California state capitol

California proposes ethnic studies curriculum with anti-Israel components

Sixteen Jewish state legislators call the curriculum inaccurate, misleading and reflecting an anti-Jewish bias while parents fear youngsters will be educated to view Israel and Zionism as evil

Jewish and Israeli parents in California are concerned about a new program proposed by the state education board for high schools in the upcoming school year which they say presents the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement and other anti-Israeli content in a positive light.



The California Department of Education posted a draft proposal for a new ethnic studies curriculum – the first state-level curriculum on the academic subject in the country.


California state capitol
California state capitol


The proposed curriculum deals with immigrant communities and minorities in the United States; their history, culture and public perception.


Among the immigrant communities to be studies in the proposed program is the American Arab community.


The 16 member Jewish caucus in the California state legislator, all Democrats, sent an urgent letter to the head of the education board expressing their "deep concern" calling the proposal "inaccurate and misleading in several critical respects that reflects and anti-Jewish bias."


The legislators also say the proposed curriculum "reinforces negative stereotypes about Jews and singles out Israel for criticism".


The Ethic studies curriculum was part of a bill signed into California law in 2016 to ensure quality courses of ethnic studies but critics say this proposal does the exact opposite and marginalizes the Jewish community.


The references to the BDS, legislators say "are not inclusive and present a single viewpoint on an extraordinarily complex international political dispute".


BDS protest against Israel (Photo: EPA)
BDS protest against Israel (Photo: EPA)


The Israeli American Community (IAC) launched a campaign against the proposed curriculum asking the public to sign a petition to be sent to members of the Board of Education.


Sharon Ezra, an Israeli mother of three, living in California said she was very worried her kids would be subject to such an educational program. "It is so easy to persuade and mold the minds of young children. I think everyone should be concerned".


Among the texts the to be studied in the proposed course is poetry by British rapper Shadia Mansour: "For every free political prisoner, an Israeli colony is expanded For each greeting, a thousand houses were demolished They use the press so they can manufacture, but when my sentence is judged, reality presents itself".


August 15 is the last date for opposition to the proposal to be submitted. So far the IAC have a few thousand signatures on their petition.


"If we don't act now, a generation that will hate Zionism and Israel will grow up in California" warns Ezra.


פרסום ראשון: 08.12.19, 14:56
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