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US school textbooks: Arab rejection of Israel cause of conflict

School in US [FlickR]

Schools in the US state of Texas will be required to teach students that “Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict” in the Middle East.

The Texas Board of Education voted during a curriculum review last week to keep the controversial sentence in high school textbooks, which will be used by some 5.4 million public school children. The board is comprised of five Democrat members and ten Republican members, meaning the move is likely to be seen as part of a shift towards a more Republican educational agenda.

In addition, the board voted to remove references to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton being the first woman to run for Presidential office. While teaching students about Clinton will not be banned, the board claims the move is part of an effort to “streamline” lessons and save teachers approximately 30 minutes of time.

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Communications Director of advocacy group Texas Freedom Network, Dan Quinn, told the Guardian: “Last week was a perfect demonstration of why it’s a really bad idea for politicians to write curriculum standards that guide what public schools teach. Because then you end up with history that’s decided by a majority vote instead of by facts and historical accuracy.”

The decisions taken by the board will go to a final vote in November after a period of public consultation, the Independent added.

The US, and in particular southern states which are dominated by Republican voters, have long been vehement supporters of Israel and proponents of the Israeli national narrative. The USA provides more military aid to Israel than any other country in the world, with $134 billion being given to Israel since 1946 in military, economic and missile defence spending. In 2016, the US signed a $38 billion deal to provide Israel with military assistance over the next ten years, which represented the largest such agreement ever made by the US.

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Under President Donald Trump’s administration the US has furthered this pro-Israel agenda, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and unilaterally declaring the city Israel’s capital despite it being classified as a final status issue under the Oslo Accords. The US has been criticised as a dishonest broker in any peace negotiations in light of the so-called “Deal of the Century,” which is believed to be decidedly pro-Israel in its stance. Earlier this month, US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt stated that “we will not put forth a peace plan that does not meet all of Israel’s security issues.” Greenblatt added that the Trump administration is “completely committed to Israel’s security and we believe the [peace] plan will clearly reflect this.”

US embassy might be moved to Jerusalem – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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