California’s Ethnic Studies Curriculum Attempts to Erase Jewish Americans


Thursday, March 4, 2021

With roughly seventy five percent of California’s population belonging  to a minority group, it ranks number one in diversity amongst states. In 2020, California was home to 1,187,990 Jews, making up about three percent of its total population. Despite a prominent Jewish minority presence, California’s new Ethnic Studies Program attempts to erase their very existence.

This program, proposed in late 2016, by former governor Jerry Brown, aims to “give all students the opportunity to prepare for a diverse global economy, diverse university campuses and diverse workplaces.” The proposal claims that it would “critique empire and its relationship to white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism…and other forms of power and oppression.” In doing so, it would “build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance.” 

Regardless of the program’s intent, it’s initial draft was incredibly anti-Semitic. Among the list of domestic social movements to be taught were Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo movement, and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestine (BDS) joined the ranks in the curriculum.

BDS is an organization dedicated to the delegitimization of Israel. Former CIA director, Mike Pompeo, has referred to BDS as “a cancer” to the Jewish community. Currently, 13 founders of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association are active BDS members. 

The curriculum only applies the word “privilege” to Jews and, worse yet, implies that said privilege was acquired through “trickery” as opposed to “talent, or education and professional attainment.” Furthermore, while acknowledging “classism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and transphobia” as forms of oppression, anti-Semitism is not mentioned. In fact, Jewish Americans are not even included on the list of minority groups. 

Elina Kaplan, a refugee from the Soviet Union working against the passage of this program, argues that the curriculum “actively invites anti-Zionism into the classroom. It requires it. This is the greatest threat facing American Jews today.” In a statement published by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, the group claims that the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum “effectively erases the American Jewish experience.”   

In 2020, the AMCHA, in collaboration with 80 other organizations, wrote a letter to Governor Newsom imploring him to veto the bill. 

In response, Newsom signed into effect AB 1460, requiring all students in the California State university system to take a three part course in ethnic studies. He did, however, veto the bill which would have made the same courses a requirement for high school graduation, although it has recently been reintroduced. 

President Taft once referred to anti-Semitism as a “noxious weed that should be cut out.” But how are we supposed to cut out this weed when it is ingrained in our education system? Excluding the tragic history of the Jewish community from this curriculum is a blatant reminder  of our tendency to forget history, no matter how prevalent. This curriculum is dangerous and offensive, and it stands as a stark example of the recent increases in domestic anti-Semitism.          

Amelia Underhill is a student of Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at The King's College in New York City. She's passionate about the First Amendment, free markets, and Ronald Reagan.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Amelia Underhill

Amelia Underhill is a student of Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at The King's College in New York City. She's passionate about the First Amendment, free markets, and Ronald Reagan.

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