Saudi Arabia removes anti-Israel material from schoolbooks

E. Rowell:  In life in general it is important to pay attention to what someone says and to what someone does.  It is a good sign when the words and music match.  However, when it comes to politics, paying attention to actions is often more useful than paying attention to words.

The move is “another step towards the transformation of a curriculum into an educational framework which encourages tolerance, peace and greater equality,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff.

By JNS    28 May 2024

Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Saudi Arabia has removed practically all antisemitism and anti-Israel material from its schoolbooks, in a major shift from the past and a harbinger of a better future, a study released Tuesday found.

The study, conducted by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE)—an international research organization—found a “marked reduction” in anti-Israel content in the Saudi curriculum, which no longer teaches that Zionism is a “racist” European movement, nor denies the historical Jewish presence in the region dating back 3,000 years.

In addition, according to the study, hostile references to Israel in the textbooks have been modified, while the word “Palestine” has been removed from maps of Israeli sites.

The study also noted that all remaining violent interpretations of jihad, which had been in place for years, were removed or altered in this year’s textbooks.

References to homosexuality as a “monstrous atrocity,” or claims that emulating the opposite sex is a “deviation from normality,” were removed, as well. While retaining a traditional approach to gender roles, there has been a notable improvement in the depiction of women, the study revealed.

“Saudi textbooks published for the 2023/24 school year constitute another step towards the transformation of a curriculum into an educational framework which encourages tolerance, peace and greater equality,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff. “Having already removed antisemitism from the textbooks, it is particularly encouraging that Saudi curriculum designers have made further revisions which portray Israel in a more positive light. These changes bode well for the future of the region as a whole.”

The significant positive changes in the Gulf Kingdom’s educational curriculum come amid renewed reports of a United States-brokered Saudi-Israeli normalization deal. This is despite Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish state—which some Mideast analysts assess was launched, in part, to scuttle such a deal—and the ongoing war in Gaza.

May 28, 2024 | 5 Comments »

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  1. This seems to me to be “window dressing”……….

    Think…!! How long will it be before the schoolbooks are worn out and replaced. Many years I’d bet.

    We’ve heard nothing regarding ALL the books being collected , destroyed, and replaced by the new, cleansed books……

    Will we ever hear about it….

    An important but overlooked point……..!!

  2. I don’t know anything about the organization that has made this report. I would be more confident that this report is true if it came from a a Jewish source, such as David Bedein, who has monitored antisemitism in Palestinian textbooks for many years now.

  3. UAE removed the antisemitism about 20 years from their school books. The younger generation I heard from a UAE Sociologist is much less antisemitic than the older generation.

    So this is the type of thing takes a generation or two to be educated without antisemitism in school. It is helpful but then this just a start.