TEL AVIV — The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed a “peace and tolerance” resolution on Wednesday that calls for Palestinian school textbooks to stop “encouraging war and violence, anti-Semitism, hate and intolerance.”
House Resolution 2343, called the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act, was introduced by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and is co-sponsored by four other congressional representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
The resolution demands that the secretary of state review educational material used by the Palestinian Authority or UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees that handles a large percentage of Palestinian education.
The resolution noted that the PA’s modified curricula still “fail[ed] to meet the international standards of peace and tolerance in educational materials established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.”
“Textbooks used by the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA encourage war, and teach children that Palestinian statehood can be achieved through violence,” it went on to say.
“It is the sense of Congress that the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA have not sufficiently worked to eliminate all content and passages encouraging violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups from the curriculum used in their respective schools,” the bill said.
The bill was based on reports by education monitor IMPACT-se, whose mandate covers the entire region.
“We are delighted that Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Lee Zeldin have taken firm leadership roles on the eradication of hate in Palestinian textbooks, and that the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously voted for it to be marked up,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said in a statement.
“This bill will effectively determine whether U.S. tax dollars have gone to fund — directly or indirectly — the PA curriculum, and will inform Congress about the state of Palestinian textbooks if the U.S. government plans any future funding of education programs in the Palestinian Authority,” he added.
Zeldin noted that UNRWA school textbooks contained no mention of Israel or Judaism and incited violence.
“It is unacceptable [that] the textbooks that are used delegitimize Israel and demonize the Jewish people. We must demand transparency over the anti-Israel textbooks in this program that are fueling another generation of hate.”
In August, the PA was taken to task by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in light of the modified curriculum.
Following the session, Sheff noted the “full-throated extremism pervasive across this new Palestinian curriculum.”
The PA’s curriculum was, he said, “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.”
“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,” he said.