UK Education Website Apologizes for Homework Assignment That Blamed Jews for Death of Jesus
March 8, 2021
A British educational website has removed and apologized for a homework assignment in which Jews were blamed for the killing of Jesus.
The move by Topmarks followed a complaint by Joanne Bell, the mother of a seven-year-old boy, whose assignment from his school’s religious studies teacher included a slide titled “The Trial of Jesus.”
The text of the slide claimed “Jewish leaders wanted Jesus to be guilty” and “paid people to lie about him.”
Another slide said Roman Governor Pontius Pilate — who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus — had bowed to the will of the Jewish masses and their “chief priests, who wanted Jesus to die.”
Bell tweeted sarcastically, “Why not teach the Blood Libel, hey. What harm has it ever done to portray Jews as bloodthirsty and solely responsible for the death of the believed son of G-d, Jesus. I am in shock. This for 7-year olds.”
Got to love Britain, doing my child’s RE homeschooling today… Why not teach the Blood Libel, hey. What harm has it ever done to portray Jews as bloodthirsty and solely responsible for the death of the believed son of G-d, Jesus. I am in shock. This for 7-year olds. pic.twitter.com/IsaQxsDIq4
— Joanne Bell (@jobellerina) March 2, 2021
A subsequent statement published by Topmarks said, “It has come to our attention that the Easter Bible story on Topmarks contained inappropriate material. We would like to thank one of our users for drawing this to our attention.”
“We deeply regret and apologise that this piece of content was not appropriate,” it added. “We apologise that the material did not meet our standards and that it has caused offence.”
“We have engaged with The Board of Deputies of British Jews, who have welcomed our action to remove the story, to review our religious education materials and ensure they are fully appropriate,” Topmarks noted.
The student’s school also issued an apology.
A spokesperson for the UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said, “The notion that the Jews killed Jesus is an antisemitic trope which dates back millennia. It has been used as a supposed justification for the persecution of Jews in the Christian world for centuries and is often cited in abuse of Jews even today. It is sickening that this material was presented to young children as factual education.”
The CAA spokesperson added, “The apologies from Topmarks and the school in question are welcome, as is the withdrawal of the textbook, but educational material for children, particularly in sensitive fields, must be written and vetted by reliable experts.”