Monday, November 6, 2023








Rhetoric that has very recently led directly to both bigotry and violence. That describes some of what’s in two very recent writings from the University of California faculty group creating the curriculum for an ethnic studies course intended to become an admission requirement for all of UC’s undergraduate campuses.


This should be sufficient reason for the Legislature to hold off indefinitely on funding the high school ethnic studies graduation requirement pending under a 2021 law known as AB101. A new rewrite is clearly needed, with new authors.


The rhetoric in question matches much of what’s been shouted loudly in the weeks since Hamas terrorists burst into southern Israel, slaughtering, burning, raping or beheading almost 1,150 Jews in their homes and another 260 from many nations at a music festival nearby on Oct. 7.


       “Israel is responsible for all that’s happened,” read classically blame-the-victims signs at rallies that followed in California. These quickly morphed into “Kill the Jews,” scrawled on a UCLA building and “Jews are trash” placards on other campuses.


The idea that such talk won’t lead to action after it’s proclaimed alongside Palestinian slogans like “From the river to the sea,” turns out to be very naïve.


Academic actions quickly followed campus rallies and their virulent sloganeering this fall, like a Stanford University instructor separating Jewish students in a history class and labeling them “colonialists.”  Or a UC Berkeley instructor giving extra credit and grading boosts to students who attended pro-Palestinian rallies, where the Hamas butchery was excused as “part of a larger context.”


There was also the man taped shouting “Free Palestine” and “Kill Jews” as he attempted a violent home invasion in the Studio City district of Los Angeles.


Meanwhile, no protest signs mentioned one large part of the “context” claimed by demonstrators:  the Hamas charter, which calls quite simply for “killing all the Jews.” Everywhere.


The mass murders and hostage taking demonstrate this is not mere talk.


So far, most people exposed to the anti-Semitic hate rhetoric have been TV viewers free to change channels. If the same exhortations were repeated to every public school student in California, today’s steadily increasing anti-Semitic violence and vandalism would likely increase exponentially.


Meanwhile, the academics now designing the high school ethnic studies course twice recently made it very clear to leaders of UC they intend to present those or similar concepts to elementary and high school kids.


One letter, signed by 300 faculty members under the letterhead of the UC Ethnic Studies Faculty Council (ESFC), called it “deeply distressing,” that the university officially deplored Hamas’ massacre.


That letter was later decried by UC Regent Jay Sures, for its “falsehoods, inaccuracies and anti-Semitic innuendos.”


But the ESFC’s intentions had already been outlined elsewhere. Its tentative proposal for the UC ethnic studies admissions requirement, coming from many of the same folks who signed the pro-Hamas protest letter, states that anti-Zionism and eliminating the world’s only Jewish homeland are key tenets of their discipline, often known as “Critical Ethnic Studies.”


Countered another letter signed by officers of 115 non-UC groups in California: “UC faculty who cannot acknowledge that the Hamas massacre is terrorism and a crime against humanity and who state that anti-Zionism and the elimination of the Jewish state is a core value of their discipline must not be trusted to establish statewide ethnic studies standards.”


The Critical Ethnic Studies camp consistently denies it is anti-Semitic, saying it is merely anti-Zionist. But its recent words, like the actions of some instructors, make it clear that for them, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are the same. History says anti-Semitism has led to myriad Jewish deaths.


For many months, Jewish parents and others around California objected on these grounds when school districts hired members of the ESFC and other self-described anti-Zionists to write local ethnic studies curricula.


When AB101 passed, lawmakers said the putative course of study had “guardrails” against bigotry, including anti-Semitism. Plainly, there are paths around those guardrails.


This does not suggest academics and students should lose the freedom to shout whatever they wish. That’s not the same as incorporating their slogans and rants into classroom lessons.


Meanwhile, professors who signed the ESFC’s newest letter to administrators must by now realize they have exposed their own bigotry. By itself, that should spur a new rewrite and new authors for the ethnic studies plan.



    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit


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