Udi Glaser and Ethan Schwartz (27/01/2012)
"Jewish migrants have been settling" in the Palestinian state, according to an article published in the inaugural issue of a magazine distributed free at Parrs Wood High School, in Manchester (pictured). The article features a potentially misleading timeline of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In addition, the timeline, which contains “just the facts" according to the author, begins with the transferring of control from the British Mandate to the UN in 1947. Then, in December 1947, describes “the start of bloodshed"- stating that the “Jewish forces began ‘clearing’ operations against Palestinian villages - shooting them & raiding homes." The next milestone is the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.
Towards the end of the timeline, it is mentioned that in 2002 Israel built a fence around the Gaza Strip, "in spite of growing international disaproval". The axis ends in 2004, a year simply titled "attack", which mentions the targeted assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin by Israel, but not the ongoing Second Intifada and other important events.
Andrew Shakos, the Headteacher of Parrs Wood High School, was unavailable for comment, although, in an email published yesterday on the website Harry’s Place, he stated: “it was perhaps a mistake to allow such an over-simplification of a complex issue to be addressed by one of our junior contributors and we certainly apologise for any upset caused by its publication.”
It has also emerged that the school has a history of involvement with the controversial charity, Human Appeal International. The US State Department has accused Human Appeal International of raising money to support Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and it has been proscribed by the State of Israel. Parrs Wood High School is hosting a fundraiser for Human Appeal International on Saturday, the 18th of February. In 2009, the school hosted a “Day for Gaza” event, organized by Syrian Friends in Britain to aid Human Appeal International.
You can read the article here (pages 19-20).
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1. Author in 07/02/2012:
Statement from ZCC President David Berkley QC about Parrs Wood High School story 3 February 2012 Parrs Wood School was the subject of Geoffrey Alderman's column in today's issue of the Jewish Chronicle. The background to the story is the publication of the School's first issue of a student magazine which included a piece about the Arab-Israel Conflict which had been written by a pupil. The magazine does not reflect the policy or teaching at the School. Nevertheless the child's contribution to the magazine contained significant inaccuracies and demonstrated a serious anti-Israel bias. The magazine was produced under the editorship of six-formers (although the contributor was younger). Since publication of the offending article, the school and its headteacher, Mr Andrew Shakos, have received many complaints from pro-Israel activists, including myself on behalf of the ZCC. Mr Shakos has considered those complaints, responded and acknowledged that mistakes were made and has apologised and sought to make amends. I consider that it was entirely appropriate and constructive to have had a strong public reaction to what was a very distorted and one-sided presentation of the history of the State of Israel. However some of the challenges to the publication which I have seen went far beyond what was sensible or indeed warranted and had the risk of alienating decent and fair minded educators and governors of what is in fact a good school in our city. Most of the most strident critics, including Mr Alderman, were simply not in possession of the relevant facts and have rushed to judgment and unfairly condemned the school and its headteacher. As might be expected Lucille Cohen, as President of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester, has played a major role in representing the concerns of the Jewish community in a most effective manner. Joy Wolfe MBE has been similarly engaged as has Raymond Solomon, in his capacity of a deputy to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. None of us are soft when in comes to combatting the delegitimisation of the State of Israel and have considerable experience in the field. I can assure you that the situation is very much under control and there have been highly constructive discussions and mutual recognition of how this situation arose and what can now be done to prevent any recurrence. Lucille, Joy, Raymond and I have each visited the school and met with the headteacher and the chair of the governors and held extensive discussions. We all feel that Mr Alderman's piece in the JC today is an unfair characterisation of Mr Shakos and of the school. For those reasons I am asking our activists to refrain from engaging in further criticism of the school and its management and to allow the current dialogue between the local community representatives to continue so as to achieve what I believe will be a satisfactory resolution. Wishing you Shabbat Shalom David Berkley QC President, Zionist Central Council of Greater Manchester
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