‘Hands at your side like a soldier,’ first-graders belt out ‘Hatikvah’ –at NY school with public funding

Israel/Palestine
on 300 Comments

Bear in mind that NY shut down the Arabic-language school in Brooklyn, the Kahlil Gibran academy. Well Nina Porzucki reports for PRI’s The World on the new Hebrew language academy charter school in Brooklyn– which is largely supported by public funds but as the Forward says, came about through the persistent efforts of Michael Steinhardt, who is pro-Israel. The Porzucki story begins with first-grade music hour at the school. (thanks to Rabbi Brian Walt)

[Teacher is heard saying]

“Hands at your side like a soldier…”

[Students begin to sing.]

Porzucki: It’s not just any song… it’s the Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem.

“There is absolutely no religion taught at the school,” says Sara Berman, the founder and board chair of the Hebrew Language Academy….

Berman is also the daughter of the Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, who sponsors programs connecting young American Jews with the state of Israel. But according to Berman, her school isn’t specifically about Israel or Jewish identity. It’s about learning a language with a long and rich cultural history.

“Hebrew is an interesting language because over the past century and a half there has been a revitalization of Hebrew,” says Berman. “It is both a classical language and today, certainly a completely modern spoken language.”

Hebrew may be a modern spoken language, but modern Hebrew is only spoken by about five million people worldwide.

300 Responses

  1. justicewillprevail
    September 7, 2011, 11:36 am

    It would be funny, were it not so utterly ridiculous. “Like a soldier” – ah yes, let’s learn some strongarm tactics for ‘self-defence’ and remember that some children are more equal than others.

  2. GalenSword
    September 7, 2011, 11:44 am

    Maybe the school is not teaching a traditional religion, but Jewish ethnic fundamentalism or ethnic monism is a religion of sorts in that the Folk (Volk in the German racist sense) is worshiped.

    • Hostage
      September 7, 2011, 1:32 pm

      “There is absolutely no religion taught at the school,”

      “Beginning with Ben-Gurion, Israeli political leaders have always relied on a civil religion to legitimate Israel’s social order, unite its citizens, and mobilize them in pursuit of its political goals. The center of Israeli civil religion is not a transcendent power but society and the state, and only those traditional Jewish myths and customs that serve political necessity are appropriated.”

      — Front matter, Charles S. Liebman, Eliʻezer Don-Yiḥya, Civil religion in Israel: traditional Judaism and political culture in the Jewish state, University of California Press, 1983

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 2:19 pm

        LOL. So Israel has a civil religion just as America has a civil religion based on the Protestant work ethic.

        There is NO PROOF WHATSOEVER that any kind of religion is being taught at the Hebrew Language Charter School in New York, Robert “Hostage” Spencer. When you have some, present it.

      • Hostage
        September 7, 2011, 6:27 pm

        LOL. So Israel has a civil religion just as America has a civil religion based on the Protestant work ethic.

        If you want to sing about such a thing as a “Jewish soul” that has a natural yearning for “The land of Zion and Jerusalem”, then please don’t try to pass it off as the result of social science.

        You also might try reading the book that I cited. “Zionism” is a belief system and the civil religion of the State of Israel is based upon it.

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2011, 7:39 pm

        Israeli national anthem, hello? Are you really that stupid? Maybe we should post an English translation of just exactly what the lyrics are, right?

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 10:18 am

        “If you want to sing about such a thing as a “Jewish soul” that has a natural yearning for “The land of Zion and Jerusalem”, then please don’t try to pass it off as the result of social science.”

        Teaching kids the Hatikva is not a religious thing, and you know it. Stop with the Judeophobia.

        “‘Zionism’ is a belief system and the civil religion of the State of Israel is based upon it.”

        So is democracy. So is Communism. So is Arab nationalism. All are political theories. You’re bootstrapping your argument by making the specious claim that Zionism is a “civic religion” and then arguing that a school that teaches Hebrew language and the Hatikva is thus “teaching religion.”

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2011, 1:43 pm

        Teaching kids the Hatikva is not a religious thing, and you know it. Stop with the Judeophobia.

        I know perfectly well that Hatikva was the Zionist anthem long before it was adopted by the so-called “Jewish state” of Israel and that about one in five of that country’s citizens consider it racist claptrap.

        I’m a secular Jew myself. So, I’m not frightened at all about contracting or carrying “Judeophobia”. That was an incurable disease invented by a quack, named Judah Pinsker. He wrote about it in a dreadful old Zionist propaganda pamphlet back in 1882. He was supposedly a leader of the assimilationist movement who (exactly like Herzl) saw the errors of his ways. In reality, both men were simply bigots who believed the races were immiscible. Modern DNA evidence illustrates that there are no “races” and that we humans are all more or less a bunch of minglings. Pinsker thought:

        Judeophobia is a psychic aberration. As a psychic aberration it is hereditary, and as a disease transmitted for two thousand years it is incurable. . . . Having analyzed Judeophobia as an hereditary form of demonopathy, peculiar to the human race, and having represented Anti-Semitism as proceeding from an inherited aberration of the human mind, we must draw the important conclusion that we must give’ up contending against these hostile impulses as we must against every other inherited predisposition.

