A SIMULATION exercise in which Year 11 students played Arabs and Israelis has been dropped by NSW schools after parents complained it was creating racial tension and painted terrorists in a sympathetic light.
An inquiry by a senior Education Department officer found the simulation exercise, devised by Macquarie University’s centre for Middle Eastern studies, risked creating disharmony in schools and the community and that there was a “significant risk” of harm to the “welfare and wellbeing of students from particular minorities”.
Documents given to The Australian show the inquiry was prompted by complaints from parents that background notes presented to the students gave positive descriptions of groups such as Hamas’s Qassam Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Students were not told the groups are listed terrorist organisations and support for them is an offence under Australian law.
The profile of Hezbollah accurately said that its long-term aims were to rid Palestine of the Jewish population and create an Arab state but no mention was made of its terrorist activities, only philanthropic ones.
A profile of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was presented without mention of his sponsorship of international terrorism.
Rather, his goal was listed as trying “to bring the internet to Syria”.
Who’s behind the brainwashing exercise?
The schools simulation is being run by Andrew Vincent, who runs the Macquarie University centre for Middle Eastern studies and was recently criticised in federal parliament for alleged anti-Israel bias. Mr Vincent said he devised the program to help students “work out the passions” of the Arab-Israeli conflict…
…In a submission to the Education Department late last year, the Jewish Board of Deputies said the support material provided by Dr Vincent to schools comprised “unsupported and prejudicial partisan opinion without even elementary historical context” and depicted terrorist organisations in “sympathetic terms”.
The board said that the character profiles of Israeli/Jewish characters were, with one exception, unsympathetic whereas terrorists were depicted favourably and with empathy.
The profile of Hamas said it was founded by the crippled cleric Sheik Ahmed Yassin “who fell victim to a targeted assassination carried out by Israeli helicopter gunships”, without mentioning the dozens of suicide-bombing attacks that Yassin had ordered against Israeli civilians.
The profile said Hamas supported “a community of schools, mosques, health clinics and even sports leagues”.
International lawyer, former university lecturer and expert on the Arab Israeli conflict David Knoll, who was allowed to give a presentation to the students to provide some balance, said: “The students engaged in the simulation exercise without being given even the most basic historical context. If they had at least completed the Year 12 Arab Israeli history module they would have a balanced historical framework for the exercise.”
According to the board, the material provided by Mr Vincent was not only biased but “riddled with grammatical, syntactical and spelling errors”.
As they say in Australia: Crikey.
Why do I have the sinking feeling this curriculum will somehow end up in our diversity-and-dhimmi embracing public schools?
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