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Rally outside New York City ed department shines light on antisemitism in schools

Organizers said the schools’ chancellor has stressed teachers need to remain neutral and that students need to have “safe spaces for respectful dialogue.”

Tweed Courthouse in New York City. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tweed Courthouse in New York City. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

People gathered outside of the Tweed Courthouse and offices of the New York City Department of Education on Wednesday afternoon to raise awareness of Jew-hatred in the city’s public schools.

Carrying Israeli flags, and shouting “Am Israel Chai” and “End Jew-hatred,” they demanded that David Banks, the city’s schools chancellor, take action to protect Jewish students and teachers. They noted that since the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7, Jews in the school system have felt marginalized and unsafe.

The rally was sponsored by #EndJewHatred, the New York City Public School Alliance, the Israeli-American Council, Club Z-Zionism for Teens and several other organizations.

In recent months, there have been numerous reports of anti-Jewish incidents, such as a public school classroom that displayed a map of “Palestine” where Israel should have been and a Jewish teacher in Queens, N.Y., who had to barricade in an office against students who were rioting against her being in the classroom.

Organizers of the Jan. 31 rally noted that the schools’ chancellor has stressed that teachers need to remain neutral and that students need to have “safe spaces for respectful dialogue.” Still, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment continues to occur, they say.

They point to an upcoming two-part virtual workshop by “Educators for Palestine” geared to provide educators with advice and hands-on tips on “how to combat censorship as we strive to create classrooms that foster justice, understanding and healing,” as well as to share educational materials on “the history of Israeli occupation and the ongoing genocide in Gaza.”

Just this week, the New York Post reported that two third-grade teachers at a school in Brooklyn, N.Y., are using a play on the children’s song “The Wheels on the Bus” to teach students to “Free Palestine.”

The article noted the educators were using a curriculum called “Woke Kindergarten,” and teaching “Till the Wheels of the Tank Fall off,” which features refrains like, “The bombs in the air go whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, all through the skies. From every river to every sea, the people cry, cry, cry.”

In a post on its Instagram page, the New York Public School Alliance responded to the actions of these teachers and their so-called “woke” education, which included drawings by students that are visual representations of “solidarity with Palestine.”

“What about the Jewish students in the classroom and school? The students who are worried about the hostages still being held by Hamas? The Israeli students?” the Alliance wrote on their Instagram page. “Since when did Jews not qualify as marginalized?”

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