        In any event, Herzl decided that racism could be harnessed and employed as the prime mover of the Zionist movement:

        Everything depends on our propelling force. And what is that force? The misery of the Jews. Who would venture to deny its existence? We shall discuss it fully in the chapter on the causes of Anti-Semitism. Everybody is familiar with the phenomenon of steam-power, generated by boiling water, which lifts the kettle-lid. Such tea-kettle phenomena are the attempts of Zionist and kindred associations to check Anti-Semitism.
        .
        I believe that this power, if rightly employed, is powerful enough to propel a large engine and to move passengers and goods: the engine having whatever form men may choose to give it.

        Every time post-Zionist Israel runs low on steam, the apparatchiks in the WZO and ADL scurry around looking for new sources in order to concoct a fresh batch. Looking over your posts here, I’d propose that you stop spreading Zionism. It’s just an irrational fear of others.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 3:21 pm

        How often do they say the national anthem of Israel? Taxpayers money should not be going to this. Open that Arabic school if this school was allowed to open for gods sake

        link to stateofisrael.com
        As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

        With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,

        Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost:

        To be a free people in our land,

        The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 3:32 pm

        “Open that Arabic school if this school was allowed to open for gods sake” Again. The Arabic school was not closed because it was Arabic. It was closed for poor performance.

      • annie
        September 8, 2011, 3:41 pm

        oh please hophmi.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 3:51 pm

        “oh please hophmi.”

        Please yourself. I’ve provided several links substantiating this. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SUGGEST OTHERWISE?

      • annie
        September 8, 2011, 4:03 pm

        just my memory. too lazy right now but didn’t some t-shirts have to do with it?

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 4:38 pm

        You’re confusing two different things. You’re confusing Debbie Almontaser’s firing with the school’s closing.

        Here’s the story. Debbie Almontaser was the main mover and shaker behind the school and was supposed to be the principal. She had years of experience in education. The Islamophobes targeted the school. The NY Post picked up the story. Almontaser’s organization shared space with another Arab organization. This other organization put out t-shirts that said “Intifada NYC”. The Post asked Almontaser whether she agreed with the t-shirts. She explained what intifada meant (the non-violent, introspective version), and the Post then misconstrued her words and claimed that she supported violence.

        Each time I’ve argued in favor of the Park 51 project, I’ve used the Almontaser case as an example of how the Islamophobes operate. First, they apply extreme scrutiny to a project they oppose, parsing each and every statement made by those backing the project and distort it. They raise loaded questions about the project and stoke people’s fears. They marshall their allies in the media. Then they wait to catch someone. That’s what happened to Almontaser. That’s what the same people attempted to do to Imam Rauf. After the Post article, the mayor, who had been a supporter of KGIA, as well as the ADL, who had worked with Almontaser on various projects for years, including KGIA, abandoned her.

        But that is not why the school closed. The school got another principal and opened, eventually in Fort Greene. It did have some trouble finding a location. So did the Hebrew language charter school, by the way. It finally found one in Fort Greene. Charter schools often have this problem; in these cases, the focus of the school was a contributing factor, but it’s also just as likely that parents would oppose a school that is perceived to siphon off space and funding from the public school system.

        The school apparently went through a couple of principal changes. It had discipline problems and was poor academically. This is the reason it was closed. And when it was closed, there was little opposition to its closing.

        I stress again that this is a common fate for a charter school, which have to apply for a renewal of their charter every few years. The only matter one can speculate about is whether the school might have been a success had Almontaser run it instead of the other principals. As someone who attended a small school and has a close relative who spent years teaching at one, I can tell you that the principal is very important, and in addition, that charter schools are often plagued by violence and low performance because they draw from the same student pools as surrounding conventional elementary schools.

        So let’s be straight. The anti-KGIA campaign was focused around the founding. There was no big campaign to close the school once it opened; it simply wasn’t a success. Again, I expect that there will be another attempt; a couple articles I saw spoke about turning KGIA into a high school instead of an elementary school.

        The Hebrew language charter school was started by Steinhardt as an experiment replicating the very successful Ben Gamla school in Florida. Its founders are mostly people involved in American Jewish communal and educational life. Steinhardt has long been a major funder of programs for younger Jews in America. Makor is one example. He sees charter schools as one alternative to the day school system, which has grown out of reach for many middle class Jewish parents. The school is obviously crafted to work within the First Amendment; the Jewish establishment, outside of the Orthodox organizations are very strongly for the separation of church and state, and you can bet this school was vetted by the constitutional law experts.

        It really has nothing to do with Islamophobia.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 7:49 pm

        Geller and team had nothing to do with the pressure applied to close this school. Yeah right
        link to loonwatch.com

        The attacks on the school had nothing to do with its closing…..right
        link to campus-watch.org
        Almontaser had by then withstood months of attacks from prominent Jews on the right in New York and nationally. Pipes, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, joined with others to support a local group called Stop the Madrassa, the term for an Islamic seminary.

