Pearson to update GCSE history textbook after 'anti-Israel' claims

Pearson to update GCSE history textbook after 'anti-Israel' claims

Pearson will publish a new version of its Edexcel GCSE history textbook on the Middle East following an independent review and allegations of anti-Israel bias.

The Middle East: Conflict, Crisis and Change, 1917- 2012, came in for criticism last year after blogger David Collier said the "central messages are those that you would find inside an anti-Israel propaganda book".

He also questioned why two timelines did not mention the Holocaust and references to massacres of Jewish communities during 2019 had been branded "clashes". He said: "It is almost impossible for the untrained eye to pick apart fantasy from fiction."

Jewish organisation the Board of Deputies called for a "substantial rewrite" of the textbook.

Pearson said a review of the book did not find anti-Israel bias but had suggested changes to the "balance of sources". An updated version of the textbook is now due to be released and the previous one has now been pulled.

A spokesman for Pearson said: "An independent review of the texts by an educational charity found no overall evidence of anti-Israel bias. It identified some areas where the balance of sources could be improved and we are updating the texts and offering existing customers the option of replacing them for free. 

"We always welcome feedback and are committed to creating engaging, accurate and objective content. We are the only awarding body that tackles this subject matter at both GCSE and international GCSE level. We do it as we think it is an important topic, even though it is likely to provoke emotive responses."