On January 8, 2016, the LA Times published “Why Israel’s schools merit a U.S. boycott”, by Prof. Saree Makdisi (UCLA).

The claims in this article were copied from highly politicized NGOs that are either false or impossible to verify. In particular:

  1. Israel does not maintain 2 public educational systems; it has multiple programs in order to address the individual needs of various communities; separate frameworks exist for Secular, Haredi, Religious Zionist, and Arab schools, as well as different tracks for sub-sectors.
  2. The quotes and claims attributed to Human Rights Watch are from a 2001 (!) publication. As with many other HRW publications on Israel (and, indeed, throughout the world), anecdotal claims and pseudo-research are used to create the illusion of rigorous methodology: “This report is based on research conducted in Israel in November and December 2000. During this period, HRW visited twenty-six schools…The twenty-six schools we visited were not a scientific sample, although we strove to visit schools in diverse areas and at different levels.”
  3. Likewise, the data cited by Adalah refers to 15 years ago (“the turn of the 21st century”).
    1. Adalah opposes Israel’s right to define itself as a Jewish state and has compiled a list of Israeli laws (and proposed legislation) that it claims to be racially discriminatory. Adalah employs a loose definition of “discrimination,” and many of the laws and proposed laws are entirely unrelated to Israeli Arabs or other minorities. Laws promoting Zionism and the historic Jewish connection to Israel are labeled as discriminatory. This includes those that relate to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state,” as well as the use of Jewish symbols and the Hebrew calendar. Adalah uses the word “Zionist” in a pejorative manner throughout the database, indicating that it accepts the “Zionism is racism” canard.
    2. Examples of other activities:
      1. In the 2014 Gaza war, Adalah submitted a joint statement to the UNHRC alleging “grave violations of international humanitarian law and international criminal law [that] may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
      2. In 2009 following the Goldstone report, Adalah urged governments to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel.”
      3. In 2007, Adalah published “Democratic Constitution,” which calls for replacing the Jewish foundation of the state.
  4. Many of the discrepancies reflect the realities of the Bedouin sector, which are complex and far-reaching, including polygamy, child neglect, leading to major health and social failures. The idea that the Israeli government can solve these problems by spending more on education is ludicrous.
  5. By the standards set in the article, the U.S. should be boycotted for its failures toward students of color, as well as students in rural and inner city environments.

See also: “UCLA and the Los Angeles Times Should Be Ashamed to Associate with this ‘Professor