MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Left-wing educators in Wisconsin are pushing to recruit teachers into the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction” Israel movement, and are offering up lessons they can use in elementary classrooms.
Rethinking Schools, a Bill Ayers-inspired non-profit that promotes leftist causes, is “an activist publication with articles written by and for teachers, parents, and students,” with a focus on issues like “vouchers and marketplace-oriented reforms, funding equality, and school-to-work,” according to its website.
In a recent article by Rethinking Schools editor titled “Boycotting Occupation: Educators and Palestine,” the group delves into the BDS movement that’s become popular with progressive radicals, unions and college students in recent years. The group explains why teachers should lobby against the Zionist regime and pressure the federal government to cut ties with Israel.
“Last August, more than 1,000 African American scholars, activists, students, artists, and organizations signed a Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine in support of BDS and an end to U.S. diplomatic and economic aid to Israel until it complies with international law,” according to Rethinking Schools.
“Signers included scholar/activists Angela Davis and Cornel West, imprisoned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, rapper Talib Kweli, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, and the Dream Defenders.”
Mumia Abu-Jamal is also a convicted cop killer.
Regardless, Rethinking Schools wants teachers across the country to join arms with Abu-Jamal and his ilk to condemn Israel and the U.S., and to teach the next generation of Americans to turn their backs on the country’s ally in the Middle East.
“ … (W)hat should solidary with Palestine look like for K-12 teachers and schools?” the advocacy site questioned. “For us, education activism starts with content in the classroom. Samia Shoman’s article on teaching the history of 1948 (“Independence or Catastrophe? Teaching Palestine Through Multiple Perspectives,” summer 2014), Katharine Samway’s article on books about Palestinian lives appropriate for K–8 readers (winter 2012–13), and Ken Gadbow’s article on connecting U.S. and Palestinian students via videoconferencing (“Portland to Palestine,” winter 09–10) are examples of places to start.
“But we need more teaching, more curriculum, more articles that delve into the history and politics of Israel-Palestine,” Rethinking Schools opined. “And we need to build networks of teachers to defend those who may be attacked for teaching Palestinian perspectives.”
The suggested lessons would undoubtedly give many parents pause, particularly Jewish parents, by producing students sympathetic to the pro-Palestine movement through the guise of “social justice.”
Shoman wrote that “teaching the (Palestinian-Israeli) conflict takes courage.”
“I write this article in hopes of encouraging teachers who are committed to social justice to take on the challenge. In this context, social justice means exposing students to Palestinian narratives alongside the Zionist narratives that often dominate text books.
“I use the term Zionist and teach it explicitly to my students. Zionism is the support of an exclusively Jewish state in Israel, along with the land that it claims should be part of Greater Israel,” Shoman wrote. “An important distinction to make is that not all Jews or Israelis are Zionists, and there are non-Jewish Zionists.”
In Samway’s 2013 article, she explained how to get maximum shock value out of students in order to sway them toward the Palestinian perspective.
“It was a beautiful fall day for the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival and I was volunteering at a booth devoted to Palestine and the impact of the Israeli occupation. Crowds of people passed by the booth and many of them stopped to look at the posters and pick up handouts,” she wrote.
“But what really captured my attention were the children, 9 or 10 years of age, who were riveted by one particular image—a photo of an Israeli soldier pointing his gun at a Palestinian child of about 5.”