Sherman Reintroduces the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), reintroduced the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act to require the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress reviewing textbooks produced by the Palestinian Authority (PA). There are concerns that such textbooks include language and imagery that encourage violence and hatred toward other nations and ethnic groups. Such content is particularly concerning given the use of such materials in educational settings for children as young as primary school age. Congressman Sherman is joined by Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL), and Congressman David Trone (D-MD) in reintroducing this important legislation.
The State Department has raised concerns about the content of such materials and urged the Palestinian Authority to take corrective action. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has documented such content in detail in a report (GAO-18-227C, released to Congress April 26,
2018 and declassified in February 2019) and recommended further legislative action to improve State Department reporting. Accordingly, this bill requires the Secretary of State to submit annual reports reviewing the educational material used by the PA and enumerates certain criteria for such reports to include.
“The United States has provided millions of dollars to support the education of Palestinian children with the stated goal of equipping Palestinians with the tools to build a democratic, secular, and politically moderate Palestinian civil society as a driver for peace. As a result of the GAO’s findings, it is necessary for Congress to request additional reports from the State Department to ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars promote dignity and tolerance, and that the educational materials such schools employ do not incite hatred,” said Congressman Brad Sherman. “Last Congress, this bill passed the Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously. I hope to work with my colleagues to build on this support and secure the passage of this bill in the 117th Congress.”
ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said: "We are glad to see Congress raising the alarm about Palestinian educational materials that are antisemitic and contain language delegitimizing Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Teaching hateful content in schools is simply inexcusable. The Palestinian Authority must proactively take steps to stop the teaching of intolerance and to advance peace and acceptance -- including in its schools."
The report from the State Department will require the following:
A determination of whether content and passages encouraging violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups have been removed from such curriculum;
An assessment of the steps the Palestinian Authority is taking to reform such curriculum at schools to conform with standards of peace and tolerance in the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (adopted November 16, 1995);
A determination of whether United States foreign assistance is used, directly or indirectly, to fund the dissemination of such curriculum by the Palestinian Authority;
A detailed report on how US assistance is being used to address curriculum that encourages violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups;
A detailed report about United States diplomatic efforts in last 5 years to encourage accountability in Palestinian education;
If any projects in (5) were stopped by the Secretary of State, why they were stopped.