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Liberal gov’t still funding UN’s antisemitic, genocidal Palestinian textbooks

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According to UN Watch, “UNRWA textbooks deny any Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel and erase Israel from the map, and teachers incite antisemitism and jihadi terrorism.” (Image: impact-se.org)

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau never misses an opportunity to claim that he and his government stands up for Canadian values and indeed for universal values and human rights. These universal values and rights include those enunciated and prescribed by the United Nations and, with respect to the subject at hand, by Trudeau also claims that Canada is Israel’s good/close friend and steadfast/strong ally and that his government is ready and able to fight world terrorism with its allies.

Whatever the veracity of these claims may be, their truth does not extend to the Trudeau government’s policy and practices concerning Canada’s financing of the educational services of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

To date, despite his Ministers’ and officials’ assurances to the contrary, the government has exhibited and continues to exhibit a malevolent hypocrisy both at home and towards the Israeli Jews and Israel.

In 2010, the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper cancelled Canada’s annual contribution of $25 million to the school fund of UNRWA in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank and the Eastern part of Jerusalem on the grounds that the school books published by the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) and used by all UNRWA schools were poisoned by hatred for and incitement against Jews and Israel.

In 2016, the Trudeau government reversed the Harper decision, in the midst of allegations that UNRWA is tied too closely to Hamas – which Canada designates as a terrorist organisation – and despite the well substantiated evidence that the textbooks used by UNRWA are toxic in their treatment of Jews and Israel.

The Minister of International Development, Marie Claude Bibeau stated that a portion of these monies contributes to the financing of the schooling of “vulnerable Palestinian refugees” attending UNRWA schools, stating: “We want to see Palestinian refugee children in classrooms where they can learn universal values of tolerance and respect.”

In the aftermath of the announcement, government officials stated that Canada would closely monitor the contents of the school books used by UNRWA to ensure that its educational services satisfied the ethical requirements prescribed by UNESCO. 

As it turned out, these officials were either being deceived by their superiors and/or Minister Bibeau or freelancing in fibbing.

On February 2, 2017, UN Watch appeared before the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee and presented “A Report on UNRWA Teachers’ Incitement to Jihadist Terrorism and Antisemitism”

The report exposes more than 40 Facebook pages operated by school teachers, principals, and other employees of UNRWA whose materials incite terrorism and antisemitism. These cases are additional to the 30 cases of incitement revealed by U.N. Watch at the end of 2015.

The examples of incitement included UNRWA teachers and staffers celebrating the terrorist kidnapping of Israeli teenagers, cheering rockets being fired at Israeli civilian centres, endorsing various forms of violence, erasing Israel from the map, praising Hitler and posting his photo, and posting overtly antisemitic videos, caricatures, and statements.

Canada did not respond to U.N. Watch’s call for action and ignored the specific recommendations of the Report directly bearing on the issue of incitement and antisemitism with respect to the textbooks used in the UNRWA schools. Nor did the Canadian media give this important story much, if any, play that it deserved.

In June 2017, The Center for Near East Policy Research (CNEPR)  issued a 260 page detailed research report on the contents of the most recently updated school books issued by the Palestinian Authority for use in all the schools  in the West Bank, Gaza and in East Jerusalem. The overall conclusion of the report is that these books “indoctrinate students with violence, denial, deceit and demonization of the Jewish people and have virtually erased reference to Israel. It’s replaced by ‘Zionist occupation’ and ‘Arab-Zionist conflict’. Further, the poems taught to youngsters praise ‘martyrdom’ against Jews.”

Dr. Arnon Groiss, a specialist in school book content analysis, who co-directed the study and co-authored the report, describes the curriculum as one which “prepared the next generation of Palestinians, not for peace, but for more conflict, more violence, more Jew-hatred”.

In September 2017, Minister Bibeau asserted that they were still reviewing the school materials. Then on March 15, 2018, Canada announced new emergency funding of the UNRWA in the amount of $10 million, some of which would fund schooling, along with other countries seeking to remedy the budgetary shortfall created by President Trump’s decision to freeze U.S. aid to the agency.

The very next day, an article by B. Chernitsky in the journal of the East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), reported, “An examination of the middle-school books for Islamic Education, some of which have been replaced, shows a significant increase in focus on the early Islamic tenets of shahada (martyrdom), fidaa (self-sacrifice) and tadhiya (sacrifice) as part of jihad for the sake of Allah, and their modern manifestations as part of the Palestinian struggle against Israel” and in this context “cultivates antisemitic messages.”

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After some ten years of pumping significant amounts of money into the Palestinian education sector, the European Parliament adopted legislation to prevent EU aid intended for education purposes from being used to teach hate, and to insure that henceforth the P.A.’s textbooks meet the EU and UNESCO standards. To date, the legislation has been kept in abeyance on the assurances of UNRWA that things would change and pending the results of a study of the contents of the impugned school books commissioned by the EU. Since then, the European Parliament adopted a number of resolutions condemning the P.A. for using textbooks that teach hate of and violence against Jews, Israeli-Jews and Israel, but to no avail.

In response to the agitations of the European Parliamentarians, Phillip Lazzarini, the new Head of UNRWA tweeted that “in the schools of UNRWA there is no place for incitement to hate and violence“. He affirmed that the UNRWA manuals in question were prepared to supplement the P.A. school books for [the purpose of facilitating online teaching during the Covid-19 lockdown] were “published by accident”.

He further stated that “The pages of certain manuals identified as inappropriate were distributed by error and were rapidly replaced by content consistent with the values of the U.N.”(Writer’s free translation from French.)

In January 2021, IMPACT-se reported textbooks in the revised Palestinian school curriculum “were found to be more radical than those previously published.” Martyrdom is glorified to children as “embracing (a) happy future.” (Image: impact-se.org)

Despite all the resolutions and pronouncements, to date, besides the Trump administration in 2018, only the Norwegian Parliament thought it fit to cut all financial assistance to the P.A. in December 2020, over its antisemitic outbursts and incitement to violence.

This past January, the U.S. President Biden renewed its financial assistance to both the UNRWA and to the P.A. as a gesture to re-build confidence in its relationship with the P.A. – thus ignoring the travesty of funding hatred and incitement to terrorism against Israel for another generation of Palestinians.

Prime Minister Trudeau has yet to condemn even once, both the P.A. for producing the poisonous school books year after year and UNWRA for using these books and its own supplementary manuals. Recently there were questions posed in Parliament to his government about the continued funding of this material, which will be the subject of Part 2 next week.

Doğan D. Akman is an independent researcher and commentator. He holds a B.Sc. in sociology, an M.A. in sociology/criminology and an LL.B in law. He held academic appointments in sociology, criminology and social policy; served as a Judge of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, and occupied the positions of Crown Counsel in criminal prosecutions and in civil litigation at the Federal Department of Justice. His academic work is published in peer-reviewed professional journals, while his opinion pieces and other writings are to be found in various publications and in blogs.  

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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