California School System Sued Over Falsified History About Israel-Hamas War

A California public school district that attempted to hide pro-Hamas course material from parents now faces legal action.

The Deborah Project, which describes itself as “a public interest law firm that defends the civil rights of Jews in education,” filed suit April 8 against the Berkeley Unified School District, accusing it of “intentionally trying to prevent parents from knowing what their kids are learning.”

The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, also accuses the school system of “teaching kids mendacious and malicious lies about [Hamas’s terrorist attack on Israel] that are grossly inaccurate and, on the basis of this false information, fomenting hatred against the Jewish State.”

The Deborah Project went to court on behalf of a parent in the Berkeley school district, Yossi Fendel, who says he was delayed and denied information about his child’s curriculum after a social studies teacher, Alex Day, announced at a school board meeting in November that he was going to incorporate lessons about “Palestine.”

Day also stated at the school board meeting that he wouldn’t be “censored” from lecturing his students about “colonialism.”

Day is a ninth-grade social studies teacher at Berkeley High School, according to the school system’s website.

Fendel repeatedly attempted to gain information about Day’s course material, but was obstructed constantly “for months” by rescheduling, cancellations, and other delays by Berkeley High School and district staff, The Deborah Project said in a press release.

The lawsuit asserts that Day cast Jews as abusive, land-stealing colonizers, ignoring thousands of years of history to make a political assertion, while soft-pedaling the Hamas terrorist organization. Day explicitly refrained from describing as “terrorism” Hamas’ Oct. 7 rape and murder of over 1,200 in southern Israel and its kidnapping of over 200 civilians, according to the lawsuit.

The suit adds:

We seek as well to learn how it came to be that [Berkeley Unified School District]—in violation of California law—inexcusably but intentionally delayed access to the curriculum, ensuring that parents could not learn what was being fed their kids until after a stream of antisemitic falsehoods had already been planted not only in Mr. Fendel’s son’s mind, but in the minds of all his classmates.

 

According to slides for Day’s lessons obtained by The Daily Signal, the teacher used one slide and half of another to describe Hamas’ massacre of civilians in Israel, and 43 slides to describe what he called Israel’s “all out assault on Gaza.”

Hamas, which is known for using civilians as shields for its military operations, has been the elected government of the Gaza Strip since 2006.

In my analysis as a former teacher and curriculum developer, Day’s slides are absolutely riddled with leading questions and weighted comparisons, in what appears to be an attempt to paint Gazans as the victims of unwarranted colonial aggression.

Day makes a comparison on slide 14, titled “Consequences of War,” that dishonestly portrays Israeli citizens as only having to postpone funerals and weddings while Gazans have “no food, no water, no electricity,” and “humanitarian aid was/is being blocked.” (The teacher doesn’t specify who blocked aid.)

The repeated rocket strikes and other horrors Israeli civilians have faced during the war, and for decades before, are not mentioned in Day’s slideshow.

Although the teacher claims in slide 29 that “we take care of each other,” his slides decidedly paint Israelis and Republicans in America as unfeeling and uncompassionate. The slides ask loaded questions such as: “Why do you think there aren’t more politicians calling for a ceasefire?”

Day’s slides include quotes only from, and photos of, Democrats.

Day included several questions asking students what they thought about Israeli actions toward “Palestinians,” but didn’t ask a single question about what students thought of Hamas’ actions, media coverage, or related U.N. resolutions.

For example, question 10 asks, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Do you think that Netanyahu’s directions to the Palestinians are fair? Why or why not?”

Outside of a brief reference to Oct. 7, Day’s slides don’t mention Hamas at all, nor is its leader, Ismail Haniyeh. Students aren’t asked whether Haniyeh’s actions toward Israelis “are fair.”

Both questions 6 and 7 ask students how they feel “about lives lost or damage done to Gaza’s infrastructure,” but no question asks students about Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks.

California State Standards require history teachers to point out “bias and prejudice” in historical interpretations, but the slides in Day’s presentation don’t mention the blatant antisemitism of Hamas or other Iranian proxy groups.

Not referenced a single time: the tens of thousands of social media posts, press releases, recordings of public chants, and other blatant expressions around the world in support of Hamas that call for the death of all Jews.

The Berkeley school district didn’t respond to The Daily Signal’s request that it confirm the authenticity of Day’s slides by time of publication. However, hyperlinks in the slides link to electronic forms hosted by the school district’s official internet domain.

If the Berkeley Unified School District attempted to hide or delay access to this information, it wouldn’t be the first time a public school district was caught trying to keep parents from seeing disturbing or controversial curriculum or pedagogy.

Hundreds of public school districts around the country have attempted to hide racially discriminatory and sexually explicit curriculum from parents, as confirmed by Freedom of Information Act requests, recorded admissions by school administrators, and dozens of whistleblowers.

Berkeley Unified wouldn’t be California’s first public school district to protect antisemitic actions within its schools.

Within weeks after the Hamas attack in Israel, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District forced a gag order on four 11-year-olds so they wouldn’t talk about the antisemitic death threats other students made against them.

https://www.dailysignal.com/2024/04/16/california-school-system-sued-for-hiding-pro-hamas-history-lesson-from-parents/

 

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