Anti-Semitism in Qatari Textbooks

Should U.S. bases relocate to friendlier and more tolerant states?

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) revealed disturbing new evidence of continued Qatari government schools teaching anti-Semitic tropes, as well as presenting hateful depictions of Jews and Israel in its government published textbooks for school children. 

Qatar’s neighbors, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have normalized relations with the Jewish state in September of this year. The early results of the peace treaties have already brought extensive trade and tourism between the three nations. Qatar, situated on the Persian Gulf between Bahrain and the UAE, is however, turning the next generation school children into intolerant bigots and anti-Semites, while in neighboring Bahrain and the UAE there is a renaissance in Jewish community life. In Qatar the young are been inculcated with Nazi-like tropes, whereas in the UAE and Bahrain, amity and brotherhood are being celebrated. 

Muslim Brotherhood (MB) dominated Qatar has been isolated by the members of the Gulf Coordination Council (GCC) led by Saudi Arabia, including the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. In addition to trade and defense, the GCC maintains a diplomatic boycott of Qatar. Qatar’s current allies include Turkey, led by Muslim Brotherhood and anti-Semitic dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran’s Shiite Ayatollahs, and the Terrorist MB-led Hamas in Gaza. Qatar is known for its propagandist TV network Al-Jazeera, and the large American base near Qatar’s capital of Doha. The Al Obeid Air Base is also home to the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command, and the U.S. Air Force Central Command. The U.S. has spent over $4 billion, as of 2018, to maintain its facilities in Qatar. 

The extent of Qatari relations with Israel is limited to coordination of humanitarian aid to the Hamas-led Gaza Strip. The Qataris are ideologically allied with Hamas’ MB leadership. The Qataris come through Israel with suitcases of money, which enables the Hamas regime to pay salaries to its loyalists who fill the government posts. One can also assume that Qatari anti-Semitic textbooks are being provided to Gaza’s school children, too. 

In these textbooks, Jews are portrayed as controlling the global economy. The textbooks allege that the Jews used the economic crisis following World War One to influence British foreign policy, to advance their political interests. In Social Studies grade 12, the Jews are further accused of causing the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany. The textbooks charge that Jews manipulated the financial markets and thus acquired great wealth and financial power. The Balfour Declaration is presented as the British government seeking economic and political support from Jews in exchange for British fulfillment of the Zionist movement’s goals. 

In a chapter dealing with the history of Palestine, the Qatari students are being taught that Jews succeeded in influencing the U.S. Congress through the use of effective manipulation, and that the Zionist movement seeks to impose Jewish dominance on the international community. The Qatari school curriculum glorifies Hamas as acting heroically, and describes the rocket attacks on Israeli communities as forcing Zionist civilians into bomb shelters. The texts highlight the fact that Hamas’ “brave” actions forced Israel to close its air space and shut down all flights to or from Israel. 

Israelis are said by one textbook as not being descendants of the ancient Israelites that lived in the Land of Israel. Furthermore, “Zionists” are accused of destroying Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, and of deliberately causing the 1969 fire in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. (A deranged Australian Christian tourist was responsible for the fire). Israel does not appear on the maps in the Qatari textbooks, instead of Israel, it shows Palestine. In a textbook for Social Studies, Grade 9, Vol. 2, 2019, p. 118, it points out that Israel is the result of a settler form of colonialism that must be rejected. The text declares that Palestine was conquered by Jewish “terror gangs” whose satanic aim is to Judaize the land. It says that defending Palestine is a religious imperative and a religious duty for Muslims worldwide. It also states that Palestine is an Islamic endowment land, and no part of it can be taken away. 

A fifth-grade Qatari textbook on Islamic Education from 2019 propagates the myth of Jews as prophet killers, teaching that the Jews grew tired of Jesus' efforts to discourage “their corrupt behavior,” and so "the Jewish leaders met and ... agreed to kill him.” Likewise, an eleventh-grade Qatari textbook on Islamic Education for the same semester teaches that "Zionism is a radical racist political movement, which aims at establishing a state for the Jews in Palestine, in an effort to take over and rule the world." Jews appear in the text as sinners who are engaged in polytheism. In the chapter’s dealing with Judaism and Christianity, it portrayed Jews as treacherous, debased, and lacking in morality, who often times killed their prophets. In the telling of Mohammad’s campaign against the Jewish tribes, known as the battle of Khaybar, the Jews appear as enemies of Islam and Allah, and as a threat to all Muslims. 

Jihad is being glorified; holy war and martyrdom are described as the highest ideal in Islam. Students are being taught that Islam encourages its believers that martyrdom is preferable to life. Jews are being criticized for worshipping life, and explain that they fear the afterlife. 

An Al-Arabiya English (September 13, 2020) headline says, “Qatar Education Promotes Religious Hate, UAE curriculum Teaches Tolerance: Watchdog.” 

According to Marcus Sheff, (CEO of IMPACT-se) and David Andrew Weinberg (ADL’s Washington Director of International Affairs), in a Newsweek Magazine expose wrote, “The results of the IMPACT-se’s new study are especially striking when viewed according to the rubric of the Anti-Defamation League’s new toolkit for assessing anti-Semitic tropes: Antisemitism Uncovered: A Guide to Old Myths in a New Era. The Qatari textbooks investigated by IMPACT-se, propagate nearly all the anti-Semitic tropes identified by ADL’s guide: power, disloyalty, greed, deicide, blood libel, Holocaust denial, and anti-Jewish slanders that are framed as critiques of Zionism or Israeli policy.” 

Qatar has close cultural, economic, and military ties with Turkey, and similar ties with neighboring Iran. It is therefore surprising that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would praise a Sheikhdom that is engaged in anti-Semitic brainwashing of its young people. Additionally, Qatar’s close cooperation with unfriendly states, and bitter enemies of Israel, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, as U.S. major allies, disqualifies it as an American partner. In a September 14, 2020 statement issued by the U.S. State Department, Mike Pompeo said, “I want to thank our Qatari friends for sharing in the responsibilities – and successes – in our many shared efforts of cooperation.” Addressing top Qatari government ministers at the Qatar-U.S. Strategic Dialogue held in Washington DC, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced: “I’m happy, too, today that we’re going to sign an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) designating 2021 as the year of U.S.-Qatar Year of Culture, and to discuss opportunities for cultural exchange. The MOU emphasizes our partnership has grown beyond just defense and economics into one of true friendship and community between our people and our two countries.” 

It is morally wrong for the U.S. to engage with the Qatari Sheikhdom that perpetuates hatred and intolerance against Jews and Israel. Moreover, exposing our military bases in Doha to Iranian and Turkish machinations is a security risk. It is time for the U.S. to consider relocating its bases to friendlier countries in the Gulf.

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