British textbook presents accurate account of Palestine-Israel, gets pressured into issuing recall

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.

There are 6 comments

  1. Brian Mayer

    Sami, this isn’t some conspiratorial pro-Israel bias at work. Israel is a UN-recognized country with a democratically elected and diplomatically recognized government, a military, citizens who call themselves Israeli, and more importantly, has existed in its current form for 65 years. It is in every textbook and map and atlas and globe produced that is taken seriously by the academic community. No serious academic, let alone journalist or politician, even among Israel’s biggest opponents, can deny the existence of a country that exists, whether or not they believe the country has a right to exist. Writing this post makes you sound irresponsible.

      1. bmmayer1

        The way that most maps do it is label Israel Israel and label Gaza & WB as such, or as Occupied Palestine, or just Palestine.

  2. ontogram

    I savor the irony of the “Israel Today” comment that this error presumably “damages prospects for peace.” Wow! And just when Israel was prepared, even impatient, to make a reasonable settlement with dispossessed and demonized Palestinians! Another “missed opportunity,” eh?

    These Israelis are just bullies and liars. “prospects for peace” — what a joke! What they should get from the “mistake” is that the Zionist narrative is universally now thought pretty goddamn shabby and untrue. It is today clearly identified as a pack of lies. Israel should, in fact, make a reasonable settlement and pay reparations to a damaged people. Just as Jewish organizations are still being paid large reparations umpteen times over, though individual survivors are regularly short-changed, so also Israel needs to pay up. If loss of life and property are compensable, then Israel owes big time reparations, period.

  3. Andrew Nisbet

    Unfortunately Palestine was not a recognised state until 2012 and not all countries recognise it even now. Until then it was, and still is, an area occupied by both Jews and ‘Arabs’ with equal rights. After all this area is the seat of Judaism and Christianity going back to 1100 BCE! It got the ‘offiical’ name of Palestine (from Philistine/Filastin who were one of many ancient conquerors) when the Ottomans were kicked out and the British were given the area to ‘look after’ in 1920. Sympathy for the Jews following WW2 (or a way to get them out of other people’ hair however you like to look at it) meant that they got their ‘state of Israel’ defined within the area (not country) of Palestine where they have lived for 2000 years. I deplore the water cuts, power cuts and severe abuses of power and of human rights of the Israelis. And also the occupations but they did not start the 6 day war. It is wrong but only one side has the stated intent of destroying the other. When they stop lobbing rockets into Israel perhaps we can focus on Palestinian human rights instead of giving the Israelis an excuse for ethnic cleansing. Egypt and Syria are weak, Jordan and Saudi politically impotent. Israel will take advantage of this if given an excuse and Hamas are doing just that.

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