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

We contacted The Economist over a claim that a controversial book (featuring a Jewish-Palestinian romance) by an Israeli writer was "removed" from the school curriculum, and editors ultimately upheld our complaint.

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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