June 24, 2013

SWC Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper attended briefing at Israel’s Knesset reviewing the Palestinian Textbooks used in UNWRA schools in Gaza and the West Bank. The funding for the schools are provided by Western countries, led by the US, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia and others. Diplomats from Egypt, Canada, UK, and Norway were in attendance.

June 24th, Knesset, Jerusalem, Israel
Rabbi Cooper, Dr. Arnon Groiss, David Bedein

Dr. Arnon Groiss, a respected expert in the promotion of Tolerance in Education, shared the results of his research, which found that textbooks used in UNRWA-funded schools never acknowledge any Jewish rights in ‘Palestine’, nor any Jewish past in the Holy Land. Israel is almost never shown on any map and no city is ever identified as a Jewish city.

“Israel is delegitimized, and demonized in these texts and no peaceful solution to Arab-Israel conflict is ever discussed’, Groiss noted, adding, “The rights of 4.5 million Palestinians around the world is heavily promoted.” The event was chaired by David Bedein, Director of the Near East Policy Research Center.

Samples of textbooks

“There is so much to be gained from providing an education to young Palestinians, that paves the way for peace between two people, that is unfortunately not being promoted in Palestinian textbooks currently used in both Gaza and the West Bank,” noted Rabbi Cooper. “As far as the narrative presented in many of these books, there were two “occupations”, the post-1967 war occupation of the west Bank and Gaza and the 1948 “occupation” of the territory called the State of Israel. This isn’t a prescription for peace but for more tragedy, more violence and G-d forbid, more war,” Rabbi Cooper concluded.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).