"One-sided" Pro-Palestine agenda pushed in schools – think tank
The NUT has worked in conjunction with educational charity Edukid to prepare and promote a teaching pack designed to explore “occupation, freedom and resistance” in Palestine.
But the pack has triggered concerns that teachers are promoting a “one-sided” and “divisive” view of the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Tom Wilson, from think tank Henry Jackson Society, said the pack was “overtly agenda driven.”
“We need to be more vigilant about the politicization of British classrooms,” said Wilson.
The pack, called ‘My Name is Saleh’, was launched at the NUT conference in April. It was inspired by one NUT delegate’s trip to the occupied Palestinian territories, the union’s General Secretary Christine Blower explains in the foreword.
Its resources feature a child who has been “assaulted by settlers,” and also refers to “Israelis” as “Jews,” prompting scrutiny from critics.
Wilson said the reference to “Jews” was “extremely troubling,” saying it could incite “tensions between faith communities in the UK.”
“It is a particularly shameless example of political activism masquerading as a legitimate form of education.
“When dealing with a subject as complex as the Israeli Palestinian conflict, it is so important to avoid giving young people a distorted or one sided account,” he said.
Director of counter-extremism think tank Stand for Peace Sam Westrop said the pack may lead to the misrepresentation of the conflict.
An NUT spokesman declined to comment on the specific criticism, but said the organization worked to tackle many important issues.
“We work in partnership with many organizations, including the Holocaust Education Trust, to produce materials for schools. We have a very strong record on producing well regarded materials dealing with difficult issues, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, teaching around issues in the Middle East and recently on the Prevent agenda.”
The concerns come as Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn called for the boycott of Israeli universities involved in arms research.
In an interview with the Electronic Intifada, Corbyn, a supporter of the Palestinian right to return, said he was in favor of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
“I think we have to push robustly for the limitation of arms supplies,” Corbyn said, adding that he thought Israel was “in breach” of the human rights clauses of the EU-Israel trade agreement.
“Israel is after all facing an investigation … for war crimes, as indeed are the Hamas forces on a much different or lesser scale.
“I think we should be very cautious about supplying arms in those circumstances,” he added.