Update: The Flashpoints website was removed from publication in 2015. Excerpts can be viewed here and here.

As noted in the "Breaking News" section of our home page, Newton North Library removed the website Flashpoints from their list of resources in October, 2012. The site contains inaccurate, biased, and arguably anti-semitic material as well as numerous spelling and grammatical errors. The library explained that Flashpoints was owned by a different organization at the time it was added to the list of library resources.

We appreciate the library's response to our concerns. Librarians quickly investigated the matter, determined the material was inappropriate, and removed it. If NPS officials acted with the same concern and commitment as the librarians at Newton North, the 'curriculum issue' would readily be resolved.

This incident illustrates the compelling need to periodically review class and library materials. The Newton Public Schools should not depend on parents, or indeed on fourteen-year-old students (as was the case with the Arab World Studies Notebook) to point out inaccurate and biased materials. This is the schools' responsibility, as of now, it is not being fulfilled.

To illustrate the problems which occur when websites and reading materials remain unmonitored for years, here is a sampling of what students perusing this 'recommended' resource would learn:

From the Country briefing: "Israel-Palestine":

  • Many Israeli immigrants from Eastern Europe and the former USSR "know and care little about human rights or democracy".

  • Israel's "motivations" for existence include taking land and water "to support its rapid growth" .

  • Israel has "continuously strengthened its influence over American domestic politics" as well as Middle East policy in recent decades (i.e. foreign, Jewish influences are taking over the U.S.).

  • "Failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...is a root cause behind al-Qaeda's war against Israel and the West" (al-Qaeda never mentioned the Arab-Israeli conflict as motivation until after 9/11)

  • The situation in "Palestine" is also a "root cause" of international terrorism (Chechen terrorists in Russia, radical Islamists in Bali, and the Taliban in Afghanistan do not cite 'Palestine' as the reason for their acts).

Similar untrue and biased statements about Christians and Muslims are made in other parts of the website.