The Ann Arbor, Michigan, public school board apparently thinks their work would be easier if the Jews would just take a hint. The teachers in the famously liberal college town don’t want to have to come right out and say they’d rather have the Jewish families transfer out.

The way Oakland did, for example. On Oct. 27, three weeks after Hamas’s massacre in Israel, the Bay-area city’s teachers union decided it couldn’t hold its tongue: The Jews, it wanted parents to know, had had it coming. So the union posted an “official statement of solidarity” expressing its “unequivocal support for Palestinian liberation,” the most recent expression of which was the murder of more than a thousand people and a mass campaign of sexual violence, including underaged victims.

Less than two weeks later, the union overwhelmingly passed a motion to encourage teachers to incorporate activities in support of “freedom for Palestine” in their lesson plans. One parent of a Jewish student in the district showed up to back-to-school night only to see a “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” poster hanging in her son’s classroom.

All this had its intended effect: At least 30 Jewish families were granted transfer to a different public school over a period of about two months.

Ann Arbor surely sees Oakland’s example as a success. But it doesn’t have the heart to be so gleefully incendiary about it. So yesterday it passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire—which is to say, for Israel to stop fighting back—that equated hostages such as Kfir Bibas, who just turned one in Hamas captivity, with “political prisoners,” a euphemism for Palestinians in Israeli jails arrested on terrorism charges. The resolution also encouraged teachers to take this discourse into the classroom.

Even the New York Times noted that adding it to a public-school curriculum is dicey because “established curriculum resources on Israeli-Palestinian issues are created by advocacy groups and are themselves highly disputed.” This is the understatement of the year. The truth is that parents will be lucky if their kids don’t come home each day talking like they just spent hours at a school run by UNRWA. Or worse—a school in Oakland.

One Ann Arbor parent said her kids are already called on in school to “represent the Jewish view” on this or that topic, like exotic zoo animals.

“Ernesto Querijero, the board trustee who sponsored the resolution, said he did not think teachers should have to avoid the issue, especially when students were exposed to so much discussion of the conflict on social media,” the Times reports. Querijero thinks that because children argue with each other about the Middle East on social media their teachers should argue with them about the Middle East during class. We keep saying Twitter is not real life, but the Ann Arbor public-school district thinks it can and should be.

There was apparently a part of the pre-vote debate in which “several parents asked the board to refocus on other matters, such as the district’s search for a new superintendent and academic recovery following the pandemic.” Those sound important! Unfortunately, tasks such as “hire a superintendent of schools” and “help students recover from the last time you quit on them” just weren’t the vote-getters that “Israel—bad!” proves to be time and again. Democracy, what can you do?

And by the way, the Times reports that the school board resolution was written by a high-school junior in the district who wanted his fellow students to be taught that “Palestinians are oppressed.”

Everybody knows that when teenagers ask for something, they should get it—no exceptions. So if a teenager wants his school curriculum to pivot from math and science to lessons about Jewish evildoings, who are the adults to say no?

You might think this bodes poorly for all the students in that district. But that’s not entirely true, because a few lucky kids may still get out. You see, some Jewish parents are already putting in notice that they’ll be requesting transfers. Which is all the Ann Arbor teachers really wanted in the first place. So maybe everybody wins after all.

+ A A -
You may also like
Share via
Copy link