Recently, I received notice from The Israel Group about a proposed ethnic studies unit for the largest state in America which contains a significant anti-Israel component. Two quotes in the notice stood out right away. They were by two University of California professors and the second in order of appearance in the mailing from The Israel Group is by Tammi Rossman-Benjamin of the AMCHA Initiative:
"The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum is deeply troubling—not only for its shocking omission of any mention of Jewish Americans or anti-Semitism or its blatant anti-Israel bias and praise of BDS, but for its clear attempt to politically indoctrinate students to adopt the view that Israel and its Jewish supporters are part of 'interlocking systems of oppression and privilege' that must be fought with 'direct action' and 'resistance."
Next is the revealing first quote by someone who pulls no punches, as you'll further see below, As'ad Abu Khalil:
"The real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel."
He tells it like it is, doesn't he? That's why I prefer Hamas to the PA and to Fatah's conniving Abbas...
While thehigh school indoctrination (one can hardly call it education) of our youth prior to their landing on the domains of notoriously duplicitous, "Progressive," and other anti-Israel professors on far too many universities-- those who routinely employ one set of lenses for the study and dissection of Israel and Zionism, but act largely deaf, dumb, and blind to the far greater/more real sins and shortcomings of the so-called "Arab" world --has long been in place, the new proposed high school unit would greatly exacerbate this problem.
"...The proposed curriculum section on 'Arab American Studies Course Outline' contains a number of passages concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as 'Direct Action Front for Palestine and Black Lives Matter,' 'Call to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel' [BDS, GAH], and 'Comparative Border Studies: Palestine and Mexico'...'
"If AB 331 is approved by the California state legislature..., every high school student in California will be required to take an ethnic-studies course based on such a model curriculum before graduating," said Rossman-Benjamin. "It's not hard to see how California college and university campuses, already reeling from the alarming number of anti-Zionist-motivated acts of aggression perpetrated against Jewish and pro-Israel students, could begin to see even more dramatic increases in these anti-Semitic acts."
"We have concerns that include the curriculum's omission both of Jews as an ethnic group and of anti-Semitism as a concept. The curriculum should reflect the true diversity of California's population,' Jeremy Russell, director of marketing and communications at the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, told JNS. "We are also concerned by the curriculum's inclusion of the divisive BDS movement, which is inconsistent with the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Guidelines to 'create space for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality or citizenship, to learn different perspectives...'"
Among the rare professors and some others on the front lines in dealing with these issues--in addition to the ongoing work of Drs. Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer, and others - the work of Professor Tammi Rossman-Benjamin's" AMCHA Initiative, as seen above, is exemplary.
For now, however, let's turn the clock back a bit to learn more about one of the biggest proponents of BDS, that same Professor As'ad Abu Khalil.
In February, 2012, Cinnamon Stillwell at Professor Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum's Campus Watch reported about Abu Khalil's reaction to Dr. Norman Finkelstein's apparent flip flop on some key Arab-Israeli issues...Best known for his own rabid anti-Zionism, for some unknown reason, Norman seemed to have suddenly received a revelation about the true nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict--the supremacist, genocidal nature of the Arabs, that is.
Well, as those of us with senses intact have long noticed, Arabs don't take kindly to those who challenge their own alleged solely self-centered rights to what they routinely call "purely Arab patrimony" (i.e., practically all of the Middle East and North Africa--despite scores of millions of native, non-Arabs who also live and predate the Arab imperialist caliphal jihadi conquests there), so it was no shock that Abu Khalil's venom was directed not only against any who challenge that notion, but especially towards former sycophants and banner wavers like Finkelstein.
Based at Cal State and the man behind the Angry Arab News Service, he continues to pull no punches. And I know that, nauseatingly, any professor doing likewise--but, in the opposite direction in terms of Arab-Israeli politics--would, more often than not these days, not have a job. And doctoral students challenging one-sided, anti-Israel positions in too many classrooms like those of Abu Khalil's would at times even be blocked from getting their degrees. Unfortunately, I know of such people firsthand.
On a personal note, I've debated assorted Abu Khalils over the decades--sometimes on television. I'd love the opportunity to exchange thoughts about such issues with As'ad as well, on any platform he chooses--preferably on his home base.
Consider me the Angry Jew News Service.- at your service.
Besides the goings on in academia, with the additional popularity of such erudite luminaries as Linda Sarsour and the three (now four) amigas in Congress, BDS is once again taking center stage on the anti-Israel scene. Decades ago it was largely known as the overall Arab boycott movement against Israel.
But, I won't focus primarily upon such things as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is now being used to delegitimize Israel--and for the very same reason that Abu Khalil stated himself in the opening quote above.
He and I (and I'm sure some others as well) both know, along with other anti-Israel-leaning folks such as Finkelstein as seen above, that BDS is just a diversion from the real, existential, gut issues involved here.
Like too many other Columbia University Rashid Khalidi-types, he too depends on the ignorance (or intimidation) of those whom he lectures to from his bully pulpit to advance his political cause rather than the uninhibited free discourse, legitimate debate, and education of his students.
As just a few examples of what's commonly dished out in such classrooms, having read some of his other alleged truisms, I see that Abu Khalil likes to make the favorite Arab claim that Jews were handed or stole most of the Mandate of Palestine right from the get-go. Forget about the actual fact that Arabs got most of the almost two dozen states that they now call their own by the imperial conquest, colonization, and forced Arabization (i.e., the real theft) of mostly non-Arab peoples' lands on about six million square miles of territory.
