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Arab Teachers’ Rejection of Holocaust Education Highlights Arab Anti-Semitism

How can anyone seriously contemplate Palestinian peace with living Jews if they are often unable to reconcile themselves with even the humanity of murdered Jews?

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Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard once commented that, sometimes, the only proper reaction to a particular event is despair. The following represents such an example.

According to a recent report, rumors of a U.N. decision to introduce Holocaust studies in schools in Palestinian refugee camps run by UNRWA  have outraged Jordanian teachers, who say they will refuse to teach history that “harms the Palestinian cause.”

Roughly two million Palestinian refugees are registered with UNRWA’s Jordan offices, and they operate 172 schools in 10 refugee camps across the kingdom.

The Executive Committee of UNRWA teachers in Jordan responded to news that Holocaust studies would be added to the curriculum on ‘conflict resolution’ by issuing a statement stating that, “We condemn this decision, which equates the butcher and the victim,” (emphasis added).

The teachers’ statement demanded instead classes on the Palestinian “right of return” to Israel.

The statement continued, objecting to the fact that “Teaching UNRWA students about the so-called “Holocaust” as part of human rights harms the Palestinian cause … and changes the students’  views regarding their main enemy, namely the Israeli occupation.

“We shall monitor the curriculum being taught under the title ‘concepts of human rights’ [which is] aimed at reducing [Palestinian] students’ awareness of the right of return…”

The reaction by Jordanian teachers follows a decision last year, by the association of UNRWA employees, to ban the introduction of Holocaust studies in UNRWA schools.

Remember that these are not Islamist extremists we’re talking about, but middle-class Jordanian educators, ordinary men and women who evidently are outraged by “rumors” of a U.N. decision to teach children about the Nazi slaughter of one out of every three Jews on earth.

Identifying with six-million victims of Nazi genocide is evidently seen as harming the Palestinian cause.

Moreover, it’s important to understand that though the Holocaust did not come close to putting an end to anti-Semitism across the world, news of the unspeakable horrors in extermination camps such as Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka and Majdanek did attach to expressions of Judeophobia, in most of the enlightened world, a significant moral stigma.

Holocaust memory in our times creates a bulwark of sorts against the most virulent expressions of antisemitism, as it demonstrates the potential deadly consequences of unchallenged racism against Jews – and, indeed, against other minorities.

It is indeed telling that the central address of anti-Semitism in modern times is the Arab and Muslim Middle East, where the cultural antibodies against Jew hatred have failed to materialize.

If the citizens of the Middle East were to internalize the lessons of the Holocaust they would be forced to confront their own society’s often homicidal  anti-Semitism – a self-reflective habit of mind which the honor-shame culture of the Arab world does not promote.

The reaction by Jordanian teachers to the suggestion that they educate Palestinian children about the unspeakable crimes committed against Jews is, therefore, not surprising, as such a curriculum would necessarily turn a mirror on their own extensive moral and cultural shortcomings.

Finally, how can anyone seriously contemplate Palestinian peace with living Jews if they are often unable to reconcile themselves with even the humanity of murdered Jews?

The only healthy response to such stories is simply despair.

Originally published at the CifWatch blog.

Adam Levick

About the Author: Adam Levick serves as Managing Editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), and is a member of the Online Antisemitism Working Group for the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism. Adam made Aliyah from Philadelphia in 2009 and lives with his wife in Modi'in.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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18 Responses to “Arab Teachers’ Rejection of Holocaust Education Highlights Arab Anti-Semitism”

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Tim Upham says:

    If these schools are being funded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, then they should be deciding what the curriculum should be. For it is world history, and the Holocaust is world history. Get nationalism out of education. Want these kids to grow out stupid, because of their stupid teachers' nationalism?

  3. Karen Berger says:

    Adam Levick! I am reading you all the way from Philadelphia! Continued good luck!

  4. Which holocaust was that?
    There have been many.
    Was it the one in Ukraine, where Jewish communists killed millions?
    Was it the one where the Bolshevik communist Jew Trotsky inspired by the Jews Lenin & Marx turned Russia into the communist Soviet Union & butchered tens of millions?
    Was it the one in China where Mao killed 65 million?
    Maybe the 1 million Germans killed in Jewish run concentration camps from 1945 to 1956?
    The 2 million Germans starved to death by Eisenhower by withholding their food supplies after WWII?
    The Germans that died fighting Jewish communism?
    The tens of millions that died in WWII?
    Maybe its the massacre of Palestinians that is currently taking place.
    The Ottoman government's systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects?
    I wonder which Holocaust this writer is referring to?

  5. Gays, Russians, Americans, mentally handicapped, French, Polish, Slavic, Germans and Blacks did not die in WWII. Especially not in any camps. I know this as a fact because they are never mentioned when the WWII Holocaust is taught. So it never happened.

  6. Chris Potts says:

    What massacre of Palestinians are you in talking about? I am there right now visiting in the West Bank. There is no "massacre" going on at all. Are you confused maybe with what is going on in Syria? Over 30,000 people have died now in Syria. Yes there is a massacre going on there right now. Why don't you go visit the West Bank and/or Gaza and see what is going on yourself. I go with a group to feed the poor. The people might be poor and have little but that is a long ways from being a massacre. Gets your facts straight Robin.