        According to Education Department plans and curricula, the school is set up as a purely secular project. Two Arabic teachers will teach math and social studies. Science and other courses will be in English. But Stop the Madrassa, led by Brooklyn resident Pam Hall, assailed the school as an Islamist undertaking crafted to promote extremism and sectarianism with taxpayer money.

        In pressing their attack Hall’s group received crucial research assistance from Pipes, a Web site called PipeLineNews.org and another called Militant Islamic Monitor. In articles and editorials, The New York Post and New York Sun also pursued the story relentlessly.

        Many of the research pieces, authored by Beila Rabinowitz and William A. Mayer, attacked Almontaser for her associates — or her associates’ associates. One piece pointed to the presence of Imam Shamsi Ali on the school’s advisory board. Ali, the writers said, promoted “Jihad by groups like the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic Circle of North America.” The article offered no evidence of ICNA’a links to al Qaeda.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 8:11 pm

        “There was no big campaign to close the school once it opened; it simply wasn’t a success.”

        Lie

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2011, 9:35 am

        ” one in five of that country’s citizens consider it racist claptrap.”

        Yes, I’m aware that Arabs in Israel don’t like it. That said, there’s not a racist idea in it. A song about Jews is not de facto racist towards Arabs.

        ” Looking over your posts here, I’d propose that you stop spreading Zionism. ”

        I was not aware the defending a Hebrew Language Charter school from Judeophobic attacks constituted spreading Zionism.

      • Miura
        September 7, 2011, 2:36 pm

        Interesting thoughts on where this civil religion originated:

        An old Prussian saying goes “Der Soldate ist der beste Mann im Staate”–the soldier is the best man in the state. Adulation of the army became a cult, almost a religion….The lack of homogeneity of the Prussian lands, composed as they were of diverse and unconnected areas, gave birth to the main Prussian creation: the “state.” This was the factor that was to unite all the different populations, each of which stuck to its local patriotism and traditions. The “state”–Der Staat–became a sacred being, transcending all other loyalties. Prussian philosophers saw the “state” as the incarnation of all the social virtues, the final triumph of human reason.

      • marc b.
        September 8, 2011, 8:33 am

        i have read ‘civil religion in israel . . .’ and others in a similar vein. the criticism i have is the failure to grasp the impact of ben-gurion’s incorporation of religious/mythical ideals into an ostensibly secular body. the ‘cherry-picking’ of religious myths that ‘serve political necessity’ doesn’t necessarily lead to the strengthening of secular authority. in fact, it’s the other way round: it provides the opportunity for religious authority to reassert itself, which would seem to be the case in israel.

  3. Bill in Maryland
    September 7, 2011, 11:45 am

    Thank you Phil and Rabbi Walt. Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism are the only explanations for this glaring and grossly unfair double standard.

  4. GalenSword
    September 7, 2011, 12:02 pm

    BTW, at my high school/prep school, the French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese classes never learned or sang any national anthems, and I doubt that KGIA would have taught the students any national anthems except possibly the Star-Spangled Banner in Arabic.

    We did do Yankee Doodle in German once.

    • RoHa
      September 7, 2011, 10:08 pm

      Now I have to try to stop myself from thinking of Yankee Doodle in German.

  5. GalenSword
    September 7, 2011, 12:10 pm

    BTW, as I remember Steinhardt was one of funders of Stop the Madrassa while his daughter Berman wrote lots of columns in the NY Sun against KGIA.

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 2:36 pm

      You’re incorrect. Berman wrote a parenting column for the Sun, and I don’t remember seeing any columns by her against KGIA. Most of the ones I do remember were written by Alicia Colon, and they were pretty disgusting. Nor do I recall anything about Steinhardt funding Stop the Madrassa. It would have been unseemly to say the least.

      Here’s her archive. No articles on KGIA. link to nysun.com

      It would have been very unlikely given the circumstances.

      • GalenSword
        September 8, 2011, 3:30 am

        I just saw the names of the people working for the Sun that worked on the anti-KGIA campaign. I saw Berman and assumed Sara, but it was her husband. Steinhardt was one of the main funders of the Sun and was highly involved in editorial decisions according to all reports.

  6. Antidote
    September 7, 2011, 12:58 pm

    “There is absolutely no religion taught at the school,”

    no, just Zionism

    “Hebrew is an interesting language because over the past century and a half there has been a revitalization of Hebrew,” says Berman. “It is both a classical language and today, certainly a completely modern spoken language.”

    ” It’s about learning a language with a long and rich cultural history.”

    Of course none of this applies to Arabic. Old Persian? Middle Persian? Yikes. And the Greeks have no money. Sad

    • Walid
      September 7, 2011, 1:32 pm

      And they said that Farfur was a bad influence!

