Will Fringe Activists Succeed in Getting Anti-Semitism into the California High-School Curriculum?

Will pro-BDS and anti-Semitic material soon appear in public high schools across the state of California? To judge by a proposed new “ethnic-studies curriculum” in the state, that’s certainly one possibility. In 2016 the California legislature passed a law calling for the creation of such a curriculum. Now the curriculum has appeared in model form—and it’s trouble, report Jackson Richman and Sean Savage.

The proposed curriculum section on “Arab American Studies Course Outline” contains a number of passages concerning the Israel-Palestinian conflict, such as “Direct Action Front for Palestine and Black Lives Matter,” “Call to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel” and “Comparative Border Studies: Palestine and Mexico.” It also includes studying national figures such as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the late Columbia University professor Edward Said, Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, the late radio personality Casey Kasem, actress Alia Shawkat, and the late White House correspondent Helen Thomas—all of whom are associated with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric, and, in the case of the congresswomen, a push to enact legislation punishing Israel.

According to the sample course models, students also are introduced to concepts like the nakba, defined from Arabic as “the catastrophe,” which is used to describe the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel in May 1948 and the displacement of Arabs that occurred.

Many in the Jewish community are outraged.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center told the Jewish News Service (JNS) that if this curriculum is left unchallenged, it would “be a disaster for all Jews in California.”

“The proposed mandatory ethnic-studies curriculum inexplicably snubs Jews and other ethnic groups as it falls woefully short on inclusiveness of California’s diverse population,” the American Jewish Committee’s Los Angeles chief of staff Dganit Abramoff and AJC Northern California Rabbi Serena Eisenberg told JNS. “It mischaracterizes Jewish history and identity, especially Mizraḥi Jews, who constitute a significant portion of the state’s Jewish population; neglects the history and scope of anti-Semitism; and demonizes the state of Israel.”

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Jewish Press

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, BDS, California

Is There a Way Out of Israel’s Political Deadlock?

On Tuesday, leaders of the Jewish state’s largest political parties, Blue and White and Likud, met to negotiate the terms of a coalition agreement—and failed to come to an agreement. If none of the parties in the Knesset succeeds in forming a governing coalition, there will be a third election, with no guarantee that it will be more conclusive than those that preceded it. Identifying six moves by key politicians that have created the deadlock, Shmuel Rosner speculates as to whether they can be circumvented or undone:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month


Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics