WASHINGTON – As anti-Jewish hate surges on campuses across America, Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Chair Burgess Owens (UT-04) penned an opinion piece for Fox News on the disturbing connection between Black Lives Matter, antisemitism, and the rise of divisive race ideology into school curriculums.
The full op-ed is available here and below.
The disturbing connection between BLM and antisemitism in the classroom
Rep. Burgess Owens
December 12, 2023
In the summer of 2020, nearly every sector of American society – from academia, corporations and government entities – rushed to bend the knee to a radical left-wing mob.
To signal their obedience, institutions began paying fealty to the Black Lives Matter organization with funds, store window displays, and, most dangerously, by infusing divisive race ideology into school curriculums. BLM reaped millions of dollars in donations, which they squandered on buying mansions instead of improving the communities they claim to serve.
Schools that embraced BLM’s teachings began feeding the youth of America a race-baiting, oppressor-versus-oppressed narrative that is now bearing its rotten fruit on college campuses.
If any doubt remained that BLM should be delegitimized and condemned, their praise of terrorists slaughtering innocent people, raping women and beheading babies should end all support for their propaganda.
This wasn’t one fringe example. Twenty-six different BLM chapters throughout the country called the Hamas terrorist attack “a desperate act of self-defense.” The BLM grassroots account called for the “entire apartheid system” to be “dismantled.”
And on Oct. 17, just 10 days after Israel was brutally attacked, their Black Lives Matter at School organization shamelessly blamed “Israeli settler colonialism, occupation, blockade, apartheid, and attempted genocide of millions of Palestinians.”
As appalling as this is, it should not be surprising – BLM’s antisemitic roots were on display years ago.
In 2015, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors called for the end of Israel in a presentation to students at Harvard Law School: “[I]f we don’t step up boldly and courageously to end the imperialist project called Israel, we’re doomed.”
BLM-affiliated protesters attacked Jewish people on multiple occasions in 2020. In Philadelphia, Jewish men were chased by BLM protesters, fearing for their lives, and told they belonged to the “synagogue of Satan.” Jewish synagogues, schools and businesses in Los Angeles were targeted and vandalized with antisemitic grffiti during BLM riots.
Despite BLM’s extensive track record of promoting hate and antisemitism, academic institutions, including K-12 schools, continued to open their doors to this controversial and problematic organization.
For the past several years, the national grassroots organization, Parents Defending Education (PDE), has been keeping track of the schools that have, and continue, to work with and promote BLM.
In February 2022, PDE identified 12 school districts that pushed and circulated BLM material, lesson plans, and guiding principles as part of their “BLM at School Week of Action,” which calls for the dismantling of the nuclear family and pushes “decolonization” language.
In Ferndale Public Schools in Michigan, students were given an assignment on “BLM Policy Research,” with specific instructions to look at poetry through a “Marxist lens.”
Even after witnessing BLM’s disgusting response to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, some schools refuse to sever ties to BLM.
Last month, community members reached out to the Essex Westford School District in Vermont to request schools be directed to take down BLM flags because of the organization’s antisemitic stance and rhetoric.
The school board member and chair responded by insinuating the BLM flag would continue to be allowed to be displayed, stating the flag was to show support for “BIPOC students.”
Just over the past several weeks, antisemitic attacks have increased by a jarring 400%. A recent study found that 73% of Jewish college students in the U.S. have experienced or witnessed antisemitism this school year, and only 46% said they feel physically safe on campus.
Across college campuses, anti-Israel protests have led to the intimidation and assault of Jewish students. University presidents and school officials have responded with weak statements that have only emboldened the radical activists and ignored the growing security concerns on campus. Demonstrations across major cities have showcased hateful chants and antisemitic graffiti.
As a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee and chairman of the Higher Education Subcommittee, I committed to every family in America that I will continue to make it a priority to support students, empower parents, and shine a light on divisive rot within our institutions.
One thing is for sure: BLM and their hateful rhetoric have no place in our kids’ education.