Middle East studies in the News
CA School District Approves Workshop Accusing Israel of 'Genocidal Policies'
Last week the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) went forward with a workshop for teachers which included content accusing Israel of genocide against the so-called "Palestinian" Arabs. Unsurprisingly, the organization behind the workshop is active in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against the Jewish state.
Algemeiner.com reports that the voluntary workshop for educators — called "Learning about Islam and the Arab World" — was organized by the Los Angeles chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FORUSA), an interfaith organization that supports the Palestinian-led BDS campaign against Israel, according to its website.
The first workshop began on October 14 at the United Teachers Los Angeles development center, with a second session scheduled for October 21. LAUSD teachers are rewarded for attending the workshop by gaining one "salary point" — helping them earn higher pay — if they participate and complete the required assignments.
Classes at the workshop included a 40-page primer titled "Palestine/Israel," taught by Jeff Cooper, which refers to Israel as a "supremacist ethnic state" and "a State of Oppression." It claims that Palestinians are "at the mercy of the Israeli war machine," and that non-Jews in the country "do not possess equal rights with their fellow Jewish citizens."
It also accuses Israel of implementing "ethnic cleansing and incremental genocidal policies," and declares that "the Zionist vision, since 1896/97, [was] of a Jewish state in all of historical Palestine, with very few, if any, native Palestinians living in it."
Another class — "Palestine Today: No Way to Treat a Child" — is led by Rola Karam, who previously presented at a conference for the pro-BDS group Sabeel. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Sabeel's past "efforts to demonize Israel and Israelis have ... featured charges of deicide against Jews."
Shannon Haber, a spokesperson for LAUSD, told The Algemeiner that "Learning About Islam and the Arab World" was last approved in 2013 after having been "reviewed for multicultural awareness, respect for diversity, dialogue, and non-violent conflict resolution, and alignment to the California History Social Studies Standard 7.2."
The Algemeiner notes that although "the standards referenced by Haber — adopted by the California State Board of Education for seventh grade history and social science content — touch on material related to the birth and development of Islam and Muslim civilizations, they do not mention content related to Israel or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
FORUSA has also held workshops for educators in the Orange County Department of Education — also on "Islam and the Arab World" — on October 4, with a second session scheduled for October 25.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
Campus Watch contact e-mail: email@example.com