One of the greatest attempts to rewrite history to conform to a political ideology (often anti-semitic) centers around the Jews and their subjugation by Islam throughout Europe, as well as the history of Israel.
Another common method of history revisionism that is commonly employed is:
1) Islamic Tolerance:
Perhaps the most serious flaws in most books are distortions resulting from a combination of omission and commission. This is particularly true of the coverage of Islamic history and Muslims' treatment of Jews in the world history texts. The increased attention given to Islam is one change made to recent editions. Its prominence is now at least equal to that of Judaism and Christianity and, in some books, surpasses them. The significance of Islam to world history is not in doubt. What is historically inaccurate, however, is the portrayal of Muslims as paragons of tolerance, particularly regarding Jews.
Several textbooks, including the Middle East (Houghton Mifflin 1990) write that the Muslims offered the Jews religious toleration, and the Jews were generally treated with leniency by Muslims. Some texts even have the audacity to write that the Jews flourished under Islam.
In World History-Patterns of Civilization (Prentice Hall, 1990) by Benton Beers, we have one of the few books that hints that life was not so ideal, noting that Islam protected Jews "in theory if not always in practice."
Farah and Karls put it differently, writes" Jews did not have all the advantages Muslims did. While Jewish communities in Islamic countries fared better overall than those in Christian lands in Europe, Jews were no strangers to persecution and humiliation among the Arabs.
As historian Bernard Lewis has written: "The Golden Age of equal rights was a myth, and belief in it was a result, more than a cause, of Jewish sympathy with Islam" ("The Pro-Islamic Jews," Judaism, Fall 1968, p. 401). Jews were generally viewed with contempt by their Muslim neighbors; peaceful coexistence between the two groups involved the subordination and degradation of the Jews. Jews did thrive culturally and economically at certain times, but their position was never secure and changes in the political and social climate would often lead to harassment, violence and death2. Omission
American history texts often skip the period of Nazi persecution prior to the war. In American Journey (Prentice Hall, 1992), for example, James West Davidson et al. have a single line stating that Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany's defeat in World War I. Usually, the critical aspects of the Nazi terror are ignored.
In The Human Experience—A World History, Farah and Karls define concentration camps as "large prisons" and the Holocaust as "widespread destruction."
3. Apologists for Authoritarianism
The distortion that is commonly employed is to describe Arab regimes in benign and often positive terms. Conflict among Arab nations is rarely mentioned.
In The Human Experience--World Regions and Cultures, Welty and Greenblatt go so far as to excuse Arab governments for adopting authoritarian forms of government. They assert that military takeovers are common because army officers are better educated, the army is the most effective power base other than religion and historical tradition favors military rule in the Arab world. These are the same authors who write that one of Faisal's first acts as King of Saudi Arabia in 1964 was to abolish slavery, as if nothing was unusual about the practice of slavery a century after the Emancipation Proclamation. They also ignore the evidence that slavery continues to be practiced in parts of the Arab world to this day.
4. Lies about Israel
The coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict is particularly abysmal. Much of the crucial history of Palestine before 1948 is omitted, particularly from the U.S. history books. Those texts that discuss the mandatory period present the Arab version of history; that is, an unrestrained flood of Jewish immigrants invaded a land already inhabited by another people, who were subsequently forced out. The historical Jewish presence in the country is usually ignored.
Beers, for example, implies in World History--Patterns of Civilization that no Jews lived in Palestine until Eastern Europeans came in the 1920's and 30's (nearly 40 years after the First Aliyah) and found more than 650,000 Arabs already living there. (A patent lie).
Farah and Karls write in The Human Experience-A World History that only 50,000 Jews, most from Eastern Europe, lived in Palestine at the time of the First World War, comprising only 10 percent of the population. The actual number was more than 80,000, closer to 15 percent of the total population.
5. Lies and Revisionism about the Palestinian RefugeesWelty and Greenblatt say in The Human Experience--World Regions and Cultures that Jews only migrated to Palestine from the 1920's on and give the impression the British did not impose restrictions until right before WWII. These authors totally ignore Israel's 3000 yr. existence in Israel.
The history of the Palestinians is replete with factual errors, omissions and distortions. Most books give the same explanation for the Palestinian refugee problem, that they "fled or were expelled." No one refers to the thousands who left before the fighting began or before the war was over. Nor do they point out that the number expelled was a fraction of the total that left to avoid the war, or in response to Arab leaders' exhortations to leave.
Farah and Karls, for example, say in The Human xperience--A World History that the Palestinians "decided-or were forced-to leave what had been their homeland." This comes after a discussion of the 1949 armistice, which insinuates the Palestinians fled after the war. In their 1992 edition, they adopted a more neutral position, reporting that as a result of war 700,000 Arabs became homeless. It is unclear where Farah and Karls and the other authors who use the same statistic came up with the number of refugees. The 700,000 figure is lower than the exaggerated Arab estimates, but still nearly one-third higher than that of the U.N. Mediator on Palestine.
In World History-For A Global Age, Abramowitz is the only author who alludes to the fact that 500,000 Jews fled Arab countries in what was, in effect, an exchange of populations. No mention is made of the mistreatment of Jews that provoked many to emigrate from the otherwise tolerant Islamic societies to Israel.
Also, little is said about the treatment the Palestinian refugees received from their brethren. A couple of books do point out the refugees were not welcomed by the Arab states.
Schwartz and O'Connor observe in Exploring A Changing World that Arab nations have not given the Palestinians a home (one of the ONLY texts to point out this truth), but Wallbank and Schrier's Living World History is the only book to note that only Jordan gave them citizenship. The text also points out that refugee camps became bases for "violent attacks" against Israel. Hantula et al's.
The number and condition of the refugees are distorted in every book that discusses them. Wallbank and Schrier say most refugee camps became "permanent settlements" without jobs, farms or services.
Hantula et al., Stearns et al. and Beers all have nearly identical versions. According to these authors, one-third of the 3.5 million Palestinians live in exile, as many as two million confined to squalid refugee camps. These descriptions give the impression that millions of Palestinian refugees are suffering in camps, but this has not been the case for decades. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, two-thirds of the approximately 2.2 million Palestinian refugees are not in camps. "They live and work like everyone else in the towns and villages of the Middle East," UNRWA reports. Moreover, of the five million Palestinians, nearly three-quarters now live in historic "Palestine," either as Israeli or Jordanian citizens or in the West Bank and Gaza.
The truth is that Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights. In fact, Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women can vote. Arabs hold 8 seats in the 120-seat Knesset (Israel's governing body), as well as various government posts. The sole legal distinction between the Arabs and Jews in Israel is that Arabs do not have to serve in the military. Industries like trucking and construction have come to be dominated by Israeli Arabs.