by Tobias Petersson
Textbooks which have Israel erased from the map and glorify terrorism
- up until recently I thought that this was limited to schools in
undemocratic Middle Eastern countries that consider Israel an enemy
state. Now, however, these textbooks have appeared in Swedish class
rooms and they are part of an international Palestinian campaign.
organization, Perspective on Israel (PPI), has obtained exclusive
educational materials that constitute a part of this campaign: textbooks
in Arabic and that have been distributed among school children in the
city of Malmö, Sweden.
The Swedish pro-Palestinian NGO Palestinian
Centre for Justice (PRC) recently began to educate children in one or
more schools in Malmö. In November and December of last year the PRC
initially posted on their Facebook site photos of their teaching
sessions but later removed these after I wrote about their tuition on
the website of the Israeli Embassy in Sweden, and after a journalist
started to ask questions about this too.
What kind of organization
is PRC? In 2006 the PRC arranged the 4th Palestinians in Europe
Conference in Malmö. Among the speakers in this conference was the
terrorist leader of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, whom the PRC calls
”Prime Minister”. This year, the NGO will host this annual conference in
Malmö again. The PRC has connections to the Swedish government. In June
of last year, the PRC had a meeting with Margot Wallström, the heavily
criticized foreign minister of Sweden. According to the PRC website, the
vice chairman of the NGO discussed foreign policy with Ms Wallström in
the course of this meeting.
The PRC recently posted on their
Facebook page an image for an anti-Israel demonstration, which featured a
Jewish Star of David made from barbed wire. This is a way of
disseminating hatred not only against Israel but also hatred against
Jews, and it is a demonization of ancient Jewish symbols. It is
completely unacceptable that the Swedish foreign minister meets with
such an NGO, and what the organization is teaching children is
the PRC’s teaching sessions in Swedish classrooms the anti-Israel
propaganda textbook ”To Palestine I belong” was handed out to children
in at least one Swedish school in Malmö.
What then, does the
textbook teach Arab and, in particular, Palestinian children in Sweden?
Firstly, the textbook ”To Palestine I belong”, which is written entirely
in Arabic, includes a map of what is claimed to be Palestine. However,
this map includes not only PA territories but also Israeli territories
and mentions Israeli cities like Haifa, Be’er Sheva and Yafo - not,
however, Tel Aviv. In other words Israel has been removed from the map
and replaced by a Palestinian state. Portions of the textbook recount
the Muslim history of the land of Israel. Jewish connections to the land
prior to the Balfour Declaration are not mentioned, however. Israel is
only referred to as ”the Zionist enemy" or ”the occupation”.
the British terminated the Palestine mandate, the textbook states, ”the
occupation” took advantage of the political situation in the Arab world
and began its ”dangerous plan” to destroy the Palestinian cause through
continuous ”war crimes against the land, the people and the holy
shrines.” The textbook also informs the Swedish pupils that ”the
occupation” (Israel) has Judaization projects under way in Jerusalem
that will erase the landmarks of the al Aqsa mosque. Israel is also
accused of confiscating lands and not permitting people to work.
most controversial part of the textbook states that the children of
Palestine began an intifada. The children confronted the ”Zionist
machines and soldiers with their bare chests”, it claims. This language
echoes the words of Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, who has stated in
Palestinian media that it is a successful strategy for the people of
Gaza to confront the occupation with bare chests. The textbook appears
to be influenced by the Hamas ideology.
It then informs the
children that the Palestinian resistance is still innovating and
developing its tools and equipments, combining these to create an
”heroic saga” in Gaza.The Arabic word for ”tools” in this context also
means ammunition, and heroic saga can be translated as ”an heroic epic
There is also a cartoon of a boy who is about to throw
something at a tank. The text above the cartoon reads: ”Fares Odeh,
brave child from Gaza, confronting the big tank with his small rock”. In
addition, it mentions that he was killed in 2000 and became a martyr.
is a brief introduction to what is an international campaign to keep
the Palestinian identity according to the textbook ”To Palestine I
belong”. What Perspective on Israel has uncovered is a Palestinian
campaign of indoctrination of Arab children in Europe to feel hostility
towards Israel. It is propaganda, the purpose of which apparently is to
make Palestinian children, and Arab children in general, identify with
the Palestinian struggle, the Palestinian terrorism. The textbook also
exists as an easy to print PDF file. This means that it comes in a
format that can easily be copied, printed and distributed to an
unlimited number of readers. By now, it may well be spread in many
I wrote an open letter about the PRC's
teaching to the city councillor Anders Rubin, who is the Social
Democratic politician in charge of the schools in Malmö, but he
responded that these kind of activities do not come under his
jurisdiction. I also informed many other politicians in Malmö, but I
only had a response from one party: the Sweden Democrats. Why are the
remaining political parties silent?
The primary school director in
Malmö, Anders Malmquist has confirmed that the photos of teaching
sessions posted by PRC were shot in classrooms in Apelgårdsskolan, a
municipal school in Malmö. So called ”Saturday School” activities have
been arranged there and PRC’s teaching sessions and textbooks have been
part of these activities.
are meant to be places where children can obtain objective knowledge
about the world, including Israel; not where they are taught to hate.
Swedish politicians must ensure that children in Swedish classrooms are
not indoctrinated to hate the world's only Jewish state.
the politicians will act, as this Op-Ed will be shared by more and more
people to create awareness, nationally and internationally, with respect
to how Swedish children in Swedish classrooms are being taught to hate.
Swedish politicians must show that they will not permit a message
promoting support for terrorism to be taught in Swedish schools.
If this type of textbook continues to be used in Swedish schools the consequences will be devastating.