There has been a notably reduction of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist content in Saudi Arabian textbooks for the coming school year, a Jerusalem-based monitoring group found in a report released Tuesday.
The report came amid recent talk of possible normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, as part of a regional shift that has seen Israel agree to open ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. Last week, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said that normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia is “inevitable.”
“While the latest… report did not find that new tolerant material had been injected into the curriculum, it did find a substantial amount of offensive material had been removed,” IMPACT-se, which reviews educational material, said in a statement.
It found that the books no longer include a religious prediction of a war in which Muslims would kill all the Jews — a prophecy it said had served as a foundation for much of the anti-Semitic attitudes in the Muslim world.
And the classic anti-Semitic trope that Jews, identified as “Zionist forces,” use villainous methods, including money, women, and drugs to control the world has been dropped.
“Examining the trendline of our 2002, 2008 and even 2019 reports of the Saudi curriculum, it is clear that these new 2020 textbooks represent an institutional effort to modernize the Kingdom’s curriculum,” said IMPACT-se CEO, Marcus Sheff. “The Saudi authorities have begun a process of rooting out anti-Jewish hate.”