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Czech Republic to Revoke Approval of Anti-semitic Text

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The Czech Republic has decided to revoke its endorsement of an anti-Semitic textbook, according to the Czech ambassador to the United States.

Ambassador Michael Zantovsky also said action would be taken to prevent the recurrence of such an endorsement, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

These official moves come about a month after ADL and other Jewish groups first publicly denounced the book. The World Jewish Congress had made its opinion of the text known in the Vatican.

In an earlier response, the Czech government had said it would likely withdraw its approval of the text, “Handbook on Church History.”

The next claims that Jews in the Middle Ages collected extensive assets in all countries, took over money-lending businesses and were extraordinary usurers, charging more than 100 percent interest.

The book’s author, Pavel Mracek, also purports in the text that Jews in the Middle Ages committed ritual murders, the crucifixion of Christian boys and the persecution and murder of Jews who converted to Christianity.

Zantovsky said he was “dismayed at the reappearance of dangerous and stupid myths.”

He added that the book was approved without consulting sources knowledgeable about the Jewish community and that in the future, the minister of education would call upon the opinion of experts “for any texts dealing with Jewish history or Judaism.”

Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, welcomed the development.

“They indeed fulfilled the promise they made to us and it reflects a maturity on the part of the new Czech democracy.”

Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, said, “This reasoned and responsible reaction to our protests is gratifying.”

Pupils at public schools had been getting the book at no cost because it had been approved by the Czech Education Ministry.

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