Wilson Center — July 25, 2022
In his first Middle East trip as President of the United States, Joe Biden appears to be keen to continue one of former President Trump’s most prominent foreign policy priorities: urging normalization between Israel and Arab states. Although the UAE and Bahrain signed the Trump-brokered Abraham Accords at a governmental level in 2020, challenges remain at the grassroots level. In response, states across the GCC have pursued different strategies to mobilize popular sentiment. In the UAE, normalization initiatives in the educational and cultural spheres are carefully tailored to instill compliance to an Israel-friendly narrative. For non-signatory GCC states, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, normalization is less straightforward; however, even these states have taken steps to prepare citizens for a new geopolitical reality. Although relations between the UAE and Israel are not brand new, the peace agreement allowed state actors in the Emirates to begin openly propagating the idea that Israel is not an enemy. By the same token, in school textbooks, Israel is now portrayed in a strikingly different light. Based on a report by the Institute of Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli non-profit, anti-Israeli sentiments have been reduced and moderated significantly. Although relations between the UAE and Israel are not brand new, the peace agreement allowed state actors in the Emirates to begin openly propagating the idea that Israel is not an enemy. The CEO of IMPACT-se, Marcus Sheff, stated that the new content was made available “on the desks of schoolchildren in the Emirates just two weeks after the announcement of the agreement.” These educational initiatives will potentially curb the magnitude of future opposition to normalization. In other GCC states, normalization gestures have been implemented more subtly. In 2019, Middle East Media Research (MEMRI) and Anti-Defamation league (ADL) released reports criticizing Qatar’s school textbooks for alleged anti-Semitic content. Subsequently, the Qatari Ministry of Education amended and removed some texts mentioned in these reports. In IMPACT-se’s most recent report on Qatari textbooks, David Weinberg described the changes as “remarkable and somewhat encouraging.” The ADL and IMPACT-se publications were mentioned in the Department of State’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom: Qatar. In the case of Saudi Arabia, The Ministry of Education has also modified content in school textbooks in recent years. IMPACT-se’s 2021-2022 report makes the case that prior to changes, anti-Semitic tropes were omnipresent, including those associated with prominent conspiracy theories. For example, in a social studies textbook, students learn that the 1969 arson of the Al Aqsa Mosque was a plot orchestrated by the Israeli government. Also, in a removed passage in a Hadith and Islamic culture textbook, students are taught that “the Zionist Occupation, and its associations and organizations, ceaselessly plot to demolish and destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque, or burn it down and damage it.” Although the Saudi government took steps to moderate and improve content, experts argue that more changes have yet to be made. Nevertheless, considering the strength of pro-Palestinian voices in the Saudi street, swiftly implementing normalization policies would increase political tensions to a high degree.
The Jerusalem Post — July 23, 2022
Research and policy institute the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) released its latest report on changes made to Qatari textbooks for the 2021-2022 school year, it said in a statement. IMPACT-se’s report in August 2020 regarding Qatari curricula, found multiple instances of antisemitism and other extremist content in textbooks. The institute noted that Qatari textbooks have shown slow but steady improvement by promoting more moderate messaging and adding lessons about tolerance and racism. IMPACT-se noted that the most significant change was the removal of a Social Studies textbook that promoted conspiracy theories such as that Jews control the world economy and caused the rise of Nazi Germany by manipulating the markets. Furthermore, content praising Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and teaching that Jews are treacherous, lack allegiance to any country and are to blame for Germany’s defeat in World War I was removed from the curriculum. IMPACT-se added that some content that was hateful toward Christians, such as the notion that “Christianization” is a threat, was removed from the textbooks. The institute also found that efforts had been made to reduce extremist content. For instance, a lesson glorifying the founder of Hamas, Ahmed Yassin, as a martyr and a symbol of the Palestinian struggle and a reference to a verse from the Qur’an describing violence against Jews and Christians were removed from the textbooks. However, the institute noted, some problematic content remains in the curriculum, including demonization of Israel, rejection of Arab-Israeli normalization, violent interpretations of jihad, antisemitic content and content demonizing infidels. “We are seeing a steady positive trend compared to our Qatar reports of the last two years, though the pace is slow,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “The greatest degree of progress has been made in removing antisemitic content. However, much antisemitic material, of religious and nationalist nature, is retained. Textbooks largely continue to promote violent jihad as well as hate towards non-Muslims. Israel continues to receive is proportionate negative attention, but anti-Israel tone has been lowered.” “Ideally, the pace of change needs to be picked up, both in removing problematic materials and in the tougher job of creating peaceful and tolerant content, which the Qataris began to produce in 2021.”
IMPACT-se’s latest review of the Qatari curriculum evaluates changes made in fall and spring semester textbooks for 2021-22. IMPACT-se’s August 2020 report analyzing the Qatari curriculum found problematic content, namely hate toward Jews and extremist messaging. Over the last two years, Qatar’s textbooks have slowly improved with adjustments made toward moderation, including lessons on tolerance and racial discrimination. Significant progress was observed in removing antisemitic and anti-Christian content as well as examples of violent jihad. While the curriculum still disproportionately focuses on Israel, the hostile tone is lessened. Other problematic content remains, including antisemitic material, violent interpretations of jihad, hateful material against infidels and polytheists, demonization of Israel, and rejection of Arab-Israeli normalization. 2022 Review
Newsweek — July 22, 2022
American tax dollars are funding terrorist attacks on Israel and the United States. As crazy as that statement sounds, it could not be more true. In 2021, the Biden administration resumed American funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after President Donald Trump had suspended the practice during his administration. Then, on his whirlwind Middle East tour last week, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would be increasing American aid to UNRWA by $200 million. Operating under the guise of supporting the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA is, in fact, a hotbed of indoctrination into an ideology of Jew-hatred and violent Islamist extremism. For years, this “neutral” United Nations agency has led the charge in training the next and the next (and the next) generation of Palestinian terrorists and suicide bombers. The group’s materials and school curricula are an endless parade of Jew-hatred and poisonous invective aimed at the oldest punching bag in history: the Jewish people. Graduates of UNRWA schools have no hope of helping their people shed the yoke of the downtrodden foisted upon them by their own corrupt leadership. Under UNRWA, students’ only dreams for the future are of hate and murder. America proudly funds nearly one-third of UNRWA’s annual budget. In a video exposé co-produced by The Lawfare Project and the Center for Near East Policy Research, several years ago, a teacher at a UNRWA school is heard teaching a lesson about martyrdom to young children—a lesson, that is, rooted in the ideology that all of Israel belongs to the Arabs. The ugly call and repeat is designed for one thing only: to shape impressionable young minds with a mantra of ugliness that tattoos Jew-hatred into their psyche. The social media accounts of UNRWA teachers are littered with posts that express support for terrorist groups and incite violence against Jews and Israelis. UN Watch, a Geneva-based NGO, has widely reported on these postings, including in a presentation to the U.S. Congress. Watchdog groups the world over have been shouting this same message for years. UNRWA textbooks use terrorists to illustrate lessons the way American textbooks use Jack and Jill. “Martyrs” from the First Intifada are used in mathematical word problems. Students are encouraged to “defend the motherland with blood.” Lessons are peppered with blatant lies, such as one about Israel dumping radioactive waste in the West Bank. Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who killed 38 civilians while hijacking a bus, is hailed in UNRWA textbooks as a role model of female empowerment. Phillipe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of UNRWA, has claimed that content of this nature was published in UNWRA textbooks by accident. He has vowed to correct the oversight, and he claims that all UNRWA textbooks have now been scrubbed clean of “inappropriate pages.” However, in a report published just this month, the London-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that new materials created and distributed by UNRWA during the COVID-19 pandemic to facilitate distance learning continue to promote terrorism, while also denying Israel’s right to exist. It doesn’t end in the classroom. UNRWA school buildings are also used by Hamas to store weapons and missiles. All while America continues to foot UNRWA’s bills. At what point will this administration say enough is enough? What will make President Biden realize that he has aligned America with the wrong “ally?” Does a terrorist have to be wearing a UNRWA T-shirt while shooting up an American subway? Do UNRWA textbooks have to refer to America as an illicit “occupier?” How close to home does the outrage need to hit before America turns off the spigot?
Other outlets with this article:
Nachrichten De (German)
JNS — July 21, 2022
How UNRWA’s schools are used to indoctrinate Palestinian children is revealed quite clearly in a just-released study by the organization IMPACT-se, entitled, “Review of 2022 UNRWA-Produced Study Materials in the Palestinian Territories: Selected Examples.” The report audited textbooks used in UNRWA schools and found that children are being taught a false narrative that makes them the perennial victim of a usurping colonial occupier—the defiling Jew. Liberation, the narrative claims, can only be obtained through a prolonged struggle. “Resistance” to occupation, which is defined as the very existence of a Jewish state, is declared mandatory for all Muslims. Terror and martyrdom are portrayed as an integral and noble part of the effort. The report notes, for example, a fifth-grade text called “Hurray for Heroes,” which “praises Palestinian militant figures such as Izz al-Din al-Qassam and Dalal Mughrabi, known for leading violent operations against Jewish civilians; both are presented as positive role models. The UNRWA material requires students to read the text and identify the Palestinian ‘heroes,’ while suggesting: ‘we all hope to be like those heroes.’” An UNRWA booklet designed to teach numbers to third-grade students directs “them to a specific exercise in a P.A. math textbook which asks students to choose the correct number of martyrs in the First Intifada from a list of suggested numbers.” Martyrdom, of course, is portrayed as a noble aspiration. Eighth-grade study cards reinforce this same perverse aspiration, “featuring themes of jihad, martyrdom, prison and conflict.” A sixth-grade study card, the report found, “utilizes militaristic, nationalistic and violent imagery to teach Arabic grammar principles which encourage jihad and martyrdom. Such examples include phrases like ‘We shall defend the motherland with blood’; ‘The Palestinian died as a martyr … to defend his motherland’; ‘The resistance fighter attacked the Enemy’s position.’” The IMPACT-se report mirrors revelations of the toxicity of UNRWA teaching materials in a 2020 report by Dr. Arnon Groiss of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, entitled, “Israel, Jews and Peace in Palestinian Authority Schoolbooks and Teachers’ Guides.” This report examined some 400 textbooks and more than 100 teachers’ guides published by the Palestinian Education Ministry from 2013 to 2020. While the familiar narrative among diplomats and on the Arab “street” has long voiced support for the notion of “two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace,” the reality is that maps in textbooks used by Arab children do not even show Israel. In other words, the Jewish state does not exist as either a geographic or political entity. So, the idea that children or their parents have been raised to think that reconciliation is possible is a fantasy, something that apologists for the Palestinians regularly ignore. “In none of the P.A.’s schoolbooks has any call for the resolution of the conflict peacefully, or any mentioning of coexistence with Israel, been found,” Groiss wrote. “The ‘Zionist enemy,’ according to the description appearing in the schoolbooks, is wholly evil and constitutes an existential threat to the Palestinians, who are depicted as the ultimate victim, with no shared responsibility for the conflict.” “Moreover,” the report noted, “Israel itself is taught to be completely illegal and illegitimate.” It adds, “The name ‘Israel’ has been replaced most of the times by the epithet ‘the Zionist occupation.’” “The struggle against the State of Israel has thus become a struggle against Zionism that is perceived as a mythical and a wholly evil entity, which creates feelings of fear and hatred,” the report states.
Gatestone — July 20, 2022
The Biden administration has decided to resume financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), even though the agency’s school books continue to incite violence and erase Israel’s existence from their maps. This means that US taxpayer money, thanks to the Biden administration, is now once again going directly to an international agency that promotes messages of hate against Israel and denies its right to exist. The resumption of the financial aid to UNRWA will also help to perpetuate the problem of the Palestinian refugees and their descendants. The claim that the UNRWA services contribute to maintaining regional stability is not only false, but, sadly, ridiculous. On the contrary, most of the refugee camps have since become hotbeds for extremist and terrorist groups and individuals, especially in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria. Instead of pressuring UNRWA to change its policies and stop the anti-Israel incitement in its schools, the Biden administration has decided to reward the agency for encouraging hate, violence, martyrdom and the delegitimization and demonization of Israel and Jews. The Biden administration, in short, has just sent a message to the Palestinians and all the Israel-haters that it supports their efforts and shares their dream of obliterating Israel. Those who fund school textbooks that glorify terrorists and deny Israel’s right to exist are complicit in the global jihad against Israel. UNRWA, of course, does not have a mandate to take action against terrorists, nor does it have the forces or means to do so. Still, this does not mean that there is nothing that the agency could do to help ease tensions and discourage terrorism and violence. It could, for example, work to promote peace and coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians. It could promote tolerance and peace in the schools it manages in the refugee camps. A study published by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se)found that children attending UNRWA schools are exposed to textbooks that include references to violence, martyrdom, overt antisemitism, jihad (holy war), rejection of the possibility of peace with Israel, and the complete omission of any historical Jewish presence in the region. “Despite the relatively small amount of available material, we found material that does not adhere to international standards and that encourages violence, jihad and martyrdom, antisemitism, hate, and intolerance, with overtly politicized language that violates both UN values and UNRWA’s neutrality policy… “UNRWA-produced material contains texts that glorify waging war and sacrificing one’s life and blood to liberate the motherland, which is described as the entirety of Mandatory Palestine [all of today’s Israel].” Such examples include grammar exercises that “use sentences discussing ‘jihad warriors,’ ‘sacrifice of blood,’ and ‘liberation of Palestine from the Occupier,’ and openly suggests violence to students… and passages that exalt Palestinian militants whose daggers ‘landed on the necks of the [Israeli] enemy’s soldiers’…” Another example uses a poem to teach students that dying as martyrs is a “hobby” and that “peace-making is undesirable and a sign of weakness.” In addition, social studies exercises imply that Israel is a colonial entity created by European colonialism to divide the Arab world. Israel is described solely in a negative manner as having malicious intentions toward Palestinians. It is accused of intentionally and maliciously mistreating Palestinian prisoners (terrorists) and their families and of attempting to erase Palestinian heritage and identity. In some instances, Israelis are accused of desecrating Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The study concluded that UNRWA-produced material consistently ignores the existence of Israel and tasks students with labelling cities and sites in Israel proper as Palestinian.
