Anti-Defamation League (ADL) officials made conflicting statements on the existence of a report by the organization about allegations of anti-Israel teaching materials in the public school curriculum of Newton, Mass.
Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) recently took out an advertisement in Boston-area newspapers that highlighted research by concerned parents and students on anti-Israel texts that have appeared in Newton schools. The texts mentioned in the ad include “The Arab World Studies Notebook,” which claims that Israeli soldiers murdered hundreds of Palestinian nurses in Israeli prisons; “A Muslim Primer,” which claims that astronaut Neil Armstrong converted to Islam; “Flashpoints: Guide to World History,” which asserts that Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, is the capital of Israel, and that Jerusalem is the capital of “Palestine”; and other materials.
Leaders from the ADL, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and Combined Jewish Philanthropies (Boston’s Jewish federation) said in a Nov. 6 statement that “based on a careful review of the materials at issue by ADL and JCRC, there is substantial reason to believe that the allegations made in the [APT] ad are without merit.” The ADL, however, is refusing to make its findings on the teaching materials public, The Jewish Advocate of Boston reported in its Nov. 29 edition.
Furthermore, ADL officials contradicted themselves on the existence of an ADL report on Newton schools. ADL New England Regional Director Robert Trestan told The Jewish Advocate that a report of the ADL’s investigation does not exist, while ADL New England Region Board Chair Jeffrey Robbins said, “It’s an internal report. People do this stuff internally all the time. … It involves all kinds of proprietary research.”
“We don’t know if the ADL secured the curriculum from the Newton school committee in order to conclude, as they do, that there are no problems,” APT President Charles Jacobs told JNS.org. “They have not shared their ‘careful review’ of our ad with anyone, including reporters, calling it ‘proprietary.’ They seem to have had a greater urgency in defending school officials and the mayor than in getting the facts from parents and students. This is clearly not the quality effort we would expect from a well-funded organization with vast local and national resources. Disappointing.”