There has been a marked decline in anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist content in Saudi Arabian textbooks for the coming school year, a Jerusalem-based research group found in a report released Tuesday.
The report came amid recent talks about a possible normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, as part of a regional move that saw Israel agree open relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. Last week, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia is “inevitable.”
“While the latest report lorg did not find that new tolerant material had been introduced into the curriculum, it did find that a lot of offensive material had been removed,” said IMPACT. study of educational materials, in statement.
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He found that the books no longer contained a religious prediction of a war in which Muslims killed all crimes – a prophecy he said was the basis for many of the anti-Semitic views in the Muslim world. .
And the captured classic anti-Semitic trope, dubbed “Zionist forces,” uses deadly methods, involving money, women, and drugs to take control of the world.
“Examining the movement of our 2002, 2008 and even 2019 reports of the Saudi curriculum, it is clear that these new 2020 textbooks represent an institutional effort to modernize the UK curriculum,” said IMPACT CEO Marcus Sheff. “The Saudi authorities have begun a process to eradicate anti-Semitism.”
Opinions on Israel are becoming “fairer and more tolerant,” the group said in the statement, for example, noting the removal of an entire chapter entitled “Zionist threat” that devoted Israel’s right to be there.
In general, most references to jihad have been removed, but ten years ago the focus of the curriculum was on preparing students for martyrdom, the group found.
“With that being said, anti-Israel content is still in the curriculum,” IMPACT noted.
Doubtful hatred is still present, including a “contextual and skeptical” story about “Jewish criminals”, who are referred to as monkeys.
Israel is not yet legitimized and not shown on maps of the region, and Zionism is portrayed as a racist political movement. The enemy “Israel” has been replaced by “Israel”.
“There is still work to be done. However, the changes made so far reflect a commitment to a moderately tolerant curriculum, ”the statement said. “Further improvements are needed. But the main idea is that they are willing to get involved, take part in discussions about the content of the curriculum and finally move towards textbook reform. ”
Responding to the findings, a U.S. State Department official told Time magazine that Washington is “encouraged by the report which finds progressive changes in influential textbooks used throughout Saudi Arabia.”
Time also quoted Fahad Nazer, a spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington who said the kingdom is making a “massive effort to eradicate all [offensive material] from the whole curriculum. “
The improvements also touched on other areas such as the removal of a section of a book criticizing homosexuality as punishable by death, IMPACT said.
Rabbi David Rosen, Director of Intersex Affairs at the American Jewish Congress, presented this IMPACT report to senior state officials when he visited Riyadh at the invitation of governor King Salman, the statement said.
A possible Saudi agreement on normalization is seen as the great reward for Israel, given Riyadh’s elevated status in the region. While the countries have taken steps towards stronger ties in just a few months (Riyadh has agreed to a transfer between the Israeli and Gulf states using its land and it is believed that he blessed the treaties with the UAE and Bahrain), many analysts maintain that the kingdom is not yet ready for such a dramatic move, especially as long as King Salman is still normal live.
Saudi Arabia has insisted that any normalization between it and Israel can only take place alongside a lasting peace treaty that includes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The kingdom publicly continues to express its unwavering support for the Arab Peace Campaign, a Saudi-backed treaty in 2002 that will give Israel full ties with all Arab states as a reward for the Palestinian state on land Captured in 1967.
But Iran is increasingly concerned about bringing Israeli and Gulf countries closer, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held secret talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia last month, encourages profitability that a customization agreement could be made.