Diplomacy

UK Under Fire for Including Israeli Textbooks in Study of Palestinian Academic Incitement

The British Department for International Development (DFID) has come under fire for politicizing a review of incitement against Jews in Palestinian textbooks, after it was revealed that the investigation will also include an assessment of Israeli textbooks, The Jewish Chronicle reported Tuesday.

“I’m not aware of evidence of any widespread incitement in Israeli textbooks,” Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) chair Joan Ryan said in a letter sent to Alistair Burt, a foreign office minister, in which she described the decision as “shameful.”

DFID had announced the review in July, following reports that Britain was paying more than £20million in aid a year towards a curriculum that incites Palestinian children to hate and kill Jews.

Burt vowed at the time that the review would be “evidence-based and rigorous,” and completed by September 2019, though it has still not been commissioned.

Jennifer Gerber, a director for LFI, accused the ministry of “providing the Palestinian Authority with blank cheques so that it can continue its policy of glorifying violence and inciting terror.”

Gerber stated that after “a four-day old child became the youngest known victim of this terrible conflict” last week, the ministry instead should focus on bringing an end to the culture of violence encouraged and funded by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Burt charged last month that the PA had “taken action to help address concerns raised”, including “piloting new textbooks.” However, according to research by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), no significant changes were made in textbooks introduced for the new school year in September.

The report shows that instead Palestinian children as young as five years old are being taught that those who sacrifice themselves will be rewarded with “72 virgin brides in paradise.” The textbooks also glorify Palestinian “martyrs,” a synonym often used for terrorists, and encourages Palestinian children to carry out “attacks” against Jews.

IMPACT-se chief executive Marcus Sheff said: “After being presented with nearly one hundred examples of antisemitism, hate and glorification of terrorism in the Palestinian education system that it funds, the best idea the UK government seems to have is to examine the Israeli curriculum, which it does not fund.

“The Israel curriculum, while not being perfect, meets UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance. It identifies peace as the ultimate goal, depicting it as highly desirable and achievable.”

In September, the United States announced it was ending all funding for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, known as UNWRA, which operates the largest educational establishment in the Middle East. Around half a million children learn in 703 schools that they are victims of Israeli expulsion and have an inherited “right of return” – a right which, if necessary, must be achieved by force.

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