On the forty-second anniversary of the Iranian revolution, the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a comprehensive study exposing how Iranian textbooks teach blatant anti-Semitism and incitement to violence against the United States, Israel and the Jewish people.
The study, titled “Incitement: Antisemitism and Violence in Iran’s Current State Textbooks,” reveals that recent state-sponsored Iranian curriculum even accuses Western media and Saudi Arabia of overhyping the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran to derail its celebration of the 1979 Islamic Revolution last year (the annual celebrations are held on February 11). Recent school books also glorify Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) leader killed by a targeted American airstrike in Iraq in January 2020.
“Iran’s textbooks show how deeply ingrained this official campaign of incitement is within society, and how they are reaching impressionable young people with these xenophobic and dehumanizing messages as part of the formal teaching curriculum,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.
The study revealed how Iranian school books refer to Israel as a fake country that merits elimination. Students across the country are forced to chant “Death to Israel” (and “Death to America”) daily and are taught that Jews have historically been enemies of Islam, forging Islamic texts and even resorting to Freemasonry to undermine Muslims. The books also teach that American-led sanctions against Iran encompass a “satanic plan” to destroy the Muslim faith. The textbooks describe Iranian nuclear scientists, many of whom have been assassinated by foreign agents in recent years (neither Israel nor the United States has claimed responsibility), as having “achieved a blessing with [your] great jihad and the blood of [your] bounteous youths.”
In a statement, ADL’s Washington Director for International Affairs David Weinberg, who authored the report, referred to such hateful teaching as “educational anti-Semitism” and added that “The Government of Iran frequently claims publicly that its animus is directed solely at the State of Israel, not the Jewish people, but that is flatly contradicted by its own educational content.”
Iran, which the State Department has labeled the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, continues to host Holocaust cartoon contests that give a platform to anti-Semites from around the world to deny or mock the Holocaust.
“This kind of incitement is a long-running practice by the Iranian government for decades,” Weinberg told the Journal. “It’s not necessarily surprising to find hate and incitement in these books; it’s still important to document and expose them and to inform both the public as well as government officials.”
Weinberg said he gained easy access to the textbooks online through Iran’s Ministry of Education. “For many other Middle Eastern governments, the books are only accessed through third-party sites. But Iranian leaders uploaded the books themselves. They’re shameless.”
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the regime has made no secret of its hateful animosity toward the United States (“The Big Satan”) and Israel (“The Little Satan”). Such vitriol has only increased in the last two decades, as social media has enabled Iranian leaders to reach millions of people worldwide.
On Twitter, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei regularly refers to Israel as “cancerous” and demands “the elimination of the Zionist regime.” In January, the ADL wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and urged him to remove all of Khamenei’s Twitter accounts, citing repeated violation of the social media platform’s policies against incitement to bigotry and racism. (Twitter suspended former President Donald Trump’s account in January but has refused to take the same measure with Khamenei.) In January, Twitter removed one of Khamenei’s tweets, in which he accused the West of trying to “contaminate” other nations with the COVID-19 vaccine.
The ADL report states that “Iran’s state curriculum for the academic year 2020-21 strenuously militarizes young people, indoctrinating them for war.” One example of child militarization includes courses titled “Defense Preparation.” Textbooks claim that ISIS is a “fabrication” of the United States, Israel and various Arab “puppets.” Members of the Baha’i faith — a persecuted religious minority in Iran — are depicted as filthy, as are followers of Wahhabism, the main form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. Some textbooks issue a call to overthrow the Arab gulf state of Bahrain, which recently established diplomatic and economic ties with Israel.
In contrast to Iran, Saudi Arabia, which has been criticized in the past for its overly anti-Semitic textbooks (which also taught female subjugation to men and hostility to religions other than Islam) recently began scrubbing such dubious content. This fall, Saudi school books were conspicuously devoid of teaching capital punishment against homosexuality and praising martyrdom as the highest goal in Islam. Calls to “fight Jews” are also fewer in Saudi classrooms (though still intact), with one tenth grade textbook having removed a quote by the prophet Muhammad: “The [Day of Judgment] will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims will kill them [all].”
As the Biden administration prepares to confront the various challenges related to Iran — including the country’s dangerous pursuit of a nuclear weapons program and its violent hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf — studies like the ADL’s offer a comprehensive analysis that can better inform effective American policy toward Iran.
According to Weinberg, the report will be shared with Congress as well as the executive branch. It has also been shared with national governments across multiple continents, including Arab, European and Latin American countries.
“The issue of anti-Semitism in Middle Eastern textbooks goes beyond Iran,” Weinberg said, “but obviously, Iran is arguably the most severe case.”
Source » jewishjournal