NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– An outcry in Rockland County has resulted in the pulling of an offensive history presentation.
Critics called it anti-Semitic and wholly inaccurate and the school district is now owning up to its mistake.
Clarks town South High School discontinued the video last week. The video presentation explained why Jews were persecuted in the ancient world.
“A couple thousand years ago, it was the Jews who were the zealots,” the cartoon video explains.
“The chutzpah, to show a video and produce a video that suggests that Jews were at fault for the persecution they faced?” Yossi Gestetner of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council told CBS2’s Lou Young.
The video was shown in three 9th grade social studies classes last month as part of a lesson about Judaism and Christianity in the Roman Empire.
Some students were immediately offended.
“It’s horrible that something like that existed and how it wasn’t picked up before is astounding,” Steve Gold of the Rockland Jewish Federation said.
The production offered by Study.com was pulled after complaints hit Facebook: a comparison of Judaism and Christianity that scholars say is completely inaccurate, as well as offensive.
Both the Rockland Jewish Federation and the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council complained. The school district reviewed the video calling it “demeaning and historically inaccurate.” The district said use of the video “was a mistake.”
Study.com issued a statement saying, “We apologize that the video seemed offensive. That was certainly not what we intended.”
It is no longer available. Experts on religion and ancient Rome say it never should have been.
“It was not historically accurate in any way; not religiously accurate either. It perpetuated very, very bad stereotypes because people have bad history and this is bad history,” Iona College Professor Elena Procario said.
Contacted by CBS2, the Anti-Defamation League weighed in condemning the video and praising the school district for its quick action.