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Hezbollah presses school into pulling Anne Frank

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hezbollah pressured a private school in Beirut to drop from its curriculum a textbook containing excerpts of "The Diary of Anne Frank."

The English-language school, which asked not to be identified, acceded to pressure after Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station ran a segment chiding the school for including the posthumously published Holocaust memoir in its lessons, the French news agency AFP reported.

Hezbollah, which Israel and the United States consider a terrorist group, called the diary’s inclusion part of “an open arena for the Zionist invasion of education.”  

Attorney Naim Kalaani, a member of a committee to ban Zionist products, told Al-Manar the use of the book in a school constituted a violation of Lebanon’s penal code and "tantamount to a step toward normalization" in ties with Israel. Hezbollah could not be reached by the station for comment.

The Paris-based organization Aladdin’s Project, which fights Holocaust denial and was the first to translate Anne Frank’s diary into Arabic, issued a statement condemning Hezbollah’s "intimidation campaign."

The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors denounced what it called a disgraceful act as a "twin blow against decency. It is a blatant expression of Holocaust denial, and an assault on one of the great works of modern literature and civilization."

This marks the second time in a month that Hezbollah has pressured a school into censoring information it dislikes. In October, the International College, one of Lebanon’s most renowned private schools, agreed to put opaque stickers over pages of a textbook that named Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorist organizations.

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