Iranian textbooks full of antisemitic, anti-American content – ADL

Posted on 11 February 2021

In the first study of its kind in the past five years, ADL examined Iranian textbooks, with a focus on documenting antisemitism, incitement to violence and the promotion of hate.


FEBRUARY 11, 2021 09:17

Iranian state textbooks were found to be full of antisemitic and anti-American content in a new report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released on Thursday.

In the first report of its kind in the past five years, ADL examined Iranian textbooks, with a focus on documenting antisemitism, incitement to violence and the promotion of hate.

The ADL stressed that it is important to document educational materials in order to “confirm if and how such messages are in fact being propagated today, to justify greater public awareness about this issue, and to inform policymakers in Washington and around the world about the extent, nature, and importance of responding to this challenge.”

The report found that Iranian state textbooks strenuously militarize the country’s youth, indoctrinating them for war. Entire courses in the state curriculum are dedicated to “Defense Preparation” and militant messages are present throughout the curriculum, including in history and religious lessons. Incitement to hatred against Jews and Israel and anti-imperialist messages against the US and other countries are present in history, religion and social studies as well.

Despite continued claims by the Iranian government that its enmity is against Israel and not the Jewish people, state educational material teaches hateful messages about Jews in both ancient and modern history, with Jews depicted in accordance with a wide range of antisemitic myths and tropes.

For example, a Grade 11 history textbook states that “the hypocrites and the Jews” led individuals and groups in conspiring against Mohammed and the Muslims who are described as making efforts “for political unity and the peaceful coexistence among the residents of Medina.” The same textbook described the continued “conspiracies of the Jews against the Muslims.”

A Grade 11 sociology book described the “first Freemasonry cells” as mostly “Western Jewish gold hoarders and capitalists,” who’s slogans had an “anti-religious identity.”

The same textbook quotes the common antisemitic trope of Jewish control of the media, stating “

“The gathering of media power in the hand of wealth owners and Zionist associations not only makes the cultural identity of non-Western societies vulnerable but also is a clear contradiction to the democratic values of the Western world.”

Students are instructed to chant “Death to Israel” and taught that Israel is “fake” and must be destroyed.State textbooks also portrayed pictures of child and adult soldiers, glorifying martyrdom and terrorist leaders. A grade 10 textbook on Defense Preparation demonstrated the parts that make up a Kalashnikov automatic rifle. The same textbook includes a lesson on cyber warfare.

The state textbooks also teach that the US has been committed to regime change in Iran since 1979, as part of a “satanic plan” to subjugate true Islam, with economic sanctions portrayed as part of this scheme. American and European cultural influences are also protrayed as part of a “soft war” or “cultural attack” against Islam.

For example, a Grade 12 religion and life textbook quotes Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini stating “Whether we like it or not, the Zionists, America and the Soviets will be pursuing us to tarnish our religious identity and the dignity of our school of thought.”

A Grade 9 textbook compared the siege of early Muslims in the valley of Abu Talib in an attempt to get them to renounce Islam to the current economic sanctions placed against Iran. Another Grade 9 textbook compared Cain, Abraha Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Saddam Hussein and George Bush as “faithless and greedy people” and “companions of Satan” who resorted to “war and aggression.”

A Grade 10 textbook described foreign media reports about the spread of the novel coronavirus as a “coordinated way” to prevent people from attending the national celebration of the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution last year.A Grade 9 textbook described a “soft war” against Iran, including films, video games, drugs, immodesty, the mocking of Islam and the creation of divisions between Shi’ites and Sunnis. The same textbook encouraged students to “review the foreigners’ plans to defeat Islamic Iran, and talk with your friends in class about ways to confront these plans.”

Iranian students are additionally taught that ISIS is a fabrication by the US, Zionists and Arab puppets. The Baha’i faith is referred to as a colonialist contrivance and Baha’i and followers of Wahhabism, the main Islamic stream in Saudi Arabia, are demonized as untrustworthy and even filthy.

“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 report author David 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.”

Read in full: Iranian textbooks full of antisemitic, anti-American content – ADL


“Globalized antisemitism is a thriving international enterprise that transverses cultures and civilizations. You can help us fight the this most enduring, pervasive, and lethal mode of hatred.”

Raheel Raza



Educating our Communities

Speaking Out

Building Bridges

Learn More

“antisemitism is unique in the annals of prejudices”

“No other widespread prejudice has characterized people as such cosmological threats…. No other prejudicial discourse has been so eliminationist or produced such regular calls for violence and extermination.”

Prof. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

Learn More

Please, enter a valid value