as a slander that “Zionists” deliberately set Al-Aqsa Mosque on fire and Israel deliberately dumps radioactive and toxic waste in the West Bank. Responding to a previous IMPACT-se report, UNRWA Commissioner-General Phillippe Lazzarini told the European Parliament that “there is no place for education that encourages violence, discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism.”

  • UN Textbooks in Gaza, PA Full of Israel Hatred, Praise of Jihadists

    YNet — January 13, 2021
    A report published by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) shows that  textbooks produced by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, includes study material which frequently references and sometimes directly reproduces texts and phrases from the Palestinian Authority’s textbooks, including glorification of violence and sacrificing of one’s life in order to defend the “motherland.” According to the report, the UNRWA-produced material fails to mention possible peace with Israel, while the term “peace” is also never mentioned, neither as an ideal nor as a concrete goal. Prior to the publication of the IMPACT-se study, UNRWA’s new Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, said in a speech to the European Parliament that “there is no place for any provision that encourages violence, discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism. IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said that “in its branded material, UNRWA is a partner in radicalizing the next generation of children by glorifying terrorists, encouraging violence and teaching blood libels to Palestinian children. Mr. Lazzarini needs to explain how it happened under his auspices.” IMPACT-se’s Chief Operating Officer Arik Agassi said, “UNRWA has for years refused to publish the content and method of study it uses, which it claims prevents students from being exposed to incitement in Palestinian textbooks. Now we know why.”

  • Review of UNRWA-Produced Study Materials in the Palestinian Territories

    2020-21 UNRWA BookletsIMPACT-se’s extensive research of PA school textbooks has consistently shown a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects, with the proliferation of extreme nationalism and Islamist ideologies throughout the curriculum. Yet, it is this material that is taught in UNRWA-run schools throughout the Palestinian Territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank as well as Jerusalem. Our research shows that UNRWA, as a UN organization, knowingly produces and teaches material in its Gaza Strip and West Bank schools that are rife with problematic content that contradicts stated UN values. Although UNRWA has claimed in the past that it has devised a methodology to isolate and address problematic content it has not demonstrated how the issue is addressed. UNRWA’s lack of transparency to address such problematic issues make it impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of any efforts it claims to have made. Updated Research of post-November 2020 material shows hate remains.  January 2021 (Original) Report

  • Saudis Remove Antisemitic Content From School Books

    Mena Watch (German) — January 4, 2021
    The Saudi authorities have removed antisemitic and anti-Zionist content from the country’s textbooks for the coming school year, according to a report by the Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se). The report appeared amid growing speculation about a possible rapprochement between the Jewish state and the Arab Gulf power. Saudi Arabia’s neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, normalized their relations with Israel in a U.S.-brokered agreement in September. Washington has made no secret of the fact that it would like to see Riyadh join the Abraham Accord before U.S. President Donald Trump’s term ends next month. IMPACT-se said that while it cannot report that “new tolerance teaching material has been added to the curriculum, a significant amount of offensive and discriminatory material has been removed.” The report said that many of the books no longer contain the announcement of a religious war in which Muslims would annihilate all Jews. In addition, the classic antisemitic stereotype that “Zionist forces” would use nefarious methods to control the world was removed. The Institute said that while it cannot report that “new tolerance teaching material has been added to the curriculum, a significant amount of offensive and discriminatory material has been removed.” “If you look at the evolution of our reports on the Saudi curriculum from 2002 through 2008 and even into 2019, it becomes clear that the new textbooks for 2020 represent an institutional attempt to modernize the Kingdom curriculum,” said Marcus Sheff head of IMPACT-se. “The Saudi authorities have started to fight anti-Jewish hatred.”