As university student groups in the U.S. are under fire for pro-Hamas support and antisemitism, similar sentiments are being shared by some in the K-12 education bureaucracy.
Ellie Krasne-Cohen, visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and social policy expert, isn’t surprised.
“Especially through ethnic studies, American students are taught divisive, hyper-politicized ideologies, and it truly came to light this week,” she told The Lion. “After a horrific attack on innocent Israelis, some public school leaders made statements that targeted Jews.
“This ideologically motivated thinking has no place in public education. Children need to learn reading, math, and other core subjects and be taught to respect all people – no matter their background.”
Frank Lara, the Executive Vice President of the United Educators of San Francisco, reshared anti-Israel tweets and others in support of Palestine, including those from the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Chicago Teachers Union Vice President, Jackson Potter, responded to a video of President Biden supporting Israel by writing, “It is guaranteed that Palestinian casualties will exceed Israeli casualties within days if not hours, that’s been the overwhelming dynamic of the occupation.”
The conservative and libertarian think tank Illinois Policy accused Potter of “LARPing as an analyst on Israel-Palestine.”
“Odd?” the think tank asked. “Not at all. CTU’s top priority shifted away from education years ago.”
It is not only union bosses who were quick to criticize Israel after the country suffered brutal terrorist attacks from Hamas Oct. 7, or after other attacks through the years.
School board member Abrar Omeish, of Fairfax County School District in Virginia, said it “hurts her heart” as “Israel kills Palestinians & desecrates the Holy Land.”
Omeish came under fire previously when her plans to use $3 billion for a Palestinian, ‘Muslim power’ agenda was revealed – after she chose not to vote on a motion remembering 9/11 victims.
Some critics, like Krasne-Cohen, worry about antisemitism seeping into curricula.
An ethnic studies graduation requirement bill, signed into law in California just two years ago, could potentially lead to “overtly antisemitic curricula making their way into every high school in the state and inciting hatred and hostility towards Jewish students and the Jewish community in California and well beyond,” according to a statement from Holocaust survivors and their descendants.
The group claimed the state’s largest teachers’ unions, as well as ethnic studies departments and faculty on college campuses, embraced the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute (LESMC), which has been linked to pro-Palestine and anti-Israel sentiments.
In now deleted links, the LESMC used terminology which allegedly vilified Israel, such as “settler colonialism” and “apartheid.” It also encouraged teachers to “create a space within your school” to engage in activism against Zionism and fight the “Zionist backlash,” noted as “white supremacy.”
Notably, Los Angeles Unified School District and the Glendale Unified School District released statements this week in support of Israel.
However, their statements were condemned by the left-leaning groups Los Angeles chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations and Jewish Voice for Peace, Los Angeles.