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A New Curriculum Tries to Insinuate BDS into Hebrew Schools, by Max Samarov and Amanda Botfeld (Tower via Mosaic)

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Jan. 6, 2016

The next phase in anti-Israel academic indoctrination is already here – at Hebrew schools across the country.

Does Reframing Israel, a new curriculum being peddled to American Hebrew schools, present history in such a way as to delegitimize the Jewish state? Its author, Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman, and many members of its advisory committee are members of the anti-Israel organization Jewish Voices for Peace and have participated in calls for boycotting and divesting from Israel. Max Samarov and Amanda Botfeld write:

At first glance, the curriculum appears well-balanced, filled with . . . activities like learning Hebrew songs and creative exercises aimed at building understanding of both Israeli and Palestinian narratives. . . . [However], digging a little deeper into the material, [it becomes apparent that] the message [is] overwhelmingly anti-Israel. . . .

The “historical overview” begins by downplaying the relationship between the Jewish people and Israel, focusing on religious instead of historical and archaeological aspects. Sections about the Jewish connection to the land are prefaced with phrases like “in Jewish tradition” or “according to the Hebrew Bible,” rather than being anchored in the certainty of well-documented historical facts. . . .

Jewish communities [in the Diaspora] are also described as being “well-integrated” and having “flourished” in most times and places. Anti-Semitism is mentioned only in relation to Europe, and not the Middle East. . . .

At the end of this “historical overview,” which supposedly encourages “critical thinking” about the conflict, the BDS movement is introduced entirely uncritically to Jewish children. In the “Key Terms” section, BDS is described favorably as having “attracted significant global support,” with opposition coming only from “Jewish organizations” for reasons unknown. . . . BDS’s central demand—the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants—is presented without criticism. . . . BDS’s core slander against Israel—that Israel is an apartheid state—is introduced without any meaningful counterarguments.

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