EU urged to stop funding PA textbooks promoting ‘terrorism and antisemitism’

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EU urged to stop funding PA textbooks promoting ‘terrorism and antisemitism’

More than 20 MEPs from 15 countries called on the authority to take action in wake of research by an Israeli education body

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

(Photo by Valentin Salja on Unsplash)
Textbook (Photo by Valentin Salja on Unsplash)

A cross-party group of more than 20 members of the European parliament, from 15 different countries, has urged the EU to hold back on funding to the Palestinian Authority until there is an end to antisemitic incitement in the PA’s school textbooks.

The move by the MEPs, associated with the Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) interparliamentary group, comes after the publication of a report into Palestinian textbook content by the Israeli education research body, IMPACT-se.  

IMPACT-se has found numerous examples of sustained antisemitism and incitement against Israel in its analysis of the latest editions of the Palestinian school books. But alarms rang for the MEPs after it became clear that the Georg Eckert Institute, the German-based body commissioned by first Britain, and then the EU, to examine the content of the textbooks, was in many cases looking at the wrong books.

Instead of looking at Palestinian schoolbooks, the Eckert researchers were reviewing Israeli Jerusalem municipality books. Now the MEPS want the EU to discontinue its association with the Eckert Institute, whose work has so far cost the EU €220,000. 

Austrian MEP Lukas Mandl, the TFI chair in the European Parliament, said: “It’s unacceptable that the EU is funding Palestinian textbooks, which glorify terrorism and peddle antisemitism.” The parliamentarians are calling for a five per cent reserve on funding for the Palestinians “until such time that they make substantive positive changes to the textbooks”.

The politicians are particularly angry because they received repeated assurances from Palestinian educators that changes would be made — only to find the content of this year’s schoolbooks is as bad as ever. 

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