Jaime Kardontchik

“Ethnic Studies” at US schools: The Jewish perspective

The persecutions and pogroms suffered by the Jews in the Arab countries, from Northern Africa to the Middle East, before and during the 20th century, and the almost one million Jewish refugees from the Arab countries, have been ignored and deleted from the books and the conscience, both in the Western and in the Arab world.

My book corrects the wrong perspective, which focuses on the anti-Semitism in Europe in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, and ignores no less difficult conditions and persecutions that the Jews in the Arab countries went through at that time. Setting the record straight is not an arid intellectual exercise, since how the Arab world saw and behaved towards the Jews in its midst for centuries, determined its view towards Zionism and the birth of the Jewish State in 1948. And the way that one sees the birth of the State of Israel in 1948 will shape his/her opinion of everything else related to the Arab-Israeli conflict today.

From Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula, and from the 7th century and on, Arabs began an expansion and conquest of vast territories, capturing the whole Middle East and North Africa. A core principle of these colonizers is that any lands that Moslems conquered by force during the times of the Islamic conquests belong to the Islamic nation and cannot be relinquished. Never. This is too the core belief of Hamas (it is formulated explicitly in its 1988 Covenant, article eleven), and this belief constitutes the justification for all the wars it initiated against the Jews and Hamas’ declared objective to eliminate the State of Israel.

The history of the Arab-Israeli conflict is presented today, in the media and academia, mainly from the perspective of the Arab colonizers. My book presents the other side of the coin: the Jewish perspective of the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs.


The above is the Introduction to my book “The root of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the path to peace” (March 2024 edition). The book comes in English, Spanish and Hebrew editions. The content of the three editions is identical, except that in the Hebrew edition, I added in chapter 5, in the section on Jewish literature, a poem in Hebrew from Shelomo Ben-Salih Shelomo, an Iraqi Jew, who wrote it shortly after the massacre of the Jews in Baghdad in 1941. The book is geared towards the general audience and to Political Science courses at universities that touch upon the Arab-Israeli conflict.


There is also a separate edition geared toward high-school teachers and students in the US, titled: “Ethnic Studies in K12 schools: The Jewish module”. This edition contains all the material of the books above, with some brief additions here and there that are more appropriate for a K12 classroom, like the following example added in chapter 4, a chapter dealing with the struggles of ancient minorities in the Middle East:

Homework: Check if you are a racist

Listen to the following 8 minutes video of a presentation given at a High School in London, UK, and then answer to a couple of questions at the end.

Answer now to the following question: 

Do you empathize with the Assyrian speaker?

Now listen again to the video, and every time the speaker says “Assyrian” replace the word by “Jewish”.

Answer now to the following question:

Do you empathize with the Jewish speaker?


For whom are the books intended?

The books have two intended audiences: first, for Jewish readers – both in the Diaspora and in Israel – who, regrettably are not adequately versed on the basics of Jewish history and the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict; second, for Jews and non-Jews in academic environments (K12 schools, colleges, and universities.), where the Arab-Israeli conflict is discussed.

Now it is your turn

You read the book and you liked it, now what?

Now it is your turn. During the last year I contacted many teachers at K12 schools and lecturers and professors at university campuses in the 50 states of the US. The Palestinian narrative is being aggressively pushed in the academia. At least in California, students must take now an “Ethnic Studies” course to graduate, both in K12 schools and at the California State University’s 23 campuses, where the Palestinian narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict is most likely to be included.

Request that the Jewish perspective of the Arab-Israeli conflict be presented and taught too. Check the Syllabus of the course: If it contains any mention of the Arab-Israeli conflict, then recommend my book for Reading material and discussion in class.  Students should be allowed to hear both sides of the conflict, otherwise what is done in class is indoctrination and not education. If you do not like my book, write your own essays, or suggest other books presenting the Jewish perspective of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Beware: the Palestinian narrative is likely to be pushed also in English and Literature classes too, using short stories. In this case, request to include also some of the short stories included in my book. For example, about the life of the Jews in Morrocco (see Appendix 1.1 in Chapter 1 of my book) or in Syria (recommend the small but fascinating book “Farewell, Aleppo”, by Jewish American author Claudette E. Sutton, of which a brief excerpt is given in Appendix 2.3, in Chapter 2 of my book)

If an “Ethnic Studies” course syllabus in a K12 school district does not include materials dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict – do not push for the inclusion of the Jewish perspective of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the course. Personally, I am not a fan of teaching the Arab-Israeli conflict in K12 schools in the US: K12 public schools already struggle to teach the basic tools and subjects that children need to succeed in life (English, Math, the History of the United States and Civics come to mind). The Arab-Israeli conflict is not one of them. It would be wiser to concentrate on the basics and avoid diverting state and federal funds, teacher resources and precious student hours to this subject. However, if the local school district insists, then both perspectives – the Arab and the Jewish perspective – should be included and discussed in class.

Where can people get my book?

The four books are available at Amazon in digital (eBook) and hardcopy (paperback) formats. The price of the books has been set practically at the minimum allowable by Amazon, to maximize accessibility: $2 for the eBooks and $6.50 for the paperbacks.

In addition, all the books are available to all for free reading and download (pdf) at the ResearchGate website. If you have a computer, I recommend to use the free downloadable version (pdf) of the books, since some of the References given in the books have hyperlinks. Hence, they can be accessed and read, or listened to, in the pdf version by a simple “click” of the mouse.

Teachers and lecturers can use the free downloadable version of the book to print as many copies of the book (or parts of it) as they need, for distribution to their students. But … beware: the actual cost of a DIY (Do It Yourself) print of the whole book will be higher than buying directly the nicely bound paperback from Amazon.

 How can people access the free downloadable version?

Here are the links for the free download of the books (March 2024 edition):

English edition:

Spanish edition:

Hebrew edition:

Edition for K12 schools in the US:

About the Author
Jaime Kardontchik has a PhD in Physics from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He lives in the Silicon Valley, California.
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