UN Anti-Racism Panel Slams ‘Antisemitic’ Palestinian Authority Textbooks

Hanan Al-Hroub, a Palestinian teacher Kern/Flash90

For the first time, The UN’s anti-racism committee has sharply criticized the Palestinian Authority’s textbooks calling on the PA to curb antisemitic statements from PA officials as well as to erase antisemitic material contained in Palestinian school textbooks.

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 The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) urged the PA to combat “hate speech and incitement to violence,” pointing out that some textbooks used in Palestinian schools “fuel hatred” and “may incite violence” and “anti-Semitism.”

CERD further called on the Palestinians to “remove any derogatory comments and images from school curricula and textbooks that perpetuate prejudices and hatred.”

A number of NGO’s had petitioned CERD to take a close look at the racial and anti-Semitic slurs in Palestinian textbooks, among them UN Watch, NGO Monitor and Impact-SE (Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education). The Palestinian delegation responded by criticizing experts of the 18-member panel for asking about antisemitic incitement based on the evidence provided by UN Watch, whose 32-page shadow report on Palestinian discrimination presented to CERD was labeled by the PA as “propaganda.”

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director Of UN Watch, noted that groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International—which had lobbied for the Palestinians to be recognized as a state for the purpose of signing human rights treaties, saying that this would hold them to account—failed to make any submission or statement for this first-ever review of the Palestinians by the UN anti-racism committee.

Out of some 40 Palestinian human rights groups who appeared in the UN when Israel was reviewed earlier this year, only one, Al Haq, appeared at the review of the Palestinian Authority. This raised questions as to whether their primary focus is on improving Palestinian human rights or on criticizing Israel.

UN Watch welcomed CERD for its censure of the PA, stating that it “commends the UN experts for calling on the representatives of [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas to take action against antisemitism in Palestinian textbooks, and for spotlighting the mistreatment of minorities in Palestinian-controlled areas.”

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