The Israel Group has learned that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) co-sponsored a workshop "Learning about Islam and the Arab World" last weekend—with a second scheduled for this Saturday—at the United Teachers Los Angeles union building, with an anti-Israel, pro-BDS, pro-Palestinian organization: The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FORUSA).
FORUSA is connected with and promotes the boycott movement against Israel (BDS), and aligns itself with Black Lives Matter, which holds decidedly anti-Israel platforms, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR was found by a Muslim Brotherhood-related organization to promote Hamas financially and politically.
According to one Workshop participant, who spoke with The Israel Group on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, "The Workshop was nothing more than lectures proclaiming the virtues of Islam, while following the same party lines: All negative information about Islam was labeled as lies, mistranslations, ignorance, prejudice, and hoaxes; speakers stated that violent Jihad is non-doctrinal, bullshit; Christians and Jews were always better off living under Muslim rule and anyone who says otherwise is lying." The participant, who is Christian, added: "I can only wait to hear what they teach about Israel at this weekend's Workshop?"
This coming Saturday's Workshop (Oct. 21, 2017, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM) continues with sections entitled: Palestine/Israel; Palestine Today: No Way to Treat a Child (under the "bullying" theme), The Changing Arab World: Overview of Politics, Society, and Refugees; and Refugees from the Arab World."
The session Palestine/Israel is taught by Jeff Cooper, a part-time adjunct professor of history at Santa Monica College. According to one student's review about Cooper on ratemyprofessor: "He has really far out radical left-wing political views. He hates the USA." Cooper's 40-page handout (first section / second section) Palestine, Israel, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer, is based on this publication by Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar, of the Middle East Research and Information Project. (Cooper's handout was with approved edits.) Without knowing the factual history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—as many of the teachers don't—this information will appear as neutral and authoritative. Unfortunately, it is nuanced anti-Israel propaganda from beginning to end, with thousands of inaccuracies, distortions, factual lies, and insidious misrepresentations. To name just a few:
- Not once in the entire paper were indigenous Jews referred to as "Palestinian Jews" when, in fact, during the British Mandate, Jews were referred to as "Palestinian Jews" and Palestinians were referred to as "Palestinian Arabs."
- A section is titled The Creation of Palestinian Refugees and Ethnic Cleaning.
- Under the heading, The June 1967 War, it states: "From 1948-1967, Israel's military and political leadership was looking for a way to conquer and occupy the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."
- The document lays out a foundation basis for the BDS movement: "Israel regards all forms of Palestinian opposition to the occupation as threats to its national security, including non-violent methods like calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions."
- The word "terrorism" was only used three times. Once with the PLO "renouncing" it, and once with an added quote by Cooper: "This is why military occupations [meaning Israel] are the highest form of terrorism. [Emphasis the document.]
The session, Palestine Today: No Way to Treat a Child, is led by Rola Karam, who has presented this course for the LAUSD since at least 2009. Karam, a Palestinian-American, has, among other things, been a conference presenter on the "Nakba" for Sabeel.Sabeel seeks to replace all of Israel with a Palestinian Arab state and specializes in working to turn Christians against Jews and Israel, and is among the ADL's Top 10 anti-Israel Groups: "the worst of the worst."
This "Arab, Islamic World" Workshop by FORUSA has taught more than 200 K-12 LAUSD teachers since at least 2005, as reported by the anti-Israel Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Neither the Workshop web page on FORLA nor the Registration Form listed any of the pro-Palestinian courses sessions. Those were only listed in the Class Agenda given at the Workshop.
In past LAUSD Workshops, Hussam Ayloush, the Executive Director of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter CAIR, has been a presenter. This is the same Ayloush who said on CNN that " the United States was partly responsible for terrorism carried out by Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS."
The Workshops are held under the leadership of Rosa Melendez and Richard Jessel, both LAUSD teachers.
[NOTE: In partnership with the Orange County Department of Education, this cookie cutter educational Workshop was given in Orange County on 10/4/17, with the second part about the Israel-Palestinian conflict scheduled on 10/25/17, open to all educators K-12.]
The most important and pressing questions are: why is a Workshop about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being presented to LAUSD teachers entirely by anti-Israel political activist group?; why was the educational content not vetted?; and why were no pro-Israel historians invited to present?