Indoctrinating Our Youth: How a U.S. Public School Curriculum Skews the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islam is worth reading. It’s a monograph put out by CAMERA late last year that details how material that was both biased against Israel and that whitewashed uncomfortable aspects of Islam entered the Newton, Massachusetts school district, specifically in the 9th and 10th grade World History courses.
Much of the material was recommended by the Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. including a textbook titled the Arab World Studies Notebook, which the American Jewish Committee noted was “replete with factual errors, inaccuracies, and misrepresentations.” As just one example, Jerusalem is described as the “ancestral home” of the Palestinian people.
The controversy began in 2011 when Newton school parent Tony Pagliuso complained after seeing his daughter’s homework which included an article from the Arab World Studies Notebook stating that:
“Over the past four decades, women have been active in the Palestinian resistance movement. Several hundred have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed by Israeli occupation forces.”
When Pagliuso brought the offending article to the head of the Social Studies department, he was told “next year we’re going to be studying some things that are going to be even more upsetting to you about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
School Committee’s Shocking Reaction
Most remarkable was the reaction of the Newton School Committee. When faced with an ad-hoc group of concerned parents, the committee superintendent admitted there were factual errors but that they provided a “balanced perspective.” Other school officials seconded this view, saying that they “sharpen students’ critical thinking skills.”
Take a moment to let this sink in. Even when the errors had been pointed out to these officials, and they admitted to them, they argued that the lies would be helpful in the children’s education. Never mind that they did not explain how lies, presented as truth, were supposed to sharpen “critical thinking skills.”
The combative school committee refused to hand over curricular materials and instructed its members not to cooperate with the ad-hoc group, which was forced to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The classroom materials were not provided until June 2015. Newton parents continue to struggle to remove biased, anti-Israel and anti-Western materials from their school district.
Newton is just one example of what we’re up against. Our children are being taught a false narrative about the Arab-Israeli conflict and given a rose-colored picture of Islam, some of which comes very close to proselytization.
ZionismU attempts to redress one aspect of this by offering high-quality materials on Zionist history to schools.
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Photo Credit: CAMERA monograph