All Israel News — July 13, 2022
An Israel-based monitoring organization has discovered the intentional teaching of antisemitic content in the schools of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East. UNRWA, which operates more than 700 schools in the Middle East, uses textbooks containing passages that encourage hatred and violence of Israel and Jews, despite many recurring calls to end the malpractice. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education found that UNRWA directs students to read the incendiary content, despite its claims that teachers are told to skip over it. Moreover, IMPACT-se stated that UNRWA only concealed the hate-filled material on its public education online portal. In practice, the offending passages “were drafted, supervised, approved, printed and distributed to thousands of students by UNRWA teachers and staff,” states an IMPACT-se report. According to the report, UNRWA-produced academic literature contains “texts that glorify waging war and sacrificing one’s life and blood to liberate the ‘motherland,’ which is described as the entirety of Mandatory Palestine.” In Jan. 2021, IMPACT-se published a similar report, which prompted UNRWA to vow it will crack down on incitement. The U.N. organization stated at the time that the inciting material had been published by accident. UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini who claimed that the existence of “robust internal mechanisms” matches school content with U.N. values, tweeted that “there was no place [for] incitement to hatred/violence in UNRWA schools.” However, the 2022 watchdog report identified UNRWA school material that encourages “jihad, violence and martyrdom; promotes anti-Semitism; and promotes hate, intolerance and lack of neutrality.” Spelling and vocabulary exercises include sentences about “Jihad warriors” against “the occupier,” commitment to “liberate” Palestine and “resisting the enemy courageously.” One grammar exercise teaches that “the Palestinians sacrifice their blood to liberate Jerusalem.” UNRWA Arabic “drill cards” promote a narrative which portrays Jewish people as “inherently treacherous and hostile to Islam and Muslims.” A poem describes killing Israelis and dying as martyrs as a “hobby.” The text glorifies the rejection of a peaceful ceasefire during battle and presents peace-making as a sign of weakness. Israel is described as having been implanted by “an imperialist, European, colonial, anti-Arab conspiracy with the goal of dividing the Arab world.” Israeli advocacy groups have long accused the U.N. agency of inciting children to violence, not only in its curricula but also through its staff members. This past week, UNRWA announced its decision to place six employees on administrative leave for inciting violence against Jews, after UN Watch exposed dozens of openly anti-Semitic statements by the staffers. The Geneva-based NGO has documented more than 100 UNRWA teachers and staffers complicit in incitement against Jews or Israelis. Some of these praised the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas on social media and some explicitly called for the murdering of Jews. UN Watch said there is no indication that even one of these 100-plus staff members has been fired. IMPACT-se noted in June that U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield raised the issue of UNRWA school materials at a House Appropriations Committee budget hearing, calling it “a red line for all of us.” IMPACT-se added that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is providing $338 million annually to UNRWA. The majority of the contribution goes to education. In 2018, the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump cut off American funding for UNRWA, calling it an “irredeemably flawed operation.”
YNET — July 12, 2022
A new IMPACT-se study which analyzed hundreds of pages of the new United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) school books, shows the agency continues to incite violence as well erase Israel’s existence from maps. The new study materials for 2022 were not uploaded to UNRWA’s online study portal, where the agency claims all materials it produces can be found after meticulous editing that comply with the UN values such as peace and tolerance. The materials reviewed in the study conducted by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), was produced, edited and approved by UNRWA and released to thousands of students, teachers and staff in over 30 schools. Lessons in the curriculum includes calls to free Jerusalem with blood. Arabic spelling and vocabulary exercises include words like “Jihad fighters” against the “Occupiers” and an obligation to “free” Palestine. Arabic is taught through a poem that teaches the “hobby” of killing Israelis and dying as a martyr in the holy war, and that peace is an unwanted sign of weakness. Israel, which is part of the UN, is wiped from all records in the agency’s maps, presenting Palestine instead and asking students to name cities in areas under Israeli control. The study showed that content produced previously by UNRWA, which it claims teachers were told to avoid, are still present in the new materials published as well. IMPACT-se representatives met with UNRWA’s head, Philippe Lazzarini, in May and said they were worried about the covert production of new materials and their absence from online presence . The study was brought to Lazzarini last week before it was published. UNRWA committed in 2021 to removing material inciting hate and violence that it produced, as well as to deal harshly with any who may try to teach such content. In a discussion in the UN congress over the UNRWA study materials in June, U.S. ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the topic is “A red line to all of us.” She claimed the agency is acting for the removal of such material and that the American government is working “very closely” with it and “overseeing their work.” The U.S. donated close to 400 million dollars to UNRWA since President Joe Biden became president. UNRWA stated it was reviewing the study in detail. “After a similar occurrence last years, UNRWA promised to remove any inciteful material it produced. Marcus Sheff, IMPACT-se CEO said. “It seems the agency took this as a removal from the website where such material can be seen but had not removed it entirely,” he said. “The organization was made aware of our concerns two months ago. Unfortunately, it is clear that hateful teaching in UNRWA schools is increasing with the resumption of U.S. funding. No doubt enforcing policies is a possibility, considering American red lines are crossed so clearly,” Sheff said.
Jewish Insider — July 11, 2022
New educational materials produced by the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees include content promoting terrorism, denying Israel’s existence and spreading antisemitism, according to a new watchdog report published on Thursday. The report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a London- and Ramat Gan Israel-based group that monitors the content of educational materials distributed by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), discovered the content after UNRWA had said that all such material had been removed from self-produced materials, according to an IMPACT-se statement. The new materials, labeled as having been produced by UNRWA staff in Gaza for use in the 2021-2022 school year, include self-study booklets as well as social studies exams. The “material contains texts that glorify waging war and sacrificing one’s life and blood to liberate the ‘motherland,’” according to the report. The material also includes repeated descriptions of Jews as “inherently treacherous and hostile to Islam and Muslims” and “impure,” and accuses them of attempting to murder the Prophet Mohammad and “defiling” the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The materials also ignore the existence of Israel, labeling cities and sites within Israel as Palestinian; refer to Israel as “the Zionist Enemy,” “the Zionist Occupation” and “the Zionist Entity”; and describe Israel as a “colonial entity created by European colonialism to divide the Arab world.” They further accuse Israel of intentional mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners, and portray Israeli forces as “demonic.” UNRWA has said it would share all of its self-produced educational materials on a public web platform, but these materials were not available online, according to the report. The agency has also previously said it had rectified issues with its internally produced materials and that they are subject to an extensive approval process. “After a similar scandal last year, UNRWA promised that all offending material produced by them would be removed. It seems that UNRWA has interpreted this as removal from the website where it can be scrutinized, rather than removal from actual classrooms,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said. “UNRWA was again made aware of our concerns just two months ago.” UNRWA and U.S. officials have previously blamed host governments, including the Palestinian Authority, for producing the objectionable content, and argued that they have no ability to alter the learning materials. But IMPACT-se reports have repeatedly found that materials produced by UNRWA staff have also contained antisemitic material and incitements to violence. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said that the U.S. is working to eliminate antisemitic and anti-Israel material from UNRWA curricula, and has praised the agency for what she described as efforts to remove such material. “[I] told them that this was really a red line for all of us,” Thomas-Greenfield told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in June. “They hear your voices on this. They hear our voices on this… We will be watching what they do on these textbooks. There are other issues of management that we’re working with them very closely on and have monitored their work.”
The Jerusalem Post — July 9, 2022
Palestinian textbooks produced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) contain antisemitic, hateful and violent passages, an IMPACT-se analysis published on Thursday found. Some of the antisemitic passages include labeling Jews as inherently treacherous in an Islamic education drill. In a grammar exercise, Jews are implied to be impure and that they defile Al-Aqsa Mosque. A poem included in the educational content glorifies the killing of Israelis, portraying dying as martyrs by killing Israelis as a “hobby.” One of the hateful and violent ideas taught to Palestinian children can be found in a grammar exercise that encourages Palestinians to “sacrifice their blood to liberate Jerusalem,” with terms such as “jihad warriors” included. The textbooks were also found guilty of attempting to erase Israel’s existence and legitimacy. UNRWA materials erased Israel from its educational content, instead referring to the entire area as Palestine. Students are also tasked with labeling Israeli cities as Palestinian cities with Arabic names, IMPACT-se revealed. Conspiracy theories and disinformation on Israel are also prevalent in the UNRWA textbooks. In some passages, Israel is described as a European state implanted by anti-Arab imperialists. It is also taught that Israel tortures Palestinian prisoners and violently threatens their families. Palestinian children are also taught fake Israeli policies meant to “erase Palestinian identity.” These policies include alleged attempts to “steal and falsify” Palestinian heritage and “erase Jerusalem’s cultural heritage.” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini met with IMAPCT-se officials two months ago and was presented with the report prior to its publication. In the meeting, IMPACT-se raised concerns over hate materials produced by UNRWA and secrecy over teaching materials.
JNS — July 7, 2022
Educational materials produced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) contain content that encourages jihad, violence and martyrdom, in addition to promoting antisemitism, according to an analysis by IMPACT-se. The Israeli NGO—which monitors curricula to assess whether young people are being indoctrinated with hate—focused on materials labeled for use in the Palestinian territories in 2022 that did not appear on UNRWA’s new education portal as is required. Among the examples cited by IMPACT-se was a grammar exercise teaching that “the Palestinians sacrifice their blood to liberate Jerusalem.” Spelling and vocabulary exercises cited include sentences involving “jihad warriors” fighting against “the occupier [Israel],” as well as a commitment to “resisting the enemy courageously.” One poem describes dying as Palestinian martyrs by killing Israelis in terrorist attacks as a “hobby.” IMPACT-se noted that the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, recently discussed anti-Semitism in UNRWA education at a House Appropriations Committee budget hearing, calling it “a red line for all of us.” She asserted that the Biden administration was working “very closely” with UNRWA, has “monitored their work,” and “will be watching what they [UNRWA] do with these textbooks.” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff stressed that Washington is currently financing UNRWA to the tune of $338 million annually, the majority of which goes to education. “Sadly, it is clear that hate teaching in UNRWA schools is increasing rather than abating since U.S. funding was restarted. Surely, the will can be found to enforce policy, given that red lines are being crossed so egregiously,” Sheff said. “After a similar scandal last year,” he continued, “UNRWA promised that all offending material produced by them would be removed. It seems that UNRWA has interpreted this as removal from the website where it can be scrutinized, rather than removal from actual classrooms.”
The Times of Israel — July 7, 2022
An Israeli watchdog has found that educational textbooks produced by the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency continue to contain incitement to violence against Israel and hatred of Jews, despite promises to remove such content. Instead, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has hidden the material by removing it from its public educational online portal, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) said in a statement Thursday. According to an IMPACT-se report, UNRWA-produced educational literature “contains material that encourages jihad, violence and martyrdom, promotes antisemitism, and promotes hate, intolerance, and lack of neutrality.” “False conspiracy theories teach students that Israeli policies include attempts ‘to erase Palestinian identity,’ to ‘steal and falsify the Palestinian heritage,’ and to ‘erase the cultural heritage of Jerusalem,’” the statement said. The educational content, which was distributed in the West Bank and Gaza this year, does not appear on UNRWA’s new educational portal, even though it was produced by the official UNRWA Department of Education. “They were drafted, supervised, approved, printed, and distributed to thousands of students by UNRWA teachers and staff, whose names also appear on the materials as contributing to or supervising the content,” IMPACT-se said. IMPACT-se noted that UNRWA claims that it posts all of its self-produced material on the website for the sake of transparency. There was no immediate comment from UNRWA on the report.
EJP — July 7, 2022
Educational content produced by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, contains material that encourages jihad, violence, and martyrdom, promotes antisemitism, and promotes hate, intolerance, and lack of neutrality, according to IMPACT-se which obtained and analyzed the material. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) is an international research and policy organization that monitors and analyzes education around the world. It employs international standards of peace, tolerance and non-violence, as derived from UNESCO declarations and resolutions, to determine compliance and to advocate for change when necessary. IMPACT-se’s findings also show that UNRWA directs students to hateful passages in Palestinian textbooks, which UNRWA claims it instructs teachers to skip. The UNRWA material does not appear on the organization’s new education portal. Last month, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield discussed antisemitism in UNRWA education at a House Appropriations Committee budget hearing, calling it “a red line for all of us.” The United States is currently financing UNRWA to the tune of $338 million annually, the majority of which goes to education. An IMPACT-se review of UNRWA material in 2021 forced UNRWA to release a statement confirming that its teachers “mistakenly” produced and distributed “inappropriate material” that violates UN values, UNRWA then promised last year that all hate material it produced had been removed. This report proves that this does not in fact happen in practice. IMPACT-se met with UNRWA’s Commissioner General Philip Lazzarini two months ago, raising concerns over hate materials produced by UNRWA and secrecy over teaching materials. UNRWA says it now places all of its self-produced materials on its new education online portal to comply with transparency issues. However, this UNRWA-branded material was omitted from the website.
Along with other school curricula across the MENA region, IMPACT-se has been analyzing the PA school curriculum used by UNRWA for over two decades, assessing compliance with UN values, such as tolerance, non-violence, and peace-making. Our continued and 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 in addressing such problematic issues makes it impossible to properly evaluate its effectiveness. UNRWA 2022 Review
Honest Reporting — July 7, 2022
On July 1, the European Union stated it would release a grant to Al-Haq, a Palestinian NGO with long-standing links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Even though the PFLP is designated a terrorist organization by the EU, the United States and Israel, Brussels’ decision barely made a ripple in the news cycle. The announcement came just weeks after the European Commission decided to renew funding to the terror-supporting Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank. As an HonestReporting analysis of leading European news outlets makes clear, rather than calling for transparency in the use of public funds, journalists are promoting a narrative that perpetuates misleading claims made by the authoritarian rulers in Ramallah. Following the publication of a 194-page study by the independent Georg Eckert Institute one year ago, which concluded that PA textbooks contain “antisemitic narratives and glorification of violence,” the European Commission (EC) assured members of the European Parliament that urgent discussions were taking place between EU representatives and the PA Ministry of Education. This, to ensure that the Palestinian leadership would act to remove “questionable content” from books to be produced in 2021. Olivér Várhelyi, the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, reportedly demanded “clear process indicators” as to the PA’s commitment to ending incitement, which then triggered a drawn-out “consultative process” in Brussels, delaying the approval of the entire aid package. PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki subsequently called Várhelyi’s request “unacceptable” to Palestinians, since “…placing conditions on the funding embarrasses them internationally.” Meanwhile, a report analyzing PA textbooks for the 2021-22 semester published in January this year by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se)—a non-profit watchdog group that monitors educational resources for extremist materials—found that, in spite of Ramallah’s promises about curriculum reform and the ostensible implementation of “monitoring processes,” the original problems identified still persist. Among other issues, IMPACT-se discovered that study materials present Jews as “devious, treacherous and hostile” people who control “global events through financial power.” Students are taught that one of the “rules of jihad” is to die as a martyr while killing infidels, and that they should sacrifice themselves for their homeland and “redeem it with blood.” Despite the lack of progress, on June 13 the EC voted to authorize aid worth $231.4 million. “I am very glad to announce that the EU funds for 2021 can be disbursed rapidly,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a press conference in Ramallah, adding: “All the difficulties are gone.” The EU’s “Direct Financial Support to Recurrent Expenditures of the Palestinian Authority 2021” includes some $56.6 million for salaries and pensions of PA civil servants—including those who write textbooks. On Facebook, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh thanked Von der Leyen for the EC’s decision to resume “unconditional assistance.” This is the same Palestinian leader who has gone on record saying that he would not allow “any concessions about the educational curriculum,” calling the textbooks “part of the dignity of the Palestinian.” Responding to questions from The Jerusalem Post, an EU official on June 14 also confirmed that the 27-country bloc does not “impose reforms on our partners.” However, Brussels’ pandering to Palestinian demands did not generate headlines in any of the major European publications, even as members of the European Parliament tabled questions to the Commission. … journalists uncritically parroted Ramallah’s framing of the issue. Articles [by Euronews, The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Le Monde] simply echoed claims by PA Prime Minister Shtayyeh, who in March said that the holdup had a “negative impact on the ability of his government to meet its obligations towards the underprivileged families that receive social benefits, as well as on the salaries of the public employees and the work of the various institutions.” As such, Euronews, The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Le Monde failed in their journalistic duty to provide readers with the unvarnished facts. Specifically, it is the Palestinian Authority that is largely to blame for the “dire consequences” facing its subjects.
