LONDON - Last April, the British tabloid "The Daily Mail" reported that British schools had stopped conducting lessons of the Holocaust so as to not offend the feelings of Muslim students. The reporting was based on a government document, and since its publication hundreds if not thousands of angry chain e-mails on the issue have circulated the internet.
An Ynet examination of the evidence, however, makes it clear that the report is baseless, and the government document upon which relied never declared that the Holocaust had been omitted from curricula.
The only thing that the government report did reveal was that there are controversial issues that British teachers don't look forward to teaching, among them: the Holocaust, American slavery, and the crusades.
Tuesday sources within the British educational establishment told Ynet that the tabloid piece was faulty – and declared that Holocaust studies in Britain are continuing as before. " There is no evidence that schools are not teaching the Holocaust." Orla Delegray of the Dept for Children, Schools and Families said.
"We have made clear there are certain, non-negotiable subjects which will be protected in schools and that includes the Holocaust," she wrote. According to her, the British Education Ministry has even invested millions of pounds this year in subsidizing programs through which British students visit Auschwitz.
“The suggestion that the Holocaust is being dropped from the UK national curriculum is entirely false," said Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust. According to Pollock, all English and Welsh pupils aged 11-14 are obligated to study the holocaust, a commitment which Education Secretary reaffirmed earlier this year.
"The UK has an excellent record in its promotion of Holocaust education and awareness; emails suggesting otherwise based on no evidence, are extremely unhelpful," Pollock added. "It is extremely difficult to stem the flow of misleading emails once in circulation and we advise anyone forwarding on group emails to ensure that the information they contain is accurate and honest before pressing the send button."
Israeli ambassador: Britain at forefront of struggle
Israel's ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, confirmed that the letters distributed on the internet are unfounded. "I highly appreciate the British government's policy, which supports the continued inclusion of Holocaust studies in the schools' curriculum.
"It is only natural that Britain, as one of the leading nations in the promotion of democratic values — aware of the importance of the battle against anti-Semitism and xenophobia in all its forms — stands at the forefront of the struggle against these phenomena," he said.