Educational publisher CGP has agreed to revise its Geography Key Stage Three Revision and Practice Book when it is reprinted next Autumn. This follows a complaint from UK Lawyers for Israel concerning its coverage of Israel.
UKLFI pointed out that the map in Middle East section of the book, described Israel as being “in conflict with the Palestinians”. However, 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.
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.
For example between 380,636 and 585,000 people were killed in the conflict in Syria between 15 March 2011 and 31 December 2019. Furthermore, more than 5.6 million Syrians have fled the country and 6.1 million are internally displaced. There were around 460,000 deaths in Iraq as a result of the war from March 2003 to June 2011. The death toll in Yemen’s war since 2015 has reached 100,000. 
In contrast, there were 248 deaths in Israel and 5,559 Palestinian casualties in the West Bank and Gaza, due to conflict between January 2008 and September 2019.
In the section on Middle Eastern economies”, the book states: “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.”
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 responded to UKLFI’s request for it to amend the book as follows:
“Our Geography Editing Team Manager has reviewed the pages in question, and we’re happy to make the following changes in the interests of balance:
Page 10: Israel will be labelled on the map by name only – the “ongoing conflict” text will be removed.
Page 11: In point 6, the text “ongoing conflict in Israel” will be changed to “ongoing conflict in Syria.”
CGP has confirmed that these changes will be implemented when the book is reprinted this Autumn.
Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented: “We are happy that CGP responded positively and speedily to our complaint.”