Hatred of Israel Comes to the Classroom

In November, Fieldston—a prestigious Manhattan private school associated with the Ethical Culture movement—experienced an anti-Semitism scandal that came to a head after a guest speaker made disparaging comments about the Holocaust and a teacher rushed to defend them. After displaying indifference to the concerns of Jewish parents, the school’s administration did recently fire the teacher in question. Ammiel Hirsch and Joshua Davidson, the rabbis of two prominent Reform synagogues in New York City, warn that the “primal loathing” of Israel found on college campuses threatens to spill over into primary and secondary schools:

The events at Fieldston have broad importance, and are reflective of a much bigger problem. Anti-Israel activism has spread beyond the college campus and into the elementary and high-school classroom. In Newton, Massachusetts, a high school taught that Israel was “murdering and torturing Palestinian women.” In 2016, a Palestinian activist visiting an elementary-school classroom in Ithaca, New York inveighed against Israel and called on students to “be the freedom fighter” for the Palestinians.

A hateful obsession with Israel too often descends into hatred of Jews, even if it doesn’t start there. Hateful words lead to hateful deeds. This environment produces, teaches, accelerates, and normalizes anti-Semitism. Anti-Israel activity on some college campuses has led to verbal and even physical assaults on Jewish students. And we must be honest with ourselves. It is happening in our space—in the heart of intellectual liberalism.

Jewish parents should be especially worried. When teachers and professors turn the classroom into an arena for anti-Israel animosity, students become unwitting pawns instead of safeguarded learners. They should feel they can ask questions without fear of scorn, explore their own ideas, and draw their own conclusions. Academic malpractice is unfolding with too little pushback from parents and community leaders.

When Rabbis Davidson and Hirsch came to Fieldston to speak about anti-Semitism, the teacher at the heart of the scandal, who had not yet been dismissed, greeted them with an obscene gesture.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Education, Israel on campus, New York City

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security