APT: Parents and Taxpayers Attack Newton Educators over World History Texts

APT logo

APT logo

By Jerry Gordon:

We are increasingly concerned about how secondary school textbooks and world history courses convey disinformation about Israel and Islam. These materials demonize Israel while proseltyzing for Islam. Local advocates here in Florida have drawn attention to misrepresentations of Islam in protests in Brevard and Sarasota Counties-see our post on the subject here. Tennessee parents have also raised objections to similar course material extolling Palestinian suicide bombers.    Credit Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance for taking on the Newton, Massachusetts school board and superintendent for permitting use of texts and course materials that engage in promoting false information. As a JNS news report, notes APT brought it to the attention of both the general and Jewish communities in an aggressive ad campaign:

The Boston-based nonprofit Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) took out the ads in the Boston GlobeBoston HeraldNewton TabBoston Metro, andJewish Advocate. The ads cover research by concerned parents and students that has revealed the presence of anti-Israel texts in Newton schools including “The Arab World Studies Notebook,” which claims that Israeli soldiers murdered hundreds of Palestinian nurses in Israeli prisons; “A Muslim Primer,” which claims that astronaut Neil Armstrong converted to Islam, but that the anti-Muslim U.S. government warned him “to keep his new religion to himself or he could be fired” from his government job; “Flashpoints: Guide to World History,” which asserts that Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, is the capital of Israel, and that Jerusalem is the capital of “Palestine”; and other materials.

An APT press release had more background on parental concerns about the Arab World Studies Notebook:

Dr. Charles Jacobs, head of APT said “the materials in the Newton schools also proselytize for Islam, while denigrating Christianity and women’s rights. One handout cited in the ad from “A World Where Womanhood Reigns Supreme” teaches that gender equality is unacceptable and that American women are repressed because of the way they dress. The handout claims that, “the invisible boundary between men and women is a welcome partition.” Another handout recommends the writings of Sayyid Qutb, the radical Islamist who inspiredOsama Bin Laden.”

In the past school officials have defended including anti-Israel materials as part of an educational effort at ‘global understanding’ and teaching ‘critical thinking skills’ to students. After APT complaints earlier in the year, school officials acknowledged the inappropriateness of one of the noted materials (The Arab World Studies Notebook) and it was removed.

Over the course of the past year the school committee has refused to share the school curriculum with Newton parents. Some supporters of the School Committee have sought to silence critics by falsely accusing them of bigotry and racism.

Read more at New English Review

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Anti-Semitism in Newton (MA) Schools

by Charles Jacobs:

Last year, the Wellesley Middle School was caught in a nasty controversy when  my organization, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), released a shocking  video of a student trip to the Roxbury megamosque.

Viewers could see mosque staffers teach the students unadulterated propaganda  – among other things, that Muslim women got the vote before women in the West.  They also saw Wellesley boys prostrating themselves to Allah alongside Muslim  men. The controversy was covered extensively on Boston TV and radio, and the  video was seen by almost 500,000 people on YouTube.

As a result, Wellesley schools no longer visit that mosque. Good. But we also  asked Wellesley school administrators to go back to the students and correct the  false information they were taught, and then to explain what propaganda is.

They refused, and as far as we know, a class full of Wellesley students still  believe these falsehoods and don’t know they were lied to. Why are school  administrators afraid to tell the truth?

Now, the Newton public school system is enmeshed in a similar controversy  about deceptive lessons concerning Muslim women. This time there is an  anti-Semitic theme. As with Wellesley, the Newton school administrators are  refusing to tell the children they were lied to.

It began when a Newton parent learned that his daughter was being taught – in  a school handout — that Israelis incarcerate, torture and kill Palestinian  women.

The material came from “The Arab World Studies Notebook,” which has been  condemned by serious educators as blatant propaganda. How did this get into the  curriculum?

Margo Einstein, Newton’s pro- Jewish “community organizer,” sparked a growing  and organized effort to challenge the Newton schools. She has gathered a team of  parents and researchers to review the textbooks and circular materials that are  being used to teach about Arabs, Jews, Muslims and Christians in our  schools.

As a taxpaying Newton resident, I was allowed to address the School Committee  last week. A summary of my remarks (below) sketches out the problem and should  give enough examples to make us all concerned:

“Teachers in the Newton schools gave students a handout that defamed Israel’s  Jews as monsters and savages who imprison, torture and kill Palestinian women.  This is not only untrue, the opposite is true, that is, if you want to give  students truly horrific examples of violence, murder and intolerance in the  Middle East, you have all you can possibly want in Palestinian, Arab and Muslim  behavior and history. And not just history – just review the violence of the  Arab Spring, the daily slaughter of civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and  Syria.

“But as the Newton schools are guided by what is politically correct, our  students cannot learn about any examples of non-Western misconduct. (You are  programming our students not to judge the “Other” – only people like us.)

“For example, Arabs today have black slaves in Sudan and Mauritania.

“But you cannot teach that truth. It does not fit the politically correct  narrative, that evil in the world comes from white Europeans – and everyone else  is a victim. If you point out the obvious, you are a bigot, blaming the victim.  “Newton students come from a culture that would not normally abandon blacks who  are enslaved today. Nor would they abandon women or gays who are oppressed, but  your politically correct education ensures that our children will not learn  about the plights of these people in the Islamic realm, or anywhere outside the  West for that matter – or that they will be afraid to speak about it. You will  have taught them that.

“But you (Newton schools) did give students ‘A Muslim Primer,’ which touts as  the best guide to understanding Islam and human rights, by the Egyptian scholar  Sayyid Qutb. But it turns out that Sayyid Qutb is the intellectual father of the  Muslim Brotherhood. His books are filled with calls for Jihad against Christian,  Jewish and secular Muslim societies. The book you gave them promotes the man who  inspired Osama bin Laden.

“Women in the Muslim world are third-class citizens. But nobody will explain  this in Newton to our students. It’s taboo.

“Instead, Newton North students have been given handouts describing the  Muslim world as, I kid you not, ‘a world where womanhood reigns supreme,’ where  women are freer than Western women, who apparently ‘have less control over their  destiny.’

“Gays are hanged in public squares in Iran, and Christians are besieged by  mobs in Cairo, driven from Iraq and terrified in Damascus. But these essential  facts are not politically correct and therefore taboo in Newton schools.

Read more at Family Security Matters

Contributor Charles  Jacobs is a  political activist who co-founded the American  Anti-Slavery Group and also the  David Project, and also the organization Americans  for Peace and  Tolerance.