Jeff Cooper teaching a session titled Palestine/Israel [Photo Credit: Salary Point – Teacher Workshop]
It was recently reported by The Israel Group that the Los Angeles Unified School District, also known as LAUSD, co-sponsored the “Learning about Islam and the Arab World” workshop with an organization known as The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FORUSA). FORUSA is connected with and promotes the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR was found by a Muslim Brotherhood-related organization to promote Hamas financially and politically.
According to one workshop participant, who spoke with The Israel Group on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, “The workshop was nothing more than lectures proclaiming the virtues of Islam, while following the same party lines: All negative information about Islam was labeled as lies, mistranslations, ignorance, prejudice, and hoaxes; speakers stated that violent Jihad is non-doctrinal, nonsense; Christians and Jews were always better off living under Muslim rule and anyone who says otherwise is lying.” The participant, who is Christian, added: “I can only wait to hear what they teach about Israel at this weekend’s workshop?”
The session Palestine, Israel, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer is taught by Jeff Cooper, a part-time adjunct professor of history at Santa Monica College. According to one student’s review about Cooper on ratemyprofessor: “He has really far out radical left-wing political views. He hates the USA.” Cooper’s 40-page handout (first section / second section) Palestine, Israel, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer, is based on this publication by Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar, of the Middle East Research and Information Project. (Cooper’s handout was with approved edits.) Without knowing the factual history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—as many of the teachers don’t—this information will appear as neutral and authoritative. Unfortunately, it is nuanced anti-Israel propaganda from beginning to end, with thousands of inaccuracies, distortions, factual lies, and insidious misrepresentations. To name just a few:
Attendees of the event were eligible for a LAUSD Salary Point. The LAUSD website describes Salary Points as follows: As part of the UTLA/LAUSD contract, teachers increase their annual salary by taking classes to improve their effectiveness as teachers.
Essentially, LAUSD teachers are incentivised to take the anti-Israel and pro-BDS “Learning about Islam and the Arab World” workshop.
To put things in perspective, the LAUSD is responsible for providing children with an education that contains both factual and useful material for the benefit of the children in their district. The highly politicized “Learning about Islam and the Arab World” workshop was completely inappropriate given the responsibilities that the LAUSD is tasked with and given the fact that the LAUSD is a government funded entity that is required to adhere to the democratic principles that made the United States one of the greatest countries in the world.