Despite the extensive attention already paid to intolerant textbooks and other educational materials in many Middle Eastern countries, comparatively little analysis has been conducted on the ideological materials used to indoctrinate children in schools linked to the notorious terrorist organization Hezbollah. This report seeks to address that important gap, documenting the systematic and egregious incitement to antisemitism and support for terrorism that is propagated in numerous such educational institutions inside Lebanon.
Hezbollah arguably wields greater power over the Lebanese state today than during any time in its past. And to the extent to which school children are learning at all during the current pandemic, these educational materials remain equally if not more important, particularly now that Hezbollah has new incentives to scapegoat Jews, Israel, the United States, and other countries and to shift the blame for its mismanagement.
This report begins with an accounting of which schools and other educational institutions in Lebanon have been accused of being controlled by Hezbollah, supportive of Hezbollah, or otherwise connected to its orbit. These institutions appear to include the Mustafa schools, the Mahdi schools, the Murtadha school complex, the Emdad schools, the Mahdi Scouts, and Hezbollah’s Educational Mobilization unit. These educational institutions and their umbrella organizations appear to reach over 100,000 children annually in one way or another, no small share of Lebanon’s Shiite young people given the country’s small overall population.
This report goes on to expose egregious antisemitism in lessons on subject matter from ancient times to modern times in two elementary school textbooks that are published for use in the Mustafa schools and other institutions. We then look at each of these sets of educational institutions, examining the evidence on the extent to which they each appear to systematically encourage antisemitism. These are the two sections that will be of greatest interest to those readers who are primarily interested in learning the extent to which educational institutions in Hezbollah’s orbit spread antisemitism and the means they use to do so.
Next, this report reviews the extent to which each of these educational institutions also appears to play a role in facilitating Hezbollah’s efforts to encourage support for terrorism or potential terrorist recruitment. Finally, this report turns to policy recommendations, explaining the ways in which many of these particular educational institutions in Lebanon could be subject to existing or new counterterrorism sanctions. It concludes by explaining how such counterterrorism sanctions by the U.S. and by other national governments could meaningfully push back against Hezbollah’s conveyor belt for indoctrinating children with antisemitism and terrorist recruitment. These three sections may therefore be of greatest interest to counterterrorism officials in the U.S. or other governments, since they explain why national intelligence agencies should urgently assess whether these schools are involved in illicit conduct that could warrant counterterrorism sanctions.