WASHINGTON – The House Foreign Affairs Committee has approved the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act, which aims to “help prevent United States tax dollars from funding [antisemitic] education materials in schools in the Gaza Strip.”
The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Rep. Brian Mast (R-Florida) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) and passed in a unanimous vote on Thursday. The next step would be a vote on the House floor.
“There’s no world in which the US should be funding education that teaches another generation of Palestinians to hate their neighbors and our allies, the Israelis,” Mast said in a statement. “Since its creation, Israel has had to live with a constant threat of violence from its neighbors, and this bill is a small step we can take today towards a peaceful and secure Israel tomorrow.”
Sherman said in a statement, “For decades, the United States and the American people have been the top donor to the Palestinian people, including to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA - but this is not a blank check. American dollars must be spent in a way that reflects American values of tolerance and peace-building. Unfortunately, the current Palestinian Authority curriculum, used by both Palestinian Authority and UNRWA schools, falls short of reflecting those values.
“Instead of envisioning a Palestinian state alongside Israel, textbooks erase Israel from maps, refer to Israel only as ‘the enemy,’ and ask children to sacrifice their lives to 'liberate' all of the lands between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea,” said Sherman. “One horrific example includes a 5th grade textbook which encourages students to emulate Dalal Mughrabi, a convicted terrorist who perpetrated the 1978 Coastal Road massacre which killed 38 Israeli civilians - including 13 children.”
“Instead of envisioning a Palestinian state alongside Israel, textbooks erase Israel from maps, refer to Israel only as ‘the enemy,’ and ask children to sacrifice their lives to 'liberate' all of the lands between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.”Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA-30)
What would the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act do if signed into law?
If signed into law, the bill would require the US Department of State “to conduct an assessment of educational materials used in schools in Gaza and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas and determine if the materials encourage violence towards other groups, including Israelis.”
The State Department must also assess “if any US foreign aid is used to produce or disseminate such materials.”
IMPACT-se CEO, Marcus Sheff, said that the US House Foreign Affairs Committee has joined the European Union parliament, and other governments and legislatures around the world, “in declaring that teaching antisemitism, hatred, and removing peace-making from textbooks by the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA will not be tolerated.“This bill will determine whether US tax dollars are used to fund the dissemination of the offending materials. UNRWA's use of the PA curriculum every school day would certainly fit into this rubric," said Sheff.