IMPACT-se has released its 2022 annual update on Saudi textbooks, depicting an overall trend of improvement following major reforms since 2020. Whereas only a decade ago, focus was put on encouraging students to prepare for jihad and martyrdom, the majority of references to violent jihad justifying and praising violence and murder on behalf of the Prophet Muhammad have now been removed from the textbooks. And while some problematic content such as negative depictions of Jews, Zionism and Christians remain or have even been made worse, others, particularly instances of the kind of antisemitism based on modern European tropes, have largely been removed. 2022 Review
The Jerusalem Post — June 29, 2022
Antisemitism has been largely eliminated from Saudi textbooks, The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) revealed in its annual report on education in Saudi Arabia. The report, released on Monday, found that content portraying Jews as disobedient and teachings of antisemitic tropes such as Jewish wealth were removed from the Saudi curriculum. Saudi Arabia has seen a trend of improvement in removing antisemitism from its curriculum in recent years, IMPACT-se said. According to the institute, Qur’an verses describing Jews being turned into monkeys were removed, as was the antisemitic myth that one of the goals of Zionism is a “global Jewish government.” In addition, Qur’an verses prohibiting friendships with Jews and Christians and condemning homosexuality have all been removed in the past three years. In 2021, several lessons demonizing Jewish people, Christians, and other “non-believers” were removed from the curriculum. An entire textbook unit on jihad was taken out of the curriculum. A year prior, a chapter called “the Zionist danger,” which dealt with various topics regarding the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist was removed. The chapter called “the Zionist danger,” which dealt with various topics regarding the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist has also been removed. However, some problematic content remains, IMPACT-se says. According to the report, Israeli is still omitted from maps shown in textbooks and Zionism is still described as “racist.” Saudi students are falsely taught that “Zionists” deliberately tried to burn down Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, a lie that was removed from Qatar’s curriculum. A Qur’an verse comparing Jews to “book-carrying donkeys” also remains, while students are taught that women are to blame for male sexual harassment. Overall, IMPACT-se has seen a “continuation of the clear trajectory of improvement” in the Saudi school curriculum, IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said. “Reaching for international standards of tolerance in school education will prepare Saudi children and those in other countries that use Saudi textbooks with the skills to positively interact with the different cultures and worldviews,” Sheff said. “Particularly Jews, who were greatly demonized before the reforms.” IMPACT-se’s report was shared with Saudi authorities.
The Jerusalem Post — June 23, 2022
Teachers working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) continue to publish antisemitic posts on social media despite commitments by UNRWA and the U.S. to ensure that antisemitism, violence and terrorism are not supported in UNRWA institutions, according to a new report by the NGO UN Watch published on Thursday. The report came as the U.S. and other Western countries gathered to pledge funding for the agency for Palestinian refugees. In the new report, UN Watch shared 20 new examples of UNRWA teachers and staffers in the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan expressing support for terrorist groups, violence against Jews and Israelis and antisemitism. One of the new examples presented by UN Watch is Nihaya Awad, a computer teacher for UNRWA in the West Bank, who posted a photo of a Hamas terrorist next to a child in a Hamas military uniform, accompanied by text praising Hamas. In another example, Elham Mansour, a UNRWA Teacher in Lebanon, published a post encouraging violence against Jews and Israelis, writing “If Allah wills it, instead of them sacrificing offerings in Al-Aqsa Mosque, the men of resistance and the Murabitun there, will slaughter each and every one of you and toss you into the garbage heaps, because you are filthy, and you contaminate any land you are in, you Zionists, you scoundrels, you terrorists, may Allah take vengeance on you.” In yet another post, Mansour called for “anyone who signs peace accords, truces and so on” with Israel “deserves to be executed.” The report also included a list of 113 UNRWA employees that UN Watch says it has identified as publishing posts that support violence, antisemitism and terrorism. The list includes their names, their positions, their violations of UNRWA policy and a link to a page detailing their violations. UN Watch’s report includes only Facebook posts that were displayed publicly on Facebook by profiles that specifically identify themselves as UNRWA employees. The NGO stressed that since many Facebook users restrict their posts, they were unable to examine most UNRWA staff profiles. Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan called on countries to freeze contributions until the UNRWA teachers who expressed support for terrorism are fired. William Deere, Acting Director of the UNRWA Representative Office in Washington, DC, responded to the UN Watch report on Thursday, saying that “a well-known politically motivated organization is once again attempting to undermine the vital humanitarian and human development work of the Agency.” UNRWA does not produce its own educational material and instead uses the textbooks and content provided by the local education system. Multiple reports by a number of watchdogs have found that Palestinian Authority educational content which is used by UNRWA schools includes a range of content encouraging violence, terrorism and antisemitism. A January 2021 report by The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that study materials produced by UNRWA to be used in conjunction with PA-issued textbooks included content celebrating known terrorists, conspiracy theories against Israel and maps labeling the entire territory of former British Mandatory Palestine as Palestinian. For example, Palestinian militant figures such as Izz al-Din al-Qassam and Dalal Mughrabi, known for violent operations against Jewish civilians, are referred to as “heroes” in the UNRWA study materials. Another exercise in the material asks third-grade students to choose the correct number of martyrs in the First Intifada from a list of suggested numbers. In February 2021, the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee raised issue with the educational materials used by UNRWA, but the material has not been changed much since then.
The Jerusalem Post — June 16, 2022
During her visit to Israel this week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen went to Ramallah for a powwow with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. During their meeting on Tuesday, she delivered some welcome news. The EC had voted the previous night to release the hundreds of millions of euros to the PA that had been delayed due to an argument among member states over the content of Palestinian textbooks. To be more precise, it surrounded the issue of whether the PA’s hate-filled curricula constituted sufficient cause for withholding the cash, the transfer of which had been postponed. s the NGO Palestinian Media Watch has documented for decades, the PA education system, like its controlled media, indoctrinates children to hate Israel. It does this by bombarding its populace with propaganda that demonizes the Jewish state. Neither this nor the European Union’s attempts to obfuscate it is new. By now, the only EU parliamentarians who deny or excuse it are those on the Left who invest more time in abetting the criminalization of Israel than in preventing the flow of their taxpayers’ money to terrorists. Literally. PA President Mahmoud Abbas makes no bones about continuing his “pay for slay” policy of hefty monthly stipends to Palestinians who kill Jews, despite his waning coffers. THE AGEING PA leader hasn’t changed his tune a single iota … and the EU knows it. This doesn’t stop many European MPs from refusing to abandon the false premise that foreign aid is spent by the powers-that-be in Ramallah on the betterment of Palestinian civil society. Rather than believe their “lying eyes,” such EU-sugar daddies prefer to be swayed by PA double-speak. This involves simultaneous denial of and justification for antisemitic blood libels and violence against Israelis. The decision is mind-boggling, considering the fact that in January of this year, the organization IMPACT-se, together with the GEI, came out with a follow-up report showing that nothing had changed in the PA school system. According to a summary of its findings: “Despite the recognition by all of the PA curriculum’s serious problematic content, commitments to education reform and the alleged implementation of promised education monitoring processes … there were no revisions made to the PA curriculum for the current 2021–22 school year. Contrary to the assurances made by the PA to its international partners that improvements would be made rapidly, the same problematic material identified in the 2020–21 textbooks by the GEI and IMPACT-se are still taught to PA students today.” Big surprise. The “study cards” used by pupils in grades 1–11 include “additional justifications for violence not found in the textbooks and antisemitic descriptions of Jews as devious, treacherous and hostile.” There are also exercises pointing to “Jewish control of global events through financial power, manipulative behavior and encouragement of others to fight in wars,” and in which “students are directly incited to violence and instructed to commit jihad against Israelis and die as martyrs liberating the Al-Aqsa Mosque; Israel is … described as Satanic … and is accused of forging or destroying Palestinian antiquities to falsify historical facts.” Students, as well, “are encouraged to sacrifice themselves for their homeland and ‘redeem it with blood.’” Science instruction is particularly creative, with students learning about energy generation through an illustration of a boy with a slingshot. The very long list goes on; business as usual.
The Jerusalem Post –June 14, 2022
The EU on Tuesday failed to pass a proposal to withhold about 5 percent of its support for the Palestinian Authority in light of antisemitic incitement from its textbooks, after 14 months of freezing funding. Instead, the European Commission—whose president, Ursula von der Leyen was in Israel on Tuesday—decided to pay the PA without new conditions, despite the findings of an EU-commissioned study by the Georg-Eckert Institute confirming in June 2021 that Palestinian textbooks feature antisemitism, glorification of terrorism and erase Israel. Last September, Prof. Dr. Eckhardt Fuchs, director of the Georg-Eckert Institute, told the European Parliament 2021 while some books follow UNESCO standards, “in other subjects they do not. Here you find incitement to hatred, antisemitic parts, and this we have said very clearly and differentiated.” Thirty-two members of the European Parliament from several parliamentary groups called on von der Leyen in a letter this past March to set conditions for funding the Palestinian education sector. When the European Parliament reviewed the 2021 budget in April, it condemned incitement in Palestinian education and demanded that “all text books and materials supported by Union Funds which are used in schools must be in line with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, co-existence and non-violence.” Yet, the aid package includes €145.35m. for salaries and pensions of PA civil servants, including those who write textbooks. Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute, said: “The EU had the historic opportunity and obligation to take a clear stand against antisemitism and incitement and for peace between Israelis and Palestinians but unfortunately decided to waste it.” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, which studies textbooks in the Middle East, said: “The PA textbook issue is now too important to simply disappear from the agenda of the Commission and Parliament.” “The fact is that, as of today, no improvements to the textbooks have yet been made,” he said. “On the contrary, increased levels of antisemitism in the new study cards and direct calls for violence were condemned just last month by the Parliament.” The European Parliament adopted a resolution in 2021 calling on EU funding to be conditional on removing incitement, Sheff said. “This decision reflects the view of millions of Europeans represented by elected members of the EU Parliament who clearly want to see an end to the abuse of their taxpayer money until positive changes are made,” he said. “They and their elected MEPs are not going to change their minds because Ms. Von der Leyen would like the issue to disappear.” IMPACT-se report on PA Study Cards
Israel Today — June 9, 2022
Israel has turned down a proposal by the Biden administration to facilitate a high-level peace summit with US, Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian participation. The American media outlet Axios reported that a senior Israeli official told US counterparts last week that conditions are not ripe to restart the peace process at that level. Israel’s current government has repeatedly pointed out that the Palestinian leadership isn’t ready to make peace. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also know that their own coalition, made up of disparate ideologies, won’t be able to reach a consensus on such sticky matters as final status borders, Jewish settlements and who controls eastern Jerusalem. The concern is that a big photo-op event along the lines of the failed Camp David summit in 2000 would create an “expectation crisis” that would see Israel compelled to make more dangerous concessions with little or no Palestinian reciprocity. So for now, Israel is quietly asking America to back off. Interestingly, even as Washington is pressing Israel to return to the negotiating table, it is also acknowledging that the Palestinians continue to violate one of their primary peace commitments: to halt all incitement against Israel and the Jews. A US State Department report dated June 2 features research by a Jerusalem-based monitor of educational material in Palestinian Authority textbooks and their systematic messaging regarding the promotion of violence, martyrdom and jihad. Research by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Culture Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that textbooks made for “all grades and subjects” in Palestinian schools contained such incitement. In fact, the American report concluded that textbooks in the official Palestinian school curriculum had in recent years become “more radical than those previously published.” Perhaps Biden should learn the lessons of his predecessors and not get ahead of himself. Unless foundational problems like institutionalized Palestinian incitement are first corrected, high-level summits will ultimately accomplish little.
JNS — June 8, 2022
A U.S. State Department report on June 2 features research by a Jerusalem-based monitor of educational material in Palestinian Authority textbooks and their systematic messaging regarding the promotion of violence, martyrdom and jihad. Research by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Culture Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that textbooks made for “all grades and subjects” in Palestinian schools contained such incitement. The report also discussed IMPACT-se’s critique of the Georg Eckert Institute (GEI) report on Palestinian Authority textbooks, “which ambiguously classify the curriculum as promoting UNESCO standards, despite overtly antisemitic content,” IMPACT-se said in a statement on Tuesday. IMPACT-se is quoted by the State Department as stating that the GEI report includes “omissions, obfuscations and even apologetics for Jew-hate and violence,” and that, in fact, “the P.A. curriculum moved further from meeting UNESCO standards and that the newly published textbooks were found to be more radical than those previously published,” according to the organization. The State Department’s 2021 “Report on International Religious Freedom,” published last week, featured four of IMPACT-se’s country curriculum reports from last year. The State Department report is used to inform U.S. policy and to promote global religious freedom. It also cites IMPACT-se reports on significant changes in Saudi Arabian textbooks, such as the removal of content “forbidding friendships with Jews and Christians,” the presentation of Jews and Christians as “infidels … enemies of God,” as well as claims that the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount was “fabricated by rabbis.” The State Department’s section on Qatar cites IMPACT-se’s June and December reports on the Gulf country, directly quoting the conclusion that the country “still ha[s] a long way to go when it comes to removing hateful content and consistently teaching tolerance … yet the improvements that have occurred over the last two academic years in Qatar are still a pleasant surprise.” IMPACT-se’s first report on the Yemeni curriculum is cited in the State Department’s Report, reaffirming “disturbing assessments,” said the organization. The report quotes IMPACT-se finding that the Yemeni curriculum serves as a “blueprint for radicalization, and would incite violence and hate.”
