UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Children’s Book Deletes Israel from the Middle East

A children’s book about “Amazing”  Middle Eastern women has replaced Israel as a Middle Eastern country with Palestine and excluded Jews and Israelis from its selection of women. UK Lawyers for Israel has called for the publishers to withdraw and amend the book.

The book,  entitled “Amazing Women of the Middle East” by Wafa Tarnowska  is for children aged 9-13 and contains profiles of 25 inspiring women from the regionHowever, none of the women chosen for the book are Israeli or Jewish and a map of the Middle East displayed in the book does not show Israel, only Palestine in its place.

The UK publisher, Pikku Books, specifically promotes this book for sale to schools and includes teaching resources for the book on its website.  The book is also published in the USA by Crocodile Books, part of Interlink Publishing, and is distributed in the USA by Simon &  Schuster.

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) has now written to the publishers of the book to point out that it is likely to be illegal to use this book in UK schools. The book misinforms children about international geography and appears to have a racist exclusion of the Jewish state.  UKLFI believes that if the book were used as a teaching aid in schools it would be likely to result in a breach of Section 406 of Education Act 1996 headed “Political indoctrination”. This section forbids the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school.

Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented: “This is a very attractive book, and it is a great idea for children to read about amazing women of the Middle East. However, to have excluded Israel from the map of the Middle East, and to have excluded all Israeli and Jewish women from the book is misleading and biased, and tends to promote a view of the Middle East that completely delegitimises Israel.”

UKLFI has asked the publishers, both in the UK and the USA, to withdraw the book and re-publish it with a correct map of the Middle East, which shows Israel, and to include at least one Amazing Woman from Israel.

UKLFI has also written to Robin Walker MP,  Minister of State for School Standards at the Department of Education, asking the Department to warn schools not to use this book, as it would breach Section 406 of Education Act 1996 to do so.

Several  reviews of the book on Amazon also raise the worrying issues that the book has wiped Israel off the map and that no Israeli or Jewish women were included.

“It looks as if the map in this book literally erases the state of Israel and substitutes the non-existent state of “Palestine”. That’s really shameful— to say nothing of the decision to exclude any of the amazing women of Israel. It seems this book aims to politicise children in a most Orwellian way…”

“So disappointed in this book as it omits the only JEWISH state in the Middle East! Therefore I found this book to be extremely misleading & extremely dishonest! I will not be reading this book to my grandchildren it is totally unfit for purpose!”

“Lovely looking book but doesn’t represent all the different communities amazing women. No Jewish women are present in the book. Which seems a deliberate act because there are plenty to choose from. If you want a book that promotes the ethnic cleansing of Jews this is for you.”

“I can’t believe that the author doesn’t believe that Israel is a Middle Eastern country. Surely the most inspiring woman Golda Meir elected Prime Minister in 1969 deserves a mention? This happened in the days when women were thought to be found only in the kitchen, or raising children. A true inspiration!”