October 15, 2019

IAC Rallies CA Israeli-Americans Against Anti-Israel Curriculum

Shoham Nicolet

The Israeli-American Council (IAC) has been mobilizing Israeli-Americans and the Jewish community throughout California since Aug. 6 against the drafted anti-Israel high school curriculum.

As first reported by Jewish News Syndicate on Aug. 2, the proposed mandatory Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) requires students to study songs that provide a call to “Free Palestine”; the curriculum also endorses the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and mandates students to study pro-BDS figures like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Women’s March, Inc. leader Linda Sarsour. Myriad Jewish groups have also pointed out that the curriculum doesn’t highlight anti-Semitism.

The IAC has been encouraging people to sign a petition – which currently has over 2,000 signatures – against the proposed a curriculum as well as a nine-page template criticizing the drafted curriculum for activists to sign their name on and submit as part of ongoing public comment.

IAC CEO Shoham Nicolet told the Journal in a phone interview that the IAC is currently engaged with “thousands” of activists through closed Facebook groups providing “guidance” while the IAC provides the content through its Los Angeles Act.IL media room.

“I’m quite astonished with how much energy is out there and how much activism is going on,” Nicolet said, adding that the curriculum is “targeting our community, discriminating us just because of our ethnicity… you don’t see these numbers usually actually active, actually debating how to do it, writing personal letters writing emails, writing to elected officials.”

Nicolet said that the IAC has received “indication that the noise has reached Sacramento in the last 24 hours.” He encouraged activists to ramp up the pressure over the next few days to make sure their voices are heard while the proposed curriculum is up for public comment.

“[The curriculum] is pure discrimination based on ethnicity,” Nicolet said, adding that “this is why the community is so active.”

Similarly, StandWithUs has sent out an action alert on the curriculum and Club Z has a petition against it.