UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Pearson Education to revise biased Middle Eastern textbook following review

Pearson Education, the publisher of GCSE textbooks, revision guides and workbooks  on recent Middle Eastern History,  has confirmed that it has now carried out “a full and independent review of the contents” of the books and is updating the texts.  This follows a complaint by UKLFI in October 2019 that its Middles East GCSE textbook was full of anti-Israel bias and distortions.

Pearson had written to UKLFI in October 2018 stating that it was “committed to seeking a further review” of the Edexcel International GCSE Middle East 1917-2012 Text Book and of Edexcel GCSE (9-1) History Conflict in the Middle East, c1945-1995 Student Book,  the Pearson published Revision Guide and Workbook that accompanies the textbooks on the Middle East Conflict.

Pearson has now confirmed that it withdrew this book from sale following the complaint from UKLFI in October 2019 and conducted a review.

Pearson stated: “Based on the recommendations of the review, we identified areas where we can improve the balance of sources and are in the process of updating our texts to include some new sources. The new edition will also correct two factual errors we have already communicated to our customers as follows:

(i) Page 18: “The British executed two Irgun members”. The correct number is three.

(ii) Page 92: “the first Hamas suicide bombs took place in Israel in April 1993”. The correct date is February 1994.

Pearson stated that it welcomed feedback on its texts and has invited the Board of Deputies to engage with them  in reviewing the new edition which we will be made available in the very early part of this year.

 We are very grateful to you for taking the time and trouble to communicate to us your concerns. As you may know, we are the only awarding body that offers this topic at GCSE level. It is a crucial period in history and we are aware it is likely to generate debate. We always aim to present impartial and objective content, and our textbooks are written within the parameters of a global editorial policy, ensuring quality.  Your feedback will help to ensure we have achieved that.

UKLFI had  invited David Collier to analyse the content. His blog is here: and his report “Indoctrinating Children in the UK, a textbook example” is here:

Mr Collier reviewed in detail the first chapter and found a litany of problems, for example:

  • It describes the massacres of Jewish communities by Arab mobs in Mandatory Palestine in 1929 as ‘Arab / Jew’ clashes

  • It fails to mention the Palestinian leadership’s alliance with the Nazis

  • It shows images of violence carried out by Jews, but no images of atrocities carried out by Arabs against the Jews

  • It fails to mention the many terror attacks against Israelis by Arabs after the Oslo accords

  • The timeline from 1900 to 2010 fails to mention the Holocaust

Mr Collier concludes that the book was full of distortions.

Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented: “We are pleased that Pearson withdrew, reviewed and then revised the problematic textbooks.  We hope the new versions will be more balanced in their approach to history.”