  7. Yori Yanover says:

    In the words of the immortal Groucho Marx: Ladies and gentlemen, Chicollini here may look like an idiot and sound like an idiot, but don't let that fool you, he really is an idiot.

  8. Stephen Leavitt says:

    My Granpappy used to say, don't argue with things that crawl out from under a rock. Just step 'em.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Robin Lynn Mayeaux, great post.

    Yori Yanover, nice ad hominem.

    Stephen Leavitt, nice ad hominem.

  10. YouTube links


    Enjoy your well prepared tourist attractions in the "West Bank"

    I am aware of where you are. I am also aware of were you are NOT.
    I doubt you will watch the links I sent but if you need more, let me know.
    So tell me, did you go straight to the "west bank" or did you cut through Gaza on your way there from Tel-Aviv?
    I'm curious to know this detail. It is important.

  11. Chris Potts says:

    Robin ,

    Firstly the videos are not in the west bank at all, thats all Gaza so you clearly do not know the difference which immediately discredits anything you say.

    The olive tree things happen on both sides, do you know that?

    The Arabs also do things to Jewish olive trees

    either way none of this is a massacre!

    You people bitch over olive trees as though this is some massacre and ignore the 80 rockets fired into Israel in 24 hours this week.

    You don't seem to begin to understand the Arab mind set. I would suggest you visit and see what is going on with your own eyes before you continue unintelligent and closed minded arguments.

  12. "Why don't you go visit the West Bank and/or Gaza and see what is going on yourself."
    You make a statement about West Bank/Gaza. When I show you what is the *RECENT* happenings in Gaza and that people are getting STONED for asking the ing CHOSENITES that are swimming next to the torn down olive trees "WHAY DID YOU DO THIS?" you reply: "Firstly the videos are not in the west bank at all, thats all Gaza so you clearly do not know the difference which immediately discredits anything you say." So I guess I'm wrong about what?
    ***Hundreds of olive trees have been uprooted, burned or cut down by EXTREMIST SETTLERS since the annual harvest got under way in the West Bank this month, prompting calls for the Israeli authorities to protect Palestinian farmers and their property.
    The damage is usually discovered when Palestinian families arrive at their groves to gather the fruit. Sometimes Palestinians are attacked during the harvest itself.***
    The report talks solely about *EXTREMIST SETTLERS* being attacked after finding their livelihood trashed. I guess I am stupid though.
    "You people bitch over olive trees as though this is some massacre and ignore the 80 rockets fired into Israel in 24 hours this week."

    Israel has it's "Missle defense Dome". ALMOST every rocket that is fired from Hamas is intercepted and destroyed. Only 3 Israelis were checked for wounds incurred by these attacks.
    HERE IS A POP QUIZ: How many Palestinians died as a retaliation from this?
    "You don't seem to begin to understand the Arab mind set. I would suggest you visit and see what is going on with your own eyes before you continue unintelligent and closed minded arguments."
    Too late. Been there, Done that.
    **Why don't you haul your fat, comfortable, American ass out of the West Bank and into Gaza and give me a video report over the next 24 hours that you are there. You will then shut my mouth forever.**
    Sorry! Your tour group will never let you go there.

  13. No too loud. They might find your family, kidnap half of them, blame it on Hamas and demand a ransom. Check on Google for the latest of what these bastards have done in Africa and in Iran. They never quit. I could make a job out of reporting what these murderers do on a daily basis. Peace Brother. Never let them get to you, trick you or use you. Be on the watch. Always.

  14. Chris Potts says:

    You are wrong that Israel is not the big bad guy that you would like it to be. I highly doubt you have been to Israel. You don't have to lie about it.

    Ok I guess you are stupid I can agrue with you that.

    Yes I know Israel has it's "Missle defense Dome" and that makes it ok for Hamas to shoot at civilians? Israel has been killing Hamas members and not targeting civilians. So I don't know what you are so gruppy about. Don't you care at all that thousands of people are getting killed and raped everyday in Syria? Don't you think that is more important???

    I am not in a tour group. I don't know what you don't understand about that. I am from Hollywood and seeing how things are with my own eyes. You totally lie about being in Israel or you would not ask for footage. You really don't have any idea how things are going on do you? Why don't you come for a visit and I will show you around 😉

  15. Chris Potts says:

    Fresnozionism "Terrorist groups, like Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, are enterprises like businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. Hamas, in fact, is a government, controlling the 141 square miles and 1.7 million people of the Gaza Strip. Human enterprises are organisms with systems for sustenance, logistics, command and control, etc. They also have ideologies, and that of Hamas calls for violent jihad against the Jewish state. Its usual tactic is murderous terrorism against Jewish civilians. So, in 2008, a Hamas terrorist entered the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem and murdered eight students, seven of them teenagers, and wounded many others. Enterprises can’t survive without nourishment. Hamas is nourished by a worldwide network of governments, Islamic charities and individuals that support its goal of killing or dispersing the Jews.

  16. Chris Potts says:


    Ignoring the real bloodshed in Syria by focusing on Israel

    fullcomment.nationalpost.com – Syria continues to descend into madness. Statistics released last week by The Syrian Network for Human Rights show that since the commencement of anti-government protests, 30,000 Syrians have been murdered, and a further 28,000 people have disappeared. The Syrian human rights organization Sawasya estimates the figure to be even higher. It has been reported that more than 100,000 refugees have fled the conflict, with most said to be sheltering in Turkey.

    Be on the watch. Always.

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