      • Antidote
        September 7, 2011, 6:41 pm

        bad mouse

  7. POA
    September 7, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Yet one more topic, here, that gets very little hasbarist participation.

    Children. Indoctrinated, actually TAUGHT racism as a matter of course.

    When I participated at Steve Clemons’ site, TWN, I was particularly horrified by the essay and photo he put up about Jewish Israeli teenagers lounging on furniture they had removed from the household of a Bedouin family that was being forcibly evicted by the IDF.

    http://maxblumenthal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/arakib-vandals-1024×768.jpg

    http://maxblumenthal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/arakib-movers1-1024×768.jpg

    http://nomorecensorship.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/arakib-chairs-1024×768-300×225.jpg

    What type of society, hires, condones, allows, or participates in tasking teenagers to aid in evicting families from their homes?

    It is not unreasonable to draw parallels to the “Hitler Youth” of Nazi Germany.

    Here is an interesting read…..

    link to tadamon.ca

    Excerpts…….

    “For less than four dollars an hour, the Jewish teenagers removed furniture, clothes, kitchenware and toys from the homes and loaded them on to trucks. As they worked diligently alongside the many policemen who had come to secure the destruction of 30 houses in two unrecognised Bedouin villages, Bedouin teenagers stood by watching their homes being emptied”

    …………..

    “When all the belongings had been removed, the bulldozers rapidly destroyed the homes. All those present, Jews and Bedouins, were Israeli citizens; together they learned an important lesson in the discrimination characterising civic life in the Jewish state”

    ……….

    “After witnessing the demolitions, a Bedouin activist asked one of the Jewish teenagers why he had agreed to participate in the eviction. Without hesitating, the teenager replied: “I am a Zionist and what we are doing here today is Zionism.””

    ………

    “The teenager was not wrong. And yet he was probably too young to recognise that even though Zionism’s major goals have not changed, the methods deployed to realise them have been undergoing a radical transformation. While, traditionally, the state itself performed the task of Judiasing space, over the years the government has been outsourcing more and more of its responsibilities to private firms. The teenager himself was hired by a personnel agency, which was employed by the state to carry out the job of expelling Bedouins from their homes”

    …………

    “Hence, the use of teenagers to evict Bedouins from their homes is not only a reflection of this insidious process of privatisation, but also the unrelenting corrosion of moral accountability”

    • CigarGod
      September 7, 2011, 8:02 pm

      Wow!
      “Never again…unless we do it.”

      Can’t help remembering a Nixon comment:
      “It’s not illegal if the President does it”.

      • edwin
        September 7, 2011, 9:51 pm

        And he was absolutely right – except for the bit for being ahead of his time.

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2011, 2:02 am

        “It’s not illegal if the President does it”.

        That’s a good summary of the statutory power the Congress granted to the President to redefine the term torture and non-grave breaches of conventions via executive orders in the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006.
        link to harvardilj.org

        And he was absolutely right – except for the bit for being ahead of his time.

        Yep. But most commentators don’t grasp the nuances of the MCA or the Constitutional problems that arise when you attempt to retroactively re-criminalize an act under US law. See for example Condi Rice Pulls a Nixon: If the President Orders Torture, It Must be Legal. link to youtube.com

        I suppose the government could make an ICC Article 12(3) declaration and let others handle the prosecution. The acts were always crimes under international law and the applicable conventions. They are also acts that are subject to the Court’s jurisdiction.

  8. pabelmont
    September 7, 2011, 1:50 pm

    ASSUMING that Zionism is not all (or at least part) of American patriotism (Israel was not mentioned in the pledge to the flag we used to do in the 1950s, far as my diminished memory recalls),

    THEN how do we object to government support for this miserable school?

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 5:06 pm

      “THEN how do we object to government support for this miserable school?”

      This “miserable school” provides an excellent education for 225 students K-2, most of whom are not Jewish.

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2011, 7:40 pm

        Most of whom are not Jewish? Really.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 10:33 am

        I’m looking for the stats. This article says the school is about 60% white, which would suggest it is majority Jewish, though not by much. That’s not a big surprise on Kings Highway; it’s a Jewish neighborhood. And by the way, this school also faced strong opposition when it looked for a building.

        link to hlacharterschool.org

      • marc b.
        September 8, 2011, 10:53 am

        This article says the school is about 60% white, which would suggest it is majority Jewish

        you have to be ‘white’ to be jewish? fascinating. who knew?

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 11:43 am

        No, you don’t have to be white. But most Jews are white, and most whites in that neighborhood are Jews. So I would guess that most of that 60% are Jewish.

      • Taxi
        September 8, 2011, 12:37 pm

        “White jews”.

        You think Abraham and Moses, the ancient Arabian desert roaming Hebrews, were white?

        If not, then how come the majority of jews are white – unless they’re jewish by continental conversion.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:22 pm

        “If not, then how come the majority of jews are white – unless they’re jewish by continental conversion.”

        Not this crap again.

