Saudi Arabia removes ‘practically all antisemitism’ from textbook

B0HNHN A child writing in an exercise book in a classroom, Saudi Arabia.

Report reveals that Saudi Arabia has removed „practically all antisemitism“ and anti-Israel material from textbooks.

Saudi Arabia has removed “practically all antisemitism” and anti-Israel material from textbooks, including material that presents conspiracies demonising Israel, and false accusations such as Israel set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, or claims that label Israel a ‘falsified democracy.’

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a research and policy institute that analyses curricula around the world through UNESCO-defined standards, released a report on Saudi curriculum for the 2022-23 school year, which reveals the improvements on both matters relating to anti-Israel material and antisemitism.

The report analysed “entire humanities corpus” over the last five years, totalling 301 textbooks, and including 80 textbooks for the current 2022-23 school year, reports the Jewish News.

Material implying that Jews are the enemies of Islam, as well as interpretations of Qur’anic verses and oral traditions, accusing Jews and Christians of plotting against Islam, have been removed, along with anti-Israel material such as false accusations that Israel set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, that Israel embarked on the 1967 war to expand its borders. Statements calling Israel a “falsified democracy,” were also removed. Overall, according to the report, there is a“positive trend-line of improvement” regarding material related to Israel.

Nevertheless, the textbooks still refer to Israel as “the Zionist entity,” a term also used by Iran and Hezbollah. It also describes Zionism as a “European colonial and racist movement aimed at expelling Palestinians from their homes.”

“The clear trend of moderation in relation to Israel, while still not recognising the Jewish state, is highly noteworthy,“ said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff, recognizing the Saudi government’s multi-year effort to systematically remove Jew hate from the textbooks of over six million Saudi children, and the moderation of content on Israel in the textbooks.