Educational publisher CGP has revised its Geography Key Stage Three Revision and Practice Book, which will be available from July 2020. This follows a complaint from UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) in January this year concerning its coverage of Israel.
CGP has now amended the map in Middle East section of the book, which described Israel as being “in conflict with the Palestinians”. No conflicts had been mentioned on the map in relation to any of the other countries, which included Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Where information was provided on the other countries, it related to the name and population of their capital cities, or the name and length of their major rivers. The book now says “Much of the population is concentrated in coastal cities like Tel Aviv”.
UKLFI is an organisation that uses the law against attempts to undermine, attack and delegitimise Israel, Israeli organisations, Israelis, and supporters of Israel.
UKLFI pointed out that if a child is learning about Israel, this one phrase presents a very skewed picture of Israel and is extremely misleading, especially given that Israel’s neighboring countries in the Middle East have ongoing conflicts, which have inflicted considerably larger numbers of fatalities.
CGP has now inserted a paragraph listing conflicts over territory in various parts of the Middle East, including Israel, Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq, so Israel is not the only country highlighted as being in “conflict”.
In the section on Middle Eastern economies”, the book stated: “There have been several conflicts in the Middle East, some still ongoing. Events like the Iraq War (2003-2011) and the ongoing conflict in Israel can cause major disruption to levels of development as well as loss of life.”
UKLFI pointed out that once again Israel has been defined as being in an “ongoing conflict”, and linked directly with “The Iraq War” as if the conflicts were equivalent. Furthermore, Israel’s “ongoing conflict” did not cause major disruption to levels of its development, which has been phenomenal since the founding of the state in 1948, and indeed in recent years.
CGP has now amended this section, and has removed the reference to Israel in the section on conflicts causing major disruptions to development as well as loss of life.
CGP stated “As part of our normal procedure for reprints, our editorial team has reviewed the proposed changes in the context of the pages as a whole. The reviewers concluded that tension between Israel and the Palestinian Territories is relevant as a key example of conflict in the Middle East relating to (disputed) borders, and should therefore be mentioned alongside the map showing the states of the region. However, please be assured that we still take your concerns very seriously and appreciate their validity. We have taken care to ensure that conflict is not given undue emphasis as a defining characteristic of Israel, and that Israel is not given as the only example of a state in conflict.”
Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented: “We are pleased that these changes have been made, and Israel is no longer singled out on the map as being the only state in conflict in the Middle East, so children will get a more balance view of the region.”
This is the latest in a series of successes that UKLFI has had in reviewing various anti-Israel textbook, and causing the publishers to withdraw and review them. See previous news stories regarding Pearson and Hodder Middle East GCSE and IGCSE textbooks.