JNS — May 25, 2022
Joe Biden made clear during his campaign that he would restore Palestinian aid cut by his predecessor as part of an effort to improve relations with the Palestinians. As president, he wasted no time in approving $290 million in assistance to the Palestinian Authority and another $150 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). These allocations violate the spirit if not the letter of the laws designed to make the Palestinians and the United Nations accountable for undermining the prospects for peace with Israel. … There is no law barring aid to UNRWA; however, Congress has made its concerns known by requiring the State Department to report whether the agency is taking steps to ensure the content of educational materials taught in UNRW-administered schools and summer camps is consistent with the values of human rights, dignity and tolerance, and does not induce incitement. The Biden administration said it was restoring aid after “UNWRA has made clear their rock-solid commitments to the United States on the issues of transparency, accountability, and neutrality in all its operations. … And what neutrality means in the context of the United Nations is zero tolerance for racism, discrimination, and antisemitism.” The United States has continued to fund UNRWA while acknowledging the agency continues to distribute antisemitic and anti-Israel material. A report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), for example, found that “UNRWA is complicit in radicalizing schoolchildren through the glorification of terrorists, encouragement to violence and teaching of blood libels to Palestinian schoolchildren.” UNRWA maps label all of Israel as “Palestine,” and Israel is referred to as “The Enemy” or the “Zionist Occupation.” In 2020, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the use of such materials, and the United Kingdom and European Union subsequently cut their contributions to UNRWA. Thanks in part to U.S. support, UNRWA can incite violence and teach millions of Palestinians to hate Jews and Israel. Rather than use aid as leverage to encourage reforms, the administration is rewarding the Palestinians for their intransigence and underwriting their promotion of terror.
Atlantic Council — May 17, 2022
The Abraham Accords opened the door to a myriad of opportunities for peacebuilding, tolerance, and development in the Middle East, but has been met with some degree of public opposition following decades of mistrust and hostility. Peace and stability are fragile, and the best way to build sustainable relationships between Israel and the Middle East is through tolerance-building and educational reforms initiatives. On March 8, the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Programs, with support from the Jeffrey M. Talpins Foundation, held a virtual event and panel discussion on “Promoting tolerance: A conversation with the House Abraham Accords Caucus and regional experts.” This event marked the first public event of the Co-Chairs of the House Abraham Accords Caucus: Congressman Bradley Schneider and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and featured regional experts Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se; H.E. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Hedayah; and El Mehdi Boudra, Founder and Chairman of Mimouna Association. Congressman Bradley Schneider acknowledged the Abraham Accords as a shift for the Middle East, a shift in cross-cultural understanding, and a shift in action. Schneider believes that to create permanent peace, the Abraham Accords must go beyond political and economic cooperation and create people-to-people understanding, starting with interaction through education. Similarly, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers emphasized the work of the Caucus as a bipartisan endeavor and reaffirmed US commitment to tolerance and peacebuilding in the Middle East, as well as the importance of preserving peace through education and generational change. Marcus Sheff began the discussion looking at the purpose of textbook reform. Education in schools is key to fostering peace; however, it can also be used to breed hatred. Textbooks are uniquely authoritative and they inform the actions of any one generation, and IMPACT-se closely examines all textbooks given to students in the Middle East. Through comparative analysis and drawing trend conclusions between books, they’re able to create policy recommendations for educational reforms and a basis for new curriculum. H.E. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi discussed how tolerance promotion through education reform in the UAE has changed since the signing of the Accords. El Mehdi Boudra noted the unique perspective in Morocco, where diversity is seen as a resource. The Abraham Accords were not enacted for the sake of a political agenda, but to highlight the Jewish component of Moroccan identity. Regarding the push for tolerance in education, full engagement should involve the media, religious leaders, and public and private institutions as mechanisms for reform. Boudra argued that reform should not be restricted to the institutional level and that grassroots movements and civil societies will bring in new initiatives and innovative strategies to education. Sheff asserted that teaching peace will create relationships that transcend the economic and that there should be no dissonance between the actions of government and what is being taught in schools. If normalization is a national strategy, then it should also be taught in schools. All panelists agreed that there must be institutional engagement, synergy between government and civil society, and extensive textbook reform to create the blueprint for building a more peaceful and more tolerant Middle East and to maintain the momentum started by the Abraham Accords.
JNS — May 16, 2022
The European Union’s 2022–24 UNRWA aid budget will be 40 percent lower than during the previous three-year period, the EU announced last week. The new budget will provide $82 million annually, compared to the previous average annual figure of $135 million, according to the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a Jerusalem-based nonprofit that monitors educational materials around the world for extremist content. In April of last year, the EU Parliament condemned UNRWA for teaching and producing UN-branded hate material uncovered by IMPACT- se, and conditioned EU funds on changes to the curriculum. The EU commissioner, who announced the reduced funding package, said last year, after the Parliament’s condemnation, that the European Union would fight antisemitism and should consider conditioning aid to UNRWA on full adherence to UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance in textbooks. He reiterated the sentiment in November 2021, when he stated during an international ministerial UNRWA donor conference that “full compliance with UNESCO standards in education material” is “non-negotiable,” and that the European Union would continue to work with UNRWA towards “increased accountability, transparency and consistency with UN principles.”
EJP — May 4, 2022
The European Parliament on Wednesday condemned the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the third consecutive year for its abuse of EU funding used to draft and teach new violent and hateful textbooks worse than previous editions. A resolution adopted by the EU parliament during its plenary session in Strasbourg demands that the Palestinian Authority be “closely scrutinized,” that the curriculum be modified “expeditiously,” and reiterates previous motions adopted by the Parliament insisting that funding to the PA “must be made conditional” on teaching peace and tolerance in compliance with UNESCO standards. The resolution is based on a report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an international research and policy organization that monitors and analyzes education around the world. This NGO employs international standards of peace, tolerance and non-violence, as derived from UNESCO declarations and resolutions, to determine compliance and to advocate for change when necessary. The report was presented to a joint foreign affairs, budget, budgetary control and education and culture committee hearing of the parliament, as well as to the European Commission, in an April 20th testimony, and in a series of meetings with IMPACT-se’s leadership prior to the vote. The report uncovered thousands of pages of new teaching material found to be worse than current or previous Palestinian textbooks, produced by PA civil servants whose salaries are funded by the EU, that directly call for violence and promote antisemitism. The EU confirmed last month that all funding continues to be withheld over textbook hate as deliberations to condition some funding on textbook reform reached the President of the EU Commission corroborating previous statements by the Palestinian Authority. Though aid is expected to be channeled to the PA later this year, the amount to be made conditional on textbook reform is unknown. Multiple amendments attempting to nullify the impact of the resolution fell, including a separate resolution on EU funds for Israel, which was voted down. This while leading up to the vote, campaigners in Brussels falsely contended that the PA textbooks meet UNESCO standards. On April 20, the PA Minister of Education withdrew from an EU parliamentary debate with IMPACT-se at the last moment. He was criticized by both the Commission and Parliament for refusing to attend after he originally called for the hearing. Dutch MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen, a member of the foreign affairs committee, stressed that “it’s time to act because, we don’t see any improvements. Despite many calls from EU Parliament, the textbooks, but also the new materials, the study cards are still full of antisemitism, hate speech and incitement to violence. Students are directly encouraged to commit acts of violence and instructed to commit jihad against Israelis and die as martyrs. That is really unacceptable. lets tell him [PA minister of education] that we won’t unblock the reserve as long as the textbooks don’t meet UNESCO standards.”
The Jerusalem Post — April 29, 2022
Palestinian Education Minister, Dr. Marwan Awartani, was set to attend the European Union Parliament’s April 20 hearing on textbook incitement but backed out at the last moment. Despite initially calling for the hearing and agreeing to the EU-supervised debate with IMPACT-se, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, Dr. Awartani refused to take part in it. In his absence, IMPACT-se testified alone before the parliament. In an explanation of the Parliament’s overall goal in funding Palestinian educational materials, MEP Lukas Mandl, Vice-Chair of the Security and Defence Subcommittee said, “hatred breeds hatred, violence, and worse, we should have learned that by now. It’s shocking to see that once again these educational materials propagate hatred. In no case should we be sending EU taxpayers money, that’s absolutely mad.” The hearing covered the topic of incendiary language and content in Palestinian educational materials. EU Parliament members were shocked at the content of the PA Education Ministry’s new study cards, which were produced in response to the Parliament’s declaration that the PA’s existing textbooks were unacceptable. Budgetary Control committee chair, MEP Monika Hohlmeier, explained that the Parliament is looking to fund “nonviolent education for children.” MARCUS SHEFF, CEO of IMPACT-SE, (back to camera) briefs European MEPs in Brussels on Palestinian textbooks. This is why the committee initially suspended funds from the PA upon the discovery of their textbooks. The Parliament had called the textbooks “outrageous,” “unacceptable,” and “an absolute scandal,” and the cards showed absolutely no improvement in terms of incendiary content. The EU Commission and Parliament criticized the PA for refusing to attend the debate and roundly denounced the new study cards. A resolution condemning PA textbooks and abuse of EU funding is set to be voted on in early May.
JNS — April 26, 2022
Despite Western calls for reform, the Palestinian Authority curriculum has ramped up its incitement in recent years, with school textbooks and other learning materials filled with antisemitism, calls for jihad, rejection of reconciliation and the delegitimization of Israel. So problematic is the content that, according to reports, it has led the European Union to freeze its funding to the PA. In fact, passing up an opportunity to explain the PA’s position, Palestinian Education Minister Marwan Awartani pulled out of a debate about the curriculum before the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control on April 20. Marcus Sheff, CEO of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a Jerusalem-based nonprofit that monitors educational materials around the world for extremist content, spoke at the Committee on Budgetary Control debate focusing on the PA’s new “study cards,” released in August. Sheff told the committee that the study cards came to 10,000 pages, “roughly equivalent in size to a whole school curriculum,” and that they were “in some cases more violent and more inciteful than the curriculum that we’ve seen before.” Describing them as “openly antisemitic,” he said the cards provide lessons that teach that Jews control the world, glorify suicide bombers and that those who kill infidels will go to paradise. Arik Agassi, chief operating officer of IMPACT-se, told JNS that he was surprised as one parliamentarian after another joined in criticism of the PA, saying that given the EU’s history, he had rather expected them to criticize IMPACT-se. “We expected pushback. It was quite the opposite. They’ve had enough,” he said, noting that the European parliament has been aware of the incitement in Palestinian schools for years. Sheff told JNS that the “most astonishing element” is that the EU Commission, “essentially the government of the European Union,” also said that it’s had enough and that it wasn’t going to hand over 200 million euros annually until the PA made “significant changes to the textbooks,” as the commission is now convinced that they “incite hatred, violence and are antisemitic.” However, in response to queries from JNS, the European Union would not say that funds to the PA had been frozen. Rather, an EU official reaffirmed the organization’s “long-standing commitment towards building the future state of Palestine.” David Bedein, who runs the Center for Near East Policy Research and who has been covering PA curriculum issues for 22 years, said he is highly doubtful that any real change has taken place. “There’s a tendency to confuse the European Parliament and the EU While the parliament is the only directly elected body in the EU, it’s not the one that determines policy and those at the top haven’t changed. The European Parliament is for Israel. The EU is not'” he said. IMPACT-se’s Sheff and Agassi, however, expressed confidence that the funds to the PA have been frozen, pointing to comments during the debate by Henrike Trautmann, the EU Commission’s director for the southern neighborhood at DG NEAR (Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations), which they described as the first confirmation from the EU that all funds had been frozen over the curriculum issue. “The EU is famous for its diplomatic speech and for its lack of clarity in diplomatic issues,” said Sheff. “They will say to themselves, ‘We conduct our diplomacy directly bilaterally with the PA, and it would harm our diplomacy with the PA to publicly say what everybody, including the PA, is saying is a fact.'”
i24 — April 3, 2022
The European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee (CONT) passed a motion earlier this week condemning the Palestinian Authority (PA) for issuing textbooks that contain violent and hateful materials using EU funding. CONT’s motion was part of the European Union’s annual budgetary procedure examining how European taxpayer funds are spent on international projects, The Jerusalem Post reported. EU funding to the PA was subsequently frozen while the committee deliberate further action. The motion – proposed by the left-leaning Renew Europe Party – demanded that the PA be “closely scrutinized” and that the school curriculum be modified “expeditiously.” “Problematic and hateful material in Palestinian school textbooks has still not been removed” and the EU “is concerned about the continued failure to act effectively against hate speech and violence,” the motion stated.
The proposal stemmed from a January 2022 report by IMPACT-se, a pro-Israel NGO that monitors the content of school textbooks, The Post reported. Examining new teaching material by the PA, IMPACT-se suggested that the textbooks were worse than previous Palestinian curriculum, directly calling for violence against Jews and Israel as well as promoting antisemitism. The organization pointed out that the school material was produced by PA civil servants whose salaries are funded by the EU. We are “concerned about the Palestinian authority teaching hate,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “A funding freeze worth hundreds of millions of Euros is in place because of… textbooks,” he added, The Post reported. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the College of Commissioner will deliberate next on continued funding suspensions and the conditions of EU funding to the PA.
JNS — April 3, 2022
The Palestinian Authority’s school curriculum was established in 1993 by Mahmoud Abbas, when he was Yasser Arafat’s deputy. The curriculum is the most factual description of the rogue Palestinian walk—a direct contrast to Palestinian diplomatic talk. It focuses on pre-1967 Israel, and has been consistent with the 1959 Charter of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah and the 1964 Charter of Mahmoud Abbas’s PLO, before Israel regained control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). The curriculum is consistent with the anti-“infidel” precepts of Islam, aimed to eliminate the “infidel” from the “abode of Islam” and bring the “infidel” to submission. It is the most reliable expression of the deeply-rooted Palestinian vision of establishing an Arab entity from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, by eliminating the “infidel” Jewish sovereignty. It is also a most authentic reflection of attitudes of the PA in general, and its view of the Jewish state in particular. Since its establishment in 1993, it has played a major role in shaping the attitudes of the Palestinian street. It has been the most effective production line for Palestinian terrorists. The perpetrators of Palestinian terrorism—against rival factions and against the Jewish state—are proof of its effectiveness as a brain-washing tool. The following January 2022 documentation of the Palestinian school curriculum was prepared by Eldad Pardo of the Hebrew University, who has researched school curricula in the P.A., Iran, the Gulf States and other Middle East entities. The report was published by The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.
• The 2021-22 curriculum contains anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate and incitement.
