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‘Turning Classrooms Into Arenas Of Radicalism’: Teachers Union Tasks Anti-Israel Activist To Create Curriculum About Israel

Last Updated 2 weeks by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

A group of educators is sounding the alarm after its union tasked an activist who holds openly anti-Israel views with developing a new curriculum on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Director of Training & Professional Learning for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, Ricardo Rosa, has a record of disseminating anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric. He referred to the United States as a “settler colony,” glorified Leila Khaled, a terrorist who hijacked a plane, supported a professor who labeled Zionists “swine,” encouraged protests in Jewish neighborhoods, and advocated for a “Free Palestine” in the immediate days after the October 7 massacre by Hamas on civilians in southern Israel.

The MTA, representing 117,000 teachers and faculty members at public schools and universities, has come under fire for its response to the October 7 massacre. In December, its board of directors voted in favor of a statement condemning the United States as complicit in the “genocidal assault” in Gaza. The vote also approved the Training and Professional Learning Division, run by Rosa, to develop “a framework for discussing and set of curriculum resources for learning about the history and current events in Israel and Occupied Palestine, for MTA members to use with each other and their students.”

Several union members from across Massachusetts tell The Daily Wire that Rosa’s views would infect any curriculum on Israel and demanded that the MTA halt its development. 

Jany Finkielsztein, a former instructional coach for the Waltham public schools who retired last year, said Rosa’s social media posts about the United States and Israel reveal his “commitment to transforming classrooms into arenas of radicalism.”

“He posted ‘Free Palestine’ on October 9, before Israel even responded to the Hamas’ massacre of Israeli civilians,” Finkielsztein told The Daily Wire. “I think it’s concerning that the MTA is employing someone who is so committed to a political agenda against the world’s only Jewish state.”

Some Hamas terrorists were still in southern Israel at the time of his Instagram post.

Ricardo Rosa’s post called for “Free Palestine” two days after Hamas’s massacre of Israeli civilians in southern Israel.

In the following months, Rosa made posts declaring “Western humanity is a lie,” accused Israel of committing genocide, and again posted “Free Palestine” with an image of a Houthi-run rally calling for supporting Gaza and increasing attacks. He also praised Aaron Bushnell, the U.S. airman who set himself on fire in February outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. In April, Rosa called for the reinstatement of Danny Shaw, a former John Jay College professor, who he described as a “good brother.” Shaw was dismissed after calling Zionists “Babylon swine,” encouraging protests in “their neighborhoods,” and pushing other anti-Semitic tropes, according to Canary Mission. Rosa also voiced support for the anti-Israel student encampments around the country.

Ricardo Rosa’s posts about Aaron Bushnell, a Houthi-run rally, and terrorist and plane hijacker, Leila Khaled. (Photo: Instagram)

Other union members argue Rosa’s posts showing his participation at several anti-Israel rallies across Massachusetts should disqualify him from making curriculum, including a now-deleted post where he called to “cut off the oxygen of this empire.”

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“May the screams of the women, men and children of Gaza haunt all those who have chosen the side of evil, of settler colonialism, of imperialist, patriarchal, racist violence. May the suffering of Palestinians living under Apartheid be erased,” Rosa wrote in another post.

Ricardo Rosa’s posts of pro-Palestine protests. (Photo: Facebook)

“I was shocked when I saw his activism posts just days after he was tasked with the development of the new curriculum,” Max Reich, a math teacher at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School said. “Asking activists to develop curriculum will not lead to accurate or useful material for students.”

According to several MTA members, the MTA has not made a curriculum or resources for other world conflicts. The MTA did not respond to a request for comment about the curriculum.

Massachusetts Teachers Association’s promotional material for its “The Struggle Against Anti-Palestinian Racism” webinar.

In March, the MTA faced backlash when Rosa’s department hosted a “The Struggle Against Anti-Palestinian Racism” webinar which featured a presenter who praised Hamas terrorists for their “courage” in attacking Israel “whatever the cost” just two weeks after the attack. The webinar made it a focus to convince attendees that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism have no correlation. 

“You know exactly what you’re going to get before it’s even created,” Reich said, citing the webinar as proof Rosa’s office cannot be trusted with crafting educational materials on Israel. “They demonstrated their bias already.”

