The Government has pledged to investigate how a pro-Iranian campaign group was allowed to circulate teaching material which compares the actions of the Israeli government to that of the Nazis, timed to coincide with this month’s Holocaust Memorial Day.
The course is conceived by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IRHC), the charity responsible for the notorious Al Quds Day march in central London, where Hezbollah flags were displayed in previous years.
The Jewish Chronicle reported that the teaching material was sent last week to hundreds of head teachers at schools across the UK via the respected TES digital educational service, formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement. A TES spokesperson has confirmed it was the IHRC, not TES, that had promoted their resources and included the link to the site in their email to schools.
The programme, aimed at primary and secondary school children, features repeated attempts to encourage pupils to view Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in the same light as the Nazi Holocaust.
Former Chair of the Education Select Committee, Rt. Hon. Robert Halfon MP, raised the issue in the House of Commons this week and called for the “Charity Commission, Ofsted and the Schools Minister” to take “urgent action to find out what exactly is going on and why this material is allegedly being allowed and circulated in these schools”.
Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis responded by saying the JC’s report was “stark and concerning”, pledging to “follow up directly” on the matter with Mr Halfon to make sure it “gets the proper attention”.
A series of poems by schoolchildren posted on the IHRC website for its annual genocide memorial day verse competition – which offers a trip to the Srebrenica memorial in Bosnia as the top prize – suggests that youngsters are engaging with the charity’s teaching material.
In a list of genocides for children 12 and over to discuss, the Holocaust is described as involving “11-17 million deaths including 6 million Jews” while the “Israeli assault on Gaza” in 2009 is listed as a genocide costing 1,404 lives and 5,000 injuries.
A one-minute long promotional video promoting the charity’s ‘genocide memorial day’ begins by listing the name of Anne Frank, before naming victims of massacres in Guatemala, Kurdistan and Hungary. Featuring the IHRC’s logo throughout, the film lists what it describes as genocides in Gaza and in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, alongside the “11 million victims of the Nazi Holocaust”, the 17 million victims of the “trans-Atlantic slave trade” and the 1.2 million victims of the Irish potato famine.
Read the JC’s full report here.