• Jews are depicted as devious, treacherous and brutal.
• The focus of instruction regarding the “occupation” is on the pre-1967 area of Israel, such as Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, Lod, the Galilee and the Negev.
• Israel has been entirely erased from the maps used in geography and social science classes.
• Israel is described as a satanic entity, and its establishment is defined as a crime, and a “colonial conspiracy,” based on “false premises” and a “racist ideology.”
• Women may gain equality through sacrifice and “martyrdom.”
• Students are encouraged to commit acts of violence and instructed to commit jihad (Holy War) against Israelis and die as martyrs to liberate Palestine and especially the al-Aqsa Mosque.
• Students are taught that those who die as martyrs (shuhada), while killing infidels (kuffar, i.e., Christians, Jews, polytheists), a notion described as one of the “rules of jihad,” will receive God’s grace and be greatly rewarded.
The bottom line:
A peace process, on the one hand, and Palestinian school curriculum, on the other hand, constitute a classic oxymoron. The failure to precondition negotiations with the P.A. upon the dismantling of its hate education has doomed negotiation to failure, while energizing terrorism. Conducting peace negotiation with the P.A. before the dismantling of its hate-driven school curriculum resembles negotiating an end to drug trafficking while tolerating the drug cartels’ penetration of the political and educational systems.
EJP — April 1, 2022
EU funding to the PA has been frozen during deliberations on funding conditionality because of textbook hate. This week’s motion was proposed by the centrist-liberal Renew Europe Party and supported by the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest political group in the EU parliament. It demands that the Palestinian Authority be “closely scrutinized” and that the curriculum be modified “expeditiously.” The motion “deplores that problematic and hateful material in Palestinian school textbooks has still not been removed and is concerned about the continued failure to act effectively against hate speech and violence in school textbooks and especially in the newly created study cards; reiterates its position that all textbooks and materials supported by EU Funds which are used in schools must be in line with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, co-existence and non-violence; moreover, insists that salaries of teachers and education sector civil servants that are financed from Union funds such as PEGASE be used for drafting and teaching curricula which reflect the UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence, and non-violence, as was decided upon by Union education ministers in Paris on March 17, 2015; and European Parliament decisions on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial years 2016, 2018 and 2019; requests therefore the Commission to closely scrutinize that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and relevant experts modify the curriculum expeditiously.” The motion is based on a January 2022 report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) that was presented to Committee members in a series of meetings in recent weeks. The IMPACT-se report uncovered thousands of pages of new teaching material found to be worse than current or previous Palestinian textbooks produced by PA civil servants that directly call for violence and promote antisemitism. The salaries of these civil servants are funded by the EU. As IMPACT-se pointed out to lawmakers, this material was written after the European Commission committed to a roadmap together with the PA to ensure new textbooks produced in 2021 would be free of hate.
EU Reporter — April 1, 2022
The European Parliament’s Budgetary Control committee yesterday passed a motion condemning the Palestinian Authority for drafting and teaching new violent and hateful materials using EU funding. The motion is part of the EU’s annual budgetary procedure which scrutinizes how European taxpayer funds have been spent through projects carried out by the EU. This as EU funding to the PA is frozen during deliberations on funding conditionality because of textbook hate. The motion was proposed by left-leaning Renew Europe Party and supported by the centrist EPP party. It demands that the Palestinian Authority be “closely scrutinized” and that the curriculum be modified “expeditiously.” The motion is based on a January 2022 report by IMPACT-se that was presented to Committee members in a series of meetings in recent weeks by IMPACT-se’s leadership in the lead-up to the vote. The IMPACT-se report uncovered thousands of pages of new teaching material found to be worse than current or previous Palestinian textbooks produced by PA civil servants whose salaries are funded by the EU that directly call for violence and promote antisemitism. As IMPACT-se pointed out to lawmakers, this material was written after the EU Commission committed to a roadmap together with the PA to ensure new textbooks produced in 2021 would be free of hate.
The Jerusalem Post — March 5, 2022
Millions of euros from the European Union that are meant to aid the Palestinian Authority have been delayed in EU offices as officials discuss whether to condition parts of the foreign assistance on reforms to Palestinian textbooks. A cross-party group of EU legislators called for reduction of funds to the PA over the failed textbook reform in a letter to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen demanding that funding be conditional upon the reform. The textbooks in question have demonstrated “antisemitic narratives and glorification of violence,” according to the EU-commissioned Georg Eckert Institute. Despite promises made to donor nations to revise the textbooks, the PA Ministry of Education reprinted last year’s textbooks with the same issues raised by the EU. Moreover, the authority wrote thousands of pages of new material, roughly equivalent in size to all the textbooks in the curriculum. The new material contains content that is worse than current or previous Palestinian textbooks, with a greater number of lessons that directly incite violence and propagate overt antisemitism. The new material brought to the European Parliament demonstrates, for example, how Israelis are “Satan’s aide,” calls for students to die as martyrs and liberate Al-Aqsa mosque, and teaches students to kill infidels in exchange for great rewards. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE) has briefed Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), who signed the letter to the EC president. “Years of negotiation with the PA and repeated commissions [pledging] “zero tolerance” for antisemitism have unfortunately failed to bring about the desired change,” the letter said. “Palestinian children continue to be abused as they are being taught to hate. Asking the PA to revise these books is an imposition but self-evident and non-negotiable duty.” “These parliament members are angry and frustrated,” said IMPACT-SE CEO Marcus Sheff. “After passing legislation condemning the Palestinian textbooks and after the European Union extracted a commitment that it would remove the hate, the Palestinian Authority clearly set out to deceive Brussels by simply reprinting the old books for the new year. “The EU was entirely unaware of this and of the ten thousand pages of new, hateful teaching material the PA produced on their dime. The legislators have good reason to be outraged.” The European Union is the largest single donor to the PA, which constitutes a significant part of the West Bank economy. The EU funds salary of many Palestinian professionals who write those education textbooks, and in return, has asked for assurance that those books will uphold most basic EU and UNESCO standards for education.
The Algemeiner — March 3, 2022
European Union lawmakers are urging the European Commission to consider reducing funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it continues refusing to purge its K-12 curriculum of materials that “incite schoolchildren to hate Jews and emulate terrorists. This situation is simply intolerable, even more so as the EU is paying the salaries of the school teachers using this hateful material,” 32 members of the European Parliament wrote in a letter to the commission’s president on Tuesday. “This is a glaring violation of the most basic EU values and contradicts our common goal of working toward peace and the creation of a democratic Palestinian state.” The European Commission has for years declared a “zero tolerance” policy for antisemitism, the signatories noted, but neglected to hold the PA accountable for failing to issue new textbooks based on the standards of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The EU continues to be the largest benefactor of the PA, which has seen donor funding significantly decrease since 2008, according to a November report by the World Bank. “While we wholeheartedly support EU funding for the PA, EU taxpayer money must never be misused for incitement,” wrote the lawmakers. “We urge you to include the possibility of a reduction of funding in case the PA continues to refuse to make the necessary changes in the textbooks.” Israeli education watchdog IMPACT-se issued a report in January highlighting examples of antisemitism in the PA’s curriculum for the 2021-2022 school year, including study cards for 11th graders that accuse Jews of being “in control of global events through financial power” and leveraging “Zionist influence” to trigger wars between major powers. Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se, said on Wednesday that the parliament members who wrote to the European Commission are “angry and frustrated.” “After passing legislation condemning the Palestinian textbooks and after the European Union extracted a commitment that it would remove the hate, the Palestinian Authority clearly set out to deceive Brussels by simply reprinting the old books for the new year,” Sheff said. “The EU was entirely unaware of this and of the ten thousand pages of new, hateful teaching material the PA produced on their dime. The legislators have good reason to be outraged.”The Algemeiner — March 3, 2022
European Union lawmakers are urging the European Commission to consider reducing funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it continues refusing to purge its K-12 curriculum of materials that “incite schoolchildren to hate Jews and emulate terrorists. This situation is simply intolerable, even more so as the EU is paying the salaries of the school teachers using this hateful material,” 32 members of the European Parliament wrote in a letter to the commission’s president on Tuesday. “This is a glaring violation of the most basic EU values and contradicts our common goal of working toward peace and the creation of a democratic Palestinian state.” The European Commission has for years declared a “zero tolerance” policy for antisemitism, the signatories noted, but neglected to hold the PA accountable for failing to issue new textbooks based on the standards of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The EU continues to be the largest benefactor of the PA, which has seen donor funding significantly decrease since 2008, according to a November report by the World Bank. “While we wholeheartedly support EU funding for the PA, EU taxpayer money must never be misused for incitement,” wrote the lawmakers. “We urge you to include the possibility of a reduction of funding in case the PA continues to refuse to make the necessary changes in the textbooks.” Israeli education watchdog IMPACT-se issued a report in January highlighting examples of antisemitism in the PA’s curriculum for the 2021-2022 school year, including study cards for 11th graders that accuse Jews of being “in control of global events through financial power” and leveraging “Zionist influence” to trigger wars between major powers. Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se, said on Wednesday that the parliament members who wrote to the European Commission are “angry and frustrated.” “After passing legislation condemning the Palestinian textbooks and after the European Union extracted a commitment that it would remove the hate, the Palestinian Authority clearly set out to deceive Brussels by simply reprinting the old books for the new year,” Sheff said. “The EU was entirely unaware of this and of the ten thousand pages of new, hateful teaching material the PA produced on their dime. The legislators have good reason to be outraged.”
JNS — March 3, 2022
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from 18 countries co-signed a letter calling for the reduction of funding to the Palestinian Authority if the latter continues to refuse to change its educational material that includes antisemitic incitement to violence and the demonization of Israel. The letter sent to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is based on a January report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), which revealed thousands of pages of new material produced by the PA that promotes hate and antisemitism. The pages were written by PA professionals whose salaries are directly funded by the European Union and taught by school teachers whose salaries are also paid by the EU. The new educational material was published after the European Commission committed to making sure that new P.A. textbooks produced in 2021 would not include antisemitism. The PA Ministry of Education also promised to publish revised textbooks for the current school year but instead reprinted last year’s problematic education material, IMPACT-se said. The new material contains content “that is worse than current or previous Palestinian textbooks, with a greater number of lessons that directly incite violence and propagate overt antisemitism,” the organization noted. “Years of negotiations with the PA and repeated Commission pledges of ‘zero tolerance’ for antisemitism have unfortunately failed to bring about the desired change,” the 32 MEPs wrote in their letter. “Palestinian children continue to be abused as they are being taught to hate. Asking the PA to revise these books is not an imposition but a self-evident and non-negotiable duty.” MEP Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, from the largest and most influential European Parliament party, said on Wednesday that antisemitic Palestinian textbooks “cannot go unanswered.” She called for a “tougher response” from the European Commission, saying that “zero tolerance to antisemitism is not just a slogan.” IMPACT-se reported last week that the EU was discussing the possibility of freezing funding to the PA if no changes are made to its textbooks.
Atlantic Council (Marcus Sheff) — March 2, 2022
Education is the key to fostering the development of peaceful and tolerant societies. However, it can also be a tool for political and religious radicalization, exploited by bad actors. Education not only reveals what a society believes at present, but also what it aspires to in the future—in other words, they are powerful political predictors. That is why when a country goes to great lengths to teach respect for the “other,” religious tolerance, and peacemaking as a way to resolve conflicts, it should be taken note of. In this case, that country is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But what is it exactly that makes the Emirati curriculum so exceptional and how do textbooks affect the prospects of peace in the Middle East? Universal standardized education is a relatively new phenomenon in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and, unlike in the West, curricula in many Arab or Muslim majority countries are written, published, and disseminated directly by the state. Textbooks are already uniquely authoritative, but that is even more the case in the MENA region. Students typically receive one book per subject per semester, which contain both the officially-approved knowledge and exercises students use to study. Recognizing this power, some authorities have weaponized education to foster negative feelings and beliefs about enemies of the state. This can be directed at ethnic minorities, entire religious groups, and countries far beyond their borders. Historically, a primary target for demonization in the region has, unsurprisingly, been Jews and Israel. Through extreme religious interpretations, historical distortions, and, in some cases, outright conspiracy theories, some MENA countries use curricula to perpetuate broad-based fear and hatred. This deprives their youth of an alternative vision of peace and mutual prosperity. IMPACT-se has been examining school curricula since 1998, using United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-derived standards as a universal benchmark. After reviewing 220 Emirati school books for grades 1–12 during the 2021–22 school year, IMPACT-se has yet to see another curriculum that has transformed itself not only to comply with these standards, but to actually prepare its population for a new era of peace and tolerance. It’s no coincidence that, within their first year of formal relations, Israel and the UAE have conducted an estimated $600 million worth of business transactions and hundreds of thousands of tourists have traveled between the two countries in the middle of a global pandemic. Compare this to other states that have made peace with Israel but their populations have yet to approach this level of economic and cultural exchange. Even if it were argued that the textbooks aren’t a causal mechanism, the support for peace and religious tolerance in the Emirati curriculum reflects a dramatic change in what values the UAE seeks to impart to the next generation. More importantly, what can be learned from the Emirati curriculum is that this kind of normalization doesn’t happen in a vacuum—it must be supported and fostered in the classroom.
The Times of Israel — February 24, 2022
Millions of euros in European Union aid to the Palestinian Authority are stuck in Brussels as officials in the European Commission discuss whether to condition parts of the foreign assistance on reforms to Palestinian textbooks, The Times of Israel has learned. The European Union, the PA’s largest single donor, helps to pay the salaries of the PA’s many civil servants, which constitutes a significant chunk of the West Bank economy. Between 2008 and 2020, Brussels sent around $2.5 billion in direct budget support to the PA. But citing “technical difficulties,” the bloc has donated almost no aid to the authority since 2020. The lack of funding has contributed to fears that Ramallah will see a fiscal crisis. According to a diplomat who asked for anonymity to freely discuss the sensitive subject, the delay in sending EU funds to the Palestinians began as a technical matter. But the process was substantially gummed up when an official in the European Commission in Brussels sought to condition parts of the aid on changes to Palestinian textbooks, the diplomat said. Israeli, European and American officials have long criticized alleged incitement in Palestinian textbooks. Palestinians reject that argument, saying that the curricula express the Palestinian national narrative. According to the diplomat, EU official Oliver Varhelyi demanded “clear process indicators” for some aid to check whether the textbooks adhered to international standards. The debate launched a drawn-out “consultative process” inside the EU that drew in various states and delayed the approval of the aid. According to officials in the European Parliament who spoke with The Times of Israel, Varhelyi proposed that around $10 million be withheld unless PA textbooks were found to meet international standards. IMPACT-se, a nonprofit that monitors textbooks for incitement, hailed Varhelyi’s proposal to condition the funding. The nonprofit recently released a report arguing that the PA had failed to change its educational materials despite pledges to the EU to do so. “This step by the EU is the entirely predictable result of the Palestinian Authority breaching its own agreement with the EU to take the hate out of the textbooks, agreed upon only a few months ago,” said IMPACT-se director Marcus Sheff.
