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Anti-Semitism in Iranian Textbooks

(February 2021)

An ADL study found that Iranian high school, middle school, and elementary school textbooks, for the academic year 2020-21 “strenuously militarizes young people, indoctrinating them for war.” They also teach “teach hateful messages about Jewish people across both ancient and modern history, as part of the regime’s depiction of human history as essentially a conflict between Islamic leaders on the one hand and scheming, evil enemies of Islam on the other.”

Jews, it found are “depicted in accordance with a broad array of hateful anti-Semitic myths and tropes, while Zionists and the State of Israel are depicted as the spearhead of global imperialism against the Muslim world, purportedly led today by America. Children are taught that Zionism is a racist, imperialist contrivance akin to other Jewish or Western conspiracies against Islam throughout history, and that Zionist Jews are the enemies of Islam.”

Texts teach that U.S. and European sanctions are part of “an American-led ‘satanic plan’ to subjugate true Islam” and bring about regime change. America, Zionists, and Arab regimes at odds with Iran are accused of creating ISIS. In addition, other minorities, especially the Baha’i in Iran are maligned.

Some of the examples targeting Jews and Israel cited in the report include a selection from an 11th grade history book that says, “…despite the efforts of the Messenger of God for political unity and the peaceful coexistence among the residents of Medina, some individuals and groups of this city conspired against the Prophet and the Muslims. They were led by the hypocrites and the Jews.”

The same text teaches:

As the conspiracies of the Jews against the Muslims continued, the Prophet was forced to confront them, and through three military campaigns and sieges he put an end to the presence of the pact-breaking and conspiratorial Jewish tribes in Medina.  Changing the Muslim qibla from Jerusalem to Mecca was another action taken by divine command following the subterfuge of the Jews.

A social studies text asserts, “There are many Jews in the world who detest Zionism.  Zionism is an aggressive political-ideological current that considers as its final goal the creation of the state of Israel and take any measure to achieve it.”

Zionism is described in an Islamic educational text as an enemy of Islam. The same text speciously claims the “Al-Aqsa Mosque is occupied by the enemies of Islam” who “do not permit Muslims to comfortably pray and worship in this mosque.”

Source: David Andrew Weinberg, “Incitement: Antisemitism and Violence in Iran’s Current State Textbooks,” ADL, (February 2021).