Middle East studies in the News
Pro-Israel Advocates Fight Back as New York School Teaches Third Graders to Be 'Freedom Fighters for Palestine'
An uproar is brewing in Ithaca, New York, after anti-Israel activists bragged on Facebook how they managed to bring Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi to a third-grade class as part of a presentation on the suffering of Palestinian children at the hands of Israel.
According to the activists, the event took place on Friday morning, September 18, 2015 at the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School.
...Tamimi's connection to Ithaca runs through Ariel Gold, an anti-Israel activist who used to work as a community organizer for the anti-Israel Sabeel Int'l – North America. Gold now self-describes her occupation as a Community Activist "delegitimizing zionism." Like Tamimi, Gold involves her children (ages 12 and 14) in her anti-Israel activism, promoting them through radio and speaking appearances, as well as Facebook and videos.
Reporting on the event, Gold posted a series of pictures with captions about Tamimi speaking of "Palestinian human rights" and the "occupation" on her Facebook page.
When Legal Insurrection contacted the school for comment, a politically correct statement regarding a human rights-infused curriculum was issued. The Blaze pushed the subject with Ithaca City School District Superintendent Luvelle Brown, who responded, in part:
Brown said that it was his understanding that the suffering of Jewish children was not discussed with the third grade children; nor was the issue of Tamimi's relative Ahlam Tamimi raised. Ahlam Tamimi was an accomplice to a 2001 suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed 15, including 7 children and a pregnant woman. Nor were the children told that Israel's security barrier (which Palestinian activists usually call a "wall") was erected in order to keep suicide bombers out of Israel and that since then suicide attacks have virtually ended, saving scores of children's lives.
Asked if any pro-Israel voices were invited to the classroom, Brown said, "No other speakers have been into this classroom to talk about human rights at this time."
The story was later covered by a series of news outlets including Arutz Sheva, Truth Revolt and the Free Beacon. In a later post, Legal Insurrection noted the following statement from Brown:
The Ithaca City School District's position is that such statements are not developmentally appropriate for third graders, nor aligned with the New York State standards. The statements were politically skewed, inflammatory, and not endorsed by the Ithaca City School District.
Only after pressure was put on the school district from these news agencies and alternative media sources and their readers did the school district bother to address the situation. This incident proves that vigilance is the watchword when it comes to public education, lest we see a generation of "freedom fighters" rise up in our midst.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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