Syrian schoolbooks call Israel a ‘Zionist entity’ and use antisemitic and images
School textbooks issued to children in Syria consistently refer to Israel as the “Zionist entity” rather than as a legitimate country — and regularly expose students to antisemitic language and images.
A new study by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) into the text books issued at schools in the war-stricken state found that they attempt to wipe out any references to the existence of Israel with maps labelled “Palestine” or “Occupied Palestine”.
One book for first grade students contains a map marking the entire Middle East geographical area as the “Arab Homeland”.
The study concludes that, when teaching about the world’s religions, “Judaism is presented in a prejudiced manner.”
A high school history textbook teaches students about the rise of Christianity, its spread in Syria and its differences with Judaism. Unlike Christianity, Judaism is defined as an “ethnic specific religion”, based on the premise of Jews as “God’s chosen people.”
The study also suggests Syrian students are taught one single play written by Shakespeare during their studies, The Merchant of Venice.
According to their Arabic language textbook, “the play shamefully reveals the depths of a Jewish usurer, and the greed and avarice he pursues by every possible means.” A caricature of Shylock is presented as an illustration.
There was no mention of the Holocaust in any textbook.
In the ninth grade, students learn that Zionists shifted their “operation centre” to the United States during the Second World War
Meanwhile in twelfth grade history class, they are taught: “The Zionists took advantage of World War II’s circumstances to realize their Zionist dream, as they benefited from colonialist assistance . . . The Zionists started working to arouse sympathy in the American public opinion, following the Nazi position towards them.”
IMPACT-se had previously conducted a study of Palestinian textbooks which led the UK government to announce an inquiry into possible taxpayers funding of hate material.