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Stealth Anti-Semitism In Middle School

One of the groups that does not fare well on campuses these days, however, is Jews, particularly in the context of the debate over Israel and the Palestinians.
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The Rialto Unified School District school board outside of Los Angeles was in full damage control earlier this month, fending off universal opprobrium over a third-quarter English Language Arts argumentative writing/research project given to 2,000 eighth-graders. The breathtakingly ill-conceived assignment asked students to “read and discuss multiple, credible articles on this issue, and write an argumentative essay, based on cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe [the Holocaust] was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.”

Most critics denounced the assignment as absurd on its face, since it asked middle school students, after reading only a handful of brief research essays, to convince a reader that the Holocaust, one of the most documented historical events in modern human history, either happened or did not happen. Even more egregious than the notion that the Shoah might not have occurred was the statement that, as the instructions for the assignment read, “some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual event, but instead is a propaganda tool.”

Given that even American high school students cannot identify, as random examples, the half century during which the U.S. Civil War was fought, name a single Supreme Court justice, identify the intent of the Bill of Rights, or identify Britain on a map of the world, the notion that eighth graders could coherently disprove something that is an historical fact, not an opinion, is obviously a useless intellectual exercise. And critics of the assignment were appalled that students were even exposed to the idea that the Holocaust was a myth in the first place, a notion only those on the lunatic fringe embrace.

While the shell-shocked spokesperson for Rialto school district, Syeda Jafri, assured the media that no complaint about the assignment had been forthcoming from within the district system, either from teachers or parents, the larger question is how the committee of eighth–grade teachers who conceived the critical thinking exercise in the first place had not anticipated the calamitous reaction to their choice for the essay topic. Presumably, every member of that committee had attended college; some, perhaps, even possess advanced degrees. In an education culture suffused with political correctness – and especially on college campuses where the educators studied for their profession – an enormous amount of attention is paid to who may say what about whom and what is acceptable thought and speech on campuses where “victim” groups vie for rights and accommodations.

One of the groups that does not fare well on campuses these days, however, is Jews, particularly in the context of the debate over Israel and the Palestinians. In fact, the same careless sentiments that accuse Jewish students of being inherently racist for supporting the “apartheid” state of Israel seem to have been present in the committee room when ideas for this year’s assignment were being tossed about for consideration. Consider how classically anti-Semitic the language of the assignment itself is, suggesting in the same paragraph – not once but twice – that the Holocaust “is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain,” and “merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain.” Who is seeking monetary gain? Who schemed to extort the West? Who has global influence over public opinion? Who seeks undeserved profit? For anti-Semites, the answer has always been the same: Jews.

And that is the very clear message transmitted in the essay assignment. Professor Robert S. Wistrich, one of the world’s leading authorities on anti-Semitism, has noted that Holocaust denial by definition libels Jews; “that, by accusing Jews…of inventing the Shoah to extract billions of dollars and blackmail Germany or the West, the deniers add a peculiarly vile conspiracy theory to the arsenal of millennial anti-Semitism and transform the victims into superlatively cunning, fraudulent, and despicable perpetrators” – precisely what the assumption would be of any student who completed the assignment with the thesis that the Holocaust was a fraud, a “scheme,” or a “propaganda tool.”

About the Author: Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., is president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and author of “Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews.”


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18 Responses to “Stealth Anti-Semitism In Middle School”

  1. There’s nothing stealth about it. Just look at colleges. Now it’s in middle school. Ignorance abounds.

  2. Poor poor choice from 8th grade teachers

  3. Nathan Katz says:

    This is the battlefield on which the war will turn — education at all levels. This is what we’re supposed to know how to do – teach, write, engage ideas.

  4. David Burman says:

    The Jewish community has been so so slow in counter action when the Education system allows these anti-semitism events. We can not sit on the bench. We must be in the game. We have to be pro-active not re-active.

  5. I found anti-Judaism at every level of education in my own personal experience as a student and a teacher. Perhaps being in a predominantly fundamentalist state was part of it. I was told I needed ‘to find Jesus’ after I stopped laying low as a Jew for 5 years. A year later I was out of teaching. Stopped laying low? Admitting I was Jewish when asked.

  6. Anything my Daddy says must be true! Unless he says check with you your Mom first! Next in the docket Asian Students take over major campuses! Like stealth geniuses they changed the course of campus life from rowdy to quiet. From Partay, to Studey! Any complaints? Try to get through their Tiger Moms!

  7. David Cohen says:

    Clifford Webb is in full troll mode. What a liar.

  8. I use to beat up anti semites in HS. Never was down with that neo nazi BS! And to thump someone in the jaw for it was worth a suspension

  9. All the parents of these students should be appalled and the teachers fired for promoting hatred.

  10. Obama’s bourgeois world peace

  11. Haley Chace says:

    I support Israel…and proudly so.

  12. All they really wanted was to sow the seed of doubt and ambiguity in their little 8th grade minds. And so they have. It may not take root in all, but if it does in even one, they will have accomplished their mission for now. It’s a long, tedious, patient war they wage, one they feel confident to win…in time.

  13. All they really wanted was to sow the seed of doubt and ambiguity in their little 8th grade minds. And so they have. It may not take root in all, but if it does in even one, they will have accomplished their mission for now. It’s a long, tedious, patient war they wage, one they feel confident to win…in time.

  14. God remembers all who treat Israel poorly or honor them.

  15. God remembers all who treat Israel poorly or honor them.

  16. Most are leftists and “progressives” who secretly approve of this kind of education when it comes to anyone who hates the USA. At best it keeps them from battling against the enemy…at worst it contributes to the destruction of both US and Israel. I am a Jewish man who abhors these kinds of wafflers and twisters of Jewish and American history in order to prove they “belong” to the elites in America. They appear to think that it somehow helps them. It is not OK to trade Israeli lives, or anybody’s at that, to save your own skin.

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