Australian Jews call textbooks offensive

Jewish leaders in Sydney called for a high school textbook on religion to be withdrawn because of “offensive” claims that could “fuel anti-Semitism.”

The chapter on Judaism in the 2009 edition of the Cambridge Studies of Religion, published by Cambridge University Press (Australia and New Zealand), claims that “much modern conflict in the world is related to the reactions of other groups to the Jewish people” and that Passover “involves slaughtering lambs, [and] smearing the lintel on the front door with blood.”

The book, by Christopher Hartney of the University of Sydney, also claims that polygamy is “commonly practiced” in Israel and that “the tendency for Jews to choose sophisticated professions such as law, medicine and scholarship is closely connected to Jewish family togetherness.”

“It is alarming that a book which is widely used in schools across New South Wales could contain so many inaccuracies and such appalling statements,” New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said.

The book already has been distributed to approximately 5,000 students in their final two years of high school in New South Wales. — jta