Anti-Israel Activist Gives Lecture at New York Public Elementary School [Excerpts]
A Palestinian activist gave an anti-Israel lecture to a third grade class at a public elementary school in New York last week, Prof. William Jacobson of the Legal Insurrection blog reported. Bassem Tamimi spoke to a class at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School in Ithaca, apparently at the invitation of a local anti-Israel activist, Ariel Gold. Tamimi’s talk was politically charged, according to Facebook posts by adults who attended. Local activist Mary Anne Grades Flores posted that “3rd grade classes listened and spoke about Human Rights for children in Palestine with Bassem Tamimi, father of 4 children, from Nabi Saleh, who’s [sic] village land has been stolen by Israeli settlers.”
Jacobson wrote to the school to determine how the talk was arranged, asking why such a speaker was appropriate for third graders, and whether any pro-Israel speakers have spoken to the grade. He has not yet received a response.
Jacobson provided a brief background of Tamimi’s activism. Tamimi is best known for his use of children, including his own, for media purposes. The game goes like this: Tamimi’s children and other children from the village of Nabi Saleh are encouraged to confront Israeli soldiers in the hope of provoking a reaction. The children are surrounded by a phalanx of photographers and videographers waiting for the viral moment when the Israeli soldier reacts, which then is fed to the media through the Tamimi media operation and international activists who often participate.
Tamimi’s daughter Ahed is world famous for such staged confrontations, having been given a heroism award by the anti-Israel Prime Minister of Turkey for this performance: Tamimi’s son, Mohammad, was the subject of a recent media frenzy after he threw rocks at Israeli soldiers and when they moved to arrest him, a soldier was set upon by local women and children, all as the video rolled. Rock throwing has become a serious problem, with numerous motorists killed and injured as a result, yet it is an activity Tamimi encourages (for which he has been arrested).
Bassem Tamimi’s cousin Ahlam Tamimi planned the 2001 terror attack on the Sbarro’s restaurant in Jerusalem and drove the suicide bomber to the target, where he killed 15 people, including eight children. Ahlam Tamimi has been asked if she regretted her actions, and responded that if she had the opportunity, she would do it again.
“Was this a legitimate, balanced educational endeavor, or a propaganda event meant to turn young children against Israel?” Jacobson asked. “And if the latter, what was it doing in a public school before children too young to balance the information presented on their own?” Though anti-Israel advocacy is common among students and teachers at the college level, the Tamimi event shows that “it’s moving down the educational food chain, to high schools and even elementary schools.”