Middle East studies in the News
Palestinian Activist Lectures Ithaca Third-Grade Class about 'Israeli Occupation'
by Glenn Dornbaum
Last Friday, Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi gave a presentation to a third-grade class at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School in Ithaca. Tamimi is known for encouraging Palestinian children to confront Israeli soldiers in order to capture video footage portraying the soldiers negatively. In 2011, he was convicted by an Israeli military court for "sending people to throw stones, and holding a march without a permit". So, you might ask, what brought this notorious anti-Israel activist to Ithaca?
The presentation was arranged by Ithaca local Ariel Gold, a self-proclaimed "community activist" committed to the goal of "delegitimizing zionism." Gold serves as the coordinator of Tamimi's national speaking tour, and is also known to use children for political purposes. You can read the original coverage over at Legal Insurrection.
The Cornell Review contacted the principal of the elementary school, Susan Eschbach, requesting comment over the community, and now national, backlash. The principal unequivocally defended Tamimi's visit to the school in her statement, which reads in part:
One-sided political presentations should not be part of any educational curriculum. However, it is far worse to openly promote one-sided political activism to elementary school students and disguise it as part of a curriculum to study "human rights." Unlike adults who would voluntarily come to hear Tamimi speak, the students in this third-grade class had no choice but to attend this presentation. The children were also not exposed to any neutral or pro-Israel point of view on the subject, and we can't expect them to question what they are being presented as an adult might.
Overall, this is really not surprising considering the prevalence of anti-Israeli activism in Ithaca, but just when we thought the purveyors of hate and division couldn't sink any lower, we are proven wrong yet again.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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