NSW Education Department dumps Mid-East simulation
"The NSW Department of Education and Training has dumped a controversial program, developed by Macquarie University, in which students simulate the main players in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"In the computer simulation, university students, as well as Year 11 history students at seven NSW high schools, role-played leading figures in the conflict.
"According to Dr Andrew Vincent, the director of Macquarie University’s Centre for Middle East and North African Studies, the simulation enables students to 'gain an insight into views from all sides of the argument'.
"But a review by the NSW Department of Education, prompted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, found the course to be unsuitable for high schools. However, it will continue at Macquarie University.
"The board said the simulation’s background information on the figures represented was heavily biased against Israel. The seven schools which had used the simulation included North Sydney Boys High School and Killara High School, where Jewish students complained about it.
"Board of Deputies president David Knoll told the AJN: 'Our community welcomes the government’s continuing commitment to balance, factual accuracy and objectivity in educational programs.'
'The simulation exercise did not meet the government’s own standards on teaching controversial issues in schools,' he said.
"The federal member for Melbourne Ports, Michael Danby, said the university’s simulation was an indictment of the anti-Israel bias displayed by its Centre for Middle East and North African Studies.
"He also criticised Dr Vincent over the appointment to the centre’s board of Jewish left-wing commentator Antony Loewenstein, whom Danby previously attacked over his vehement criticism of Israel.
"'I’d like to know how the vice-chancellor of Macquarie University can justify either Loewenstein’s appointment or the kind of bias the NSW Department of Education’s decision points to', Danby said.
"'One wonders what kind of graduates are being churned out by such biased facilities and I think the funding of such one-sided courses at Macquarie University, at the Australian National University, and other places, ought to be investigated by parliament.'
"Dr Vincent rejected charges that the simulation has been biased and defended the appointment of Loewenstein, who hosts an internet blog that deals largely with Israel and is writing a book about the responses to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, scheduled to be published later this year.
"'We wanted a Jewish person on the board. We didn’t have any Jews on the board and it seemed to be an absence', Dr Vincent said.
"'He was a fairly well qualified person who writes extensively about the Middle East…It seems an ideal choice.'"
Meddling MP Michael Danby - who has a history of trying to quash dissent - and the leading Jewish organisation in NSW seem to believe that any reading of the Israel/Palestine conflict that doesn't subscribe to a strict interpretation of Zionist dogma is biased. This skewed logic also extends to complaints about my appointment to the board.
It is about time that Danby and his Zionist defenders understood that their reading of the conflict - never-ending excuses for a brutal and illegal occupation - is starting to wear thin in the wider community.