A school in Ithaca, New York has come under heavy criticism after parents complained that their 8 and 9-year-old children were left traumatised after a Palestinian activist spoke to a class.
The incident happened last September, but the transcript of the meeting has only just been released by the school. And the information taught to the children is shocking.
The talk was hosted by Code Pink’s Ariel Gold (the woman who stormed the stage Ashton Kutcher was talking at this week) and featured guest speaker Bassem Tamimi.
Bassem Tamimi is a prolific Palestinian activist who is known for exploiting his own children in videotaped confrontations with Israeli soldiers (see video below).
If you want to find out more about the Tamimi family, we recommend you read this article by The Tower. It explains how the family has become a Palestinian mouth piece. They advocate “the right to armed resistance”, refuse to condemn terrorism and their home town has great admiration for Ahlam Tamimi, a relative of Bassem, who is the mastermind behind the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem that killed 15 civilians, including eight children and a pregnant woman, and wounded 130 other people.
Here is a video of Ahlam Tamimi showing absolutely no remorse for murdering children.
The fact that someone with Bassem’s background was allowed to influence these 8 and 9-year-olds in a US public school is truly shocking.
During the talk Tamimi and Gold showed videos, including one where a girl tells the students that Israel is murdering children. Gold and Tamimi also painted the picture that Israel controls everything, builds walls to imprison the Palestinians and that Israel destroys their belongings for no reason.
After hearing these bad things about Israel the children expressed their dislike for Israel during the meeting.
Let’s remember that the children being spoken to are 8 and 9-year-olds. These are very impressionable minds that are easily influenced.
When one of the students asked about stopping Israel, Bassem replied, “You’re important, what you can do for us… you defend us… you can be freedom fighters for Palestine.”
You can read the full transcript of the talk here.
The talk was one sided, offered no Israeli perspective, went against state curriculum guidelines and was in no way appropriate for the age group of the children.
Not surprisingly, parents were shocked to discover what their children learned at school that day. A number of them wrote to the school expressing their outrage that the school had hosted such an event, especially without their knowledge.
One parent even complained to the school that his child was suffering from nightmares after hearing the talk.
In the video below a reporter questions both Gold and Tamimi. When he asks Tamimi if this is appropriate for children, he replies, “this is what I teach my children”. It is important to note that his children are notorious anti-Israel “Pallywood” stars, who are routinely filmed shouting hate at Israeli soldiers.
When you couple this with the fact that he said during the student talk that Palestinians see their children as “resources… who fight”, it gives you a glimpse into this man’s heart. There is also an incredible audacity that Tamimi possesses to think that he has any right to speak into the lives of other people’s children.
The outrage from the parents was expected and justified. The principle of the school, Susan Eschbach, responded to complaints, but she initially attempted to downplay the event.
In a written statement to parents (after several had complained) she wrote:
“There were many adults present in the class and at no time was there an anti-Israel, anti-Palestine, anti-Jewish, or anti-Muslim stance. The children took away from this experience several messages .”I can be an ambassador for peace.” “ You can make friends across borders and that is a good thing.” “Children want the option to live peacefully and to go to school. Children can help stand for these desires.” “Everyone should work things out to live together.” And “love will make peace, not hate.” The children had meaningful, relevant, and appropriate conversations.”
This is factually incorrect and her statement was later rebutted by the Superintendent of Ithaca City School District, Dr. Luvelle Brown who also released a statement, but instead of trying to pull the wool over the parents eyes, he completely denounced the event.
Dr. Luvelle Brown wrote (emphasis added):
“The assumed purpose of the talk was to focus on human rights and peace. Upon further investigation, we have learned that the speakers went beyond the original intent of the talk. Additionally, school administration was not informed beforehand of the invitation to include one of the speakers.
The following statements are some of the most egregious examples from the presentation:
At the beginning of the session, the speakers showed a brief video of a young Palestinian girl who references Israelis killing Palestinians;
There was an indication by the speakers that Israel has broken many United Nations’ laws and that Israel controls all of the resources of the geographic area;
In a closing statement of how students could help, a speaker spoke of solidarity and being freedom fighters for Palestine; to bring peace and protect the future of their children.
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.
… We recognize that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is very sensitive to many members of our community. We also recognize that this delicate topic was not presented in a manner consistent with its importance. We sincerely regret that this has occurred.”
When will the world wake up and realise that this hatred of Israel is evil? We should never be exposing our children to this kind of hate.