Dame Louise Ellman condemns 'scandal' of UK money funding Palestinian textbooks that incite murder of Israelis

'These lessons in hate are all-pervasive, infesting every aspect of the curriculum'


A Labour MP has spoken in parliament the “scandal” of British taxpayers' money to fund a Palestinian school curriculum which incites the murder of Israelis and circulates antisemitic material to children.

Dame Louise Ellman, vice-chair of the Labour Friends of Israel, told the House of Commons that young Palestinian minds were currently “being poisoned” and “the opportunity for Britain to help promote the values of peace, reconciliation and coexistence squandered.”

She was speaking as she introduced her International Development Assistance (Values Promoted in Palestinian National Authority Schools) Bill to the Commons on Tuesday.

The MP for Liverpool Riverside said: "This is not about a peaceful future. It is a scandal."

Flanked by LFI chair Joan Ryan and supported by Labour’s Ian Austin and Rachel Reeves, Dame Louise added: “Five-year-olds taught the word for 'martyr' as part of their first lessons in Arabic. Eleven-year-olds taught that martyrdom and jihad are 'the most important meanings of life'.

“These lessons in hate are all-pervasive, infesting every aspect of the curriculum.

“Outside the classroom, too, children are subjected to a barrage of vicious antisemitic propaganda. Children’s programmes on official PA TV feature children reciting poems calling Jews ‘barbaric monkeys, 'the sons of pigs’ and the ‘most evil among creations’.

“Take the naming by the PA of schools, summer camps and sports tournaments after terrorist murderers and Nazi collaborators - at least 20 PA schools in the West Bank and Gaza named after terrorists and three after Nazi collaborators.

“Ministers have been repeatedly asked to suspend all aid to the PA which directly or indirectly finances those teaching and implementing this curriculum until fundamental changes are made. They have refused to do so. It is now time to require them to act.”

Her bill calls for teaching programmes in Palestinian Authority schools financed by the UK should promote values such as peace, freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination.

It also requires UK government ministers to publish an annual review to ensure that UK funds are spent in line with UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance in education.

Britain is to donate £125 million to the Palestinian Authority by 2021, more than £20 million of which will go towards the education curriculum.

In 2017, a report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education group (IMPACT-se) concluded that PA textbooks encouraged “young Palestinians to acts of violence in a more extensive and sophisticated manner” and that “the curriculum’s focus appears to have expanded from demonization of Israel to providing a rationale for war”.

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