        Most Jews in America are white. I’m not going down this stupid road with you. It is completely irrelevant to the discussion here.

      • Taxi
        September 8, 2011, 10:24 pm

        I beg to differ mister hophmi. My question is completely valid, relevant and yes: it’s at the crux of your fake claims to a land that clearly belongs to brown-skinned people not white-skinned people, whatever everybody’s religion maybe.

        How come not a single zionist has even explained this glaring visual discrepancy?

        Why not admit that white jews are continental converts to judaism? Just like white christians are continental converts to christianity. And white moslems are continental converts to islam.

  9. hophmi
    September 7, 2011, 2:01 pm

    So you answer Islamophobic activism against the Khalil Gibran school with Judeophobic activism about the Hebrew language charter school. Phil Weiss is apparently the Pamela Geller of the left. Is that what you aspire to, Phil?

    The article is questionable. It says:

    “But the idea of teaching Hebrew, a language linked to Judaism, initially raised eyebrows.”

    I don’t remember many raised eyebrows in NY, and the journalist mentions all of one example. Moreover, it is exactly as Berman says: no one suggests that a Greek language charter school is teaching Greek Orthodoxy or a Spanish language school is teaching Catholicism.

    Just curious; were you going to argue that Arabic was linked to Islam and argue that Khalil Gibran shouldn’t exist either?

    And the Hebrew language charter school is a big success, too, with a diverse student population, as the article notes. Parents of all backgrounds and faiths send their children there because it offers an excellent education.

    • Light
      September 7, 2011, 2:19 pm

      Hophmi, Forcing the kids to sing the Israeli national anthem in a music class is wrong.

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 2:43 pm

        “Hophmi, Forcing the kids to sing the Israeli national anthem in a music class is wrong.”

        Why? You never studied the anthem of another country before? I mean, this is all pretty petty. The school is an unqualified success. Everybody loves it. It serves kids from all kinds of racial and religious backgrounds. For most of these kids, they probably have no clue what the Israeli national anthem is except some song in Hebrew. The anthem does not mention G-d (like the Pledge of Alliance or America the Beautiful does). This is another cheap shot that does not help the Palestinians.

      • tree
        September 7, 2011, 3:07 pm

        As long as deep in the heart,
        The soul of a Jew yearns,
        And forward to the East
        To Zion, an eye looks
        Our hope will not be lost,
        The hope of two thousand years,
        To be a free nation in our land,
        The land of Zion and Jerusalem

        Nope, no indoctrination there. How’s your soul doing these days, hophmi? Yearning for Zion a lot lately?

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 3:18 pm

        David “Tree” Yerushalmi writes: “Nope, no indoctrination there. How’s your soul doing these days, hophmi?”

        Nothing that violates the First Amendment either, certainly not as much as the Pledge of Allegiance does.

        My soul is fine. I don’t oppose freedom for Jews or Palestinians.

      • tree
        September 7, 2011, 3:38 pm

        Who said it violated the First Amendment? (As long as the students aren’t required to sing it, and can opt out if they so choose.)

        I see Phil’s point as being that, in contrast to the proposed but defeated Arabic school, the Hebrew school gets little or no flak, and does get state support and money, for indoctrinating students in a pro-Israel viewpoint. Your points are merely diversionary, and desperate as usual.

        My soul is fine.
        But does it yearn for Zion? That was my question. Because that’s what the Israeli national anthem claims. Does it? Can you admit that not every Jew feels the same way and that to claim so is mere indoctrination? Is it such a hard concept for you to understand that claiming a universal “Jewish” yearning is anti-semitic?

        I don’t oppose freedom for Jews or Palestinians.

        Well, as long as freedom for Jews in Israel means a government that privileges them over non-Jews, right? And freedom for Palestinians does not include a similar caveat, nor the right to return to homes they or their parents or grandparents were forced to leave? You know, some people are just more “equal” and deserving of “freedom” than others. Jews are free to live in an apartheid state and Palestinians might some day, if the Israeli government feels generous, be “free” to live in a rump state under Israel’s control.

      • Light
        September 7, 2011, 3:57 pm

        Thats right. I studied several foreign languages in school and never sang the county’s national anthem.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        September 7, 2011, 4:56 pm

        Why? You never studied the anthem of another country before?

        Umm, no, never did. Besides, they are not studying it, they are singing it, presumably before an Israeli flag? Do tell. -N49.

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 5:05 pm

        “I see Phil’s point as being that, in contrast to the proposed but defeated Arabic school, the Hebrew school gets little or no flak”

        Is that it? Well then, let me fill in a couple of blanks. KGIA was shut down because the students weren’t doing very well at it. Like many charters, it wasn’t a success. Despite all of the controversy, it did get founded. And there will doubtless be another one one day, and when that day comes, I will be the first to support the effort. The Hebrew language charter is a success academically. That’s why it doesn’t receive flak.