This IMPACT-se report provides a list of 134 selected examples from 220 textbooks in the United Arab Emirates’ national curriculum, between 2016–21. The examples illustrate the findings of our latest research report, “When Peace Goes to School: The Emirati Curriculum 2016-2021,” presenting lessons on peace, tolerance, and cooperation with the world and non-nationals, which are taught to be closely associated with prosperity and national identity. The language and moral education programs especially encourage cultural diversity, curiosity, and happiness. Additionally, the Abraham Accords are taught, and anti-Israeli material has been moderated. The research did not find antisemitism or incitement to violence, and UNESCO guidelines for peace and tolerance are generally met. Selected Examples
The Algemeiner (Marcus Sheff)– February 22, 2022
In June 2021, after years of educating, persuading, presenting the hard facts, and preventing a whitewash, the European Union released its report on Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks. The EU found, inevitably, that these Palestinian education materials teach antisemitism, incite violence, glorify terror, and have removed all previous references to peace negotiations. Maciej Popowski, whose directorate commissioned the study and 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 that remains of serious concern.” He added that the EU “will not let off until we see change happen and we get assurances that no questionable content in books are in use.” Fernando Gentilini, the top Mideast diplomat at the EU, stated that “one would have to draw conclusions” if the PA does not take action. Another top EU director, Henrike Trautman, said, “changes to the curriculum are essential.” And EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, who oversees all aid to the Palestinian education sector, wrote that any “inappropriate use of EU funding” will mean that PA funds can be taken away. By September 2021, the PA—finally faced with the prospect of losing funding from its largest donor—agreed to a “roadmap” with the EU Commission. This should have been the moment that hate, antisemitism, and incitement to violence were finally taken out of the Palestinian curriculum, and replaced with peace education. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) analyzed the 2021–22 Palestinian curriculum, and found no positive changes. The Palestinian Authority had simply taken all of the 2020 textbooks, replaced the date stamp with 2021, and reprinted thousands of copies. The European Commission was not even aware this had happened until IMPACT-se presented them with its report. Even as the PA agreed to a roadmap for textbook change with the EU, its Ministry of Education was writing thousands of pages of new material—study cards—roughly equivalent in size to all the textbooks in the curriculum. The material, in some places, contained content even worse than the current Palestinian textbooks, with a greater number of lessons that directly incite violence and propagate overt antisemitism. Israel is demonized; it is literally described as Satanic. One of the rules of jihad included in the texts explains that those who die as martyrs while killing infidels—Christians, Jews, and polytheists—will receive God’s grace and be greatly rewarded. In fact, jihad for the liberation of Palestine is described as a “private obligation for every Muslim,” and students are encouraged to sacrifice themselves for their homeland and “redeem it with blood.” PA Prime Minister Shtayyeh made it clear that there would be no changes to the textbooks at a PA Cabinet meeting in September 2021. Shtayyeh stated that “everything mentioned in the textbooks is an accurate and honest description of the suffering our people have been going through for more than seven decades.” It is this uncompromising rejection of any plan to offer Palestinian children some hope for an education conducive to peace and tolerance—and the total unwillingness to finally jettison the teaching of hate—that the European Commission now needs to digest and address.
Other outlets with this article:
JNS — February 4, 2022
The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) has uncovered thousands of pages of new teaching material produced by the Palestinian Authority that directly calls for violence and promotes antisemitism, even after promising European Union donors it would implement changes. IMPACT-se found that rather than publishing revised textbooks as promised, the P.A. reprinted last years’ criticized textbooks for use in the current school year. In parallel, it produced thousands of pages of new material, roughly equivalent in size to all the textbooks in the curriculum. The new material contains content that has been determined as worse than current or previous Palestinian textbooks, with a greater number of lessons that directly incite violence and propagate overt antisemitism. For example, the material demands that students die as martyrs to liberate the Al-Aqsa mosque and explains that those who die as martyrs killing infidels (Christians and Jews), will receive grace and be greatly rewarded. IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said the P.A. “seems to have gone to a great deal of effort to hoodwink its donors. Faced with a clear call by the E.U. for them to create new textbooks free of hate and antisemitism, the P.A. simply reprinted the old ones, then produced thousands of pages of new teaching material with content worse than the textbooks themselves.” IMPACT-se presented its findings to representatives from the EU Commission, as well as to parliament members in Brussels, who had no knowledge that the old textbooks were still being used in Palestinian and UNRWA schools, or that a set of new, hate-filled materials had been produced in 2021. In contrast to students in the P.A., those in the United Arab Emirates related to the school curriculum have been updated to teach values of peace and tolerance. In what can be viewed as a sure sign of change in the region, many examples of antisemitism or incitement have been removed from the curriculum. IMPACT-se also released a report on Jan. 20 examining 220 Arab-language textbooks in grades one through 12 from the UAE’s national curriculum, printed between 2016 and 2021. Passages that previously demonized Israel, presented antisemitic conspiracies and blamed “the Zionist enemy” for seeking to exterminate the Palestinian people have been removed. Passages focusing on tolerance towards Jews are widespread throughout the textbooks. Especially noteworthy is the removal of a passage that presented the Palestinian issue as “the basis of conflicts in the Middle East.” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff told JNS, “Emirati textbooks are reflective of the assessment made by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed over a decade ago that the West is a potential ally and not a colonial threat; that radicalism is categorically wrong and self-defeating, and that Emirati prosperity in a competitive global marketplace will be built on a tolerant and peace-loving workforce.”
This IMPACT-se report analyzed textbooks and new “study cards” produced by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the 2021–22 school year, which are used in the curricula of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and UNRWA schools, and includes selected examples from several hundred pages of educational content. Contrary to the assurances made by the PA to its international partners that improvements would be made rapidly to improve the 2020–21 curriculum, IMPACT-se found that there were no revisions to the PA curriculum for the current 2021–22 school year. In addition to the lack of PA-assured textbook revisions, research on the supplemental online learning materials, called study cards, found that the PA Ministry of Education published the same, and worse, content in violation of international standards of peace, tolerance, and non-violence in education. Selected Examples
CBN — January 31, 2022
The Palestinian Authority has failed to remove educational materials that incite children to violence and teach them antisemitism, according to a report from an Israeli education watchdog. Last year, the PA agreed to work with European leaders to address the issues in Palestinian textbooks after an EU-funded study found that the education materials glorify terrorists, delegitimize Israel and reject peace. After the 2021 study was made public, European Commission spokesperson, Ana Pisonero, said the EU would work with the PA to establish an “objective and credible process for screening and monitoring of educational materials.” However, the Israeli nonprofit IMPACT-se says the Palestinian textbooks remain unchanged. “Despite the recognition by all of the PA curriculum’s serious problematic content, commitments to education reform, and the alleged implementation of promised education monitoring processes, IMPACT-se found that there were no revisions made to the PA curriculum for the current 2021–22 school year,” IMPACT-se said in a report published this month. The organization pointed to numerous examples. Israel is characterized as satanic and students are “directly incited to violence and instructed to commit jihad against Israelis and die as martyrs,” the IMPACT-se report says. The textbooks also accuse Israel of lying about Jewish history to justify its existence and promote terrorists as role models for children—including Dalal Mughrabi—who is known for her role in a 1978 terror attack that killed 38 civilians, including 13 children. In one education book, children are taught that Jews control world events and that Zionism is a “racist ideology.” “The PA did not revise its curriculum, despite promises to international partners that it would do so; and the PA Ministry of Education is still investing resources to produce and teach violent and hateful content in the current school year through parallel teaching materials (study cards). In fact, some of the lessons taught in these study cards represent a worsening of problematic material compared to lessons taught in the original textbooks they are supposed to supplement,” IMPACT-se concluded. The PA denies that its textbooks incite violence and merely promote Palestinian nationalism. “We are made to explain and justify what appears in our educational materials, even though it explains our narrative and our national identity. Meanwhile, no one demands to review Israeli curricula and media, so the world can see the true incitement by Israeli institutions,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in an address at the UN last year. The EU is the largest donor to the PA, and some leaders have said aid to the Palestinians must be conditional upon changes to textbook material. EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, whose portfolio covers aid to the PA and UNRWA, said in June that the problematic material in Palestinian textbooks is “inappropriate use of EU funding. Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League urged the EU to “hold the Palestinian Authority accountable” for the unchanged curriculum. IMPACT-se head Marcus Sheff said in a statement that the Palestinian Authority “seems to have gone to a great deal of effort to hoodwink its donors.”
The Times of Israel — January 30, 2022
Palestinian Authority textbooks have remained largely unchanged and still contain incitement to violence and hatred despite European Union pledges to work with the PA to revise them, a study by the Israeli nonprofit IMPACT-se found last week. Following an in-depth study of Palestinian textbooks conducted in 2021, a European Union spokesperson had said that while most PA educational materials were in line with international standards, some promoted “antagonism towards Israel.” “We have agreed to work with the Palestinian Authority to this end… with the express purpose of promoting and facilitating change,” she said. “The European Union has absolutely no tolerance for hatred and violence as a means to achieve political goals.” According to the IMPACT-se report, however, many of the same problematic curricula remain in use in Palestinian Authority schools several months later. The report brings numerous examples of what the organization calls incitement to violent terrorism. Dalal Mughrabi, notorious in Israel for her role in a brutal 1978 terror attack, is hailed in the textbooks as a heroic resistance fighter. Violence is described as a “legitimate right” for Palestinians seeking to “resist occupation.” The report brings numerous examples of what the organization calls incitement to violent terrorism. Dalal Mughrabi, notorious in Israel for her role in a brutal 1978 terror attack, is hailed in the textbooks as a heroic resistance fighter. Violence is described as a “legitimate right” for Palestinians seeking to “resist occupation.” In one Islamic Education textbook, Palestinian fifth-graders are told that their “duty to Al-Aqsa Mosque”—Islam’s third-holiest site—includes “jihad and martyrdom in pursuit of its liberation.” The nonprofit notes that Israeli rule is frequently described as “murderous and oppressive.” The textbooks also say Zionism is a “racist ideology” based on “false premises” such as that Jews belong to “a single national group.” Palestinians reject the argument that their textbooks constitute incitement. In a speech to the United Nations last year, PA President Mahmoud Abbas defended the curriculum as merely expressing their national narrative. Some European Union parliamentarians have advocated tighter restrictions on aid to Ramallah until the latter revises its textbooks’ content. A measure pitched last year to condition EU funding on such revisions was ultimately scrapped. “The Palestinian Authority seems to have gone to a great deal of effort to hoodwink its donors. Faced with a clear call by the EU for them to create new textbooks free of hate and antisemitism, the PA simply reprinted the old ones,” IMPACT-SE head Marcus Sheff said in a statement.
The Jerusalem Post (Marcus Sheff) — January 29, 2022
When President Isaac Herzog flies to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, marking the first official visit of an Israeli president to the Gulf state, he will be welcomed by the man who is arguably the Middle East’s most effective educational reformer. According to The New York Times, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also known as MBZ, undertook a bottom-up review of all of his country’s vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks after 9/11. Among other things, MBZ took a long, hard look at the UAE’s education ministry which Islamists had previously made into a state within a state of sorts, demanding a sweeping rewrite of the country’s textbooks. This reformed curriculum has been reviewed by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) in a report authored by Dr. Eldad Pardo and released this week. The UAE is developing strategically to secure a stake in the emerging world order and understands that education for tolerance and peaceful coexistence is critical for societies to flourish. Emirati students are taught that prosperity and national pride are intrinsically linked to peace and tolerance, a theme that runs throughout the curriculum. Textbooks take the psychological well-being of their students seriously, educating young generations morally and spiritually for a rapidly changing global society. Peaceful coexistence and love among people are not just a moral obligation but are also portrayed as sensible and worthwhile. Imagination and curiosity toward other cultures and civilizations are encouraged. Positivity and experiencing happiness are fundamental values for leading a rich, fulfilling and healthy life. It is instructive to compare this approach with the dark, violent, and Manichaean curricula of Iran and the Palestinian Authority. We found no instances of antisemitism in the textbooks. In fact, messaging focused on tolerance toward Jews is widespread throughout the texts. Normalization with Israel is legitimized by authoritative Islamic organizations and taught within the Islamic education program in three classes (Grades 6, 8 and 12). Solidarity with other Arab countries regarding the Palestinian cause remains strong but Palestinian issues are no longer described as “the foundation of the conflicts and struggles in the Middle East, and the key to the solution” of the region’s problems, as was previously the case. But, Israel is still not directly referenced on maps. There are hints to its existence, but baby steps will no longer be enough while strong and lasting bridges are being built between the new allies. The basic building block of the curriculum is Emirati nationalism, independence and patriotism. Sacrifice and martyrdom in the defense of the country are honored. Awareness of security and military concerns are inculcated into teachings, along with wider perspectives aimed at peace and conflict resolution. As with the rest of the Gulf region, the UAE faces structural challenges to maintaining its national cohesion and solidarity, blending large income gaps with social justice, local citizenry with an extremely large immigrant and expat community; women’s integration and ambition with traditional family values and adherence to orthodox Islam. The authors of the Emirati curriculum have risen to the challenge. This investment toward merging high-quality, forward-looking education for peace and tolerance with moral values and national education is a satisfying blueprint for teaching in the region.
