Club Z, a national Zionist youth movement, recently participated in several events supporting Israel and combating antisemitism in American schools.
In response to the recent anti-Israel protests across the United States regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States and address to the U.N. General Assembly, Club Z joined other pro-Israel organizations at the “We Stand with Israel Rally” in Manhattan on Sept. 21.
“We need to stop apologizing for Israel—whether it be for her existence, for her strength or for her flaws,” Yurchenko said in his remarks. “And for those who may be confused, let me clarify it for you: We stand with Israel when a left-wing government is in power. We stand with Israel when a right-wing government is in power. We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in our solidarity with Israel. It is that simple.”
The day before, on Sept. 20, Club Z attended a meeting of the Regents of the University of California to protest a proposal to make the antisemitic ethnic-studies curriculum mandatory for admission to University of California campuses.
“The writers of this curriculum have deep-seated anti-Jewish beliefs, and have openly expressed their Jew-hatred across social-media platforms and lectures,” said Jen Weintraub Stock, LA regional director of Club Z, during the open comment portion of the meeting. “They continue to insist that anti-Zionism constitutes a core element of ‘authentic’ ethnic studies. Pushing antisemitism in the classroom makes Jewish teens feel threatened, unsafe and marginalized. I urge you to stop the normalization of Jew-hatred in California high schools.”
Club Z is proud to be among 99 signatories to a letter coordinated by the AMCHA Initiative demanding the rejection of the proposal.
The week beforehand, on Sept. 11, three Club Z teens testified before the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board members at the Combating Antisemitism Summit hosted by the Israeli-American Civic Action Network (ICAN). Each student shared their personal stories of antisemitism in LA schools. The board members responded that they would investigate and make changes to ensure that all Jewish students feel safe. As a result of the teens’ remarks, they have been invited by the California governor’s office to participate in the Commission on the State of Hate in November.
“For me and my fellow Jewish students, Israel-hating rhetoric and Jewish-hating rhetoric feels the same because they are the same: Both are anti-Semitism,” said Joey Karlan, Club Z alumnus. “Israel is used as a proxy to attack Jewish students, who, when they try to stand up for their ancestral homeland are shouted down and threatened with a lower grade if they speak up, another common incident that happened many times at my high school.”