        Seems to me Phil’s point is more to take a cheap shot at a successful charter school because a music teacher told some first-graders to stand like soldiers as he taught them a Hebrew song. If you substituted Arabic for Hebrew, you’d have a post written by Pamela Geller. He also seems upset that the school is funded by somebody who is not pro-Palestinian. Apparently he misses the irony of making these arguments when they are the stock-in-trade of the Islamophobes, who argue that so much of the funding for Islamic institutions in America come from people with views they disagree with.

        “But does it yearn for Zion? That was my question. Because that’s what the Israeli national anthem claims.”

        Sure, why not?

        “Can you admit that not every Jew feels the same way and that to claim so is mere indoctrination?”

        Can you admit that not every American believes this is “the land of the free and the home of the brave”? We make kids sing it anyway. Can you admit that not every American believes we are “one nation, under G-d”? We make kids say it anyway.

        “Is it such a hard concept for you to understand that claiming a universal “Jewish” yearning is anti-semitic?””

        No, not at all. You’re just being ridiculous. Yearning for Zion is a concept that has been part of my religion for a very long time. Every year at the Seder, we say “Next Year in Jerusalem.” Hatikvah is a poem about being in exile and yearning to return to the Holy Land. Stating that this is a part of my religion is not “antisemitic.”

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 5:10 pm

        “Umm, no, never did. Besides, they are not studying it, they are singing it, presumably before an Israeli flag? Do tell. -N49.”

        Go and ask them. I have no idea. And again, I invite any of you to get off your asses and start a Charter School according to whatever educational philosophy or theme you favor.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        September 7, 2011, 5:25 pm

        I invite any of you to get off your asses and start a Charter School according to whatever educational philosophy or theme you favor.

        With whose money? -N49.

      • GuiltyFeat
        September 7, 2011, 5:34 pm

        “With whose money? ”

        Get a grip, dude.

        Are you seriously claiming the the Jews of America, all 2% of them, have more money to invest in charter schools than any other ethnic group?

        Just plain bollocks.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        September 7, 2011, 7:06 pm

        Get a grip, dude.

        Huh?

        Are you seriously claiming the the Jews of America, all 2% of them, have more money to invest in charter schools than any other ethnic group?

        Umm, no I wasn’t. I was rather suggesting that wherever public money is so are public prejudices. I really, really have a tough time imagining, say, a “Persian” charter school where the kids sing the Iranian national anthem every morning. Ditto for an Arab school that sang the Palestinian anthem. I just don’t see such schools getting funded. Let’s hope I am proven wrong.

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2011, 7:42 pm

        American tax money is being used to groom children in the US to be Israelis. How is that NOT blatantly a fifth column activity?

      • lyn117
        September 8, 2011, 12:26 am

        It excludes anyone not of the Jewish religion. That absolutely makes it a religious song. And if it were more honest, it would say “our hope is to rid Israel of the Palestinians so that the state will be as Jewish as possible”

      • tree
        September 8, 2011, 4:19 am

        Yearning for Zion is a concept that has been part of my religion for a very long time. Every year at the Seder, we say “Next Year in Jerusalem.” Hatikvah is a poem about being in exile and yearning to return to the Holy Land. Stating that this is a part of my religion is not “antisemitic.”

        First you insisted that there is no religion taught at the school. Now you are saying (wrongly, of course) that the Israeli National Anthem is part of the Jewish religion. You can’t play it both ways. Either the school is indoctrinating the children with Zionist claptrap, or its teaching Jewish religion. Which is it?

        Again, its the double standard. Regardless of whether the Arabic charter school was a “success” or not, it got a lot of very negative, yellow journalism type press and a lot of wild claims of indoctrination, but Zionist indoctrination seems to be kosher for NY schools.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 10:37 am

        “American tax money is being used to groom children in the US to be Israelis. How is that NOT blatantly a fifth column activity?”

        Spoken like a true reader of the antisemitic conspiracy-minded Veterans Today. Apparently, teaching kids Hebrew is the same as grooming them to be Israeli. In other news on planet Chaos, teaching French is the same as teaching kids to be French.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 12:49 pm

        hell I was forced to say Catholic prayers before and after every class. At the beginning and the end of the day etc etc. Sing Catholic hymns etc etc But your parents taxes did not go to the school.

        Don’t think that any of the Catholic participants went ape shit when a Baptist or other Christian school was opening in the neighborhood.

        That is my question and focus…did some of the same people who opened the Hebrew school do their best to undermine or close the Arabic school? Use funds, newspapers etc? Fuel hatred and fear?

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:21 pm

        “That is my question and focus…did some of the same people who opened the Hebrew school do their best to undermine or close the Arabic school? Use funds, newspapers etc? Fuel hatred and fear?”

        And you’ve gotten your answer: NO.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 7:50 pm

        Sounds like Dershowitz

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 8:12 pm

        You sure are sensitive about this question.

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2011, 9:47 am

        “You sure are sensitive about this question.”

