The StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department proudly announces its filing of an amicus brief on July 25, 2022, in support of Complainant-Appellant Elisabeth Schwartz, to help combat inflammatory anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric by members of the Clifton Board of Education in Clifton, New Jersey.

StandWithUs’ brief responds to a school board incident that occurred in May 2021 during the war between Israel and Hamas. According to the original filing and previous media coverage, Clifton Board of Education commissioners Fahim K Abedrabbo and Feras Awwad, the Respondents, used their school board platform to promote various anti-Israel tropes and an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. This occurred as Jews across America were facing physical violence that was driven by similarly extreme and dehumanizing narratives targeting Israel. In its brief, StandWithUs calls upon the New Jersey Appellate Division to overturn the State of New Jersey’s School Ethics Commission’s dismissal of Ms. Schwartz’s complaint alleging violations of school ethics by the Respondents.

Furthermore, complainant-Appellant Schwartz is the aunt of Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old Jewish American student who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 2018. This tragedy renders Ms. Schwartz uniquely positioned to convey how school board members’ inflammatory anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric against Jews and Israelis in general can lead to inciting hatred within the district. Ms. Schwartz is represented by Susan Tuchman, Director of the Zionist Organization of America’s Center for Law and Justice, and Jeffrey Schreiber, a member of the firm of Meister Seelig & Fein LLP. The complaint claims that by acting outside the scope of their official duties and potentially compromising the public trust, Respondents violated New Jersey’s School Ethics Act.

“The State of New Jersey has an obligation to ensure that members of local school boards lawfully and ethically use their platform to create an unbiased educational environment for all students in their district,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. “Instead, Respondents used their official platforms to promote bias and hate. There is no legitimate place for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric by school board members at public meetings. We hope that the Appellate Division will restore justice to Elisabeth Schwartz and the broader Jewish and Israeli American constituency in New Jersey by overturning the prior decision and giving this case the proper ethical review it deserves.”

StandWithUs gives immeasurable thanks to pro bono attorney Steven Rabitz and summer associate Tal Fortgang, both of Dechert LLP, for their unwavering commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism, including the filing of this brief on behalf of StandWithUs.

Read StandWithUs’ amicus brief HERE. To learn more about joining StandWithUs’ pro bono attorney network, please visit HERE.

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StandWithUs
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism. Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs on 7 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and Australia. For the last eleven years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum). www.standwithus.com and www. facebook.com/standwithus and www.twitter.com/standwithus and www.instagram.com/standwithus
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