A new study reveals that if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to criticize the nation of Israel before the United Nations, he could use American public school textbooks to do so.
"It is shocking to find the kind of misinformation we discovered in American textbooks and supplemental materials being used by schools in every state in the country," said Dr. Gary Tobin, president of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research and a co-author of the study.
"Elected officials at every level should investigate how these offensive passages are creeping into our textbooks. Presenting false information in the classroom undermines the very foundation of the American educational system," he said.
Tobin teamed with insititute research associate Dennis Ybarra for the study, titled, "The Trouble with Textbooks: Distorting History and Religion." The five-year effort, which looked at 28 prominent history, geography and social studies textbooks, reveals American public school students are being loaded up with indoctrination about Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the Middle East, to the cost of Christianity and Judaism and the benefit of Islam.
The study also supports other assessments of U.S. texts on which WND has reported.
The new study by the IJCR found more than 500 erroneous passages in the books, including one textbook that charged that early Jewish civilization contributed little to the arts and sciences.
An excerpt from "World Civilizations," published by Thomson Wadsworth, for example, said, "Excepting the Old Testament's poetry, the Jews produced very little of note in any of the art forms ... There is no record of any important [early] Jewish contributions to the sciences."
The level of outrageousness grew: "Christianity was started by a young Palestinian named Jesus," claims "The World," published by Scott Foresman.
"The textbooks tend to be critical of Jews and Israel, disrespectful about Christianity, and rather than represent Islam in an objective way, tend to glorify it," said co-author Ybarra. "To teach children, for instance, that Jesus was a Palestinian and de-emphasize his Jewishness does a disservice to Christians and Jews as well as anyone who cares about historical accuracy."
The institute analyzes issues such as racial and religious identity, philanthropy and higher education. Its full report is available at TroubleWithTextbooks.org, where all 28 books that came under its review are listed.
The organization said its study revealed textbooks include routinely negative stereotypes of Jews, Judaism and Israel. For example, Israel is blamed for starting wars in the Middle East and Jews are charged with deicide, and the problems are rife through the three mega-publishers that have deep enough pockets to get approval and publish a textbook in the major states of Texas and California.
"The 'Trouble with Textbooks' is a very important book not only for Jews but for the entire Christian community," said Rev. John J. Keane, ecumenical officer for the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. "This volume is an excellent tool for anyone who is interested in balanced information that is fair and reliable concerning Judaism, Christianity and Islam."
The authors found textbooks that stated or suggested:
- Jesus was a "Palestinian," not a Jew.
- The Arab nations never attacked Israel. Arab-Israeli wars "just broke out," or Israel started them
- Arabs nations want peace, but Israel does not
- Israel expelled all Palestinian refugees
- Israel put the Palestinians in refugee camps in Arab lands, not Arab governments
- Palestinian terrorism is nonexistent or minimal
- Israel is not a victim of terrorism, or terrorism against Israel is justified
- U.S. support of Israel causes terrorism, including 9/11
- The intifadas were children's revolts not involving adults or terrorism
They also found that Judaism and Christianity are treated as matters of believing, while Islam is treated as a matter of fact. In the glossary of "World History: Continuity and Change," the Ten Commandments are described as, "Moral laws Moses claimed to have received from the Hebrew God Yahweh on Mount Sinai." But the same glossary states as fact the Quran is a, "Holy Book of Islam containing revelations received by Muhammad from God."
The study found, "Islam is treated with a devotional tone in some textbooks, less detached and analytical than it ought to be. Muslim beliefs are described in several instances as fact, without any clear qualifier such as 'Muslims believe. . . .'"
Likewise, the Islamic empire of the Middle Ages was "a time of unqualified glory without blemishes," and Muslims "always tolerated Jews," unlike their Christian counterparts. The texts use terms such as "stories," "legends" and "tales" to talk about Jewish writings.
"If the president of Iran wants to blast Israel at the U.N., he can use American textbooks to do so," Tobin concluded.
The earlier ATC report took two years to study textbooks, and its author, Gilbert T. Sewall, found the problems regarding Islam "are uniquely disturbing."
"History textbooks present an incomplete and confected view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security," the ATC report said."Islamic activists use multiculturalism and ready-made American-made political movements, especially those on campus, to advance and justify the makeover of Islam-related textbook content."
"Particular fault rests with the publishing corporations, boards of directors, and executives who decide what editorial policies their companies will pursue," the report said.
One of the executives for a text critiqued by ATC, Bert Bower, founder of TCI, told WND at the time not only did his company have experts review the book, but the state of California also reviewed it and has approved it for use in public schools.
"Keep in mind when looking at this particular book scholars from all over California (reviewed it)," he said.
One of the experts who contributed to the text, according to the ATC, was Ayad Al-Qazzaz.
"Al-Qazzaz is a Muslim apologist, a frequent speaker in Northern California school districts promoting Islam and Arab causes," the ATC review said. "Al-Qazzaz also co-wrote AWAIR's 'Arab World Notebook.' AWAIR stands for Arab World and Islamic Resources, an opaque, proselytizing 'non-profit organization' that conducts teacher workshops and sells supplementary materials to schools."