Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 - 21 of Av, 5779

United Nations demands answers from Palestinian Authority over antisemitism in school textbooks

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”The PA curriculum is openly anti-Semitic and it incites hatred of Jews, teaching children that the corruption of the Jews will be the cause of their annihilation and that Jews sexually humiliate Muslim women.

”Lack of tolerance and understanding – indeed, full-throated extremism, is pervasive across this new Palestinian curriculum.

”Every school day, 1.3 million Palestinian children are radicalized and their rights to a harm-free childhood destroyed as they are taught to embrace hate, violence and extremism in PA and UNRWA schools.’’

GENEVA—A United Nations body has called on the Palestinian Authority to explain the antisemitism in the Palestinian curriculum.

It took place during the plenary session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that takes place in Geneva. It was the first review of the Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks by the committee.

Committee member Chinsung Chung asked the PA delegation to explain “anti-Semitic and anti-Israel prejudice and incitement to hatred, especially in the Palestinian media and speeches of state officials.” Another member, Silva Albuquerque,  also asked the delegation about the anti-Semitism that permeates PA textbooks. He said he had been briefed  on examples of racism and antisemitism in the PA, particularly in its school books.

The review followed a speech by Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se, an NGO monitoring the content of school textbooks, at the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, where he asked the committee to demand from the Palestinian Authority that all examples of antisemitism are removed from the Palestinian curriculum. In his speech, he provided multiple examples of the antisemitism that children learn through the school curriculum.

Shef said said the PA curriculum ‘’is openly anti-Semitic and it incites hatred of Jews, teaching children that the corruption of the Jews will be the cause of their annihilation and that Jews sexually humiliate Muslim women.’’

‘Lack of tolerance and understanding – indeed, full-throated extremism, is pervasive across this new Palestinian curriculum,’’ he added.

He stressed that ‘’every school day, 1.3 million Palestinian children are radicalized and their rights to a harm-free childhood destroyed as they are taught to embrace hate, violence and extremism in PA and UNRWA schools.’’

Prior to their questioning of the PA, the members of the United Nations committee were also addressed by UN Watch Legal Advisor Dina Rovner, in a meeting with non-governmental organizations, as well as in a private briefing. Rovner highlighted the gross and systematic antisemitism by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as documented in UN Watch’s written submission.

UN Watch also called attention to the failure of the Palestinian delegation—headed by Ammar Hijazi, deputy Foreign Minister for multilateral affairs—to acknowledge any of this in its submissions to the world body.

Hijazi replied, “We do not discriminate against any of our citizens based on ethnicity and religion or sex. We are a state that is trying to find its path and still formulating its laws.” He alleged that the NGOs’ reported instances of PA anti-Semitism were “untruths” meant to “deny Palestinians their rights.”

The PA also railed against “Israel’s racist occupation” while failing to address their own policies and statements, according to U.N. Watch.

“Our shadow report and presentations today exposed how the PA’s submissions to the committee completely ignored racist and discriminatory Palestinian practices, and how they tried to evade responsibility by shifting the focus of the review onto Israel,” said Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch.

“We trust that the committee will continue its work to hold the PA and Hamas accountable for their flagrant violations of the UN’s convention against racism and the principles of international human rights law,” he added.

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