September 19, 2019

Beverly Hills City Council Unanimously Condemns Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The Beverly Hills City Council unanimously passed a resolution at its Aug. 20 city council meeting condemning the drafted statewide Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC).

The resolution states that the “poorly created curriculum fails to properly respect the Jewish faith and people” and is “discriminatory” toward Jews. The resolution also stated that the ESMC portrays the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in a favorable light and doesn’t provide any counterarguments to the BDS narrative.

“The City of Beverly Hills hereby calls upon the State Board of Education (SBE) and Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to immediately rescind the draft curriculum in its current form,” the resolution states.

The city council urged the board and commission “to meet with leaders of the Jewish faith to correct misinformation and present a more accurate and respectful depiction of the religion.”

Prior to the vote, Mayor John Mirisch called the ESMC anti-Jewish, arguing that “the notion of teaching BDS… is not only wrong, it’s actually sickening.” “BDS,” he said, “is BS.”

Councilmember Julian Gold said that the commission developed the ESMC “in the most divisive way. It would have been perfectly reasonable to have created a curriculum that was all-inclusive that spoke about hate and racism and responded to everybody, but in a state where 63 percent of hate crimes are reported against Jews while only 14 percent against Muslims, you would think that somehow this body  – constituted by this state, with tax dollars which we pay – would at least get the facts right,” Gold said.

He added that the drafted ESMC was  a warning sign as it wasn’t the first time the state academic institutions have adopted anti-Israel positions.

“You don’t have to look any further than UCLA, which allowed the largest pro-Palestinian conference not too long ago despite the protests of many, including the condemnation of the [Los Angeles] City Council,” Gold said, referencing the National Students for Justice in Palestine conference held at UCLA last Nov. 16-18.

Gold then called for a recall campaign against the 18 members of the IQC panel that drafted the curriculum, explaining that the 11-member SBE appoints them and the governor appoints the members of the SBE.

“For them to come up with this sort of divisive, racist propaganda and promote this as curriculum in the state is beyond disgusting,” Gold said. “It’s malpractice. It’s malfeasance. They deserve to go, all of them. And if the governor doesn’t do it, then he deserves to go too.”

Councilmember Lili Bosse, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, echoed Gold’s sentiments.

“I feel like we’re actually back to where we were during World War II, where hatred and racism and religion really became just the voice of a few people that grew to extinguish millions of Jews and millions of others,” Bosse said. “So it is our duty, all of us, to stop this now.”

All eight people who spoke during the public comment section praised the city council’s decision.

“As a Jewish student, I cannot imagine being forced to sit in a classroom where we are taught to be hating Israel and taught to view Israelis as murderers of innocent people,” YULA Girls High School student Yael Gluck said. “I would feel completely unsafe in that classroom and in any school that teaches such hate.”

She added the students who would be inculcated with the ESMC are “our neighbors, our future co-workers and classmates in college.”

On Aug. 12, the SBE announced that the current ESMC proposal will be replaced with an entirely new draft. The deadline for the SBC to approve the ESMC is Mar. 31, 2020.