        I’m sensitive about the fact that you leave the same comment over and over again, get an answer, and then continue to ask the same question. You’ve also made several ridiculous comparison, suggesting that the Hebrew language charter is the same as a Jewish religious school, which is clearly and obviously is not to anyone who has ever been in an actual religious school. You base this on the fact that some people who attend it are religious (little boys with kippas). I’ve pointed out that there are plenty of kids in NYC who wear religious head coverings in public school (mostly Muslims). You’ve not responded to any of this. It’s frustrating to deal with a brick wall who keeps her mouth open and her ears shut.

        I’ll keep answering it – the Islamophobes and the people behind the Hebrew language charter are two different groups of people. As has been pointed out to you several times. No, the people who founded the Hebrew Language school were not behind the campaign to delegitimize KGIA. No, they did not fuel hatred and fear. Yes, there are other Arabic language charters in this country. No, KGIA did not close down because of a big campaign against it; KGIA closed down because it had poor discipline, poor academics, and faced declining enrollment. Yes, it will be re-opened as a high school. No, the Hebrew language charter is not a religious school. It doesn’t teach religion, and kids do not pray in school. Yes, it has some students from religious families; it’s in a religious neighborhood. Kids wearing kippot do not make a school religious.

    • AhVee
      September 7, 2011, 2:53 pm

      I wonder what the people of NY’s reaction would be to a school (with an ethnically diverse range of students) in which military references precede the national anthem of an Arabic country. I take it you’d have no concerns whatsoever sending your kid to a school like that then hophmi, and absolutely no worries that, just perhaps, they’d end up leaning towards sympathising with Arab causes by the time they graduate from it. Forgive me for doubting the political neutrality of such a school. (Be it a Hebrew, an Arabic or a Greek one, if the national anthem is sung).

      I see something like this as fixing the polarity of the bias rails early, regardless of how implicit and drip-drop it may be.

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 3:00 pm

        All the music teacher apparently said was “stand like a soldier.” Apparently this is the same thing to most of you as being a soldier. If the music teacher didn’t say “stand like a soldier,” you’d be OK with all of it, right?

        “I take it you’d have no concerns whatsoever sending your kid to a school like that then hophmi, and absolutely no worries that, just perhaps, they’d end up leaning towards sympathising with Arab causes by the time they graduate from it.”

        As someone who fought against the Islamophobic reaction to KGIA by some in my own community, I have no problem whatsoever with an Arabic-language charter school, and I’m sorry it didn’t survive.

      • AhVee
        September 7, 2011, 4:14 pm

        “If the music teacher didn’t say “stand like a soldier,” you’d be OK with all of it, right?”

        Does the fact that I forgot to edit the post in time and fix the grammatical error that altered the meaning of one of the sentences I wrote really warrant a rhetorical question?

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 5:07 pm

        “Does the fact that I forgot to edit the post in time and fix the grammatical error that altered the meaning of one of the sentences I wrote really warrant a rhetorical question?”

        What grammatical error did you make?

      • Chu
        September 7, 2011, 5:13 pm

        I take it Hatikvah was only sung once, based on the article.

        Would Hophmi take issue with it if it was sung every morning at the school?

      • Chu
        September 7, 2011, 5:35 pm

        As someone who fought against the Islamophobic reaction to KGIA by some in my own community, I have no problem whatsoever with an Arabic-language charter school, and I’m sorry it didn’t survive.

        Hophmi, how did you fight against your community?
        A) actively fighting to keep the school operating by public protesting.
        B) fighting against your religious community behind closed doors.
        C) fighting against other local neighbors in your hood.
        D) none of the above.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 10:38 am

        “Would Hophmi take issue with it if it was sung every morning at the school?”

        Yes. That would be inappropriate.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 10:42 am

        “Hophmi, how did you fight against your community?
        A) actively fighting to keep the school operating by public protesting.
        B) fighting against your religious community behind closed doors.
        C) fighting against other local neighbors in your hood.
        D) none of the above.”

        B. It did not involve fighting my religious community. Not everyone was against it. It involved letters to the editor, speaking to people behind the scene, and making my displeasure known in the organizations I was a part of who abandoned Almontaser after the NY Post article, particularly the ADL, who worked closely with her behind the scenes until the article came out.

        I believe that the main Jewish establishment organizations such as the AJC and ADL would support a KGIA effort if it came up again.

      • Chu
        September 8, 2011, 10:44 am

        fair enough…

  10. Duscany
    September 7, 2011, 2:46 pm

    When I was in elementary school our classroom had an American flag above the blackboard. I wonder whose flag the Hebrew language academy charter school displays.

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 3:01 pm

      “When I was in elementary school our classroom had an American flag above the blackboard. I wonder whose flag the Hebrew language academy charter school displays.”

      I bet it’s the American one, the one you pledged allegiance to “under G-d.”

      • Light
        September 7, 2011, 4:02 pm

        No one is required to say the pledge of allegiance.

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 5:08 pm

        “No one is required to say the pledge of allegiance.”

        I don’t think these kids are being required to sing Hatikvah. If one said, “I don’t wanna”, no one would force him, I’m sure.

