In March, McGraw-Hill Education, one of the world’s largest textbook publishers, caved to Zionist pressure and began destroying all copies of a college political science textbook featuring what were described as “anti-Israel” maps. Published in 2012, Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World contains an image of four maps depicting Palestinian land loss from 1946-2000. The published caption reads, “A mix of diplomatic and military actions and expanded Jewish settlements since the founding of modern Israel has led to a gradual decline in Palestinian-held territory—which explains why the territory remains one of the central sticking points in the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
One week earlier, pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon had published a critical post titled “McGraw-Hill College Textbook includes ‘the Map That Lies,’” and called on readers to inundate the publisher with complaints. Elder of Ziyon argued that the land defined as Palestine on the map had not been controlled by Palestinians, but by the British Mandate and Arab countries.
Within hours, Elder of Ziyon’s post was reproduced by the Tower, a website and magazine run by the Israel Project, a pro- Israel organization that supplies policymakers and journalists with information on Israel and the Middle East, and the right-wing website the Blaze covered the story the next day. McGraw-Hill responded to an inquiry from the Blaze saying that it had suspended sales of the book until a full review could be conducted.
Days later, McGraw-Hill announced that it would discontinue the book and destroy existing inventory. A spokesperson for the publisher told Inside Higher Ed, “the review determined that the map did not meet our academic standards. We have informed the authors and we are no longer selling the book. All existing inventory will be destroyed.” She added that the company would refund anyone who would like to return the book but declined to reveal the makeup of the academic review committee.
McGraw-Hill distanced itself and its authors from the maps, which were originally published by the now defunct Middle East Political Research Center. Critics recalled a similar move by MSNBC, which aired almost identical maps in October 2015. At that time, pro-Israel groups pressured MSNBC into withdrawing the maps and making a public apology. The host of MSNBC Live, Kate Snow, expressed regret for displaying maps that in her words, “were not factually accurate” because Palestine in 1946 was under British Mandate rule and not an independent state.
More than thirty-five scholars, including Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Rashid Khalidi, Ilan Pappé, and Judith Butler, signed on to a letter drafted by Jewish Voice for Peace’s academic advisory council citing this as yet another instance of the erasure of Palestinians from the historical narrative. The signatories argue that the maps “vividly illustrate Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinian people and appropriation of their land, which is why the Israeli government and its supporters wish to suppress them.” The letter adds that instead of censoring the map altogether, McGraw-Hill should have corrected any errors—if they existed.