A textbook used to teach English as a second language to students in the United Kingdom included a map using the name “Occupied Palestine” instead of Israel, causing widespread outrage over the accuracy of the image among Israel’s staunchest supporters.
An instructor at a college in Nottingham, England, spotted the map and immediately brought attention to it. The map was printed in the 2003 edition of Skills in English Writing: Level 1 published by Garnet Education, a popular and mainstream publisher, she argues.
In almost robotic fashion, Garnet Education published an apology, stated that the “serious editorial error” was a “genuine mistake”, and offered to substitute any existing copies of the textbook with a new and updated version.
Israel Today, which broke the story, calls this “a serious anti-Israel bias” that is “far from an isolated incident”. Israel Today also claims that “this brand of propaganda” damages prospects for peace.
Ironically, Israel Today does not have any qualms about the actual occupation of Palestine, which is not an editorial mistake at all but a true historical account of Israel’s activity in the region. Palestine is under Israeli occupation, regardless of what the thought police insist.
Additionally, Israel Today does not present the same concern when the occupied Palestinian territories are entirely erased and mislabelled as Israel, as textbooks frequently show. Garnet Education’s response effectively wipes Palestine off the map.
The speed and vigor with which Garnet Education issued the apology and recall is just an example of where priorities and corporate interests lie in much of the West. In my day, the textbooks I used were rife with spelling errors and factual inconsistencies. But publishing houses made little to no effort to make corrections.