‘"Christianity was started by a young Palestinian named Jesus." This is one of hundreds of distortions, misrepresentations and falsehoods found about Judaism and Jewish history by a comprehensive study of the 28 most widely used Social Studies textbooks in the
The authors found that
Among the teachings that were found in American textbooks are the following distortions:
· Jesus was a “Palestinian”, not a Jew.
· The Arab nations never attacked
· Arabs nations want peace but
· Palestinian terrorism is nonexistent or minimal.
· The intifadas were children’s revolts not involving adults or terrorism.
· Jews and Judaism are legalistic. Jews are only about the letter of the law and ignore its spirit.
Tobin and Ybarra point out that in many books the Jewish G-d is depicted as “stern and warlike. G-d’s compassionate qualities, highlighted in lessons about other religions, are missing when Judaism is discussed." They cite numerous cases of a bias against the very foundations of Judaism, while those of Islam and Christianity are treated as fact.
The textbooks “come dangerously close to perpetuating the idea that Jews caused the crucifixion of Jesus and are guilty as a group of deicide, “the killing of G-d.”
In the glossary of one such biased book, World History: Continuity and Change, the entry on the Ten Commandments describes them as "Moral laws Moses claimed to have received from the Hebrew G-d Y-hweh on
The study found that “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 . . .’
According to Tobin and Ybarra, a preoccupation with placating Muslims results in “Politically motivated propaganda” that “wheedles its way into textbooks. “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...”
The authors found that the Islamic empire of the Middle Ages was presented as “a time of unqualified glory without blemishes” and that Islam and Muslims are portrayed as having “always tolerated Jews,” unlike their Christian counterparts. With respect to both Christianity and Islam, they found that Judaism, both as a spiritual contribution to mankind and as a physical presence in
They cited examples where the word “
Perhaps most disturbing, they discovered that the textbooks “come dangerously close to perpetuating the idea that Jews caused the crucifixion of Jesus and are guilty as a group of deicide, “the killing of G-d.”
“It is shocking to discover that history and geography textbooks widely used in
and secondary classrooms contain some of the very same inaccuracies about Christianity, Judaism, and the Middle East as those in
Tobin said that these alarming distortions and inaccuracies were as much a product of “amateurish scholarship” as any anti-Semitic bias, but the effect, he noted, remains the same: “If the president of Iran wants to blast Israel at the U.N., he can use American textbooks to do so."