History textbook on Israel-Palestine withdrawn after complaints

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History textbook on Israel-Palestine withdrawn after complaints

GCSE resource removed following criticism from UK Lawyers for Israel over perceived bias

(Photo by Valentin Salja on Unsplash)
Textbook (Photo by Valentin Salja on Unsplash)

A history textbook at the centre of controversy of its perceived anti-Israel bias has been withdrawn by its publisher after pro-Israel lawyers got involved.

Hodder Education removed its GCSE History for Edexcel ‘Conflict in the Middle East 1945-95’ textbook from sale after UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) argued that it contained “a plethora of inaccurate and confusing content”.

UKLFI said Hodder had confirmed that it had “decided to remove the book from sale and will reconsider its future” after UKLFI said the book “frequently refers to Jewish terrorists when their actions were against military targets”.

The textbook, which was written by Steve Waugh and John Wright, referred to early Jewish settlers to British Mandate Palestine, but lawyers said this was “misleading given the connotations that [the term] has nowadays”.

UKLFI director Caroline Turner said: “It is very important that children learning about this complex subject are taught in a balanced and accurate manner. We are pleased that another misleading and inaccurate school textbook, purporting to teach about Middle East history, is being withdrawn and reconsidered.”

Noru Tsalic, an author and UKLFI volunteer, said there were “many issues with this textbook,” adding that there was “a general lack of scholarly rigour in the way the topic is covered”.

The withdrawal follows similar withdrawals of the Pearson Edexcel GCSE and IGCSE textbooks on the same subject, following complaints from UKLFI and the Zionist Federation (ZF).

In February, the ZF wrote to Hodder about a textbook called ‘Understanding History: Key Stage 3: Britain in the wider world, Roman times – Present,’ which it published jointly with Hachette UK.

The ZF said a question in the book “suggests that the creation of Israel is responsible for the terror attacks of 9/11” and another states “how Israel won what is commonly referred to as its War of Independence and ‘took even more land’”.

It is not the first time that Hodder has had to withdraw books from sale. In late 2018 it removed a GCSE textbook which said Caribbean fathers were “largely absent,” Chinese wives “obey their husbands,” and that sub-Saharan women who do not have children “can be replaced and the husband can take a new wife”.

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