Norway Withholds Funding to Palestinian Authority Over Antisemitic and Jihadist Content in School Textbooks

June 5, 2020

Norway’s foreign minister on Thursday announced that funds earmarked for the Palestinian Authority’s education sector would be withheld until changes were made to schoolbooks that promoted antisemitism and terrorist violence against Israelis.
The decision followed a vote last December in the Norwegian parliament to demand such changes after the publication of a report by IMPACT-se — an NGO that analyzes school textbooks around the world for signs of intolerance — that demonstrated systematic insertions of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects in the textbooks used by the PA.
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said that when she met with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah in February, she had “communicated the government’s views on the matter, stressing that lack of improvements in the school curriculum could have budgetary implications for future Norwegian aid.”
Søreide expressed optimism that changes to the textbooks would be implemented. “We feel that there is a good and close dialogue with the Palestinian education authorities on the issue,” she said. “Some of the curriculum changes have already been made by Palestine’s own textbook quality control committee.”
A statement from IMPACT-se praised Søreide for her “unprecedented decision.”
“This remarkable pronouncement is a clear message that Norway’s elected leaders will not allow their generosity to be abused, to deliver a daily diet of violence, bigotry and incitement against Jews and Israel in Palestinian schools,” the NGO declared.
The article was published in the Algemeiner

Additional Articles

EJA Meeting with European Parliament Vice-President Roberta Metsola

The EJA was proud and honoured to welcome European Parliament Vice-President Roberta Metsola to our Headquarters for a meeting.
Vice-President Metsola is responsible for Article 17 matters: Dialogue with churches, and religious and philosophical organisations, and is deeply committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of European Jewry, particularly in light of rising antisemitism due to the pandemic, but more recently the surge in antisemitic sentiment related to the recent Gaza conflict.
The EJA noted with appreciation the Vice-President’s fire and determination on combatting antisemtism and countering ignorance about Jewish life, practice and faith in Europe. In a political environment often marked by platitudes, such an approach was wonderfully refreshing. We agreed to pursue a number of projects and activities together in the months ahead and look forward very much to deepening our relationship with Mrs Metsola and her capable, efficient and dynamic offices.

Rabbi Attacked in Germany, But Finds a Sweet Spot

Chabad Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz was walking home from shul with his children in Offenbach, Germany when they were confronted by a man screaming antisemitic invective. But he found a sweet spot in the incident.
Algemeiner
A German rabbi warmly praised his fellow citizens in the city of Offenbach for rushing to his aid when he and his family were subjected to antisemitic abuse on New Year’s Day.
Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz, Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Offenbach Am Main, was walking home from synagogue with his children last Friday when they were confronted by a man screaming antisemitic invective.
Several witnesses to the assault immediately called the police, while others followed the assailant as he left the scene.
Police officers later arrested a 46-year-old man for sedition, hate speech and displaying symbols of far-right organizations banned under the German constitution.
Rabbi Gurewitz, who has faced antisemitic abuse on previous occasions, wrote in a post on Facebook that the experience on Friday had been “traumatic,” but that the response of witnesses to the attack had been exemplary.
“People intervened from every window, shouted at the aggressor, defended us, and notified the police,” he wrote. “Some left their homes and followed him on foot or by car. It was a sudden explosion of love and support.”
Uwe Becker — the antisemitism commissioner for the Hessian region — condemned the attack on Rabbi Gurewitz and his children, saying it was a worrying indication “that Jews cannot openly display their faith in public.”
Becker added that the witnesses who came to the rabbi’s assistance showed a determination “to protect their Jewish neighbors and not just allow hatred of Jews to manifest.”
“This is an important sign that everyone can do something against antisemitism,” Becker said.
Antisemitic attacks in Germany in 2019 increased by 13 percent on the previous year, with more than 2,000 incidents reported. Antisemitic conspiracy theories relating to the coronavirus pandemic mushroomed during 2020, leaving the Jewish community vulnerable to abuse and violence in both online environments and in the physical world.
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Furor Grows Over Belgian Journalist's Antisemitic Article

Journalist Dimitri Verhulst wrote in the Belgian daily, De Morgen, on July 27, that “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”

