My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Monday, March 09, 2009

More on bad textbooks....

This is a book review of "The Trouble With Textbooks: Distorting History And Religion" by Gary A. Tobin and Dennis R. Ybarra....
The study also discovered the omission of important historical facts. For example, regarding the issue of Palestinian refugees, no reference is made to the Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands in the wake of the founding of modern Israel. In addition, some school textbooks suggest incorrectly that Israel, rather than Arab governments, placed Palestinian refugees in camps in Arab countries. For instance, McDougal Littell’s World Geography suggests:
Caught in the middle of this turmoil were Palestinian Arabs...Many of these people had roots in Palestine that went back for centuries. They either fled their homes or were forced into UN-sponsored refugee camps just outside Israel’s borders. The land designated for Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza Strip is under Israeli control.

Another McDougall Littell publication, Modern World History, similarly promotes the Palestinian perspective:

these people [Israelis]...shoved us in refugee camps.
In reality, most Arab states sought to prevent the resettlement and integration of Palestinian refugees into their societies, confining them in camps. Only Jordan enabled Palestinian Arabs to attain citizenship and equal rights. Lebanon, in contrast for example, has compelled Palestinians to remain in festering refugee camps where they have endured discriminatory treatment.

The study's authors also discovered that some textbooks imply Israel was never actually attacked by Arab countries. Instead, in some cases textbooks suggest that Israel started the wars while no responsibility was attributed to Arab states. Take for example the Arab World and Islamic Resources’ (AWAIR) publication Arab World Studies Notebook and its description of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War:
As a result of Israel’s declaration of independence and subsequent continued attempts to force the Palestinian Arab inhabitants out of their land, the neighboring Arab states vowed to come to the rescue of the Palestinian Arab population.

The language employed in this instance insinuates that Israel is the aggressive party while the Arab states are simply defending Palestinians.

Tobin and Ybarra observe:
In contrast to their overemphasis on Jewish violence, many textbooks and some supplemental materials consistently reflect the Arab narrative that seeks to push the consistent and widespread use of terrorism by the Palestinians against Israel far into the background.
In a clear factual error, World Cultures: A Global Mosaic (Pearson/Prentice Hall), states, "Jesus, the founder of Christianity was born in Palestine while it was under Roman rule." The book adds: "According to the Gospels, Jesus grew up in Galilee, a region in northern Palestine."

As the New York Times explained in a June 20, 2008 correction, the land in which Jesus was born and raised did not become known as Palestine until more than 100 years after his death. In 132 (Common Era or AD), approximately 100 years after the crucifixion of Jesus, the Jews fought against Roman rule for a second time in what is known as the Bar Kochba Revolt. After the Romans defeated the rebellious Jews in 135, they renamed the land of the Jews Palestina to punish the Jews and to make an example of them to other peoples considering rebellion. The Romans took away the Jewish name, Judea, and replaced it with the name of an ancient enemy the Jews despised. The Philistines were an extinct Aegean people whom the Jews had historically loathed as uncultured and barbaric.


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