February 24, 2008: Textbooks

PA-produced textbooks , that is.

The questions are fairly straight-forward : What is the Palestinian Authority teaching its young people with regard to peace with Israel? And what does it teach them about Jews?

To get some answers, one week ago , on behalf of the Center for Near East Policy Research, I interviewed Arnon Groiss, Chief Researcher for The Institute for Monitoring the Impact of Peace and Tolerance in School Education (formerly known as CMIP).


In the early years after its establishment , the Palestinian Authority continued to use for children in its schools in Judea & Samaria and Gaza books that had been produced by Jordan and Egypt respectively. In 2000, the PA began producing its own texts, releasing books for two grades each year. Textbooks for grades 1 through 10 were published by 2004. CMIP analyzed all of these texts.

In 2005, texts for grade 11 were released , and in 2006, texts for grade 12. Only now is the analysis of these texts about to be released.

Dr. Groiss, in his interview with me , provided an overview of what was found not just in these latest texts, but in all the texts, complete with some comparisons and important background information.

What is significant about this latest report is that it is being supported by the American Jewish Committee for the first time. More about this below.


The review of the texts makes clear that Palestinian youngsters are not being taught to prepare for peace, but rather for on-going war.

There is no legitimacy accorded the State of Israel , or Jewish people. Jewish holy places such as the Kotel, Rachel’s Tomb, and the Machpelah, are all identified as exclusively Arab. It is made clear to the students that all of the land is "occupied," not just the land beyond the Green Line.

“Martyrs” and jihad are praised. One seventh grade book declares: “Hearing weapons clash is pleasant to my ears. And the flow of blood gladdens my soul.”

In addition, Jews are represented as evil and responsible for just about everything bad that happens. From an eighth grade text: “Your enemies kill your children, split open women’s bellies…”

Please, take the time to read my report at: https://41k.82b.myftpupload.com/textbooks/ It’s detailed enough to make an impact, but short enough to be readily digested.

AJC will release the full report — with details about various texts — shortly, and then, I believe, it will go up on the website of the Institute for Measuring the Impact of peace, at http://www.edume.org/


What I describe above is one part of the story. Yet, there’s another: The government of Israel, sadly, infuriatingly, pays scant attention to the contents of the PA textbooks. While the government is actively involved in other issues of international anti-Semitism, the PA is not on the radar screen.

Why? It’s all part of the syndrome I’ve been describing in recent days. The government of Israel, pathologically, does not wish to attack the entity that is supposed to be our peace partner.

And, I’m sorry to say, most mainstream Jewish organizations (with a handful of exceptions such as the Zionist Organization of America) would rather not cross the Israeli government on this issue, and so they, too, are mute regarding what’s in the PA schoolbooks.

In fact, rumors are afloat in several quarters saying that the books are now improved. It is my understanding — from a top notch source — that a top correspondent for a major US anti-Israel paper, speaking at the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, made just such a claim, in the hearing, presumably, of representatives of most of those organizations — and was not countered.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the books are still denying our existence as a Jewish state and promoting violence. And the participation of the American Jewish Committee in spreading the word on this is much to be applauded.


And so, here’s a way in which all of the Israel supporters reading this can be of assistance. Use the material in my report. (When the full report is available, you’ll be able to draw on that.) Inform people as you can, and write letters to the editor.

Ask the basic question: How can Israel make peace with an entity that promotes violence among its children and teaches them that Israel has no legitimacy?

It’s most important that the information in my report should also go to all of your Congresspersons and Senators — provide the link — with these or similar questions posed. Tell them that rumors regarding the improvements in the texts — which indicate that we have no need to be concerned — are not accurate, and that there can be no peace in the Middle East until this sort of issue is honestly addressed.

You can find contact information for Congresspersons and Senators here:


Remember that faxes or phone calls are most effective.

Lastly, if you belong to a major Jewish organization , vigorously raise this issue with the national leadership. Don’t accept answers such as that they are also concerned — find out what they are doing in terms of contacting Congress, publicizing the issue, etc. If you are a donor, use that leverage.