Belgian Jews have filed a police complaint after a Belgian journalist wrote in an opinion piece, “There is no promised land, only stolen land,” and commented on the stereotype of “Jewish noses.”
Journalist Dimitri Verhulst wrote in the Belgian daily, De Morgen, on July 27, that “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”
He misquoted French singer Serge Gainsbourg who said, “Being Jewish is not a religion. No religion makes you grow such a nose.” Gainsbourg was the child of Russian Jewish immigrants to France.
Verhulst also accused Israel of murdering 10,000 Palestinians since 2002.
De Morgen Editor-in-Chief, Bart Eeckhout, attempted to defend the actions of the paper, saying, “We clearly do not view the text as antisemitic. Otherwise we wouldn’t have published it. Neither did the author intend it as antisemitic,” JTA reported. “The op-ed surely is a harsh criticism on Israel’s politics toward the Palestinian people. It is written in a hard, sarcastic fashion and it foretells the current uproar, stating that any hard criticism on Israel will always be reinterpreted as antisemitism,” Eeckhout is quoted as saying.
Verhulst constantly uses sarcastic language during his article, questioning the Jews status as the “chosen” people and wrote “Because God has His favorites and they have their privileges, Palestinians were driven out of their homes in 1948 to make place for God’s favorites.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to the article by writing a direct letter to Eeckhout. The letter stated that, “The article blames the whole of the Jewish people collectively, making no distinction between Israel and Jewish people who live elsewhere, and furthermore it mocks their religion and equates being a Jew with creatures with ‘ugly noses.'”
The letter continued, “Manipulating and misquoting Serge Gainsbourg in saying ‘being a Jew is not a religion; there is not a single God who would give His creatures such an ugly nose’ is misleading and wrong. In his article, Verhulst not only serves the stereotype of Jews’ nose, propagated by Goebbels and Streicher in “Der Stürmer”, he deliberately distorted the irony in Gainsbourg’s quote in order to justify his own anti-Semitism.”
Eeckhout is also reminded that to blame all of the Jewish people for “real or imaginary wrongdoings committed by individuals or the State of Israel falls within the IHRA working definition of antisemitism,” and he is asked to retract the article and apologize.
The letter was signed by Menachem Margolin, European Jewish Association and Shimon Samuels, Simon Wiesenthal Center among other signatories including B’nai B’rith Europe, Commissioner Against Antisemitism of Jewish Community of Berlin and the Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands.

The article was published on the JPost

President Rivlin hosted Abdallah Chatila, who purchased Hitler artifacts which will be held by Yad Vashem, at Beit HaNasi

President Reuven Ruvi Rivlin hosted Abdallah Chatila, who purchased Hitler artifacts which will be held by Yad Vashem, at Beit HaNasi
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today hosted Abdallah Chatila, the Lebanese-born Swiss businessman who bought artifacts associated with Adolf Hitler that auctioned two weeks ago, which will be held by Yad Vashem. World Chairman of Keren Hayesod Sam Grundwerg and Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev also participated in the event.
The president thanked Mr Chatila for his important act and for the significant thought that stood behind it, saying “your donation is of great importance at this time, when people are trying to deny historical truth. These artifacts, which you are generously making available to Yad Vashem, will help convey the legacy of the Holocaust to the next generation who will not meet survivors.”
The president added, “what you did was seemingly so simple, but this act of grace shows the whole world how to fight the glorification of hatred and incitement against other people. It was a truly human act. I know you have been thanked many times, but it was important for me to say it loud and clear here at Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem – we appreciate it and thank you for it very much.”
Abdallah Chatila told the president “Mr President, it is a great honor to be here. When I read about the artifacts being for sale, I immediately thought I have to buy them and destroy them. Then I thought I have no right to decide what to do with the items, and am so glad they are now at Yad Vashem. I feel a shiver when I understand how important this is for the Jewish people, but I think there is a wider message for the whole world, that ‘never again’ is not a meaningless slogan. Through acts such as this, we can ensure that these things never happen again.”
EJA chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin said during the meeting that “In a cynical world, such a noble act of kindness, generosity and solidarity bowled him over”. “it is the first time in years” He continued ” that someone is properly hearing our pain and is taking action because of it.”
“Rabbi Margolin thanked Keren Hayesod for taking the action of Mr. Chatila and making sure this noble thing will become an educational message for the generations to come and documented in and kept by Yad VaShem in Jerusalem.
Chair of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev thanked the president for the meeting and Mr Chatila for his act, saying. “What you did as a spontaneous act ensures that these artifacts do not end up in the wrong hands. You stopped that, and brought them to the place where history is told and where the next generation is educated. Thank you very much.”
Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod: “What you have done by this action is take a very dark chapter from Jewish history and the history of humanity, and shed light on it by andvancing tolerance and hope. You reminded humanity that there are good and decent people in the world who seek tolerance and justice”.

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