Ricardo Rosa posted a series of graphics in a now-deleted post. One of which referred to the U.S. as “Turtle Island.”
(Photo: Facebook)

In an email defending the webinar obtained by The Daily Wire, Rosa compared the United States to Israel, calling the former “a settler colony.” 

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“The critique of settler colonialism is leveled not only at Israel,” Rosa wrote. “I think that everyone agrees that we also live in a settler colony.”

Rosa’s posts also expressed anti-American sentiments, including one graphic referring to the United States as “Turtle Island,” a term used by so-called “anti-colonialists” to suggest that the United States exists on stolen land. In a comment on a post, he accused U.S. taxpayers of being complicit in funding “the genocide.”

Ricardo Rosa’s comment on his Facebook post where he accuses the U.S. taxpayers of being complicit in funding “the genocide.” (Source: Facebook)

After the webinar, Rosa shared a statement from Jewish Voice for Peace, a radical leftist group that helped craft the webinar and is known for blaming Israel for Hamas’ attack.

In the email, Rosa defended the webinar by asserting it was to “critique” Israel and not Jewish people, adding that if MTA members want to submit proposals for other workshops and webinars “they may do so.”

While Rosa mentioned in the email that the group is deliberating hosting a workshop on anti-Semitism, Finkielsztein said her proposal for a session on the topic during a December conference titled, ‘Cultivating Cultural Pride: Nurturing Cultural Identity and Heritage,’ was rejected after October 7.

An email from Ricardo Rosa where he calls the U.S. a “settler colony.”

“I believe my workshop proposal, titled ‘Jewish Ethnic and Cultural Diversity at a Time of Rising Anti-Semitism’ was likely declined due to a potential conflict with the narrative promoted by certain members of the MTA, including Rosa, who advocate for portraying Israel as a settler colonial enterprise and Jews as white oppressors,” Finkielsztein, who has created many teacher training programs during her 17-year career, said. “After the tragic events in Israel the following day, accepting it seemed like the obvious choice.” 

The Anti-Oppression Strategist and Educator working in Rosa’s office notified Finkielsztein on November 3 that her proposal was rejected without a cited reason, according to an email obtained by The Daily Wire. When Finkielsztein probed for a reason, an MTA employee responded 20 days later, stating they had no feedback to provide.

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“As educators, we consistently provide and anticipate specific feedback, yet I was not provided with the information necessary to understand why the workshop proposal was not accepted,” Finkielsztein said. “At the same MTA conference, Bettina Love was the keynote speaker.”

Bettina Love is the co-founder of Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN) which promotes critical race theory and claimed “Palestine is always under attack” and said “we don’t need to All Lives Matter this moment,” about a week after the October 7 attack.

“When it comes to #Palestine, we know which side of history we are on. Genocide is unfolding before our eyes, so taking action is not a question,” ATN’s X account posted the same day with instructions to help end the “Gaza Genocide.”

Finkielsztein said that she and other Jewish members have repeatedly had their concerns about Rosa ignored by the MTA.

“MTA should be focused on protecting its educators, not promoting divisive political rhetoric and an anti-Israel agenda that is represented by keeping Rosa in his position of leadership,” she added. “As educators, it’s crucial to maintain a separation between our political beliefs and the classroom environment to uphold the quality of education for our students.”

Several MTA members said Rosa lacks the qualifications and expertise in foreign politics to craft any curriculum on the topic.

“He has no academic experience in Middle Eastern history or politics,” Finkielsztein said. “He only has a personal political ideology.”

Reich said the MTA has been increasingly aggressive in pushing anti-Israel views that are not held by the majority of its members. He recalled attending the Annual Meeting of Delegates in April where he wanted to discuss vocational education, but instead was greeted by a group of union members passing out anti-Israel materials and pushing to propose non-business items about Israel. Another source said MTA members wore wearing keffiyehs to make a political statement at the conference.

Many of the anti-Israel MTA members are part of the MTA Rank & File for Palestine group, which regularly posts anti-Israel propaganda and advertisements for protests on its Instagram page.

“As a Jewish person, I was alarmed and was shocked by how aggressive it was and how organized they were as a group,” Reich said, adding that the group was passing out fliers with anti-Israel talking points.

Reich said he has considered leaving the MTA, but remains because he likes his local union which requires him to stay a member of the MTA. 

MTA and Rosa did not respond to a request for comment.

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