UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Hodder withdraws Middle East GCSE History Textbook

The publisher Hodder Education is removing its GCSE History for Edexcel ‘Conflict in the Middle East 1945-95’ textbook from sale, following a critique of the book submitted to them by UK Lawyers for Israel.

Hodder has confirmed to UKLFI: “After further consideration, we have decided to remove the book from sale and will reconsider its future. Please note that it may take some days for all channels to show that the book has been removed from sale as not all data feeds update every 24 hours.”

A 46 page analysis of Chapter 1 of the book, written by UKLFI volunteer Noru Tsalic, revealed a plethora of inaccurate and confusing  content including the following:

  • It frequently refers to Jewish “terrorists” when their actions were against military targets but refers to violent Arab actions against civilians as “resistance”.

  • It refers to Jewish immigrants in the early 20th as “settlers” when they had entered legally and were living on legally purchased land. The term “Jewish settlers” is misleading, given the connotations that it has nowadays.

  • It refers to ancient Judea as “Palestine” at a time when Palestine had not been named as such by the Romans

  • It refers to Arabs, but not Jews as “Palestinians” at a time when both Arabs and Jews were Palestinians during the time of the British Mandate.

  • In describing the aftermath of Israel’s war of independence it states Israel gained “further land” but fails to mention that the Arab States, Egypt and TransJordan gained even more land than Israel. Transjordan gained the West Bank, and Egypt gained Gaza.

  • It credits the British army for training Jewish forces, who it says were well disciplined and well led, when only a small minority of Jews had been trained by British officers, but it does not mention that the Arab legion (the Arab Legion (the regular army of the Kingdom of Transjordan) had been not just trained by British instructors, but was in fact led by British senior officers.

Caroline Turner, UKLFI director commented: “It is very important that children learning about this complex subject are taught in a balanced and accurate manner.     We are pleased that another misleading and inaccurate school textbook, purporting to teach about Middle East history, is being withdrawn and reconsidered.”

Mr. Tsalic (who is currently authoring a book entitled ‘The Arab-Israeli conflict: a concise but complete history’) said: “There are many issues with this textbook.  The factual account is often selective, partial and marred by errors; essential historical context is ignored or superficially treated; there is a general lack of scholarly rigour in the way the topic is covered.”

The withdrawal of the Hodder textbook follows similar withdrawals of the Pearson Edexcel GCSE and IGCSE textbooks on the same subject, following complaints from UKLFI.

The full critique is available here:

Hodder Chapter 1 critique