New Resources at TeachPalestine.org!

As teachers and students settle into the spring semester, we hope that 2021 will bring more health, more justice, and more peace. This has been a difficult time to be an educator, and many of us are feeling the impact of so many months of trying to support our students, our families, and ourselves. Despite everything, we’ve made some exciting changes to the Teach Palestine Project and to our website. We’re honored to add Dr. Samia Shoman to our staff as co-coordinator of the project. A Palestinian educator with many years of experience as a high school teacher, Samia co-led our delegation of teachers to Palestine last year. Samia and I are working with a statewide campaign to ensure that Arab American studies—including Palestine—is in the California Model Ethnic Studies Curriculum. The campaign has faced strong resistance from Zionist forces, but it has helped us build strong relationships with teachers interested in teaching about Palestine throughout the state and beyond. Here’s a link to a thought-provoking and inspiring webinar on the fight for Ethnic Studies with guest speaker Angela Davis! Samia led a workshop on teaching Arab American studies as part of the campaign. Here are links to the workshop and the resources. You can follow the campaign at the Save Arab American Studies website. Please sign on to the teacher letter! We just posted new curriculum from San Francisco English teacher Kristia Castrillo. Kristia was part of the Teach Palestine Teacher Delegation in June 2019. She came home and…

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Boycotting Occupation: Educators and Palestine

This editorial, by the editors of Rethinking Schools, first appeared in Rethinking Schools magazine, spring 2016. “They are targeting our children. They know our children are the future of Palestine,” a mother and community activist told Rethinking Schools editor Jody Sokolower. In this Palestinian woman’s East Jerusalem neighborhood, dozens of children have been arrested from their beds at 4 in the morning, cuffed and blindfolded, and taken for lengthy interrogations. One 5-year-old was arrested and detained because he rushed to his mother’s defense in their own house. After the children return home, they are often on house arrest for months. Many of these children show the effects of trauma: bedwetting, nightmares, depression. As a result of their incarceration and house arrest, they lose valuable time at school, and many drop out as a result. This is just one example of the impact of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, but it’s one that moved us deeply. When the United States was about to invade Afghanistan and again in the lead-up to the war against Iraq, Rethinking Schools argued that these were situations of such magnitude that educators had a moral and an educational responsibility to speak out. We think that Palestine is just such a situation. We’ve had long discussions about what that means for us as educators. One important piece of that responsibility, we believe, is joining the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) for its denial of human rights to Palestinians. Just as the movement to isolate…

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Education Under Occupation: East Jerusalem

An interview with Zakaria Odeh This interview, by Jody Sokolower, first appeared in Rethinking Schools magazine, spring 2016. When Israel declared itself a state in 1948, it forcibly ejected 750,000 Palestinians, who became refugees. The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, ended up under Jordanian control; Gaza under Egyptian control. Almost 20 years later, as a result of the June 1967 war, all those areas were conquered by Israel. Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, but it annexed East Jerusalem—in the face of universal opposition from the international community and in defiance of international law. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem were issued special Jerusalem ID cards, which identify them as “permanent residents.” Now the Israeli government and the illegal settlers are determined to push all Palestinians out of Jerusalem; they have declared it the capital of Israel. As a result, the houses of Palestinian Jerusalemites are demolished; trees and crops are destroyed; children as young as 10 years old are repeatedly arrested and tortured; more and more Israeli settlers have moved into the area, taking over Palestinian homes and land. This interview explores the impact on Palestinian children and their education. Zakaria Odeh is executive director of the Civic Coalition in East Jerusalem. This interview was conducted in November 2015. Jody Sokolower: How is the escalating violence in East Jerusalem, and throughout Palestine, affecting children? Zakaria Odeh: This violent situation didn’t start with the recent escalation. This is the result of all the various policies that Israel has been implementing over many…

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