Thursday, February 20, 2020

  • Thursday, February 20, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
David Collier posted this page 241 of a UK KS3 textbook published by Hodder Education (with a hat tip to Jewish Chick):

The central question on the page is almost too offensive to be believed. The author is suggesting that Israel's very existence is the cause of all terror attacks and wars in not only the Middle East but even in New York and Washington. Not the "occupation" - Israel itself is the source of all evil in the world.

This unbridled and absurd hate of Israel still astonishes.

Beyond that, this history textbook is riddled with errors on just this one portion of a page. The map refers to "Palestinian territory in 1949," which is simply untrue. Not all Palestinians moved to refugee camps in 1948.The "support" of Palestinians by Muslim nations has been lip service - they have left them stateless and have restricted their rights in their countries. And under Nasser, Egypt went into the Soviet orbit, not the West.

This textbook does not even have a pretense of objectivity or truth. Yet it is used to indoctrinate thousands of students every year.

Textbooks remain one of the worst sources of anti-Israel bias, but because they are typically not easily available outside of the classroom, there is little independent checking of their facts. Just now I found a more subtle but no less biased page about the day Anwar Sadat visited the Knesset from History for the IB Diploma: The Arab-Israeli Conflict 1945-79, by Jean Bottaro, 2012, Cambridge University Press:

Source J is an excerpt from Sadat's speech. Source K is an interpretation from hostile historian Avi Shlaim to Begin's response.

Instead of asking students to compare the actual speeches, the textbook is asking them to compare Sadat's words with a wholly inaccurate and biased view of Begin's response.

In fact, both Begin and Sadat restated their country's positions - Sadat emphasizing how Israel must return all territory gained in 1967, Begin emphasizing Israel's own positions on Jerusalem and territory. Sadat was frank while optimistic, and Begin was as well. The textbook could and should have quoted Begin directly, contradicting Shlaim's bias:

President Sadat knows, as he knew from us before he came to Jerusalem, that our position concerning permanent borders between us and our neighbours differs from his. However, I call upon the President of Egypt and upon all our neighbours: do not rule out negotiations on any subject whatsoever. I propose, in the name of the overwhelming majority of this Parliament, that everything will be negotiable. Anybody who says that, in the relationship between the Arab People - or the Arab Nations in the area - and the State of Israel there are subjects that should be excluded from negotiations, is assuming an awesome responsibility. Everything is negotiable. No side shall say the contrary. No side shall present prior conditions. We will conduct the negotiations with respect.

If there are differences of opinion between us, that is not exceptional. Anyone who has studied the history of wars and the annals of peace treaties knows that all negotiations for peace treaties have begun with differences of opinion between the parties concerned, and that, in the course of the negotiations, they have reached solutions which have made possible the signing of agreements or peace treaties. That is the path we propose to follow.

We shall conduct the negotiations as equals. There are no vanquished and there are no victors. All the Peoples of the region are equal, and all will relate to each other with respect. In this spirit of openness, of readiness of each to listen to the other - to facts, reasons, explanations - with every reasonable attempt at mutual persuasion - let us conduct the negotiations as I have asked and propose to open them, to conduct them, to continue them persistently until we succeed, in good time, in signing a peace treaty between us.
Again, this is indoctrination. It pretends to be teaching students how to think critically, yet it doesn't give them the tools to do exactly that - instead, it tells them what to think, and places an opinion above the easily obtained facts.

There are hundreds of such examples. Textbook authors have near total impunity because they know that their interpretations of history are unlikely to get the same kind of scrutiny that newspapers do, and their editors trust them implicitly.

UPDATE: Hodder responded:

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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