JEWISH leaders have slammed a textbook on the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) curriculum in which the death of Jesus is blamed on the Jews.
DET said it will contact the publisher of Jacaranda Humanities Alive 7 (second edition) after parents of pupils at Glen Eira College alerted the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC).
The textbook, which appears on the booklists of many Victorian schools, states, “Because they saw him as a threat to their power, Jewish religious leaders had Jesus arrested, condemned and crucified by the Romans.”
A DET spokesperson told The AJN the book is “not a resource produced or endorsed” by DET. “However, what is included in the book is offensive. We will contact the publisher to raise our concerns and ask that this section of the textbook be changed immediately.
“We are also working with our faith groups to ensure the change that is needed is appropriately communicated with the publisher. Victorian schools should use their professional judgment to decide which supports and resources to use in the classroom, based on the needs of their local school community.”
Frances Prince, who holds the multicultural and interfaith portfolio at the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), told The AJN, “It’s disappointing in the extreme that such a libellous accusation made its way into a school textbook. I have no doubt that the Education Department will deal with the matter swiftly and appropriately.”
She said the JCCV is committed to continuing its strong relationships with leaders of other faiths. “I have no doubt that my Christian colleagues would be horrified by this textbook insertion.”
Noting the claims in the textbook are at sharp odds with the historic 1965 Second Vatican Council declaration, which absolved Jews of collective complicity in Jesus’s death, ADC chair Dvir Abramovich said, “It is an outrage that the mother of all antisemitic blood libels is now being taught to young adults in Victorian schools.
“The venomous charge that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus has resulted in more than 2000 years of persecution, violence and murder.
“Imagine how students of the Jewish faith would feel reading, along with their classmates, this warped text that casts them as ‘Christ killers’, and the hostility they would be subjected to.”
Jacaranda, the Australian School Division of Wiley, a global education publisher, had not responded to a request for comment by The AJN at the time of going to press.