ADL Report Finds Iranian Textbooks Are Replete with Hatred Against Jews and Americans

School children are taught to glorify terrorism; Textbooks blame Western media for exaggerating coronavirus to undermine the Iranian revolution

New York, NY, February 11, 2021 … A comprehensive study of state textbooks exposes how students in Iran are being taught antisemitism, hatred and incitement to violence against America, Israel and the Jewish people.

Released by ADL (Anti-Defamation League) on the 42nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, the new study reveals that current editions of the regime’s school textbooks even go so far as to blame Western media for hyping the pandemic to undermine last year’s celebration of the Iranian revolution.

Incitement: Antisemitism and Violence in Iran’s Current State Textbooks is the first comprehensive study of antisemitism, intolerance, or extremism in the official Iranian curriculum in nearly half a decade. Iran, which has been identified by the U.S. State Department as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, is publishing and distributing an official school curriculum whose textbooks glorify terrorism, indoctrinate hate among young people and encourage conspiratorial thinking—all in flagrant disregard for international norms and obligations.

“It is no secret that the Iranian regime continues to promote extremism and terrorism and feeds its people on a steady diet of antisemitic and anti-American propaganda,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Iran’s textbooks show how deeply ingrained this official campaign of incitement is within society, and how they are reaching impressionable young people with these xenophobic and dehumanizing messages as part of the formal teaching curriculum.”

Some current examples cited in the ADL report:

  • Teaching students to chant “Death to Israel,” which the books describe as a fake regime that must be eliminated;
  • Teaching students that Jews have conspired against Islam from its earliest days, forging Islamic scriptures and using warfare and even Freemasonry to achieve evil aims;
  • Teaching students that U.S.-led sanctions against Iran are part of a “satanic plan” to eliminate Muslims’ religious beliefs; and
  • Teaching students that the Iranian people, through their nuclear scientists in particular, “have achieved a blessing with your great jihad and the blood of your bounteous youths.”

In response to the global pandemic, Tehran’s current school textbooks are also promoting a conspiracy theory alleging that Western media exaggerated the coronavirus in 2020 to drive down turnout at crowded ceremonies for the regime’s 41st anniversary last year, said report author David Weinberg.

“While some curricula in the region are starting to improve, scaling back incitement and encouraging discussions about tolerance, Tehran’s educational antisemitism and incitement to violence is as militant as ever,” said Weinberg, ADL’s Washington Director for International Affairs. “From demonizing Jews in lessons about ancient history to glorifying antisemitic terrorists as recently as 2020, Tehran’s current curriculum is brimming with state-sponsored bigotry.”

ADL calls on the U.S. and other national governments to urgently to take coordinated action to condemn and to counter Iran’s state-sponsored incitement of antisemitism, including in its schools.

ADL recently wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey urging him to finally remove all accounts associated with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei because of their repeated violation of Twitter’s policies against incitement to bigotry and terrorism. ADL has also documented Iran’s systematic scapegoating of Jews and Baha’is regarding the pandemic and Tehran’s latest international cartoon collection promoting Holocaust denial and other egregious antisemitism.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.