Before the blood had even dried on the pavement of the Nova music festival in southern Israel, where Hamas terrorists ruthlessly murdered 260 young people on 7 October 2023, the Coalition for Liberated Ethnic Studies (CLES) began posting Instagram memes in support of “Palestinian Liberation.” The CLES is a collection of educational organizations that design curricula for US high schools. They aim to teach students about “critical consciousness” and “intersectional forms of oppression.” One of the memes they posted advertised an upcoming “Long Live Palestinian Resistance” event and another gave a shout out to “The People’s Forum,” which organizes events in New York under the banner “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free.” The academic activists of CLES are not first-generation immigrants from the Gaza Strip or the West Bank; they are largely home-grown ideologues who teach ethnic and gender studies at American universities and are now seeking to disseminate their ideas in US primary and secondary schools.
Even I—the jaded author of the book Woke Antisemitism and founder of a Jewish organization dedicated to countering this growing variant of the world’s oldest hatred—was stunned by their rhetoric. I would have thought that they would say that the murder of civilians was awful, but that Israel had it coming. But there was not even a token condemnation of Hamas’ violence on 7 October. Instead, the decolonizers publicly justified the bloodletting.