B’nai Brith says Canadian funds are being used for anti-Israel content in Palestinian Authority schools

Canadian taxpayers are subsidizing “radicalization” and “normalization of violence” among Palestinian schoolchildren through this country’s aid to a United Nations body, B’nai Brith Canada charges.

The organization is demanding that Ottawa conduct a “forensic audit” to determine precisely how much of Canada’s annual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNWRA) goes toward textbooks and other teaching materials used in Palestinian Authority (PA) schools that it says foster hostility toward Israel.

At a virtual press conference on Sept. 21, B’nai Brith chief executive officer Michael Mostyn and government relations director David Granovsky released a report detailing B’nai Brith’s analysis of the curricula in these schools, based on a translation it commissioned.

The conclusion is that schools throughout the PA are “indoctrinating” students to hate Israel by ignoring Jewish history in the region and speaking of the “erasure of the state” to the point of condoning terrorism.

“Such detestable, often antisemitic, content is commonplace in the curriculum taught throughout areas under the control of the PA, including in the UNWRA schools,” said Mostyn. “For years, Canada has allowed its taxpayer-funded generosity to be misused… ”

He said this is contrary to Canadian policy, which advocates a two-state solution achieved through peaceful means, as well as the UN’s own sustainable development goals.

The United States and the European Union have “already taken steps” to investigate how much of its UNWRA contributions go toward the development of curricula at variance with their similar stances on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mostyn added.

B’nai Brith is urging Canadians to sign a petition it has launched that tells the government they think it is unacceptable for tax dollars to be used in this way, and any financial support of such education should end.

Research manager Richard Robertson, who led the B’nai Brith study, said more than half (58 percent) of overseas money going to UNWRA, which was created in 1949, is earmarked for education. In June, Ottawa announced that it was renewing its funding, pledging up to $100 million over four years, a slight decrease from the previous three years’ commitment.

Robertson said anti-Israel expression is “ubiquitous” in the schools’ curricula and can be found across subjects—in geography, history, language arts and even math.

Israeli authorities are referred to as “Zionist occupiers” and Israel is accused of “Judaicizing Arab lands” and ethnic cleansing, he said. The law of gravity taught in Grade 7 is illustrated by the trajectory of a projectile a youth aims at an Israeli soldier, Robertson said.

Granovsky said B’nai Brith met with government officials in April and again in June, before the federal budget’s release, to express its concerns about this issue.

He noted that the UN’s sustainable development goals call for education that respects “human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity.”

“The PA’s curriculum makes a mockery of both” these goals and Canadian foreign policy, he said.

The report provides specific examples of problematic content in a range of subjects and grades, reproducing and translating them from the Arabic. Among them are those said to “use classic antisemitic tropes to unduly villainize Jewish Israelis” and to “deny Jewish indigeneity to the land.”