Rantz: Antisemitic ‘teach-in’ told students Hamas are ‘resistance fighters’

Dec 4, 2023, 6:36 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2023, 6:41 am

antisemitism Issaquah...

Slides from the "Israel & Palestine" PowerPoint from the Consciousness and Racial Empowerment Club. (Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

Students learned that terrorist organization Hamas are “freedom fighters” and Israel is the result of “explicitly a settler colonial movement” as part of a student-led “teach-in.” It was little more than revisionist history determined to turn students against Israel.

The Consciousness and Racial Empowerment Club, or CARE, hosted what’s been described by the district as a teach-in this past October. According to a district spokesperson, the event was student-led.

“While the students described their club meeting as a ‘teach-in,’ that term is misleading,” an Issaquah School District spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “This is not curriculum or a teacher’s lesson; it was not ‘taught’ by any employee of the school district.”

It makes sense that the district is distancing itself from the document. Simply titled “Israel & Palestine,” the PowerPoint presentation exclusively obtained by The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, is chock-full of historical inaccuracies and antisemitic positions.

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It gets almost everything wrong

Most substantive claims made about Israel and so-called “Palestine,” are historically inaccurate and framed around “Zionism vs. Judaism.”

Zionism is defined as an “ideology and accompanying political movement that is in support of the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine with a Jewish majority.” This definition is inaccurate, simplifying the historical movement to a single political goal.

The presentation’s definition relegates Zionism to having exclusionary or colonial intent, which negates the centuries-long presence and sovereignty of Jewish people in the region. Indeed, the presentation falsely states as fact that Israel was formed out of settler colonialism, which uses violence or threats of violence to steal land and displace indigenous people. But Jews are indigenous to Israel.

Jews have deeply rooted ties to Israel that date back over 3,000 years. Zionism was not about colonizing a foreign land but about the return to an ancestral homeland, as recognized by the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and later by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in 1922.

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

Propaganda maps favored by antisemites

While the presentation cites a “native Palestinian population” in the region, the Palestinian identity is an invention of the 20th century with the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964. People in the land were previously identified as Arabs, not Palestinians.

Using propaganda favored by antisemites, the presentation uses Qatari government-controlled Al Jazeera as its main source for mapping the region. It even uses the oft-cited, but thoroughly debunked “map” that shows a Palestinian-controlled state in 1917. The entirety of the map is incorrect. The region was still part of the Ottoman Empire in 1917.

The second map in the image shows a Jewish-majority controlled Palestine from 1948-June 1967. Again, this is false. The British Mandate ended in 1948, followed by Israel declaring itself independent. Surrounding Arab countries unsuccessfully invaded Israel, which allowed Israel to extend control over a greater area of land.

The additional maps make similarly misleading claims.

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

Defending Hamas

After thoroughly delegitimizing Israel’s right to exist, deeming them violent settlers, the presentation then blames Jews for the conditions of Gaza.

Gaza is called the “world’s largest concentration camp,” a claim that’s knowingly made at the expense of Israel, despite what was done to Jews during the Holocaust. The presentation falsely claims that “Israel controls all aspects of life” within Gaza and says it’s the frequent recipient of “aerial/artillery bombardment.” There’s no context on the slide as to why that might be. And even though Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, the presentation falsely claims that Israel is an “occupying military and policing force.”

The presentation labels terrorist groups Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian Liberation Organization as “resistance groups.”

The slides focus the most attention on Hamas. The terrorists are noted for their “diversity of tactics,” including “peaceful demonstrations,” though it does note that they are sometimes known for kidnapping and murder.

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

October 7 explained

The presentation described the October 7 terrorist attacks as a “surprised attack” by “multiple Palestinian [sic] resistance organizations.” They’re described as “armed fighters.”

The presentation falsely claims that “Israeli women were not raped and paraded.” Witness accounts, forensic evidence, and video suggest otherwise.

The presentation defended Hamas taking hostages. It said that, “Hamas takes hostages in order to have [sic] negotiate with Israel.”

To whomever created the presentation, Israel’s response has been unjust and it takes issue with the U.S. supplying some weapons to Israel. In the post-discussion notes, students were asked to find “parallels between the creation of Israel and the U.S.”

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

The presentation is disturbing

The propaganda and false information in the presentation is disturbing, to say the least.

Josh Hammer, Newsweek senior editor-at-large and host of The Josh Hammer Show (heard Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 8 a.m. on KTTH). Hammer regularly speaks on college campuses on issues surrounding Israel. He called the presentation “ahistorical, revisionist history.”

“Remarkably, it begins by talking about the so-called ‘people of Palestine’ who were ‘first documented in ancient Egyptian tablets over 3,000 years ago.’ This is ludicrous,” Hammer tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “The word ‘Palestine’ comes from the Romans, who first gave the land that term to de-Judaize the region after the destruction of the Second Temple, less than 2,000 years ago. On the contrary, the Jews have consistently inhabited this land for thousands of years—millennia before the term ‘Palestine’ was created.”

Hammer also condemns the “attempts to disentangle Zionism from Judaism,” calling it a “fool’s errand.”

“In the Hebrew Bible, God repeatedly promises the land of Israel—Eretz Yisrael, in Hebrew—to the people of Abraham and the children of Jacob. ‘Zionism,’ as both its supporters and opponents use the term, is simply Jewish nationalism—the hope of the very nationalism in the Jews’ promised land seen all throughout the Bible,” Hammer said. “The PowerPoint calls Zionism ‘explicitly a settler colonial movement,’ but it ignores that Jews never left the Holy Land even following the destruction of the Second Temple. During the period of Ottoman control of the Holy Land, the Jewish community there even had a name: Yishuv.”

Demonizing Jews

Hammer believes the PowerPoint presentation is intended to demonize Jews. The content is framed to turn students against Jews.

“Israel is accused of ‘ethnic cleansing,’ but it is the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria (i.e., the so-called ‘West Bank’) that makes it a capital offense for an Arab to sell land to another Jew,” Hammer notes. “The Palestinian Authority also subsidizes those “martyrs” who maim or injure innocent Israeli Jews. So who is ‘ethnically cleansing’ who, here?”

Hammer notes that the presentation’s slides fail to note it is the Palestinian Arabs who have repeatedly rejected a so-called “two-state solution.”

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

How can this be ‘taught’

While the Issaquah School District spokesperson insists no teacher presented the information, it was still “taught” by a school club. It’s beyond irresponsible to let this content go unchallenged.

The district has a responsibility to step in when hate and blatant misinformation are being presented to students, especially given the rise of antisemitism impacting students in the region. This is the exact kind of vilification that leads to Jews being targeted.

It also strains credulity to accept that no adult helped prepare the propaganda. Whether or not it was a staff member matters, in part, because government funding should not go towards teaching this hate. But a student (or students) are unlikely to be solely responsible for this content. The district must investigate to ensure it wasn’t a staff member who helped prepare the slides.

“Ultimately, the PowerPoint is not the work of people dedicated to reporting facts or authentic history. It is a Pravda-esque document of world-historical revisionism and pro-Palestinian agitprop ginned up for one reason and one reason only: to incite hatred of Jews. These zealots will never let the actual facts get in the way of their stubborn ideology—or their bigotry,” Hammer said.

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Rantz: Antisemitic ‘teach-in’ told students Hamas are ‘resistance fighters’