British textbook erases Israel

A book commended by the Duke of Edinburgh, published by a firm endorsed by the British Council, has been shown to have an anti-Israel bias

by The Commentator on 1 January 2013 17:06


A popular textbook used by institutions and teachers to teach English as a second language has been found to have a disturbing anti-Israel undertone.

The textbook contains a map of the Middle East, labelling and identifying the countries displayed and presenting it as part of an exercise for a 'Jordanian student at Greenhill College'. The map however, leaves off the label of 'Israel', instead replacing it with the words "Occupied Palestine".

The book, "Skills in English: Writing Level 1" is utilised by teachers across the United Kingdom and further afield. The Duke of Edinburgh ESU English Language Award judges called the book, "Extremely well-planned and constructed and very impressive."

"I teach English as a foreign language in a further education college in Nottingham, England. I came across the attached map and couldn't believe my eyes!" Liz Wiseman told the Israel Today website.

The textbook is written by husband and wife authors Terry and Anna Phillips, who between them have over 65 years of teaching English. Anna's biography states: "Anna began writing materials for special courses as a senior teacher working for the British Council in Oman. Later, as Director of Studies and Owner-Manager of the International House school in Oman, she spent much of her time adapting and developing materials..."

Liz Wiseman, who made the discovery, acknowledged that she was not obliged to use the textbook, however it is regarded as one of the more popular English Language Teaching (ELT) books published by the mainstream, 'Garnet Education' organisation.

Garnet Education describes itself as, "an independent English Language Teaching (ELT) publisher, specialising in English for Academic Purposes. We produce award-winning ELT books, multimedia resources and tests for students of all ages, from kindergarten to university."

Garnet appears to be endorsed by the UK public body, the British Council, which features Garnet on its website with the following description: "They have extensive experience working with state education ministries, particularly in the Middle East, to develop their national English language curriculum."

The book series was awarded an honour by the English Speaking Union as part of the Duke of Edinburgh awards in 2004. The English Speaking Union is a UK charity at which Mitt Romney gave a campaign speech to US expats in London in 2011.

A prominent area of the Phillips' ELT website, dedicated to Anna and Terry's work, is given to 'teaching Arab learners'. Terry and Anna Phillips were not available for comment at the time of publication.

The British Council told The Commentator: "Garnet Education is listed in our online directory of English language teaching (ELT) organisations as part of our services to the ELT sector. The directory shows the range of ELT-related services currently available in the UK and aims to be comprehensive. This listing does not imply a commendation or endorsement of the textbook in question, which, as Garnet Education has stated, was corrected and has been out of print for several years."


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