A group fighting antisemitism says radical faculty in the University of California system (UC) are promoting anti-Jewish sentiments by pushing ethnic studies requirements in K-12 education in the state.
The AMCHA Initiative, which documents antisemitic activity across college campuses, released a letter Wednesday signed by 115 U.S. organizations condemning the UC Ethnic Studies Faculty Council for recent statements appearing to support Hamas terrorists.
“The fact that the Faculty Council defends the inhuman atrocities of a terrorist organization committed to the annihilation of the Jewish state, and has publicly aligned UC ethnic studies departments and faculty with Hamas’ genocidal goals, is not simply morally depraved,” said the AMCHA letter. “It presents a clear and present danger for Jewish students in UC classrooms and beyond.”
Additionally, AMCHA told The Lion that the UC faculty are working to impose an ethnic studies admissions requirement in the UC system to control what’s taught through K-12 ethnic studies statewide.
“It’s a proposal to add a new ethnic studies admission requirement to the other courses required for UC admissions (e.g., Math, English, Science, etc.),” Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, cofounder and director of AMCHA, told The Lion. “If the proposal is approved, any student who has not taken a high school course in ethnic studies that meets the ‘course criteria’ developed by UC ethnic studies experts, will not be eligible for UC admission.”
When asked if the course criteria would specifically include antisemitism, Rossman-Benjamin said, “Exactly.”
Addressing the UC Board of Regents, UC Michael President Drake and the UC Chancellors, the AMCHA letter said it was possible for people to condemn the atrocities committed by Hamas and still express sympathy for Palestine.
However, AMCHA charged that “the UC Ethnic Studies Faculty Council refuses to even acknowledge, let alone condemn, the genocidal actions of Hamas. Instead, in a grotesque display of moral inversion, the Faculty Council insists that the heinous crimes of Hamas…must not be called terrorism.”
The letter was signed by groups such as the Alliance of Blacks and Jews, American Values, California Association of Scholars, Eagles Wings, Education Without Indoctrination, Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors and the Legal Insurrection Foundation.
Even prior to the current conflict in Palestine, AMCHA was warning about the proposed new curricula requirements pushed by the UC Ethnic Studies Council, which claims to represent all the ethnic studies faculty on UC campuses.
One council member at the center of the proposal is Christine Hong, founder and recent chair of UC Santa Cruz’s Critical Race and Ethnic Studies department, said AMCHA, according to the Santa Monica Observer.
Hong is a devoted anti-Zionist, who belongs to a group whose mission is “to support the delinking of the study of Zionism from Jewish Studies,” and proudly claims, “[O]ur opposition to Zionism…is a first principle,” said AMCHA.
The group also uses anti-Jewish rhetoric that has recently been associated with supporters of Hamas terror, such as calling Israel a “a settler colonial racial project,” and charging Israel with “group supremacy,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “racism,” according to AMCHA.