Antisemitism mostly eliminated from Saudi Arabian textbooks

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has seen a trend of improvement in removing antisemitism from its curriculum, reports The Jerusalem Press.

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) revealed in its annual report on education in Saudi Arabia that antisemitism has been largely eliminated from textbooks. According to the report, the country has shown improvement in removing antisemitic tropes from the Saudi curriculum, such as portraying Jews as disobedient or wealthy.

Verses from Qur’an describing Jews being turned into monkeys and verses prohibiting friendships with Jews and Christians and condemning homosexuality were also removed, as was the antisemitic myth that one of the goals of Zionism is a “global Jewish government.”

In 2020, a chapter called “The Zionist danger”, which dealt with topics regarding the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist was eliminated from the textbooks, and in the following year, several lessons demonizing Jewish people, Christians, and other “non-believers” were removed from the curriculum altogether, along with an entire textbook unit on jihad.

However, IMPACT-se warns that antisemitism still remains a problem in Saudi Arabia. According to the report, Israeli is still omitted from maps shown in textbooks and Zionism is still described as “racist.” Teachings still remain that “Zionists” deliberately tried to burn down Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969. A Qur’an verse comparing Jews to „book-carrying donkeys” also remains in textbooks.

Nevertheless, overall, there is a “continuation of the clear trajectory of improvement” in the Saudi school curriculum, IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said.