EXCLUSIVE: California high school students stage pro-Hamas walkouts after textbooks instill anti-Israel, pro-jihad views

Students take up the cause of America's enemies because they have been taught, explicitly, to do so.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

Students in Oakland, California staged a walkout from school on Wednesday, carrying signs reading "free Palestine" and chanting "from the river to the sea Palestine will be free."

In San Francisco's Balboa High School, students donned keffiyehs and marched through the halls with clenched fists, screaming the same slogan. These students did not come to these views on their own, instead they have been fed a steady diet of anti-semitism and a hatred of Christian values in their schools, from their teachers, and in their textbooks.

At Berkeley High, too, students walked out of class to demand that Israel "stop bombing Gaza." They marched around wearing crop tops and short shorts, carrying Palestinian flags and signs that read "no US $ for Palestinian genocide."

The students chanting this, the students demanding the crushing defeat of Israel at the hands of their enemies, and insisting that the US abandon a long-standing ally in a time of crisis, learned in school that the religion of Islam is peaceful, that jihad is simply a way to worship God, and that Jews and Christians are to blame for society's ills.

The slogans the students chanted through the halls, outside their schools, and while marching through town are anti-semitic. The chant "from the river to the sea" means that Palestinians should eradicate the state of Israel from the River Jordan all the way to the Mediterranean, take it over, and remove the Jewish people from that land. But for these students, it is Christians and Jews who are at fault, and Islamic and Arab people who are suppressed. 

A major history textbook in use in California downplays jihad and Sharia law while being highly critical of Judaism. The textbook is called "History Alive: The Medieval World and Beyond," and it comes from the Teachers' Curriculum Institute, which creates and publishes texts for all of the core disciplines.

A concerned parent reached out to The Post Millennial and provided photos of the lessons being taught. The parent took the photos after requesting to see the curriculum, and being given an opportunity to review it in the local school district office.

Islam and Jihad

Of the wars fought, lands conquered, and invasions carried out by followers of the Prophet Muhammed in the wake of his death in 632, the textbook says "Islam extended its influence over the next several centuries." The book claims that "Islam was a missionary religion and sought to win converts." In fact, Muslims were engaging in holy war, violently conquering Christian areas and remaking them in their own religion. The caliphate that was established was the most powerful military force in west Asia. The book downplays the effect of the restrictive shari'ah law, saying that it "continues to develop in response to modern ways of life and its challenges." The book also claims that followers of Islam respect other religions.

Of shari'ah laws, which heavily restrict women's freedom of movement, ability to show their face in public, and many other freedoms that Americans hold dear, the book claims that "Shari'ah covers Muslims' duties toward God and others. It guides them in their personal behavior and relationships with others. Shari'ah promotes obedience to the Qur'an and respect for others."

While the book notes that the holy text of Islam, the Qur'an, "tells women 'not to display their beauty' to strangers," it does not show the strict penalties for disobeying these dictates in a country that lives by shari'ah law. A woman in Saudi Arabia was detained by police for wearing a mini-skirt. Women who are accused of adultery are often stoned to death. Women in Afghanistan are not allowed to attend school.

As to concerns over a clash between the strict Islamic and western ways of life, the book suggests that this is a "debate" that "continues." It notes with some dismay that western laws have, in many nations, replaced those based in strict religious codes, before saying "Many Muslims feel that democracy and freedom do not contradict the teaching and law of Islam. But others feel that the two cannot go hand in hand. The debate continues."

Of jihad, which is at the center of Islam and is laid out in the Qur'an, the textbook reads "The term 'jihad' refers to the effort that Muslims perform to become closer to God. A vast majority emphasize a spiritual, inner struggle. But a minority of individuals and groups claim to fulfill this duty through acts of violence."

In the Qur'an, however, jihad comes in phases, based on the social position of Muslims in a nation or region. It is essentially a playbook, with the eventual goal of expanding Islamic military strength to overtake, subjugate, and force non-Muslims to pay tribute to Islam. Only four days before the recent attack on Israel by Hamas, Iran's Supreme Leader called for jihad. Hamas' former leader, speaking from Qatar, called for jihad only a few days after the attacks.

The concept of jihad is downplayed in the textbooks for American students, which is what makes it so easy for them to believe the Islamic extremists in Gaza are the victims and Americans and Israelis are the aggressors. In fact, encouraging a populace to believe exactly that is the form of jihad practiced when Muslims are in the social minority. This social status requires adherents of Islam to play victim in order to gain sympathy. The Qur'an says "We smile in the face of some people but in our hearts we curse them." The outward message is tolerance, while inwardly the goal is radicalization.

