EU commissioner calls for review of sponsoring violent textbooks for Palestinian kids

Oliver Varhelyi, the European commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement at the European Union, demanded on Monday that the E.U. review the conditions by which it funds education in the Palestinian Authority after a recent report exposed anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in Palestinian textbooks.

“The conditionality of our financial assistance in the educational sector needs to be duly considered,” he tweeted. “Firm commitment to fight anti-Semitism and engage with Palestinian Authority + @UNRWA to promote quality education for Palestinian children & ensure full adherence to @UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence, non-violence in Palestinian textbooks.”

Varhelyi’s remarks come days after the release of an E.U.-sponsored report on P.A. textbooks that revealed instances of anti-Semitism, and the demonization of Israel and of Jews in educational material.

Earlier on Monday, European Commission spokesperson Ana Pisonero said the report presents a “complex picture” about the textbooks, which “express a narrative of resistance” that is often violent and “displays an antagonism towards Israel.”

“The E.U. will step up engagement with the P.A. on the basis of this study with the aim to ensure further curriculum reform addresses problematic issues in the shortest possible time frame and [that] the P.A. take responsibility to screen textbooks not analyzed in the study,” she said. “We have agreed to work with the P.A. on a specific roadmap … [that] must include a process of screening and monitoring of educational material for which the P.A. will be fully responsible and will ensure coherence with UNESCO standards.”

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