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May 25, 2012 11:06 am

British School Exam: Why Do Some People Hate Jews?

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Students taking an exam. Photo: wiki commons.

British students were recently asked “ why some people are prejudiced against Jews” during an examination in which over 1000 religious studies students hoped to attain their General Certificate of Secondary Education (somewhat equivalent to senior year finals in U.S. high schools), sparking concerns inside government and civil society, while others say the question is justified.

“To suggest that anti-Semitism can ever be explained, rather than condemned, is insensitive and, frankly, bizarre. AQA needs to explain how and why this question was included in an exam paper,” Britain’s Education Secretary Michael Gove said.

It is “the duty of politicians to fight prejudice, and with anti-Semitism on the rise we need to be especially vigilant,” Gove continued.

However, Clive Lawton, a former chief examiner of religious studies for one of England’s top 3 exam boards, says the question is a completely fair one.

“I do understand why people might react negatively to the question, but it is a legitimate one,” he said.  “Part of the syllabus is that children must study the causes and origins of prejudice against Jews.”

A spokesperson for AQA, which administered the examination, says they did not mean to cause any harm.

“The board is obviously concerned that this question may have caused offense, as this was absolutely not our intention. The question acknowledges that some people hold prejudices; it does not imply in any way that prejudice is justified.”

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