ICAN Advocates for Mandatory Holocaust Education in Massachusetts


Boston, Massachusetts: The Israeli-American Civic Action Network (“ICAN”) advocated today at the Joint Committee on Education at the Massachusetts legislature in support of bills that would mandate Holocaust and genocide education in public schools within the Commonwealth.

“I am the father of a graduate of the Brookline public education system and CEO of a hi-tech company in the education technology space. Naturally, education is close to my heart,” said Robert Mayer, ICAN’s Massachusetts chairman. “I am also the son of holocaust survivors. Thankfully they are still alive, though clearly at the twilight of their lives. Unfortunately, we are running out of survivors to tell us their stories and remind us of the horrors of the holocaust.”

ICAN Massachusetts Chairman Mayer noted the following statistics from a recent survey examining the Holocaust knowledge among millennials:

  • 50% of Millennials don’t know what the Holocaust was about, and
  • 11% know what Auschwitz was, and
  • Only a third know what the “Final Solution” was, and
  • Only half even know that it was during World War II.

“We live in an era with growing sentiments of hate. Irrational hate of ‘the other.’ Surely we cannot afford to forget. The data I mentioned should have us all very concerned. It is absolutely imperative that Holocaust education is mandatory and not optional or left to the discretion of individuals,” Mayer concluded.

The bills, H.566 and S327, would require Massachusetts public school students to have instruction in genocide education before graduating from high school.

“You have the power to educate the young generation,” said Yael Michaely, from ICAN Massachusetts. “It is our responsibility to ensure that our future leaders know our history; its highs and its horrendous lows. By teaching them about the past, we help them understand that they hold the power to shape the future.”

“Recognizing that discrimination and intolerance are on the rise, especially anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, and Holocaust revisionism, we appreciate that the Massachusetts legislature has Holocaust education a priority,” said Dillon Hosier, ICAN’s Chief Advocacy Officer. “Twelve states currently have some form of mandatory Holocaust and genocide education, we hope that Massachusetts will be next .”

The Joint Committee on Education has until February 2020 to move the bill forward in the legislative process and ICAN will be actively advocating in support of this legislation until final passage.

About the Israeli-American Civic Action Network: The Israeli-American Civic Action Network is an advocacy organization dedicated to empowering Israeli-American immigrants, and allied communities, at every level of government, local, state, and nationally, to create change for a better America, a more secure Israel, and a stronger U.S. – Israel alliance through advocacy education, civic action, and campaigns and elections.

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