CFI’s Vice-Chairman, Andrew Percy MP, has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson MP, expressing his concerns over the “inaccurate portrayal of a highly complex and contentious subject” in a GCSE textbook on the Middle East conflict published by Pearson.
In his letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Mr Percy contended that the textbook, titled ‘The Middle East: Conflict, Crisis and Change, 1917-2012′, “makes glaring omissions in its representations of key historical events”, assuring Mr Williamson that as a former teacher he “certainly would not have countenanced using it in [his] classroom”.
Commenting on the timeline at the beginning of the book, the Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole notes that it neglects to mention the Holocaust, Second Intifada or the 2005 Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which he posits “distorts the origins of the conflict and subsequent events”.
He further condemns the book for undermining the history of the Jewish people in Israel, who are described as “having settled” in the land over 3,000 years ago. The CFI Vice-Chairman said this terminology “wrongly implies the Jewish people were invaders” and “ignores the indisputable fact that the religion of Judaism and notion of the Jewish people were born in the Holy Land”.
Mr Percy called on the Government to “ensure that the textbooks used in our schools accurately reflect historical context and promote constructive dialogue”, citing the Government’s leading role in the ongoing international review of Palestinian textbooks following reports of antisemitic incitement against Israelis.
Conveying his further concerns, Mr Percy condemns the book’s “distorted account of Britain’s role in the establishment of the State of Israel” by wrongly suggesting that the British Mandate was based solely on the Balfour Declaration.
In a report published in October, David Collier described the book as “poisonous… hard core anti-Zionist revisionist material” which “whitewashes violence against Jews”.
Pearson, which also owns the Edexcel examination body, has now announced a review into the textbook in question.