Corrections

UKMW prompts correction to Economist claim controversial book was ‘removed’ from curriculum


An article in The Economist focused on Israeli writer David Grossman, who recently won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for his latest work “A Horse Walks Into a Bar”.  The piece (Israel’s artists are celebrated abroad; less so at home, June 24th) suggested that Grossman is less popular at home than abroad due to his left-wing political views, a disparity contextualized as an indication of Israel’s increasing intolerance towards dissent. 

Evidence provided by the Economist demonstrating Israel’s putative lurch right includes the recent row over the book Borderlife (a love story between an Israeli and a Palestinian) by Israeli writer Dorit Rabinyan.

Here’s the relevant passage:

Some of Mr Netanyahu’s cabinet ministers offered more generous praise, even if they remain eager culture warriors. Among them is Naftali Bennett, the education minister, whose ministry removed from the state curriculum a novel featuring a romance between an Israeli and Palestinian

However, contrary to The Economist’s claim, the book in question was never on the state curriculum in the first place.  

All that occurred (as we’ve noted previously) was that the Pedagogic Secretariat of the Israeli Ministry of Education chose not to add the book on the list of required reading for the ‘Bagrut’ (Israel’s high school matriculation examination). Though we’ve encountered other errors in UK media reporting on this issue (such as the false claim the book was “banned”), every media outlet we’ve reviewed got it right on this point – including Agence France Presse, The New York Times and (after a complaint by our sister site BBC Watch) the BBC

We contacted The Economist over this mischaracterisation and, after a series of exchanges, editors ultimately upheld our complaint.

Here’s the new sentence:

Some of Mr Netanyahu’s cabinet ministers offered more generous praise, even if they remain eager culture warriors. Among them is Naftali Bennett, the education minister, whose ministry recently blocked the inclusion on the state curriculum of a novel featuring a romance between an Israeli and Palestinian

The following addendum was also added to the article:

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4 replies »

  1. Recently I walked into a book store. A salesman walked up to me and asked if he could help. I told him I was looking for a book on Israeli cookery, so he showed me the only book they had on offer. I decided that it wasn’t quite what I was looking for – a bit too expensive and perhaps too many “nice” photographs – so I declined the offer.

    There, you see! All by myself, I BLOCKED the sale of this book. Other people wandering into the book store might well decide to buy this book, but . . . I blocked the sale . . That’s how it is done. You too can get into the Economist as somebody who blocks books – all you’ve got to do is to turn down the salesman’s offer.

    While I’m at it, I might even decide to block the Economist. Now that would be something really. Think of it, just decide not to spend my money on the publication, and there we are – I’m blocking it.

  2. At least Adam refrains from “commending” the Economist on its equivocal correction. The recommendation of the “professional committe [sic]” was not “overturned”, it was never adopted.

  3. A romance between an Israeli and a Palestinian? Was the Israeli an Arab? I guess we’re supposed to assume the Israeli is Jewish. I’ll also bet the Jew is a woman. How about a novel where the male is Jewish and the adoring, love-smitten woman is a “Palestinian.” Let’s offer that as required reading to PA high schools and watch the leftish British press smooth over the ensuing riots with some bs pretext.

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