Saudi Arabian textbooks are “replete” with anti-Semitic passages accusing the Jews of evil plots against Islam, as well as other passages rationalizing the beating of women and criticizing Christianity, according to a new report published by the Anti-Defamation League.
“The Saudi curriculum is replete with intolerant passages about Jews and Judaism; some passages even urge violence against Jews. Others retread classic anti-Semitic stereotypes and assert conspiracy theories about alleged Jewish and Israeli plots to attack the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. These conspiracy theories not only deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount but also ascribe nefarious intentions and actions to Jews and Israel,” the ADL said in a news release.
One passage claims Jews wish to eventually “control the entire world” through a “Global Jewish Government.” Another says Jews use their “deceptiveness” to spread “doubts and lusts” amongst Muslims, and another says a main effect of Zionism is to spread sexual diseases and drugs to Islamic countries, according to the report.
Multiple passages suggest the Jews are plotting to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque and build the Third Temple in its place in Jerusalem.
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Other passages justify beating women as a permissible form of punishment and say that “loyalty to the believers and enmity toward the infidels is the firmest bond of faith.” Several passages call Christians infidels and describe their faith as a “perverted” religion.
The Anti-Defamation League said the United States needed to push back against the textbooks.
“The United States must hold its ally Saudi Arabia to a higher standard. The US cannot look the other way while Saudi Arabia features anti-Semitic hate speech year after year in the educational material it gives to its children,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a news release.
Saudi Arabia’s textbooks have been a source of controversy for years, with a major outcry following the September 11 attacks, the Boston Globe reported in 2002.
“They approach teaching on the Koran and its messages as if it was the 7th century, as if time was suspended,” Ali Ahmed of the Saudi Institute said at the time, according to the paper. The Saudi government reviewed the textbooks and said it had made changes shortly after, according to the Washington Post.
The latest report from the ADL is yet another in the line of reports over the years suggesting the anti-Semitic passages have not been removed.
“Saudi Arabia has made some undeniably significant social and religious reforms in recent years, but such steps have yet to address the hate-filled invective against Jews, Christians and others that is being taught to the next generation of Saudis,” author of the ADL report David Andrew Weinberg said in a news release.
The news comes as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman struggles to retain his image as a moderating force for the conservative kingdom amidst a brutal war in Yemen and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The ADL said it supports the Saudi Educational Transparency and Reform Act, a bipartisan act introduced in the House of Representatives that would require annual reports on religious intolerance in Saudi Arabian educational materials. It has not yet been put to a vote in the House.