Across California’s Oakland Unified School District on Wednesday, teachers took part in a disturbing “teach-in” about the Palestinian cause, which utilized anti-Israel and antisemitic materials.
Organizers for the “Gaza to Oakland Teach-in” promoted the event in a video in late November.
In the video, a speaker shares, “Those with an interest in bombing a civilian population are terrified of people coming to their own conclusions,” referencing Israel’s response to the October 7th attack by Hamas terrorists.
While the promotional video purports to want to provide “balance” in the discussion of the ongoing conflict, it does feel the need to address Hamas’ use of rape as a weapon of war or their kidnapping and murder of civilians.
While the district is quick to point out that the lessons are not sanctioned, the Oakland Education Association, the union representing teachers in the Oakland Unified School District, voted overwhelmingly for the event.
The curriculum is available online and includes lessons for children from 4-18.
One of the images used in the materials includes a caricature that features a Jewish man with the arms of an octopus, which mirrors antisemitic Nazi propaganda.
Kindergarten teachers can share the book P is for Palestine, which includes I is for Intifada, encouraging children to become familiar with and potentially supportive of a form of uprising that includes the murder of civilians.
The teach-in began with a video call that teachers who participated streamed from their classrooms across the district. One speaker shared her grandmother’s experience in 1948 when she was forced from her home alongside 75% of the country’s population following the British partition of Palestine between Arabs and Jews. Another spoke about how, as a Jewish person, they rejected “Zionism’s attempt to say the only place and way Jewish people can be safe is through a militarized state.”
After about 45 minutes, educators began their own instruction, drawing on resources compiled by teachers over the last few days — from a coloring book called Handala’s Return that chronicled a cartoon character’s expulsion from Palestine in 1948, to worksheets on settler colonialism occupation and its impact on the Gaza Strip.
“A group of bullies called Zionists wanted our land so they stole it by force and hurt many people,” read the coloring book, which was suggested for students from transitional kindergarten to third grade. “Zionists have never let us go back to Palestine, even though we still have the key to our home.”
KTVU reported that critics of the event note that “the material does not mention the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, doesn’t explain that the state of Israel was born out of the Holocaust and defines a Zionist as a bloodthirsty land grabber who wants a state only for Jews.”
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