Palestinian Teachers' Unions Urge Pearson Education to Withdraw Biased Textbooks
Palestinian Teachers' Unions urge Pearson and all textbook publishers to uphold scholarly practices and principles when reviewing or revising textbooks, relying on advice and expertise of relevant academics and not external politicized propagandist organizations.
Dear Pearson Education,
We the undersigned Palestinian teachers’ unions and schools’ councils, all working in Palestinian schools that use the IGCSE curriculum, or higher education institutions that accept IGCSE graduates, are writing this letter to add our voices to those calling for withdrawing all copies of the biased versions of two GCSE books, revised under political pressure from Israel lobby groups in the UK.
Specifically, we condemn the anti-Palestinian edits made to the GCSE books, Hilary Brash, Conflict in the Middle East, c1945-1995 and Hilary Brash, The Middle East: Conflict, Crisis and Change, 1917-2012, published by Pearson. Hundreds of biased, politicized changes were introduced to both texts, distorting and misrepresenting facts related to the history and present of Palestine and the Palestinian people.
A recent report authored by a group of academic experts and published by British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) found that hundreds of distortions, omissions and biased descriptions were introduced to the textbooks, making “these revised GCSE textbooks not simply more pro-Israeli than their original versions but dangerously misleading” as well. The politicized anti-Palestinian edits were made at the “instigation of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and UK Lawyers for Israel.”
According to the report, there are no indications in either textbook that the revised version was edited, despite the authors’ comparisons showing that changes were made to almost every single page of both books.
This eight-page report stated that these changes made to maps, timelines, historical events, discriptions, and even definitions of international law are heavily in favour of the narrative of Israel’s regime of military occupation, colonization and apartheid and against the evidence-based history of Palestine. They result in presenting a distorted history and attempting to alter students’ chances to receive a balanced view.
Pearson claims to “give the next generation the skills they need to shape a better world.” Instead these two doctored GCSE textbooks radically erode our trust and that of educators worldwide in the content that we are supposed to rely on in creating a conducive and engaging learning experience for our students.
We urge all textbook publishers to uphold scholarly practices and principles when reviewing or revising textbooks, relying on advice and expertise of relevant academics and not external politicized propagandist organizations.
The Public Syndicate of Private Schools and Kindergartens Owners
The General Union of Palestinians Teachers (GUPT)
The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)