Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia iStock

Australian Jewish community leaders have denounced a textbook used in Australia’s state of Victoria which blames the death of Jesus on the Jews, describing it as “the mother of all anti-Semitic blood libels.”

The Victoria Department of Education and Training (DET) textbook, which is on the booklists of many schools in Victoria, states that “because they saw him as a threat to their power, Jewish religious leaders had Jesus arrested, condemned and crucified by the Romans.”

Parents of students at Glen Eira College spoke to the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), a Australian Jewish advocacy group, about the textbook.

Frances Prince, of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), told the Australian Jewish News in an interview that it was “disappointing in the extreme that such a libellous accusation made its way into a school textbook. I have no doubt that the education department will deal with the matter swiftly and appropriately.”

“The venomous charge that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus has resulted in more than 2,000 years of persecution, violence and murder,” she said.

She added, “Imagine how students of the Jewish faith would feel reading, along with their classmates, this warped text that casts them as ‘Christ killers’, and the hostility they would be subjected to.”

The DET said that it is planning to contact the publisher of Jacaranda Humanities Alive 7 (second edition).

A DET official told the Australian Jewish News that the book is not endorsed by DET. They added that they will contact the publisher to have the offensive portions of the book immediately changed.

“We are also working with our faith groups to ensure the change that is needed is appropriately communicated with the publisher. Victorian schools should use their professional judgment to decide which supports and resources to use in the classroom, based on the needs of their local school community,” the official said.