Hoyer Confronts Erekat on Hate Curriculum

YERUSHALAYIM -
Democratic congressman Steny Hoyer meets with Israel’s President Shimon Peres on Thursday at the president’s house in Yerushalayim. (Mark Neyman/GPO/FLASH90)
Democratic congressman Steny Hoyer meets with Israel’s President Shimon Peres on Thursday at the president’s house in Yerushalayim. (Mark Neyman/GPO/FLASH90)

A delegation of U.S. congressmen confronted a senior Palestinian Authority official on the anti-Israel content of its educational curriculum during a visit to Ramallah.

The U.S. will not fund a Palestinian Authority school curriculum that fails to teach tolerance and mutual respect, U.S. Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said on Wednesday.

Israeli officials and activists have long decried the hate-filled texts and cultural activities sponsored by the Palestinian Authority, and have called for a cessation of it as a goodwill gesture to advance the peace process.

Hoyer, leading a delegation of 36 Democratic congressma n, said this was the first issue he raised during a meeting Wednesday in Ramallah with PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat.

“Erekat talked about the necessity to live together with mutual respect,” Hoyer said at a press in Yerushalayim conference afterwards. “I asked whether the [Palestinian] school curriculum would comport with that objective. He indicated that they had not done so perfectly, but he believes they are working on that and trying to get to that objective.”

Hoyer pledged that on his return to Washington next week he will “pursue” the matter “with the State Department and others.

The week-long trip was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Next week a Republican delegation of 26 congressman is to arrive.

Hoyer said in the Middle East there has been “too much teaching of violence, too much perpetration of violence, too much teaching of prejudice. No group on earth, in so many venues throughout the earth, have been the objective of so much discrimination and hate as the Jewish population.”

The delegation met Tuesday for nearly two hours with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and with President Shimon Peres.