Find the sole reborn nation of the Jews on a world globe without a magnifying glass--I dare you. Do you think any of this sort of information will be included in the high school curriculum?
Rather than having to repeat myself in debunking the Arab claim about Jews getting most of Palestine yet again, please read the following two articles that should, somehow--for the sake of the balance which such professors too often refuse to provide themselves--be placed on their course reading lists. To see who really got the bulk of "Palestine," please see here And to place the often vilified national liberation movement of the Jews--Zionism--in a much more accurate perspective, please see the comparative analysis of Zionism and Arabism in this
Especially note that, like the rest of his like-minded colleagues, Abu Khalil completely ignores what recorded history thankfully does not -.that the original April 25, 1920 Mandate of Palestine included all of the territory clear up to the border of the much larger Mandate of Mesopotamia (later renamed "Iraq"). And that 38 million truly stateless people in the region, the Kurds, who predated Arabs in Mesopotamia by millennia, got shafted out of their one best chance at independence by a collusion of British petroleum politics and Arab nationalism as a result. Both facts are simply among other non-issues for the "purely Arab patrimony" folks like Cal State's Angry Arab professor-- who will likely be shaping and preparing teachers for the new high school curriculum.
This Mandate of Palestine blatant lie is no mere accidental oversight by such would-be sources of enlightenment. The significance of the original 1920 borders is that they included not only Israel, but all of present day Jordan, Gaza, Judea and Samaria (not called the "West Bank" until the Brits' imperial shenanigans and Transjordanian expansionism of the post-World War I era)--and the Golan Heights as well.
In 1921, Colonial Secretary Churchill convened the Cairo Conference and gifted almost 80% of "Palestine" to Arab nationalism as a result the following year.
The name "Palestine" (Syria Palaestina) was bestowed upon Judea by the Roman emperor, Hadrian, after the Jews' second major revolt for freedom in 135 C.E. To pour salt onto the wound of defeat by the conqueror of much of the known world, Iudaea/Judaea was renamed after the Jews' historic enemies, the non-Semitic (let alone non-Arab) "Sea People" invaders from Crete--of David and Goliath and Samson and Delilah fame, the Philistines.
Folks like Abu Khalil deliberately start the discussion of Palestine with the proposed later partition of 1947 instead, when the roughly 20% of the land that remained after the creation of Arab Transjordan in 1922 was to be divided into a second Arab state and one resurrected Jewish one. The Jews would have thus received some 11 or 12% of the original 1920 Mandate...not the 75-80% that the taqiyya-spewing Abu Khalils routinely claim that they received.
Arabs rejected the '47 plan themselves because, even though Arab nationalism would have wound up with almost 90% of the total area, it was still not enough for them.
The reason Abu Khalil and his other lying buddies leave such facts as this out of their lectures and rantings is obvious.
How can they claim that Jews got most of Palestine if Arabs were handed almost 80% of it right from the start?
And left out along with this is the fact that many, if not most, of Cal State's Angry Arab's alleged "native Palestinians" were indeed newcomers into Palestine themselves--including Hamas's own patron saint, whom its missiles and military wing are named after, Sheikh Izzidin al-Qassam. Murderous Izzy was from Latakia, Syria--along with numerous other allegedly "native Palestinians"--a fact documented by solid sources such as the Minutes of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations and elsewhere as well.
Once again, don't hold your breath, waiting to hear or read any of this from the Abu Khalils or try to find such facts on the new proposed, mandatory high school curriculum.
Earlier, he had taken poor vacillating Finkelstein to task over the latter's mention of the plight of non-Arab minorities in the region. As someone who is widely published on the subject of the Kurds and the quest for justice by other peoples in the region as well, I gained a bit more respect for Norman when I learned about this encounter.
Professor Angry Arab & Co. just sweep such inconvenient facts, which burst their fairy tale balloons, under the rug to focus attention on the only issue that is of real concern to them--Arab rights. And that's really the whole point.
With scores of millions of non-Arabs also living in the region, what law of morality states that, after the breakup of the empire of the Turks (which ruled much of the territory for some five centuries), only Arabs should be worthy of dignity and political rights in the new age of nationalism which was emerging in the region?
And for the above to occur, the dominant, subjugating Arab mindset--exemplified by those like Abu Kahlil--would have to be trashed.
The results of such supremacist, suppressive thinking?
Millions of slaughtered and subjugated blacks in the Sudan; hundreds of thousands of Kurds dead in Iraq and Syria; scores of thousands of murdered Amazigh/"Berbers" in North Africa; murdered and oppressed Copts, Assyrians, native Semitic--but pre-Arab conquest Lebanese, kilab yahud "Jew dogs;" and others as well. Many, if not most, of first three peoples, by the way, are Muslims--but not Arabs...Racism, pure and simple.
Indeed, the reality is that, despite all of its real and alleged sins (what nation does not have them?), when objectively compared with anything that As'ad Abu Khalil's so-called "Arab" world has to offer on the very same issues that such "experts" attack Israel about, Israel shines brightly in comparison. And these are the same "experts" who will likely be instructing high school teachers about how to educate their students on these very same subjects.
What is really sad is that folks like Abu Khalil more often than not get a free pass to spread their venom at the university. They use our freedoms and the willing gullibility of a pseudo-Liberal/Leftist Ivory Tower to turn truth on its head.
Do we really want the largest state in America--and probably others later as well--to expose its large student body to such "expertise"?