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Hundreds of Holocaust survivors and their descendants on Sept. 23 urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to veto Assembly Bill 101, a bill mandating an ethnic studies high school graduation requirement. Newsom has until Oct. 10 to act.
“We are Holocaust survivors and the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who are deeply alarmed by AB 101, the ethnic studies graduation requirement bill, and the likelihood that it will lead to overtly antisemitic curricula making their way into every high school in the state and inciting hatred and hostility towards Jewish students and the Jewish community in California and well beyond. We strongly urge you to veto this bill,” the group wrote in their petition.
The signatories argue that despite amendments added to AB 101 before it passed the Legislature to encourage local school districts to use the state-approved Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, the bill would still permit local school districts to use any curriculum, including the highly controversial first ESMC draft or the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.
The first ESMC draft was rejected by Jewish communal organizations, Newsom, the State Board of Education and California’s Jewish Legislative Caucus for its antisemitic content and promotion of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
After the draft failed, the authors founded the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute, whose website smears Israel with false charges of “settler colonialism” and “apartheid,” according to the AMCHA Initiative.
“Alarmingly, the state’s largest teachers’ unions and ethnic studies departments and faculty on UC and CSU campuses have warmly endorsed the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute, a for-profit organization launched by the original ESMC drafters to market a ‘Liberated’ curriculum that incorporates the main elements of the rejected first draft. In addition, the LESMC group has already had considerable success in promoting their antisemitic curriculum and consulting services in school districts throughout the state, including Hayward, Santa Cruz, Jefferson, Salinas, San Francisco and San Diego,” the petition states.
Last week, nearly 200 California high school students and parents signed a petition opposing AB 101, citing “[t]his bill will sanction the hounding of Zionist students in high schools across the state and encourage similar behavior across the nation.”
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