Britain's National Union of Teachers (NUT) has announced it will withdraw a controversial "resource pack" on the Arab-Israeli conflict which has been roundly condemned as one-sided and even promoting anti-Semitism.
The NUT-designed the pack – entitled "My Name is Saleh" – was launched in April at the union's annual conference in partnership with Edukid, a children's education charity. It promotes "Palestinian resistance" – a euphemism for terrorism – to British schoolchildren, and showcases graphic, one-sided images from the conflict including a Palestinian Arab child allegedly "assaulted by settlers." In addition, a video launched with the pack refers to "Jews" in general, as opposed to Israelis.
On Tuesday, after initially attempting to play down criticism, NUT said it would be "temporarily withdrawing" the pack.
The union said that while it was still "confident in the materials" it would "consider any concerns about publications we have any involvement with," according to Jewish News.
That represented an embarrassing about-turn by NUT, which had initially mounted a bizarre defense of the "educational resource," by saying it works "with many organisations, including the Holocaust Educational Trust."
Conservative Party MP Andrew Percy slammed that response as "derisory."
"The NUT spokesman’s attempt to justify its indefensible document by saying they work with the Holocaust Educational Trust is utterly derisory," Percy said.
"Those responsible for the education of our young people, like members of the NUT, would want to ensure that their teaching materials are balanced and thoroughly devoid of political messages.
"As a former history teacher, if any of my students produced such a biased piece of work they wouldn’t have expected to pass."
Sir Eric Pickles, a senior Conservative Party MP and head of the Conservative Friends of Israel, said the materials had "crossed the line."
"The NUT have well and truly crossed the line as to what is acceptable with this appalling document. It’s reference to ‘Jews’ as opposed to ‘Israelis’ is particularly objectionable. I would suggest this pernicious document be withdrawn immediately."
Complaints about the highly political pack have been lodged with the Charities Commission, and the Department for Education.
"The law is crystal clear that all political discussions in school should be unbiased and balanced. Teachers should only use teaching materials which are suitable for their children," a Department spokesperson told the Jewish Chronicle.