May 26, 2023
Palestinian flag

(LOS ANGELES, CA – 5/26/2023) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today welcomed the decision by the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) to maintain its current Ethnic Studies: World Geography curriculum, including all content related to Palestine and Israel. 

SEE: Urge SAUSD To Keep Palestine in its Ethnic Studies Curriculum

At a board meeting on Tuesday, May 23, SAUSD heard arguments from the community in favor and against the curriculum before ultimately deciding to keep the course as is. Anti-Palestinian groups pressured the district to change the curriculum of a high school ethnic studies course to exclude accurate information about Israel’s occupation of Palestine. The course contains a brief discussion of the conflict and rightfully frames the origins of the Palestinian dispossession in its proper historical context. 

In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:   

“We thank Superintendent Jerry Almendarez and SAUSD for their decision to continue to present a factual description of Israel’s forced displacement of Palestinians and the historical context of the conflict. Time and time again, we see how any mention of the plight of the Palestinian people, or any discourse that humanizes Palestinians living under the brutal Israeli occupation for over seven decades, is met with false accusations of antisemitism. 

“The content being discussed in this curriculum is not only crucial to building a well-rounded educational experience for students within the district, but it also allows for the teaching of history without the interference of groups with narrow political agendas attempting to skew the truth. Efforts to erase this information from the curriculum by conflating antizionism with antisemitism only highlight the Israeli government’s continuous efforts to silence Palestinian voices and erase their history.”  

In a statement, CAIR-LA Policy Manager Basha Jamil said:   

“I applaud the Santa Ana School Board for its decision not to erase Palestine from its Ethnic Studies curriculum and for its leadership in approving a course that discusses the historical experience of a wide range of marginalized groups. Students deserve to learn about the root causes of historical conflicts without censorship. We look forward to similar ethnic studies curriculum being adopted throughout the county.” 

CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.  

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Digital Communications Manager Enjy El-Kadi, (714) 851-4851 or