In another section on jihad, the textbook reads "The word jihad means 'to strive.' There are multiple ways to fulfill the duty of jihad, and different groups emphasize different methods." It says that some Muslims "interpret the duty to mean a 'physical struggle with spiritual significance.'" It then emphasizes that Islam is tolerant of other religions because it does not practice forced conversion.

"In another interpretation," it reads, "jihad represents the human struggle to overcome difficulties and do things that would be pleasing to God," while going on to emphasize that jihad is a means to "correct injustice." The text minimizes the use of jihad to conduct murderous rampages of perceived enemies.

A chapter on the conflict between Israel and the neighboring Arab states equivocates the positions of Israel, which has been fighting for the right to exist as a nation since its founding after the mass extermination and genocide of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust in World War II, and the Arab insistence that Israel should be eradicated.

It details the conflict as a fight between an aggressive power, Israel, and a little victimized people just asking for a little bit of land, Palestinians. It portrays Jews who moved to Israel after the blanket slaughter of their people in Europe as an oppressive, invading force as opposed to a displaced people seeking refuge in an ancient homeland.

The books were greenlit for use in California schools in 2005, at which time they were already in use in Michigan and Illinois. A critique of the books from the American Textbook Council in 2008 states that the "middle-school text adopted by California for statewide use, offers a decidedly unbalanced characterization of jihad, a concept that may be benign in individual uses but that is invoked by radical Islamists as a rationale for warring against Americans."

It concludes that "Many political and religious groups try to use the textbook process to their advantage, but the deficiencies in Islam-related lessons are uniquely disturbing. History textbooks present an incomplete and confected view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security."

These textbooks were made during a time of tumult in the US, right after the September 11, 2001 attacks of Islamic jihad on New York and Washington, DC. The attacks were carried out by Islamic extremists who sought the destruction of the west and the United States. In response to those attacks, many Americans came to believe that America was at fault for the attacks. America came to believe that we had reaped what we had globally sown and that the attacks were a check on the power and military might of the US.

Culture, art, entertainment, and academic work began to reflect that view, and lessons that once encouraged a patriotic approach to the study of history began to reflect the burgeoning self-hate that came as a result of feeling that we were to blame for having been massacred by people who hated us.

The textbooks from TCI sought to teach students that American values, based in a Judeo-Christian history and culture, were not as moral, correct, or virtuous as those held by Muslims. In part, this was due to a lobbying effort from the Council on Islamic Education that wanted to sanitize the horrific acts of September 11, in which civilian aircrafts full of passengers were turned into missiles, so as to not lay blame on Islam, the religion in which name the attacks were carried out.

Concerns were raised in 2008 about these textbooks, concerns have been raised by parents, and instead of those being heeded, the state of California, and other states that have implemented this curriculum, have spent nearly two decades indoctrinating students into believing America is evil and that those who want Jews dead are heroes.

The American Textbook Council said of TCI's texts that the textbook editors "try to avoid any subject that could turn into a political grenade." Because of that, the editors "adjust the definition of jihad and sharia or remove these words from lessons to avoid inconvenient truths that the editors fear activists will contest. Explicit facts that non-Muslims might find disturbing are varnished or deleted. Textbooks pare to a minimum such touchy subjects as Israel and oil as agents of change in the Middle East since 1945. Terrorism and Islam are uncoupled and the ultimate dangers of Islamic militancy hidden from view."

However, just as the students did not come to believe Palestinians and Hamas have a right to throw off what they see as their Israeli "oppressors," the textbook companies were influenced by Islamic organizations within the US that work to paint a more peaceful and tolerant view of Islam. The Council said in 2008 that these groups are "willing to sow misinformation" and "are active in curriculum politics."

"It is not remarkable," the Council said, "that Islamic organizations would try to use ready-made American political movements such as multiculturalism to adjust the history curriculum to their advantage. It is alarming that so many individuals with the power to shape the curriculum are willfully blind to or openly sympathetic with these efforts."

The results of that multiculturalist approach to Islam, jihad and Israel are now clear to see in Americas' students, who believe fully that Palestinians have a right to commit violence against Israelis, and to seek the total destruction of Israel, based entirely on an oppressor/victim worldview. "These distortions and biases about Islam in history textbooks could not prevail were it not for the all-important bridge between Islamist activists and multicultural organizations on and off campus," the Council said.

"Encouraged to do so by reputable authorities," the Council wrote, "textbook publishers court the Council on Islamic Education and other Muslim organizations—or at least try to appease them. This legitimacy is bestowed in spite of longstanding questions about sources of funding and degree of control over publishers."

That legitimacy of viewpoint is handed down by teachers and educators with authority, and students take up the cause of America's enemies because they have been taught, explicitly, to do so.

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