Distribution of GCSE textbooks on Israeli-Palestinian conflict paused over ‘dangerously misleading’ claim

Distribution of GCSE textbooks on Israeli-Palestinian conflict paused over ‘dangerously misleading’ claim


Distribution of GCSE textbooks on Israeli-Palestinian conflict paused over ‘dangerously misleading’ claim

Distribution of GCSE textbooks on Israeli-Palestinian conflict paused over ‘dangerously misleading’ claim

International publisher Pearson has paused the distribution of two textbooks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict used by GCSE students after an academic report found they were “dangerously misleading”.

The report, by Professors John Chalcraft and James Dickins, Middle East specialists in history and in Arabic respectively, and members of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), found hundreds of alterations had been made to the textbooks.

“Overwhelmingly, the changes which have been made to these texts add or substitute statements, information and interpretations which favour an Israeli narrative, and remove or replace those that support Palestinian narratives,” Prof Charlcraft said. “The overall effect is to make these books dangerously misleading.”

Alterations to the GCSE textbooks, titled Conflict in the Middle East and The Middle East: Conflict, Crisis and Change, were made last year following calls for changes from the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

The executive of the National Education Union (NEU) has expressed its concerns about the report’s findings and said it would contact Pearson for clarification.

Read more:

In a statement, Pearson said: “Our core editorial principle is to support the teaching of this important period in Middle East history in a fair, neutral and balanced way. 

“We welcome feedback but we have robust processes in place to review any feedback – this is particularly important for such a sensitive period of time in history. 

“We commissioned an independent review of these books last year and the changes made were based on the outcome of that review. 

“We stand by our texts but had already taken the decision to pause further distribution while we discuss further with stakeholders.” 

The publisher requested that The Independent did not report the name of the author who had written the textbooks. It said they had received “aggressive approaches” about the issue.

It is unclear if the author had agreed to the changes and The Independent has asked Pearson for clarification.

The eight-page report by Prof Chalcraft and Prof Dickins found on average three changes were made per page.

It said one key change was how the textbooks describe acts of violence and those who committed them, with references to Jewish or Israeli violence and aggression removed or softened, while references to Arab or Palestinian violence or aggression have been “systematically added or intensified”.

The report found the original version had 10 references to Jewish terrorism and 32 to Palestinian terrorism, while after revision there were four references to terrorism by Jewish groups and 61 to Palestinian ones

Commenting on the report, Eugene Rogan, professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Oxford, said: “Given Britain’s historical responsibility, it is particularly important that the subject be taught in a way that is impartial and objective.

“It is a betrayal of such objectivity to allow Israel advocates the opportunity to edit teaching materials without giving Palestine advocates an equal opportunity to provide input. The result can only undermine confidence in the impartiality of the teaching of an intensely complex and sensitive issue.”


Source link

Check Also

Government pledge to get 1.3 million laptops to children in pandemic still not met

Government pledge to get 1.3 million laptops to children in pandemic still not met

Government pledge to get 1.3 million laptops to children in pandemic still not met Government …