By Dan Schnur, Israel Hayom—
The greatest threat to the survival of the Jewish community is neither Iran nor intermarriage. Rather, it is our increasing political and cultural isolation, and the resulting hostility that we face from both ends of the ideological spectrum.
The fringes of the nationalist hard right continue to traffic in Charlottesville-style blood-and-soil anti-Semitism, and such ugly racism will always constitute an intolerable threat to Jews around the world. But the growing anti-Zionism of the far-left fringe represents a less obvious but equally dangerous menace, when hostility toward the Jewish homeland expands into hatred of the Jewish people.
The most recent front in the latter of these two battles is reflected in the argument over whether to impose mandated ethnic studies classes in California’s public schools. The vast majority of ethnic-studies supporters see such a requirement as a helpful way to teach students from underrepresented communities about their own heritage and to expose young people from varying backgrounds to each other’s traditions, histories and perspectives. These people are prospective allies for the Jewish community. Right now, most are not.
Unfortunately, a small but vocal faction of ethnic studies advocates see such programs as a means through which to disseminate reprehensible anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic falsehoods. The initially proposed curriculum included numerous examples of objectionable language and ugly stereotypes against Jews. It was fiercely opposed not only by the Jewish community but by Governor Gavin Newsom as well. A second effort was only marginally less odious. To his credit, Newsom vetoed that bill.
The legislative Jewish caucus has since been working with other stakeholders to fashion a solution that could highlight the experiences of a range of communities, both those customarily included in ethnic studies research (African Americans, Latinos, Asian Pacific Islanders and Native Americans) as well as other ethnic groups whose stories are an integral part of California’s diversity (Sikhs, Armenians, Jews and others). The caucus fought successfully to remove the distasteful language from the original proposal and to ensure that the Jewish experience was included in lesson plans. They ultimately helped forge a compromise that included an imperfect but vastly improved model curriculum. Earlier this month, Newsom signed this new version into law. Continue Reading….