The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a report on June 18 highlighting the anti-Semitism in Hezbollah’s textbooks and educational institutions.
ADL Washington Director for International Affairs David Weinberg, author of the 35-page report, told the Journal that it decided to publish the report as part of its audit of educational material in the Middle East.
“We’ve done reports in recent years on Saudi state textbooks [and] on Qatari state textbooks,” Weinberg said. “We’re also very engaged in policy advocacy related to Palestinian Authority text books, and we realized that comparatively little attention has been paid to educational incitement by Iran and other Shiite extremist actors in the Middle East.”
According to the report, Hezbollah mainly disseminates its propaganda through its network of private schools in Lebanon. The ADL examined two sixth-grade Hezbollah textbooks, one in religious education and another in ancient history. Examples of anti-Semitism discovered in the textbooks include the claim that Christianity’s purpose is “to correct the perversions of Jews” and that “Zionists are the enemies of humanity in the past, present, and future because of their attributes: deceit, treason, treachery, and breaking pacts.”
The books also glorify terrorism. The report cites a passage from one book that states, “We arm ourselves for jihad in deed and behavior, so we exert [our] effort, self, and money for us to expel the usurping occupier and resist the aggression of the oppressor arrogant ones.”
Weinberg said that he found it particularly disturbing that the terms “Jew” and “Zionist” are used interchangeably, citing the “Zionists are the enemies of humanity” passage as an example.
“We think that any educational institution that is systematically indoctrinating children with both anti-Semitism and support for terrorism should be considered as a potential target for U.S. and European and other government sanctions.” — David Weinberg
“It was taking a really, really selective misrepresentation of Islamic-Jewish history throughout the ages in order to suggest that Zionism and Jews and Judaism are some sort of perennial evil and a fundamental threat to Islam and Muslims in a way that doesn’t actually even fit with what’s taught in the Quran.”
The report also notes that Hezbollah schools teach their students to chant “Death to Israel!” and “Jerusalem we are coming!” and how to make explosives in chemistry classes. Students also are required to participate in mock military ambushes.
Weinberg added that Hezbollah educational institutions use extracurricular activities such as the Mahdi Scouts — Hezbollah’s version of the Boy and Girl Scouts — to indoctrinate children. The Mahdi Scouts’ educational material includes calls for the destruction of Israel and for members to wage militant jihad.
“This group has tens of thousands of members,” Weinberg said. “Hundreds of its alumni have reportedly gone on to become Hezbollah fighters and to even die fighting against either Israel or in Syria.”
What differentiates Hezbollah textbooks from Saudi and Qatari textbooks, Weinberg said, is that Saudi and Qatari textbooks teach students that Muslims are in a perpetual state of conflict with non-Muslims, whereas Hezbollah textbooks single out Israel and the United States.
“You find more pronounced demonization of the United States in the Hezbollah books because of the Hezbollah and Iranian government worldview of the Jewish people and the Jewish State as the ‘Lesser Satan’ doing the bidding of a supposed ‘Greater Satan’ of the United States,” he said.
Weinberg also called on political leaders worldwide to condemn the anti-Semitism in Hezbollah’s educational institutions and urged countries to sanction these institutions.
“We think that any educational institution that is systematically indoctrinating children with both anti-Semitism and support for terrorism should be considered as a potential target for U.S. and European and other government sanctions in order to prohibit any sort of third-party actors inside or outside of Lebanon from enabling this sort of brainwashing [of] children,” he said.