Hodder withdraws GCSE Middle East textbook criticised as 'selective, partial and marred by errors'

Move came after UK Lawyers for Israel outlined 'misleading and confusing content' in the first chapter


Hodder Education is withdrawing a GCSE history textbook from circulation after complaints about its impartiality. 

The textbook, ‘Conflict in the Middle East 1945-95’, which is designed to be used by exam board Edexcel, was said in a report by pressure group UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) to contain “misleading and confusing content”. 

The issues picked out by the report included referring to early 20th century Jewish immigrants  as “settlers” when they had entered legally and were living on legally purchased land.

According to UKLFI, the book also labelled ancient Judea as “Palestine” at a time when the region had not been named as such by the Romans.

“There are many issues with this textbook,” said Noru Tsalic, who wrote the 46-page UKLFI analysis. “The factual account is often selective, partial and marred by errors; essential historical context is ignored or superficially treated; there is a general lack of scholarly rigour in the way the topic is treated.” 

Hodder confirmed the move to UKLFI, saying: “After further condition, we have decided to remove the book from sale and will reconsider its future.” 

Caroline Turner, UKLFI director welcomed the move, saying: “It is very important that children learning about this complex subject are taught in a balanced and accurate manner. 

“We are pleased that another misleading and inaccurate school textbook, purporting to teach about Middle East history, is being withdrawn and reconsidered,” she continued.

The withdrawal from sale of the Hodder textbook, authored by John Wright and Steve Waugh and published in August 2016, follows a similar withdrawal by Pearson Education’s Edexcel GCSE and IGCSE textbooks on the Middle East.  

It follows the withdrawal in February of another Hodder Education title, 'Understanding History: Key Stage 3: Britain in the wider world, Roman times – Present', which suggested that Israel may have been a "long-term cause" of the 9/11 attacks.

Hodder Education said that the withdrawal of the textbook may take several days. 

The JC approached Hodder Education for comment. 

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