ADL treatment of anti-Israel school texts criticized by Massachusetts Jewish paper

( The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was criticized by a Massachusetts Jewish newspaper for its treatment of anti-Israel teaching materials in the public high schools of Newton, a suburb of Boston.

The anti-Israel "Arab World Studies Notebook," which was removed from the public school curriculum of Newton, Mass. Credit: Amazon.

After the activist group Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) ran advertisements in several newspapers calling out Newton school officials over the anti-Israel texts, ADL said its “careful review” of the situation showed that APT’s allegations were “without merit.” But ADL made conflicting statements on its review. New England Region Director Robert Trestan told The Jewish Advocate of Boston that no report of ADL’s investigation exists, while regional board chair Jeffrey Robbins said a report does exist, but wouldn’t be publicly shared because it “involves all kinds of proprietary research.” 

In a Dec. 12 editorial, The Jewish Journal of the Massachusetts North Shore wrote that while the Newton schools affair should have been a “teachable moment,” ADL’s “unwillingness to publish investigative details and findings perpetuated the conflict and impeded progress.” 

The Newton school system was forced to withdraw a textbook, The Arab World Studies Notebook, after parent complaints about the book’s assertion that the Israel Defense Forces murdered hundreds of Palestinian nurses in Israeli jails. Other study materials in Newton incorrectly identify Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine” and intimated that Israelis intentionally killed American sailors during the 1967 Six-Day War. 

Posted on December 16, 2013 .