Palestinian Textbooks Don't Vilify Jews, New Study Reveals

U.S.-Funded Report Says Both Sides Distort History

Reading, Writing, but No Demonizing: Do Palestinians learn to dehumanize Israelis from school textbooks? A new State Department-funded study says no — but accuses both sides of distorting history.
Getty Images
Reading, Writing, but No Demonizing: Do Palestinians learn to dehumanize Israelis from school textbooks? A new State Department-funded study says no — but accuses both sides of distorting history.

By Naomi Zeveloff

Published February 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

A landmark State Department-funded study has cleared the Palestinians of demonizing Jews in school textbooks but contends that both Israeli and Palestinian teachers use classroom materials that distort the history of the Middle East conflict.

The study, described by its authors as the first scientific analysis of incitement in Israeli and Palestinian textbooks, contradicts a longstanding narrative among Israelis, American Jews and others that Palestinians incite their children to violence by depicting Jews as subhuman in their textbooks.

Several years in the making, the study was carried out and overseen by a team of American, Israeli, Palestinian and international education experts. It was commissioned by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, a consortium of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders in Israel, and received $590,000 in funding from the U.S. State Department.

Its findings were released at a press conference in Jerusalem this morning.

The Israeli government said it refused to cooperate with the study and has denounced the findings as “predetermined,” without elaborating. “The attempt to create a parallel between the Israeli education system and the Palestinian education system is completely unfounded and lacks any basis in reality,” the Israeli Ministry of Education said in a press release.

The study’s lead investigators defended their report, saying in a statement that an international team of schoolbook analysts confirmed that the study is “of the highest scientific standards.”

An official at the Palestinian Ministry of Education did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

The study’s first, and perhaps most surprising, finding is that, for the most part, neither Palestinian nor Israeli schoolbooks demonize the other people or refer to them as subhuman.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.