The National Interest (Marcus Sheff) — January 29, 2022
As the higher education system in Syria disintegrates and 2.4 million young people in the country receive no schooling whatsoever, one would be forgiven for underestimating the importance of education in the turmoil that envelops Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez, who ruled as president from 1971 to 2000, pursued a policy of youth recruitment and indoctrination for his Ba’ath party. A similar focus continues under his successor. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a research and advocacy organization that monitors and analyzes education, issued two reports—one in 2001 and another in 2018—demonstrating a stark continuity in the Syrian curriculum in regime-controlled areas over the last twenty years. Since 2011, the importance of education has been reflected in attempts by warring groups to reform the education system in areas under their control. Over the past decade, students have been taught widely disparate curricula depending on which faction rules the area in which they are educated. Those in regime-controlled locales are subject to the same indoctrination those living under an Assad regime have become accustomed to over the past half-century. The regime is not the only ruler pursuing educational dogma. Those in territory controlled by the rebels experience parallel systems. Educational courses imposed by the Islamic State (ISIS) swap science, math, and reason for “jihad and sacrifice for the sake of God.” IMPACT-se’s 2018 analysis found that the regime not only sharply shapes youngsters’ views of their own nation but their perception of the outside world as well. The multi-faceted civil (and proxy) war in Syria is reflected in the textbooks children are exposed to. Unsurprisingly, Russia is viewed overwhelmingly positively. Since 2014, foreign language studies include Russian, and students now choose between French and Russian as their second foreign language (English is first). Conversely, Turkey, which has maintained a strong anti-regime position, is denigrated. Its “Ottomanism and pan-Turkic imperial drive” is portrayed as being a threat to Syria’s pan-Arab ideology. IMPACT-se found that Turkey’s approach to Islamism and the Islamic way of life is painted by the regime’s textbooks as being incompatible with the “Syrian worldview.” On the other hand, the IMPACT-se analysts found, also unsurprisingly, that Israel, alongside its Western allies, is portrayed highly negatively. It is not directly named but merely dubbed the “Racist/Terrorist/Zionist Entity,” and Jews are the subject of age-old antisemitic tropes. In light of the above, it is little wonder that the researchers concluded that vast swathes of the curriculum do not meet UNESCO standards and guidelines for education, peace, and tolerance. Rather, the curriculum is riddled with mendacities that support the regime’s twisted worldview and impose it on malleable youngsters. At present, those who do have access to education are indoctrinated, which has contributed to the nation’s tumult, the 2018 IMPACT-se analysis concluded. In place of intolerance, sacrifice, and slavish pro-regime messages, children must be taught objectively. Classrooms should be places free of ideology and full of curiosity and progress—not merely theatres for the continuation of conflict by other means.
The Algemeiner — January 28, 2022
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has failed to uphold promises made to purge its curriculum of antisemitic and violent themes, a report by an Israeli education watchdog charged on Thursday. Last September, PA officials agreed with European partners to reform its curriculum, after an EU funded report by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (GEI) determined that its textbooks contained antisemitic tropes, glorifications of terrorists and violence against civilians, and no mention of Israel on any maps. The problem persists through the current academic year, says IMPACT-se’s January 2022 report, “Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education Study Cards 2021-2022: Selected Examples.” The Israel-based NGO “found that there were no revisions made to the PA curriculum for the current 2021-22 school year.” “Contrary to the assurances made by the PA to its international partners that improvements would be made rapidly, the same problematic material identified in the 2020-21 textbooks by the GEI and IMPACT-se are still taught to students today,” said IMPACT-se, which studies curricula across the Middle East. “The Palestinian Authority seems to have gone to a great deal effort to hoodwink its donor,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said on Thursday. “Faced with a clear call by the EU for them to create new textbooks free of hate and antisemitism, the PA simply reprinted the only ones then produced thousands of pages of new teaching material with content worse than the textbooks themselves.” Students are shown antisemitic material as early as grade 7, said IMPACT-se. In the textbook Arabic Language, Vol. 1, Israeli soldiers are called “Satan’s aides” in a chapter imploring Muslims to “liberate” the Al-Aqsa Mosque “from the grasp of occupation.” Across various subjects in PA textbooks and study cards for all ages, students are encouraged to venerate terrorists, kill “infidels,” pursue the “Right of Return” to Israel with “all the means of warfare,” and disavow any notion of Jewish nationality and the right of Israel to exist. Israel still does not appear on any maps of the region. “The EU was apparently unaware of any of this,” Sheff continued. “The majority of the EU’s donations to the PA goes to its education sector, so one has to ask what the EU delegation to Ramallah actually knows about what goes on in PA schools. At a time when the PA is facing a major budget crisis, they’re doubling down on teaching the hate that donor nations said they could no longer tolerate.” After publication of the GEI report last year, members of the European Parliament said continued funding of the Palestinian Ministry of Education without changes to the content of its curriculum risks the body’s credibility. “We cannot accept that this is financed with EU taxpayer money, ” German MEP Niclas Herbst, Budget Committee Vice Chair, said in September. “We should have zero tolerance when it comes to antisemitism and it has to be free of hate speech.”
The Jerusalem Post — January 28, 2022
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has reneged on an agreement with the EU to revise its academic curriculum in 2021 and has instead promoted new academic materials that feature hateful language and violent imagery, a January 2022 report by The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) discovered. Despite a roadmap created in tandem with the European Union to ensure new textbooks produced in 2021 would be free of hate—an initiative started following the publication of an EU funded study on Palestinian textbooks that discovered rampant antisemitism and violent references—the PA has not removed the troubling content from its textbooks, which are used to educate public school children in PA-administered regions. “Faced with a clear call by the EU for them to create new textbooks free of hate and antisemitism, the PA simply reprinted the old ones, then produced thousands of pages of new teaching material with content worse than the textbooks themselves,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “The EU was apparently unaware of any of this.” While neglecting their promise to edit the textbooks, the PA produced thousands of pages of new material—much of it directly propagating violence and overt antisemitism. For instance, some materials teach of the “characteristics” of Jews who are devious and treacherous and Israelis, who are described as “Satan’s aide.” The new hateful learning materials span across school subjects. Science classes use illustrations of a boy with a slingshot to illustrate the transfer of energy, while Geography classes remove all mention of Israel. History classes are particularly controversial, as much focus is spent on recording Jewish control of global events via means of money and power. The Jewish “takeover” of Palestine is also a point of emphasis on the educational materials, as the journey of how “Zionist influence” led to the takeover of Palestine by Jews is among the most broadly covered educational topic. The new content also inspires children to pursue jihad and remove Jews from Palestine, saying that jihad is the “private obligation for every Muslim” and that “martyrs” who die while killing “infidels” will receive God’s grace and be greatly rewarded. “It is very clear that the study does reveal the existence of very deeply problematic content that remains of serious concern,” said Maciej Popowski, whose directorate commissioned the study and who oversees all aid to the Palestinian education sector, in September amid the agreement to revise PA curricula. He added that the EU “will not let off until we see change happen and we get assurances that no questionable content in books are in use. At a time when the PA is facing a major budget crisis, they’re doubling down on teaching the hate that donor nations said they could no longer tolerate,” Sheff declared.
International Policy Digest (Marcus Sheff) — January 27, 2022
The attack on Abu Dhabi by Iran-backed Houthi rebels early Monday is the latest attack to target the Emirati capital. Supported by Iran, which has been instrumental in the development of the Houthi drone and missile program, the organization has co-opted the country’s education system as a tool in its arsenal for spreading radical influence over the region. With its messaging penetrating the mainstream education system, this is used as both a tool for recruitment as well as a means of further radicalizing students. A review of Houthi materials conducted by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) exposed some of the most egregious of these violations of international standards of peace and tolerance in current educational curricula across the region. Iranian influence in the nature of this educational content is evident, and Houthi educational materials mimic much of the Khomeinist rhetoric of the Iranian regime, of which it is a proxy. These examples are just a brief, albeit worrying, insight into the violent Houthi mindset and serve as a prime example of how education can be weaponized for the purposes of perpetuating conflict. In stark contrast, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has taken a radically different educational path. New IMPACT-se research on the Emirati curriculum for Grades 1-12, aptly titled “When Peace Goes to School,” shows a curriculum that teaches students to value multicultural principles alongside inculcating a respect for others. It encourages curiosity and dialogue and promotes positive concepts, such as experiencing happiness, as fundamental values necessary for leading a rich, fulfilling, and healthy life. It praises love, affection, and family ties with non-Muslims. Interfaith relations, particularly with the Christian community, are evident along with expressions of tolerance toward Judaism. The report did not find examples of antisemitism or incitement but rather, a curriculum that generally meets UNESCO guidelines for peace and tolerance. In the 26 years that IMPACT-se has been reviewing curricula in the Arab and Muslim world, the UAE textbooks most closely meet UNESCO’s standards of peace and tolerance. It is head and shoulders above the regional norm in the teaching of peace, religious tolerance, and acceptance of the other. It could and should be a model for others to emulate, with its direct impact on the country’s economic successes evident. Children who are encouraged to learn about other cultures and work together are indeed more likely to create, innovate and develop. Those who are taught to hate and suspect foreigners are likely to grow up closed-minded and with a feeling of resentment towards the other. The region would do well to take a page out of the UAE textbook.
The Turbulent World of ME Soccer — January 22, 2022
An Israeli NGO gives the United Arab Emirates high marks for mandating schoolbooks that teach tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and engagement with non-Muslims. “The Emirati curriculum generally meets international standards for peace and tolerance. Textbooks are free of hate and incitement against others. The curriculum teaches students to value the principle of respect for other cultures and encourages curiosity and dialogue. It praises love, affection, and family ties with non-Muslims,” the 128-page study by The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) concluded. However, at the same time, the report appeared in its evaluation of Emirati textbooks to hue closely to Israeli policy towards the UAE and, more generally, most states that populate the Middle East. The report notes positively that the textbooks “offer a realistic approach to peace and security,” a reference to the UAE’s recognition of Israel in 2020, its downplaying of efforts to address Palestinian aspirations, and its visceral opposition to any form of political Islam with debilitating consequences in countries like Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. The report notes that “support for the Palestinian cause continues but no longer (is) seen as key to solving the broader range of regional challenges. Radicalism and hate are the chief threat. Iranian expansionism is a threat.” To its credit, the report implicitly states that Emirati concepts of tolerance are not universal but subject to what the country’s rulers define as its national interests. As a result, it points out that “the People’s Republic of China is surprisingly described as a tolerant, multicultural society, which respects religions” despite the brutal crackdown on religious and ethnic expressions of Turkic Muslim identity in the north-western province of Xinjiang. IMPACT-se further notes that the textbooks fail to teach the Middle East’s history of slavery. The report insists that the Holocaust and the history of Jews, particularly in the Middle East, should be taught but makes no similar demand for multiple other minorities, including those accused of being heretics. The NGO suggests that the UAE could also improve its educational references to Israel. The report takes note that “anti-Israeli material has been moderated” in textbooks that teach “cooperating with allies” and “peacemaking” as priorities. However, UAE recognition of Israel does not mean that a map of Israel is included in the teaching of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
Other outlets with this article:
Times of Israel (JMD Blog)
My News Data
South Asia Journal
Global South Colloquy
Global Village Space
i24 — January 21, 2022
Marcus Sheff, CEO of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, spoke with i24NEWS on how the UAE’s textbooks are building a more tolerant society. “I think it’s fair to say that in the 26 years that we have been reviewing curricula in the Arab and in the Muslim world, this most closely meets UNESCO’s standards of peace and tolerance,” Sheff said. Schoolbooks are more inclusive, often covering interfaith interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims. “It is head and shoulders above the norm in the region in the teaching of peace, religious tolerance, and acceptance of the other … [and] clearly could be a model for others to emulate.” The CEO explained how textbooks are an important tool for setting the stage for a more peaceful and tolerant society by educating the next generation on such values. “Children are asked to think about what tolerance means, and to comment on it, so that’s really critical thinking,” he noted. Textbooks also covered the topic of Iran from a perspective of security threats – addressing the Islamic republic’s aggression towards its neighbors. Though a number of books are still reluctant to identify Israel on maps within—and even place the Palestinian flag over the state instead in some cases—Sheff said real change is occurring nonetheless. “On one hand, we’re seeing so much tolerance and so much material which demonized Israel—antisemitic conspiracies about the Zionist movement, and its ‘imperial aspirations’ have been taken out.” “Putting Israel on the map I think is the next obvious stage,” he said. Complete Report
JNS — January 21, 2022
Textbooks in the United Arab Emirates promote peace and normalization with Jews and Israel; however, the Jewish state is still not on school maps, according to new research released by an Israeli watchdog group. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) released a report on Thursday examining 220 Arab-language textbooks in grades one through 12 from the UAE’s national curriculum, printed between 2016 and 2021. IMPACT-se discovered that peacemaking was “by far” the top priority discussed in the textbooks that were analyzed. The books also “offer a realistic approach to peace and security, teach patriotism, anti-radicalism, commitment to defending the homeland and cooperating with allies,” said the report. Even the Islamic-education program in UAE schools “emphasizes tolerance, coexistence and friendly relations with all non-Muslims and ethnicities.” IMPACT-se said it didn’t find antisemitism, hate or incitement in the textbooks, and that UNESCO guidelines for peace and tolerance “are generally met.” But while the 2020 Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between the UAE and Israel, are praised in textbooks and anti-Israeli material has been largely removed or moderated, Israel is not displayed in maps, and Holocaust education is not taught. In terms of how the Middle East is portrayed, the textbooks describe Iranian expansionism as a threat, and support for the Palestinian cause is no longer seen as a solution to solving the broader range of issues in the region. The textbooks also encourage students to exhibit tolerance and respect among non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians. “School education is the key to fostering the development of peaceful, tolerant societies, and the UAE curriculum’s authors seem determined to follow that path, relentlessly educating young Emiratis to understand the centrality of peace and employing Koranic verses to teach tolerance. Coexistence with Jews, Christians and other religions is a central feature while the authors have ensured that antisemitism has now been eradicated from the curriculum,” said Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se. “This determination to foster a peaceful and tolerant education extends to Israel: the Abraham Accords feature in three separate textbooks and children are taught that the treaty carries Islamic scholarly approval. This can only bolster people-to-people normalization.”
The Times of Israel — January 20, 2022
Textbooks in the United Arab Emirates promote peace and religious tolerance toward Jews, but Israel is still missing from maps, according to a study released Thursday. The report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), titled “When Peace Goes to School: The Emirati Curriculum 2016-21,” examined 220 Arabic-language textbooks in government schools in grades 1-12, covering civics, history, Arabic literature, and Islam. The curriculum “praises love, affection, and family ties with non-Muslims,” read the report. “Interfaith relations, particularly with Christianity, are evident along with expressions of tolerance toward Judaism. The report did not find examples of antisemitism or incitement.” But while tolerance toward Jews is encouraged — Islamic education lessons feature anecdotes about Muhammad and Caliph Omar acting kindly toward Jews in the Quran and the Hadith — the textbooks show both encouraging and problematic signs about Israel. The 2020 Abraham Accords that normalized ties with Israel are taught from Grade 6, with a focus on endorsements of the agreement by Emirati Islamic organizations. The accords are presented variously as a path to prosperity, a commitment to peace and cooperation, and even a way to support the Palestinian cause. In addition, many sentences that portrayed Israel in a negative light were removed from prior textbooks on a range of topics. Yet, more than a year after Abraham Accords, Israel is still not on any textbook maps, with one exception. Some maps do hint at Israel’s existence in the negative space around the borders of a Palestinian entity, or show Israel’s border without its name. Other problematic content around Israel can occasionally be found. In history lessons on Arab-Israeli wars, Israel is presented in quotation marks, signaling that it is not a real country. Zionism is also portrayed negatively … There is no teaching of the history of Jews in the region, nor is there any mention of the Holocaust. There are, however, extensive lessons on Palestinian history and literature. Even with these lessons, the trend is overwhelmingly positive, said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “Our report found that anti-Israel material has been significantly moderated and now extremely rarely exists,” Sheff emphasized. “Passages that previously demonized Israel [and] antisemitic conspiracies that the Zionist movement has imperial aspirations to extend from the Nile River to the Euphrates with the support of ‘Global Colonialism,’ and that blamed the Zionist enemy for seeking to exterminate the Palestinian people, have all been removed. In effect there has been a wholesale removal of problematic examples and a considerable, strategic shift to moderate and tolerant material. Especially noteworthy in relation to Jews and Israel is the removal by the authors of a passage that presented the Palestinian issue as ‘the basis of conflicts in the Middle East.'” The report’s author Eldad J. Pardo gave the curriculum “high marks for its pursuit of peace and tolerance,” and said its message “constitutes the best tool for combating radicalism and violence while building a viable future for the Emirates.”
