Hate speech in schools: petition accepted by National MP, Simon O’Connor, as EU links the education to terror


National MP, Simon O’Connor has accepted a petition from the Israel Institute of New Zealand (IINZ) calling on the government to stop funding schools that glorify terror and incite violence. It will be presented in parliament today.

For decades, New Zealand has funded UNRWA, which operates schools in which children are exposed to lessons that glorify the murder of Jews and taught that martyrdom and jihad are “the most important meanings of life”.

A report published in March this year contains 25 examples from 10 different UNRWA schools of hateful educational content, including 9th grade study material created by UNRWA that celebrates a Palestinian firebombing attack on a Jewish bus as a ‘barbecue party’. It also contains 10 new examples of UNRWA teachers and other staff posting support for hate or violence, including conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the world and praising Hitler.

O’Connor says funding these schools is incompatible with New Zealand values

“Kiwis are tolerant, but we should not be funding blatant racism and incitement to violence. It is especially hypocritical for the current government to do so while talking of imposing ‘hate speech’ laws on New Zealand citizens. This is an issue I have frequently raised in parliament and to date, there has been no satisfactory response as to why New Zealand continues to fund UNWRA while it uses such intolerant literature.”

The petition comes only days after the EU passed a resolution that, for the first time, explicitly links the textbooks to ongoing Palestinian terrorism and, especially, to attacks perpetrated by young people. The resolution also acknowledges the existence of antisemitism, and explicitly demands its removal.

Similarly, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has expressed concern “about the existence of hate speech in [PA]… school curricula and textbooks [used by UNRWA], which fuel hatred and may incite violence…”.

IINZ co-director, Dr David Cumin, says New Zealand officials have only acknowledged the issue because of pressure, and had previously filed to brief ministers,

“There is no evidence that MFAT officials briefed previous ministers despite decades of public evidence that we are funding hate. It was only when IINZ started asking questions in public and the Human Rights Commission raised concerns that Minister Mahuta was briefed. It is especially disappointing that Mahuta has not put a stop to the funding, and has openly praised UNRWA for their work. Would she be as happy to fund schools that glorify the Christchurch terrorist as she is to fund schools that glorify the person who murdered 38 civilians, including 13 children, on a bus?