Oakland elementary teachers call for pro-Palestine ‘teach-in,’ promote union resources that ignore Holocaust

Elementary teachers with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) plan on having a “teach-in” to promote solidarity with Hamas to students, with the help of the local teachers’…

Elementary teachers with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) plan on having a “teach-in” to promote solidarity with Hamas to students, with the help of the local teachers’ union.

“We’re asking that all teachers in the whole city participate in support of the event,” said OUSD elementary teacher Jacob Fowler in a YouTube video, according to local KTVU Fox 2 News.

Resources gathered and created by members of the Oakland Education Association (OEA) denouncing Israel and supporting Hamas are hosted on Google Drive.

The OEA is the teachers’ union for the district.

The online drive includes curricula created by groups such as Teaching While Muslim, the Palestinian Feminist Collective, Teaching for Palestine, Zinn Project Education, Newsela and other radical leftist groups.

One slide from a presentation targeted at elementary school students defines Zionism as “a political goal of creating a country only for Jewish people,” ignoring the fact that non-Jews living in Israel can be, and often are, Israeli citizens and vote in elections.

It also ignores the fact that non-Jews often dominate municipal elections in Israel, routinely electing Arab mayors.

According to a Fox News review of the drive, the OEA curricula completely avoids talking about the Holocaust as the impetus for the creation of Israel.

KTVU also reported that elementary students will be asked to draw what they think a Zionist leader looks like and what the definition of a massacre is, after being shown slides that say that Zionism is a product of British colonialism and has resulted in the massacre of Arab people.

OUSD’s superintendent, Kyla Johnson-Trammell, warned that any teaching activity must be non-biased, saying teachers should “keep their personal beliefs out of the classroom,” according to KTVU. 

But she stopped short of saying there would be consequences for teachers who participated in the so-called teach-in. 

That may be because OUSD understands the people actually organizing the teach-in are union officials. 

The OEA has been criticized already, after an Instagram post under the union’s account stated the union gave its “unequivocal support for Palestinian liberation,” and called Israel a “genocidal and apartheid state.” 

The post, which mirrors the language of Hamas supporters, came over three weeks after the Hamas attacks on Israel, which caused outrage due to the terrorist group’s brutal tactics that included execution, massacre and rape of Israeli civilians. 

The OEA subsequently called the Instagram post a “mistake.” 

“We are learning from this mistake and are implementing a system to ensure all posts represent the decisions by our democratically elected representatives,” the OEA said in a statement, reported local KRON TV 4 News. 

The OEA subsequently deleted the post, but a similar post on Facebook remains – and that post calls for the type of teaching that elementary teacher Fowler and others are proposing. 

Indeed, the OEA Facebook post specifically defends the lesson plans proposed by the teachers calling for the teach-in, describing the lessons as a “great resource for classroom materials.” 

“Additionally, OEA educators are working on compiling lesson plans and curriculum materials to support education in our classrooms,” said the OEA official Facebook account, weeks before details of the teach-in became public via YouTube. “This google drive will be continuously updated, so please check regularly for more resources. What’s more, any educators who face disciplinary actions based on their teaching will have the full support of the Association and OEA leadership.” 

Calls, emails and texts messages by the Lion to Fowler went unreturned. Also unanswered was an email to the OEA for Palestine group that owns the Google Drive where the curricula for the pro-Palestine teach-in is stored, as was an email and phone call to the OEA general office.