The Algemeiner — January 20, 2022
A year and a half after the Abraham Accords normalized ties between the United Arab Emirates and the Jewish state, an Israeli education watchdog found that K-12 textbooks in the Emirates embrace the treaty and generally shun anti-Israel and antisemitic material. Released Thursday by the Israel-based IMPACT-se, the report—“When Peace Goes to School: The Emirati Curriculum”—found that the textbooks promote tolerance of and positive engagement with Jews and Christians based on principles based in Islamic theology. “It is by far most tolerant and peaceful Arab or Muslim majority country curriculum that the institute had reviewed, in over a quarter of a century of research,” the group’s CEO, Marcus Sheff, told The Algemeiner. “Textbooks offer a realistic approach to peace and security, teach patriotism, anti-radicalism, commitment to defending the homeland, and cooperating with allies; peacemaking is by the priority,” said the report. “The large Islamic education program emphasizes tolerance, coexistence, and friendly relations with all non-Muslims and ethnicities.” IMPACT-se—which has issued reports on Israeli, Palestinian, Iranian, Turkish and a range of other curricula across the Middle East—evaluated 220 Arabic-language textbooks, applying standards based on UNESCO and UN declarations. The group lamented that the State of Israel has been erased from all but one map of the Middle East, either described as “Palestine” or visible only as an empty silhouette. But it noted that the 2020 Abraham Accords are discussed in materials for students in grades 6, 8 and 12, along with endorsements by leading Islamic UAE organizations. A number of depictions of Israeli and the conflict with the Palestinians had been revised in recent years, IMPACT-se found. In one 11th grade social studies textbook, quotations of Emirati founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan were revised to remove criticism of the idea that Palestinians should recognize the Jewish state. However, parts of Emirati curriculum remained “hostile” to Jews, including a grade 11 lesson describing Muhammad’s filling “[Jews] hearts with horror”—for, the report said, “supposedly violating their commitment to support Muhammad.” In a lesson drawn from a passage from the hadith, students are told not to “resemble the Jews.” And the materials say nothing about the Holocaust or the history of Jews or other minorities in the Middle East. “Changes are needed,” the report emphasized. It noted that the material only partially fosters gender equality—encouraging women’s participation in “all walks of life,” but urging men and women to follow traditional Islamic family values and for women to obey their husbands. Still, Sheff said Thursday in further comments, the group’s first-ever review of the Emirati curriculum was encouraging.
“School education is the key to fostering the development of peaceful, tolerant societies and the UAE curriculum’s authors seem determined to follow that path, relentlessly educating young Emiratis to understand the centrality of peace and employing Qur’anic verses to teach tolerance,” he said. “Coexistence with Jews, Christians, and other religions is a central feature while the authors have ensured that antisemitism has now been eradicated from the curriculum. This can only bolster people-to-people normalization,” he added.
Hamodia — January 20, 2022
Textbooks in the United Arab Emirates have been updated to reflect normalization with Israel, except on maps of the Mideast where Israel still does not exist. According to a report released on Thursday by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), the UAE curriculum contains “expressions of tolerance toward Judaism, and its authors “did not find examples of antisemitism or incitement.” Many passages that portrayed Israel in a negative light were expunged on a range of topics, the report found. But some do remain. For example, “Likewise, Palestine, which was burdened by the yoke of creating a new ‘national home’ for the Jews on its lands, has also witnessed strong Arab resistance to Zionist greedy ambitions since the moment of its establishment,” reads a Grade 11 history book. Yet, more than a year after signing of the Abraham Accords, Israel has not made it onto the textbook maps, with one exception. Some maps merely hint at Israel’s existence in the negative space around the borders of a Palestinian entity, or show Israel’s border without its name. Israel is not only missing from the maps, Jews are missing from the Mideast. There is no teaching of the history of Jews in the region, nor is there any mention of the Holocaust. There are, however, extensive lessons on Palestinian history and literature. On balance, the trend is overwhelmingly positive, said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “Our report found that anti-Israel material has been significantly moderated and now extremely rarely exists. Passages that previously demonized Israel; antisemitic conspiracies that the Zionist movement has imperial aspirations to extend from the Nile River to the Euphrates with the support of ‘Global Colonialism,’ and that blamed the Zionist enemy for seeking to exterminate the Palestinian people, have all been removed. In effect there has been a wholesale removal of problematic examples and a considerable, strategic shift to moderate and tolerant material. Especially noteworthy in relation to Jews and Israel is the removal by the authors of a passage that presented the Palestinian issue as ‘the basis of conflicts in the Middle East.’”
This IMPACT-se report evaluates the UAE’s national curriculum for the 2021–22 academic school year. Among the findings: The curriculum teaches that prosperity and national pride are closely associated with peace and tolerance and encourages cooperation with the world and non-nationals. There is a realistic approach to peace and security; textbooks teach patriotism, anti-radicalism, commitment to defending the homeland and cooperating with allies, with a priority on peacemaking. Language and moral education programs encourage cultural diversity, curiosity and happiness. Students prepare for a highly competitive world and are taught positive thinking and well-being. The Abraham Accords are taught and anti-Israeli material has been moderated. The research did not find antisemitism or incitement to violence and UNESCO guidelines for peace and tolerance are generally met. Report Exec Sum (Report:Print Exec Sum:Print)
The Circuit (via Jewish Insider) — January 19, 2022
At the age of 28, when Loay Alshareef, then a French language student from Saudi Arabia, stumbled into his homestay in Paris to discover he was surrounded by Stars of David—his instinct was to turn on his heels and find another family to stay with. “I didn’t feel comfortable at the beginning,” he told The Circuit. Putting it mildly, Alshareef said he “didn’t have positive views about Israel or about the Jewish people,” at that time, in 2010. “I called the school and they said ‘take your time'”—and with the gentle guidance of his “wise” host mother, he did. “There are good Jews, bad Jews, good Christians, bad Christians, good Muslims, bad Muslims—but this is not what we were taught. We were told that the Jews are conspiring against Muslims and the Jews are evil, the Jews hate Muslims from the bottom of their hearts. And to me, it was very baffling.” Today, Alshareef is fully invested in building bridges between Jews and Arabs, but understands the inherent challenges in doing so. “You cannot blame” people, he said, for “being taught for 70 years hatred towards Jews and Israel.” Today, he noted, Saudi Arabia is undergoing a “great change,” leaving behind previous education curricula that he described as “disastrous.” Marcus Sheff, CEO of The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), pointed out that 15 of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks grew up in Saudi Arabia, as did Osama bin Laden. “There is a clear and direct link between school education,” Sheff told The Circuit. Changes to the education system were slow in coming but in recent years, he said, there has been an institutional effort for change and “there is a clear strategic approach to modernizing the curriculum.” IMPACT-se has been monitoring the curriculum since 2003, and on an annual basis since 2019, when they presented a report and a list of examples of necessary changes to Saudi Arabian authorities, after which significant changes were made. The organization has seen the removal of “a great deal of content” that demonized Jews, Christians and non-believers and promoted violent jihad. “Ideas which forbade friendships with Jews and Christians have been taken out, which is what we see now—the Saudi effort to do business with the outside world,” he added. “You can’t do that if you forbid relations with them.” Alshareef says that he is seeing people changing their perspectives before his very eyes, and that is what keeps him motivated. “I want to open a new page of Muslim-Jewish relations, and I will do whatever I have to do for this reason,” he said. “I believe the Abraham Accords are here to stay and will flourish—I hear people saying they will survive—I say they will flourish.”
International Policy Digest (Sheila Raviv) — January 3, 2022
School curricula present a double-edged sword in analyses of the complex relationship between education and the processes of radicalization. On the one hand, curricula can be instrumentalized to favor intolerant, hateful ideologies that endanger the prospect of regional normalization in the Middle East. On the other hand, curricula can just as powerfully be used as a means to promote a more peaceful future based on ideals of mutual respect and tolerance. Nobody grasps this truth more than the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se). The research and advocacy group’s pioneering textbook analysis exposes the problem of radicalization in education, while also supporting positive change in line with principles derived from UNESCO. These principles include the promotion of peace and gender equality and underline the importance of respecting the way of life and the culture of others. IMPACT-se is also guided by an abiding belief that curricula should be free of any content that seems to promote or is likely to promote any form of hatred or intolerance. This includes wording or imagery that uses stereotypes, promotes mistrust, or alludes to racial hatred. Such instances would clearly present a problem to prospects of regional normalization of relations in the Middle East. The important work conducted by IMPACT-se thus serves to underline the fact that education can indeed be used as a powerful tool to mitigate and challenge intolerant and extremist influences. By tackling this problem head-on and applying pressure to governments, IMPACT-SE has shown that significant progress can be achieved. Criticism of Saudi Arabia resulted in changes in 2020 that were reported in the Washington Post involving the Kingdom “scrubbing its textbooks of antisemitic and misogynistic passages.” Furthermore, the textbooks no longer endorse the death penalty for homosexuality. In fact, IMPACT-se produced a review of Saudi Arabian textbooks in December 2020 and concluded that there had been notable progress. That said, changing curricula to align with UNESCO will not happen overnight, and serious concerns remain. For example, Saudi Arabian textbooks continue to reflect tensions between the Kingdom and Israel. Textbooks still contain a story about a Jewish boy being saved from hell by his conversion to Islam. Another pertinent case study is Qatari curriculum, with the most recent IMPACT-SE report finding that it is still far from meeting international standards of peace and tolerance but that it is making slow but steady progress.For example, the state of Qatar stopped formally teaching The Protocols of the Elders of Zion after the 2017-18 academic year. The fight for a more tolerant, open-minded, and peaceful world governed by mutual respect requires hard work … The battle against radicalization through education is a textbook case of perseverance.
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer — January 2, 2022
Qatar has begun to cleanse its schoolbooks of supremacist, racist or derogatory references as well as celebrations of violent jihad and martyrdom, according to a recently released study. Recognition of Qatari efforts to clean up textbooks takes on added significance, with the World Cup shining a light on the country’s problematic human rights record and migrant labor system. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (Impact-se) concluded in an 85-page report that “substantial improvements have been registered in the new textbooks prepared for the first semester of the current academic year. Impact-se is an Israeli NGO that focuses on textbook analysis to prevent the radicalization of schoolchildren. Writing in the [foreword] David A. Weinberg, the Washington Director of the Anti-Defamation League, cautioned that Qatar still has “a long way to go when it comes to removing hateful content and consistently teaching tolerance, and yet the improvements that have occurred over the last two academic years in Qatar are still a pleasant surprise.” Mr. Weinberg, whose writings focus on state-enabled anti-Semitic incitement in the Middle East, noted that the latest Qatari textbooks, in contrast to Kuwaiti and Egyptian materials that are still in use, no longer describe Jews as ‘treacherous. … whatever pressure there is on Muslim-majority states to revise textbooks emanates from Western pressures as well as requirements related to geopolitical objectives, competition for religious soft power, and efforts to reform and diversify economies. That is what has driven changes in Qatari, Saudi, and Emirati textbooks. Textbooks are one measure of the degree of a country’s religious tolerance. Pushing for regional organizations to set standards is another. The latter is where Middle Eastern religious soft power rivals falter. Nevertheless, the Qatar report is significant for reasons beyond the rivalry for religious soft power and leadership of the Muslim world.
Other news outlets with this article:
The Times of Israel
Middle East Transparent
South Asia Journal
Global Village Space
The Print — January 4, 2021
Researching antisemitic incitement in the Middle East can get rather gloomy, given how prevalent it is in that part of the world. As such, it can be a real delight to welcome positive developments to report when they do occur, especially in places where one might not necessarily have expected them. To some degree, that appears to be what is going on with Qatar’s latest government-published textbooks for school children. Looking back, it was not too long ago when IMPACT-se’s CEO Marcus Sheff and I wrote in an op-ed for Newsweek that “Qatar’s textbooks are on par with those issued by Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority as the worst in the region, and perhaps the world, with regard to government-published anti-Semitism and other forms of hate.” But since then, Qatar’s books have somewhat improved. They still have a long way to go when it comes to removing hateful content and consistently teaching tolerance, and yet the improvements that have occurred over the last two academic years in Qatar are still a pleasant surprise. For example, while Egypt and Kuwait are still using textbooks this fall semester which explicitly claim that Jews are inherently treacherous, in the last few months Qatar and Jordan each have excised similar passages from their government-published textbooks for the fall of 2021. Geostrategically, Qatar is the Arab State that is most supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, and as such it seems a rather unlikely place for government-published textbooks to be moving in a relatively more tolerant direction. … it’s remarkable and somewhat encouraging that Qatar has started to excise some of the antisemitic passages in its textbooks. For example, it has removed a passage which taught that Zionism “strives to rule the world and control it.” And it has reduced problematic passages with regard to martyrdom and violent jihad—such as removing a passage that referred to jihad as “the peak” of Islam. … it is so important that this IMPACT-se report also includes an appendix identifying the problematic passages from Qatar’s spring 2020-21 textbooks that should ideally be eliminated from the upcoming term’s textbooks. By doing so, this report provides the most comprehensive picture so far of Qatar’s textbooks this school year, including what has changed, what has not, and what remains to be determined. As such, this report is an outstanding representation of IMPACT-se’s distinctive methodology. Despite the enormous logistical burden of doing so, they always strive to show the most comprehensive picture of peace and tolerance issues in a given country’s curriculum, even if it means studying dozens—and in some cases hundreds—of textbooks in order to do so. Journalists, scholars, and policymakers interested in understanding the incomplete positive change in Qatar’s textbooks today have no more thorough resource in English or in Arabic than this very IMPACT-se report. They would do well to read it closely—as would officials in Doha.