Two Pearson Edexcel History textbooks covering the Middle East which were withdrawn last year have been re-issued following a review process undertaken between education publisher Pearson, The Board of Deputies of British Jews and UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI).
In late 2019, the IGCSE textbook entitled The Middle East: Conflict, Crisis and Change, 1917-2012 and the GCSE textbook Conflict in the Middle East, c1945-1995 were withdrawn following a letter and report from UK Lawyers for Israel, which raised concerns over issues of bias against Israel.
The Board of Deputies and UKLFI subsequently worked together to produce comments on both textbooks, which Pearson have received and acted upon. After a detailed and lengthy process over a number of months, the books have now been published for students to use in the 2020-1 academic year.
Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl said: “We applaud Pearson for their openness to constructive feedback and willingness to revise these textbooks. We are pleased with the final material which gives a balanced and accurate portrayal of the Middle East conflict. I would like to pay specific tribute and thanks to UKLFI for their hard work on this project and their collaborative efforts with us to get these textbooks to where they needed to be.”
Senior Vice President of Pearson UK Schools, Sharon Hague, said: “Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do at Pearson and we believe it is vital to work with the communities we serve to ensure our products are held to the highest standards. We are delighted to be releasing a new edition of these textbooks today at the beginning of the new academic year. We thank the Board of Deputies of British Jews and UK Lawyers for Israel for their excellent collaboration throughout and for helping us to adapt and improve materials on this important topic.”
UKLFI would like to thank David Collier for his initial report on the IGCSE book; Talia Ingleby at the Board of Deputies; and Susan Storring, Richard Millett, Jonathan Turner and Caroline Turner from UK Lawyers for Israel, for all their input and time spent on this project.
Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive of UKLFI commented: “We are pleased that the hard work put in by UKLFI, the Board of Deputies and Pearson has meant that young people will be able to learn about the modern history of the Middle East in a balanced way from Pearson’s new textbooks. It is vitally important that young students are not indoctrinated with a distorted presentation of this most sensitive subject.”