Call to cut EU subsidies for anti-Semitic schoolbooks in Palestina


European Union


For many years already, there is debate about the content of the EU-subsidised school books in Palestine. Photo AFP, Thierry Charlier

Palestinian school kids still get books with anti-Semitic content. Subsidies for those books come from the European Union. The Dutch MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen tries to put an end to this.

The Palestinian school books issue flames up every now and again for more than ten years now. Although the European Union has a zero-tolerance policy towards anti-Semitism, it still supports education in the Palestinian territories.

One of the problems is atlases without the state of Israel. And when a textbook explains gravity, it is done with an example of stones being thrown at Israeli soldiers.

According to Ruissen, also for the coming year, 30 million euros have been provided for this. The member of the Reformed SGP party wants the subsidies to be frozen. He made that appeal to the European Parliament on Tuesday, as Cvandaag reports.

“Too crazy for words”, the SGP calls the fact that the EU wants to pay so much money again next year for Palestinian school books that they consider problematic. For Ruissen, there is only one solution: to freeze the entire subsidy until the schoolbooks have been cleaned up.

Palestinian leader Arafat in 2001. Photo EPA, Benoit Doppagne

Unacceptable, according to the SGP. “These are books that glorify terrorism,” Ruissen said in the European Parliament on Tuesday. “They incite hatred and violence and allow anti-Semitism to run rampant.” The MEP also denounces the attitude of the European Commission: “She just lets it all happen. She has simply completely opened the money tap to the Palestinian Authority. And does not impose any conditions on the textbooks. Incomprehensible!”


Ruissen believes that combating anti-Semitism should be a top priority: “Now that the European Commission is failing, we must take our responsibility. As an ECR group in the European Parliament, we therefore propose to put 30 million euros in reserve and not release the money until the problems with textbooks have been solved.”

A vote on the proposal will take place on Wednesday just after noon. “Let’s promote peace and stop the hate speech,” Ruissen called on his colleagues.



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