The European Union has reportedly tried to suppress a report that reveals that antisemitism is rife in EU-funded Palestinian Authority textbooks.
The 200-page report was produced by the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research for the European Commission earlier this year and was reportedly kept from the public until the German newspaper Bild obtained a copy.
The report examines 156 textbooks and sixteen teachers’ guides from 2017-2020, revealing numerous examples of anti-Jewish racism that the report’s executive summary tries to downplay by insisting that, despite the overt racism, the textbooks nevertheless meet UNESCO standards. Earlier in the information-gathering process, IMPACT-se, an Israeli education watchdog, claimed that the Georg Eckert Institute was examining Israeli textbooks by mistake.
According to the report, the textbooks present “ambivalent – sometimes hostile – attitudes towards Jews and the characteristics they attribute to the Jewish people…Frequent use of negative attributions in relation to the Jewish people… suggest a conscious perpetuation of anti-Jewish prejudice, especially when embedded in the current political context.”
A religious studies textbook, for example, refers to “repeated attempts by the Jews to kill the prophet” and implies that the Jews are “enemies of Islam”, referencing also the “alleged perniciousness of the Jews”.
There are also numerous instances of glorification of violence and terrorism against Jews and of “resistance”, including in science and mathematics textbooks, using terror attacks to demonstrate scientific proofs and using terrorists as models of female empowerment. The report says of one female terrorist that there are “no further portraits of significant female figures in Palestinian history,” implying that “the path of violence [is] the only option for women to demonstrate an outstanding commitment to their people and country.”
The European Commission reportedly said that it “takes this study seriously and will act on its findings as appropriate, with a view to bring about the full adherence to UNESCO standards in all Palestinian education materials,” and “reiterates its unequivocal commitment to the fight against antisemitism.” It has been promising a new strategy on fighting antisemitism for some time, amidst a significant increase in anti-Jewish racism in the bloc.
Following the leak of the report, IMPACT-se said in a statement: “This report confirms the findings published by IMPACT-se over the last five years. The question is, will EU policy-makers finally take action to condition EU funding to the PA [Palestinian Authority] on positive reforms to the curriculum as the European Parliament has demanded on several occasions.”