(August 12, 2019 / JNS) The Israeli-American Council (IAC) is working to mobilize the Israeli-American community across California to oppose the inclusion of anti-Semitic content in any ethnic-studies curriculum, which is currently under consideration for the California public school system.
According to the IAC, the draft curriculum “excludes Jews as an ethnic minority and suggests coursework that delegitimizes the State of Israel, including a lesson on ‘Call to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel,’ and insinuates that Jews are responsible for Arab displacement after the nakba [‘catastrophe’]” represented by the nation’s modern-day creation in 1948.
The IAC has established a Facebook group, launched a petition for Californians to express their opposition and offered a public comment template that streamlines the process for community members to voice their concerns to the Instructional Quality Commission.
Shoham Nicolet, the organization’s CEO, told JNS that the curriculum unfairly targets Israeli Americans.
“The proposed California curriculum unfairly targets Israeli Americans. Just like any other ethnic minority community, our community should not face this kind of discrimination and bigotry,” he said.
“The IAC is proud to empower thousands of Israeli Americans across the state and support their grassroots effort. More than 11,000 people joined our letter to the Board of Education with thousands of others communicating to call for extensive revision to the draft curriculum. Our community is standing up in a big way to oppose this biased curriculum.”
The ethnic-studies curriculum under proposal by the California Department of Education is being widely condemned by pro-Israel and Jewish groups, California lawmakers and activists for its “blatant bias against Israel.”
The Israeli-American Council is one of a number of California Jewish groups speaking out against the curriculum.
Last week, 83 organizations sent a letter to the California Department of Education calling for it to establish safeguards to prevent any and all “future attempts to use educational curricula to indoctrinate students with a biased, inaccurate and hateful agenda,” according to a statement from the AMCHA Initiative, which organized the letter.
The proposed curriculum is currently going through public comment and expected to go through revisions before being approved next year by the board.