By Sara Dogan
Course materials claimed that Jerusalem is “Palestine’s capital”
Parents of students attending public schools in Newton, Massachusetts have filed suit against the local school board for using inaccurate and defamatory anti-Israel materials in class and for refusing to allow parents to examine school lessons on Israel. The lawsuit was filed on August 9th by the organization Education Without Indoctrination (EWI).
The suit claims that students enrolled in the Newton Public Schools are being provided with “materials that slander Israel and the Jewish people, and that falsify history to promote the Islamic religion” in class. It further alleges that Newton Public Schools Superintendent David Fleishman and the Newton School Committee have been “stonewalling” parents who attempted to investigate the school’s instruction on Israel and Islam and went so far as to excise parent comments criticizing the anti-Israel curriculum from the written minutes of school board meetings. EWI has argued that this last step violates Massachusetts’ Open Meeting law.
As documented in Steven Stotsky’s recent book, “Indoctrinating Our Youth: How a U.S. Public School Curriculum Skews the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islam,” published by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Newton assigned 9th and 10th grade students enrolled in World History units lessons from the Arab World Studies Notebook, a textbook which is funded by the Saudi Arabian oil company Saudi Aramco, which also funds the terrorist groups Hamas and Al-Qaeda. This textbook falsely claims that “Over the past four decades, women have been active in the Palestinian resistance movement. Several hundred have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed by Israeli occupation forces” and states that there is a “Hollywood Jewish conspiracy” to portray Arabs negatively in film.
Astoundingly, even once these blatant lies had been exposed in the textbook, Newton continued to use it in class for over a year, claiming that it was “important to provide students with a ‘balanced perspective.’”
Other course materials provided to students at Newton schools instruct students that Jerusalem is “Palestine’s capital” and that following the Six Day War, Israel would not accept Arab offers of land for peace—both blatant falsehoods. Freedom of Information Act requests have revealed that students were given handouts from Islamicweb.com which Stotsky says contain “numerous diatribes against Jews, Christians, and non-Sunni Muslims.”
Last week, the Newton School Committee finally agreed to edit the minutes of their meetings to include the parent comments criticizing the anti-Israel indoctrination curriculum and to release evaluations of Superintendent Fleischman. Education Without Indoctrination, for its part, has said that they will continue to investigate and will ask for a court hearing on whether the school committee has fulfilled the terms of the Open Meeting law. “They can’t whitewash the record, which is what they’ve been doing,” commented EWI attorney Karen Hurvitz. “It’s like cooking the books. They can’t cook the books any more. They have to be honest.”