Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chair Mark Levenson, Esq. strongly commend the four congressional leaders who introduced the “Bipartisan Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act” in Congress this week. Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), and Brian Mast (R-FL) are the bill’s authors. For too long, the U.S. government has paid lip service against incitement by the PA while funding their actual incitement content. This bill is identical to a bill that was introduced in the last Congress by Rep. Sherman, but failed to achieve final passage.
The bill requires the State Department to perform an annual review of the content of the educational curriculum of the Palestinian Authority (PA), including textbooks, for violent and intolerant materials. Removal of intolerant content is also required by the proposed law.
ZOA National President Morton Klein said:
ZOA is thankful to Rep. Sherman and the bipartisan effort behind this bill to acknowledge the reality that the PA has never been committed to ending hate. In addition to their inappropriate textbooks, they have consistently incited hatred and murder of Jews and Israelis in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools, and youth camps. This bill should be passed, and then effective policies to make the PA pay a price for continued incitement must be implemented.
It is also good to see some Democrats once again stand up for doing the right thing regarding Israel. ZOA is not affiliated with any party, and we relish the opportunity to praise Republicans and Democrats in this case. Support for decency in ending incitement is not a matter of ‘right’ and ‘left’- it is a matter of right and wrong.
A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) from June 2019 outlined the continued incitement in the PA and the need for follow up by Congress and the State Department. This legislation is essential to correct the deficiencies pointed out by that report.
Rep. Sherman said in a statement:
The United States has provided millions of dollars to support the education of Palestinian children with the [… goal of promoting] 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.
ZOA urges the passage of this legislation.