Education on Israel and Palestine just got shut down in Scottish schools

Benjamin Netanyahu
Support us and go ad-free

Under pressure from pro-Israel lobbyists, Scottish deputy first minister John Swinney has removed teaching resources on Israel and Palestine. CommonSpace revealed that Swinney, who is also cabinet secretary for education and skills, told Education Scotland to “pause all activity on the resources” in August 2018. That’s after Swinney met with pro-Israel groups such as the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities.

“Useful and fit for purpose”

Swinney removed the education materials despite an academic review finding them “useful and fit for purpose”. Education Scotland also said:

in all honesty we do not understand why there would be any issues with using them in schools


Some pro-Israel lobby groups have insisted outright that teachers cannot educate on Israel and Palestine without it leading to antisemitism. Groups such as Scottish Friends of Israel are opposed to even the concept of education on the topic, branding it “inappropriate and divisive”. The group also claimed teaching students about the occupation will “bring anti-Semitism into the classroom”.

A spokesperson for the Scottish government told CommonSpace:

It is important that schools have access to appropriate materials that provide the broadest possible learning experience, including about the impact of conflict.

Any resources on a sensitive subject such as Israel and Palestine are going to attract a range of differing opinions. That is why there has been a considerable amount of work over a long period to take account of stakeholder views and ensure the materials in this case are as balanced and objective as possible before being made available

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

“Grave danger”

But academics, education professionals, teachers, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace, students and Palestinian groups have said they support the resources, which Education Scotland certified as “quality assured”.

Palestinian groups also issued a statement criticising the “privileged access” they say Swinney has given pro-Israel groups during a three-year process. They said that there had been “no attempt to inform the other stakeholders of emerging obstacles” and warned that there was a “grave danger of allowing political lobbyists to interfere in the teaching and learning of our pupils”.

Featured image via Vice News/ YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed