What do they teach our children? Israel’s Intervention in American Social Studies Curriculum (Part Two)

In part two of this online event series, author and activist, Miko Peled, hosted an excellent round table discussions featuring educators, activists, civil rights advocates, and law experts in order to tackle this critical topic.

July 1, 2020 Speaker Panel:

Guest Panel:
Jeanne Trabulsi, Education Committee @ Virginia Coalition for Human Rights
Dr. Samia Shoman Ed.D, Advisory Committee to the California Ethnic SJihan Andoni, National  Arab American Women’s Association 
Alex McDonald, Texas Coalition for Human Rights 
Jinan Shbat, National Organizer @ American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) 

Summary:

In California, the Legislative Jewish Caucus campaigned against the inclusion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a statewide ethnic studies curriculum. In Florida, lawmakers passed a bill (signed into law, in Israel, by Gov. Ron DeSantis) which changed the state’s anti-discrimination law applying to public education to adopt a controversial redefinition of antisemitism that includes various criticisms of Israel. In Virginia, pro-Israel groups commissioned and submitted a report to the Virginia Department of Education that proposed biased and inaccurate edits to history and social studies textbooks up for adoption. In Texas, conservative and pro-Israel groups successfully implemented social studies curriculum which includes language that blames Palestinians and the Arab world for the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.  

These are just a few recent examples of the types of interventions and meddling that pro-Israel special interest groups have launched on the U.S. education institution. These censorship efforts and propaganda campaigns hinder critical discussion of Palestine and Israel in public and private high schools around the country. It’s not just curriculum that is being affected either; we have seen dozens of incidents resulting in both students and teachers being censored, silenced, and intimidated for simply recognizing Palestine and its culture in the classroom. 


Further Reading/Resources:

Organizations:

Palestine Legal
https://palestinelegal.org

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination  Committee 
https://www.adc.org

National Arab American Women’s Association 
https://naawa.org

Virginia Coalition for Human Rights
https://vchr.org/

Texas Coalition for Human Rights
https://www.txchr.org

Resources:

Teach Palestine
https://teachpalestine.org

List of textbooks for which ICS submitted proposed edits in Virginia
https://vchr.org/vatextbooks.html

CMCU Workshops Document
https://vchr.org/pdf/cmcu_workshops.pdf

A Bibliography of Resources About Palestinians For Children and Youth
https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/1c33daec/files/uploaded/ASH%20Final.pdf

60 Minutes Video Segment on Christian Palestinians
https://youtu.be/H5p8mZ-HN-0

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights: Political Education Curriculum 
https://uscpr.org/learn/togetherwerise

Book Recommendations for School Libraries:

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq

Curious Land by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Time of White Horses by Ibrahim Nasrallah

Palestine: A 4000 Years History by Nur Masalha

Being Palestinian Makes Me Smile by Amer Zahr

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