Another anti-Jewish textbook gets the publisher’s thumbs down

January 22, 2020 by David Singer
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The decision by Pearson Education Limited (Pearson) to withdraw Hilary Brash’s text bookThe Middle East: Conflict, Crisis and Change, 1917- 2012comes after trenchant criticism by blogger David Collier.

Collier questioned – among many other criticisms – why two timelines did not mention the Holocaust and why references to massacres of Jewish communities had been branded as “clashes”.

Collier said:

“It is almost impossible for the untrained eye to pick apart fantasy from fiction.”

A spokesman for Pearson said:

“An independent review of the texts by an educational charity found no overall evidence of anti-Israel bias. It identified some areas where the balance of sources could be improved and we are updating the texts and offering existing customers the option of replacing them for free. 

“We always welcome feedback and are committed to creating engaging, accurate and objective content. We are the only awarding body that tackles this subject matter at both GCSE and international GCSE level. We do it as we think it is an important topic, even though it is likely to provoke emotive responses.”

Pearson is the UK’s largest organisation offering academic, vocational and work-based learning qualifications.

Brash’s book was a textbook for Pearson Edexcel General (GCSE) and International (iGCSE) Certificate of Secondary Education studies.

Last year, 2,341 students took the General unit on the conflict for GCSE and 1,509 for iGCSE.

Pearson’s decision follows McGraw Hill’s decision in 2016 to trash copies of its textbook Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World.

Catherine Mathis – a spokeswoman for McGraw-Hill – then explained the Company’s reasons for destroying the textbook – which contained four misleading and inaccurate maps of “Palestine”:

“As soon as we learned about the concerns with it, we placed sales of the book on hold and immediately initiated an academic review. The review determined that the map did not meet our academic standards. We have informed the authors and we are no longer selling the book. All existing inventory will be destroyed. We apologize and will refund payment to anyone who returns the book.”

McGraw-Hill’s action followed criticism received by “MSNBC Live” after earlier airing the same series of maps. Host Kate Snow and her then guest Middle East expert Martin Fletcher subsequently acknowledged that they realized after they went off the air that the maps were not factually accurate and regretted using them.

The worst source of false information on the Jewish-Arab conflict is the United Nations Study titled “The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988” (“Study”) which has disseminated false information on the Arab-Jewish conflict since its first publication in 1978. The Study is published by the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat for, and under the guidance of, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Educational institutions and books regurgitating the Study’s false information include:

  1.   “politics.ie” – claiming to be one of Ireland’s leading politics and current affairs discussion websites
  2. “Academia.edu” – a platform for academics to share research papers and claiming it attracts over 36 million unique visitors a month.
  3. “iasexamportal.com” – which describes itself as “India’s Largest Online Community for IAS, UPSC, Civil Services Exam Aspirants.”
  4. “UK essays” – which claims to use over 4,000 thoroughly vetted experts with the qualifications and experience to write you the best possible essay.
  5. Handbook of Ethnic Conflict: International Perspectives – Dan Landis and Rosita D Albert
  6. Youth Citizenship and the Politics of Belonging – Madeleine Arnot and Sharlene Swartz
  1. Bridges Over Troubled Waters – Dahlia Moore and Salem Aweiss

False narratives constitute a real obstacle to achieving peace between Jews and Arabs.

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and foundation member of the International Analysts Network

 

Author’s note: The cartoon—commissioned exclusively for this article—is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators—whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli  and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog

 

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