On Monday 11th June Mr de Jong, accompanied by Year 12 Politics student Denis Antor, travelled to The Palace of Westminster for a conference, hosted by Lord Turnberg, entitled ‘Teaching controversy in schools: Understanding the history of Israel and Palestine’. Mr de Jong had been invited to speak about showing both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives on Israel Journeys and Denis was invited as an audience member.
Mr de Jong shared his reflections on the value of teaching both sides, or in the case of the JCoSS Israel Journey, seeing both sides. He explored students’ changing attitudes, the impact of dual perspectives on learning about other controversial topics and his ability to teach with balance from the perspective of a half-British and half-Israeli Jew. Denis was able to offer his perspective as a previous participant in the JCoSS Israel journey. Both faced challenging questions from the audience, some of whom struggled to reconcile our Zionist ethos with teaching more than one perspective. Both Denis and Mr de Jong showed why JCoSS is the remarkable place that it is: a cross-communal, pluralist, inclusive secondary school with a strong commitment to teaching with equivalence and a strong emphasis on Zionism.