California Parents Sue over Anti-Semitic Materials in Public Schools

Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law requiring public-school students in California to complete a course in ethnic studies before graduating from high school. As Lori Lowenthal Marcus and Jesse Fried argue, this measure has created a captive audience for anti-Israel activists.

A creature of 1960s radical left-wing activism, ethnic studies was from the start about attacking the U.S., capitalism, and Zionism. Advocates—including teachers’-union officials, public-school teachers and other ideologues—have formed the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium, through which they hope to influence the teaching of ethnic studies in the state.

The consortium, which disseminates teaching materials lifted directly from radical anti-Israel websites, rejects the idea that all cultures should be studied. It asserts that ethnic studies is about only four groups: Native Americans, black Americans, Chicanos/Latinos, and Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders. That last group includes Arabs from the Middle East—but not Jews, who’ve lived in that same region for millennia.

The consortium’s materials—many of which have been taken offline in recent months—are filled with attacks on Jews and the Jewish state. They deny that Jews are indigenous to the Middle East and teach that Israel is a “colonialist” and “settler state” founded through “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “apartheid.”

California law requires that publicly funded teaching materials be public, so that parents and taxpayers know what’s going on in the schools they use and pay for. But the consortium instructs teachers to violate that mandate. . . . The lawsuit has two aims: removal of teaching materials denouncing the plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs, and public disclosure of all ethnic-studies materials in Los Angeles public schools.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Education, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy