While the slaying of some 1,400 Jews by Hamas is a major tragedy in and of itself, other important facets of the story merit attention. For example, a Harris poll taken after the massacre reveals that 51% of American 18-24-year-olds think the murder of innocent Jewish men, women, and babies was justified, and much of this Jew hatred can be attributed to our nation’s schools.
Rethinking Schools, a radical activist outfit established in 1986, whose products are used by 200,000 teachers and are on university reading lists, asserts that educators have a “moral and educational responsibility” to join and teach about “the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.”
Also, a wing of Rethinking Schools, the Zinn Education Project,which has developed history curricula since 2008, is used by 155,000 teachers nationwide. On October 10, the organization declared that the terror, violence, murder, and rape we’ve seen in the past week “is the direct result of decades of Israeli occupation.”
In Oakland, the teachers union has accused Israel of carrying out genocide and ethnic cleansing. The teachers union in Seattle passed a resolution in 2021 supporting the same lie. In Virginia, a school board member in Fairfax County has, under the banner of culturally responsive pedagogy, pushed for an explicitly anti-Israeli curriculum.
Also, Black Lives Matter, which has had success infiltrating our public schools, insists that the recent events in the Middle East are a “direct result of decades of Israeli settler colonialism, land dispossession, occupation, blockade, apartheid, and attempted genocide of millions of Palestinians.”
Then there are the colleges. The colleges! Yes, the same cohort of far-left, cultural ignoramuses who can’t define what a woman is and offers classes like “Queering Menstruation” and “Anal 101” are now, not surprisingly, weighing in on the Middle East.
In addition to Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion tenets have become de rigeur on college campuses. The DEI-ists see everything in black and white, labeling white people as oppressors and blacks as the oppressed. While DEI typically concerns itself with USA issues, Israel, too, is on the hook, being tarred as a bastion of Jewish whiteness with a racist commitment to shattering the lives of Palestinians, who are considered people of color.
Tabia Lee, a former collegiate DEI director, explains that DEI drives campus antisemitism. She once hosted Jewish speakers on campus with the goal of “promoting diversity and inclusion by sharing different perspectives.” But she was deemed not radical enough, and was told in no uncertain terms that Jews are “white oppressors” and that it was her job to “decenter whiteness.”
At UCLA, immediately after the onset of the invasion, professors gave extra credit to students for attending a “teach-in” pushing anti-Israel propaganda. In New York, the president of NYU’s Student Bar Association wrote that “Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life.”
In tune with the regnant campus zeitgeist, 34 student groups at Harvard pledged their support to Hamas. At Columbia, 20 campus groups signed a statement “condoning and justifying Hamas’s atrocities against Jews,” describing the wholesale slaughter of infants and children and the rape of women as “resistance,” all the while blaming Israel and America for the violence.
At UC-Berkeley, a statement from Bears for Palestine and signed by 25 on-and-off campus organizations, brazenly declared their support for slaughter of the Jews. “We invariably reject Israel’s framing as a victim” said the statement which also argued that “[O]ur people’s freedom will not be attainable without revolution,” adding, “We support the resistance, we support the liberation movement, and we indisputably support the Uprising.”
Sadly, activity on campuses isn’t limited to groups issuing statements. At the University of Pennsylvania, dozens of flyers depicting the names and faces of the victims that Hamas kidnapped were torn down around campus shortly after being put up. At Drexel University in Philadelphia, an assailant set a Jewish student’s dorm room door on fire. A Jewish student was beaten at Columbia, and Jewish students at Cooper Union had to take shelter in a library to escape a mob chanting, “Free Palestine!” And a student at Cornell threatened to shoot, stab, rape, and slit the throats of his Jewish classmates, prompting classes to be canceled.
There are many things we can do to mitigate the rising tide of Jew hatred – and all the other kinds of bilge that proliferates in our colleges these days. First, wealthy people must stop giving money to colleges that engage in Jew hatred and other forms of extremism, and this is indeed happening. Fox News reports,“Billionaires are pulling back on donations to leading Ivy League colleges amid allegations of antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment that have become more visible in the wake of Hamas’ terror attack on Israel.”
Additionally – and this is no easy task – we must get the government out of funding private colleges. (The same crowd that reviles public money going to private schools on the K-12 level in the form of vouchers seems to have no problem with government money flowing into private colleges.) At this time, there are about 4,000 for-profit colleges in the U.S., and they receive the great majority of federal donations for higher education – which is about $201 billion. In fact, there are only 22 colleges in the country that refuse any public funds.
The government should also get out of the student loan business. At this time, the student loan nut is a staggering $1.75 trillion, about 92% of which comes from the feds.
Parents must do their share by not sending their children to a K-12 school or college that subsidizes Jew hatred. Unless your kid absolutely needs a college degree for a chosen career, let them skip the indoctrination-centric universities and join an apprentice program. At this time, the number of apprentices registered with the Department of Labor has surpassed 607,000, which is more than double the number that existed in 2013.
Teachers can do their share by not teaching any curricula that is anti-Jewish or bigoted toward any other group, for that matter. They also should quit their union – like the one in Oakland – if it is openly bigoted against Jews.
While the deaths of 1,400 people is a devastating tragedy, if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we will be doomed to ongoing savagery. Please think about what you can do to stanch the ugliness that is festering in our midst.
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Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.