AJC Urges EU Response to New Evidence of Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks

Press releases

AJC Urges EU Response to New Evidence of Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks

8 June 2021 – Brussels – The AJC Transatlantic Institute called on the European Union to take immediate action to end incitement in Palestinian Authority-issued textbooks after an EU-funded study, according to an article in today's Bild, confirmed previous reports of antisemitism, glorification of violence and martyrdom, and the erasure of Israel on maps in Palestinian school material.

“After rampant incitement in Palestinian textbooks had first been documented in 2018 and now reconfirmed by the EU-commissioned study, Brussels must finally act,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Brussels-based EU Office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute. “It is difficult to imagine a policy more at odds with EU values and the stated goal of achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians than poisoning the minds of children in this conflict. As the EU is ultimately financing this incitement—the textbooks are drafted and taught by civil servants and teachers whose salaries are paid directly by Brussels—the Commission must act now to help preserve both the possibility of a negotiated two-state solution and the EU's own standing as an honest broker.”

“The EU's passivity thus far stands in stark contrast to Norway – another major donor to the PA – which already last year cut some funding to Ramallah to bring about necessary changes in Palestinian textbooks. In light of the new shocking evidence in the report Brussels itself commissioned, the EU has not only a mandate but a duty to finally put an end to this shameful hate education in Palestinian schools, ” Schwammenthal added.

Norway decided last year to withhold half of its funding to Ramallah’s education sector until hate was removed from the textbooks. For its part, the European Parliament in its last two successive budget discharge reports, for 2018 and 2019 respectively, condemned Ramallah’s failure to act against incitement in textbooks and insisted that the Commission ensure EU funds promote peace and tolerance in Palestinian schools. In December 2020, the European Union under the German EU-presidency decided to extend the fight against antisemitism across all of the EU’s policy areas and announced its intention to draw up a comprehensive EU Strategy on combating antisemitism.

“Last December we praised the Commission for “mainstreaming” the fight against antisemitism across all policy areas, including foreign policy. If this commitment means anything, the Commission must immediately tackle the Palestinian Authority’s anti-Jewish and anti-peace incitement of schoolchildren—particularly as this indoctrination is ultimately funded by European taxpayers,“ Schwammenthal said.

Last October, Members of the European Parliament associated with the Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) interparliamentary group sounded the alarm on the Georg Eckert Institute’s error-ridden interim report and in an open letter to the EU executive called on the EU to discontinue its collaboration with the Georg Eckert Institute. Earlier this month, 17 MEPs wrote another letter to the Commission, calling on Europe to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority in order to help end the indoctrination of Palestinian children.