CAIRO: A controversial new report published by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research titled “The Trouble with Textbooks: Distorting History and Religion claims that American high school and elementary textbooks contain countless inaccuracies about Christianity, Judaism and Israel.
The Jewish institute based its report on 28 geography, history and social studies textbooks in the United States and criticizes the books for containing at least 500 errors.
Some of these errors are linked to the role of Jews in history, Israel’s legitimacy and facts about Islam.
The report gave many examples of what it considers to be errors.
It questions what one of the books says about the absence of records of any important [early] Jewish contribution to the sciences. And from the World Civilizations textbook it questions the statement that Christianity was started by “a young Palestinian named Jesus.
Moreover, the report accuses the American school books of discrediting the Jewish state by stereotyping Jews and Israelis, harming Israel’s image by blaming it for starting wars in the region and for being colonialist, and charging the Jews with deicide in the killing of Jesus .
The reports criticizes the certainty of one of the textbooks in question stating as fact that the Quran was revealed to Mohammed from God.
It diagnoses the textbook publishing process with suffering from systemic ills along with accusing an unnamed special interest group of forcing their influence into young American minds. The institute describes itself as a think tank that is dedicated to the growth and security of the Jewish community, conducting and publishing studies that deal directly with Israeli security issues.
Among others, it has published Anti-Israelism and Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism and Anti-Semitism in American Educational Systems.
School curricula are no stranger to the Arab-Israeli conflict as Israeli textbooks were reputedly charged with representing Arabs in a negative and demeaning light. Israeli Professor Dan Bar-Tal of the Tel Aviv University published a study in 2004 titled The Arab Image in Hebrew School Textbooks after examining 124 textbooks used in Israeli schools.
Bar-Tal found that over the years, generations of Israeli Jews were taught a negative and often delegitimizing view of Arabs. Arabs were discredited as primitive, and inferior in comparison to Jews, who exhibit violence, untrustworthiness, cruelty, fanaticism, treacherousness and aggressiveness.