The Middle East in Transition is discussed in the Verity Education Report as Item Z. Only a small portion of the text was analyzed. We did not attempt to include every inaccuracy, only the most obvious and egregious ones.
The overt bias against Israelis and Jews in this text can fairly be described as antisemitic. School is no place for the misrepresentations, double standards, and defamation against the Jewish people found in this text.
The Verity Educate Report describes numerous inaccuracies and biases in "The Middle East in Transition". The most worrisome aspect is that it teaches students that there is little or no connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. This bond, which has been explicitly recognized by every major Jewish denomination, is one of the main tenets of Judaism.
According to the definition of "anti-semitism" used by the U.S. government, attempts to deny this relationship are anti-semitic.
This is the text's section on Zionism (p. 6):
What was Zionism?
"Zion" is a Hebrew word for the land of Israel. Zionism, the movement for establishing the state of Israel, had its origins in Europe, where Jews had long been subjected to persecution. At the end of the nineteenth century, some Jewish intellectuals argued that their people could flourish safely only by establishing an independent state. They looked in East Africa and South America before settling on Palestine, a significant region in Jewish history as the best choice. In the early 1900s, these Zionists started buying land there for Jewish settlements.
The description of the Jewish homeland as no more than a "significant place" in Jewish history and the false contentions that leading proponents of Zionism seriously considered adopting Uganda or South America as a new 'homeland' meets the "delegitimization" prong of the test in that it denies the relationship between Jews and the land of Israel. As such, the text can fairly be considered anti-semitic.
False, anti-Israel, and anti-Semetic Claims about Judaism, the Relationship Between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel, and Significant Events in Israeli History
False Claim #1:
“The story of Israel’s creation starts in the late 1800s...[Jewish leaders] looked in East Africa and South America before settling on Palestine, a significant region in Jewish history, as the best choice. In the early 1900s, these Zionists started buying land there for Jewish settlements.”
Uganda never received serious consideration as a site for a future Jewish state; Argentina was never considered at all.
The proposal of a temporary refuge in Uganda for Russian Jews, who continued to suffer from pogroms, was made in 1903 at the Sixth Zionist Congress. The proposed project was not meant to replace Israel as a Jewish homeland, it was intended solely as a temporary measure to save lives.
The proposal was rejected at the 1905 Seventh Zionist Congress after the Russian delegation, representing the community it was meant to protect, walked out in protest during a discussion of creating a Jewish state in any place other than Israel.
Claiming that a one-time proposal made 150 years ago, which was immediately rejected, was ever an idea seriously considered by the Jewish community is misleading and false. It is similar to claiming that the U.S. gave serious consideration to adopting Communism as a political system because Communists have been candidates for political office. The falsehood is typically made to deny the connection of the Jewish people to their homeland in Israel and is used by extreme anti-Israel advocates whose goal is to eliminate Israel altogether. Both the U.S. and the 31 members of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance consider any claim that the ‘alternative’ of Jews settling in Argentina, Uganda, or other area instead of the Jewish homeland of Eretz Israel considers this claim antisemitic.
The theory that Jews planned to settle in Argentina (or Chile) is part of a larger anti-semitic conspiracy theory similar to the canard that Jews are, or plan to, take over the world.
“Palestine” is much more than a “significant region in Jewish history". The return to the Jewish homeland of Israel is an essential tenet of Judaism. All three major Jewish denominations, and almost all minor ones, explicitly state that Zionism – the return of Jews to their homeland - is an essential part of Judaism.
Although Zionism has been a central tenet of Judaism for millennia, Jews were often prevented from emigrating there or leaving the areas where they settled after the expulsion of Jews from Eretz Israel as a result of the Hasmonean wars. It was only recently, when political Zionist activism gave Jews the opportunity to settle in Eretz Israel, that Jews were allowed to emigrate in large numbers.
Despite this, there has been a continuous Jewish presence in Israel for 3,000 years. Jews were the majority population in several areas for hundreds of years, until driven out by Muslim or Christian invaders, and have been the majority population in Jerusalem since the early 1800s. In the 1840s, Jewish philanthropists began purchasing land for Jewish settlement, even though doing so was technically unlawful, and millions of European Jews tried desperately to emigrate until the beginning of World War II. After the war and the genocide that destroyed the majority of the European Jewish community, attempts to emigrate began again and were eventually successful.
False Claim #2:
“Between 1922 and 1939...the Zionist movement increasingly found itself at odds with the aspirations of Palestinian Arabs to forge a state of their own.”
There was never any discussion of a ‘Palestinian’ state until the formation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1964; even then the goal was reunification with Jordan until a change of policy in 1974. Prior to the 1920s, the area known now as the West Bank or Judea and Samaria was part of Syria; after then, it was part of the British Mandate in Greater Palestine until 1948. Until the 1950s, the word ‘Palestinian’ was generally used to refer to Jews, not Arabs.
False Claim #3:
“Most Arab leaders opposed Israel because the country was carved out of lands where Arabs already lived.”
Jerusalem and other areas in pre-state Israel have had a majority Jewish population since the mid-1800’s.
False Claim #4:
“By the time a truce was reached in January 1949, the Zionists had seized a large portion of the land that the U.N. had designated for the Palestinians.”
At the end of the war, each party held territory originally designated for other. In particular, Arab armies claimed the areas of Judea and Samaria (later renamed “West Bank” by Jordan) and murdered or expelled its inhabitants. Using the book's terminology, both sides "seized” land. Because this language condemns actions by Israel while ignoring the same actions performed by its enemies, it can fairly be considered anti-semitic.
False Claim #5:
[After Egypt closed the Suez Canal to Israeli ships in May 1967] “President Johnson attempted to solve the crisis diplomatically. But Israeli leaders had little faith in diplomatic efforts. In June 1967 they launched a surprise attack...and overran the West Bank.”
The “West Bank”, as it was renamed by Jordan during its 19-year occupation of the Jewish territories of Judea and Samaria, belonged to Israel under the 1947 U.N. partition plan. Israel no more “overran” the West Bank than Jordan did when it seized control of Judea and Samaria in 1947. Because this language condemns actions by Israel while ignoring the same actions performed by its enemies, it can fairly be considered anti-semitic.
False Claim #6:
“Israeli warplanes bombed a U.S. communications ship based off the coast of Egypt, killing thirty-four U.S. sailors. Although Israeli leaders claimed the attack was a mistake, some U.S. officials privately believed that Israel’s intent was to direct attention away from Israelis military preparations against Syria.”
There is no evidence to support this claim, which has been rejected by all reputable historians. Were the claim true, it would be a declaration of war by Israel on the U.S. Implying without evidence that the tragic death of U.S. personnel was the result of a deliberate attack is not only false, but the creation of a noxious and defamatory anti-Israel myth can fairly be considered anti-semitic.