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OPINION

Anti-Semitism Poses Dangerous Threat to States with Largest Jewish Populations

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

Hostility is nothing new to Jewish populations throughout the world. Jews have faced one atrocity after another for thousands of years. However, the hostility that Jews have experienced in America’s schools since the barbaric 10/7 attack against Israel is appalling, especially when taking into consideration that antisemitism seems to be rising the most in states with large Jewish populations.

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The Jewish Virtual Library estimates that approximately 7.4 million Jews live in America, disproportionately in a select number of states. New York is estimated to be the home to nearly 1.8 million Jews, with California being the home to over 1.2 million. 

While these two states are often punching bags because of their egregious policies pushing left-wing ideology, combatting the growing antisemitism in our schools should be a bipartisan issue.

Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case.

San Francisco and Los Angeles are known for being progressive bastions. Many of the left-wing movements insinuating themselves into America’s schools germinated in these two cities. Both now serve as ground zero for the growing antisemitic sentiment being taught to our nation’s youth. 

After the 10/7 terrorist attack, educators at the San Francisco Unified School District were instructed to teach students about the conflict between Hamas and Israel. As part of this initiative, the district provided teachers with a resource that claimed “Israeli terrorism has been significantly worse than that of the Palestinians.” Imagine being a Jewish student having to listen to such nonsense immediately after more than a thousand Jews were raped, murdered, and kidnapped by Hamas. 

On October 17 just a few days after Hamas attacked Israel, the organization Black Lives Matter at School published a statement that accused Israel of “settler colonialism, land dispossession, occupation, blockade, apartheid, and attempted genocide of millions of Palestinians.” The group added that school curricula moving forward “must include Palestinian existence, resistance, culture, global contributions, and the ongoing struggle to realize a free Palestine.”

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In February of this year, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) chose to continue working with BLM at School to provide students with lessons to support the BLM movement. The LAUSD appeared to willingly ignore BLM at School’s antisemitism since the organization’s interests aligned with the district’s goal of pushing students into adopting a left-wing political ideology.

But California’s schools are not alone in their complacency in allowing antisemitism to creep into their classrooms. New York is no better.

The Stephen Decatur Magnet School of Leadership, Exploration, and the Arts in Brooklyn had middle-school students participate in a “unity walk” in February to support the BLM movement. The school was also using BLM at School’s curriculum this year despite the organization’s antisemitic activism. The “unity walk” was part of that curriculum. The Stephen School appeared completely unbothered by BLM at School’s blatant antisemitism in the aftermath of an inexcusable terrorist attack.

In November, students in support of Hamas at Hillcrest High School in Queens rioted through the campus waving Palestinian flags for “nearly two hours after they discovered a teacher had attended a pro-Israel rally,” according to the New York Post. The protest was in response to a teacher who posted an image of herself at a pro-Israel rally on Facebook.

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The teacher had to lock herself in a room while vandalism occurred on school property. The school had to call the police to take care of the situation. Neither students nor teachers should face such horrific antisemitism in an educational setting. The fact that the situation escalated to this level speaks volumes about the school’s lack of leadership when dealing with a dangerous ideology.

Students and teachers should never be maliciously targeted for their ethnic or religious backgrounds. Yet these incidents are occurring most often in left-wing states that proudly preach so-called tolerance when it fits their progressive agenda.

Despite California and New York having disproportionately large Jewish populations, officials there seem unconcerned about dealing with growing antisemitism in schools. This should come as no surprise when a common attitude among anti-Israel activists is to equate the Jewish state to “white colonialism.”

The left-wing activists who have embedded themselves in America’s schools with the goal of overhauling our education system in the name of social justice have found common cause with the anti-Israel movement. They view Israel as an example of colonialism in action that must be extinguished, regardless of the lives lost in the process.

Until Americans of all faiths push back, the scourge of antisemitism will only get worse in our schools and continue to corrupt the minds of our nation’s children. It is only a matter of time before this kind of ignorant hatred leads to deadly violence in our schools. We must act now before it is too late.

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Casey Ryan is a writer and investigative reporter at Parents Defending Education.

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