      • Daniel Rich
        September 7, 2011, 7:29 pm

        Q: no one would force him, I’m sure

        R: Speculation does not surpass the facts of a moral discourse.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 10:43 am

        “Q: no one would force him, I’m sure

        R: Speculation does not surpass the facts of a moral discourse.”

        What fact has been offered other than that kids were taught the Hatikva in music class?

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 7:51 pm

        They sure did not tell us that

      • Egbert
        September 7, 2011, 4:23 pm

        Close, but no cigar.

        link to hlacharterschool.org

        They make their allegiance very clear.

  11. flyod
    September 7, 2011, 3:15 pm

    not the red, white and blue as these children will attest

    link to hlacharterschool.org

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 3:37 pm

      Here’s the photo gallery for the Hellenic Classical Charter School in Brooklyn. Students attended the Greek Independence Day Parade waving lots of Greek flags.
      link to hccs-nys.org

      So pictures of kids waving Israeli flags at the Hebrew language charter school should not be a surprise.

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2011, 7:43 pm

        Yes. ON THE GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE. Not every single day, hophmi. Try again.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 10:44 am

        “Yes. ON THE GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE. Not every single day, hophmi. Try again.”

        YOU try again. Nowhere does it says they sing it every day.

  12. Les
    September 7, 2011, 3:17 pm

    There is a very real difference between modern Hebrew, which like Yiddish, uses Hebrew characters and is close to German compared to vastly different ancient Hebrew. No one confuses ancient Greek and modern Greek.

    • GuiltyFeat
      September 7, 2011, 3:24 pm

      Simply wrong. Modern Hebrew has absolutely nothing to do with German and very little to do with Yiddish.

      It is wholly based on classical, or biblical, Hebrew.

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 4:22 pm

        Yeah, Les, I’m not sure where you got the idea that it’s related to German. Modern Hebrew is related to biblical Hebrew. Comparing modern Hebrew with biblical Hebrew is roughly like comparing modern English with Elizabethan English. It’s easy to see that it’s the same language. Hebrew characters evolved over the centuries, but have been the same for many hundreds of years,

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Shmuel
        September 7, 2011, 4:23 pm

        Modern Hebrew has absolutely nothing to do with German and very little to do with Yiddish.
        It is wholly based on classical, or biblical, Hebrew.

        You should read Ghil’ad Zuckerman’s ישראלית – שפה יפה (Israeli – A Beautiful Language). He makes a good case for “Israeli” as an Indo-European language.

      • GuiltyFeat
        September 7, 2011, 5:28 pm

        Well far be it from me to argue with someone who decides to transcribe his Hebrew name as “Ghil’ad” rather than the more commonly used “Gilad” but would you at least agree that Les’s characterization above was woefully off the mark?

      • Shmuel
        September 7, 2011, 6:05 pm

        Well far be it from me to argue with someone who decides to transcribe his Hebrew name as “Ghil’ad” rather than the more commonly used “Gilad”

        That’s rather childish of you, GF. Zuckerman happens to be a serious scholar. I really do recommend his book. It is thought-provoking and a fun read.

        I’m not sure whether Les meant to say that Modern Hebrew is written in Hebrew characters – like Yiddish, which is close to German (although some would argue that Yiddish is actually closer to Russian – see Zuckerman) – or that Hebrew is also close to German. In any event, his point was that Modern Hebrew differs considerably from Classical Hebrew, just as Demotic Greek differs considerably from Ancient Greek. A perfectly reasonable assertion.

        If, on the other hand, he did mean that Modern Hebrew is “close to German” (which I doubt), that is, in a sense, Zuckerman’s argument – not German per se, but Yiddish and Russian and Polish and German (and to a lesser extent French and other European languages). It’s a linguistic argument, and a damn interesting one at that (if you’re into that sort of thing). Of course there are political ramifications, but there don’t have to be and, in any case, aren’t there always?

      • GuiltyFeat
        September 7, 2011, 6:19 pm

        Fair enough. I did read Les’s comment twice and I think he did mean that modern Hebrew is closer to German than biblical Hebrew.

        I do enjoy a good book on philology, funnily enough, so I will look out for Zuckermann’s book based on your recommendation, although I worry that my עברית is not good enough to get the most out of it.

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2011, 7:45 pm

        Way to totally ignore just how much reconstructed modern Hebrew borrows from Arabic.

      • Hostage
        September 7, 2011, 8:05 pm

        See Ghil’ad Zuckermann, Do Israelis Understand the Hebrew Bible?
        link to relegere.org

      • Shmuel
        September 8, 2011, 2:22 am

        Way to totally ignore just how much reconstructed modern Hebrew borrows from Arabic.

        That is another aspect of modern (and mediaeval) Hebrew. Zuckermann does not argue that “Israeli” does not have any non-Indo-European influences, but that it is largely – and possibly primarily – Indo-European (in pronunciation, morphology, syntax, etc.).

      • GalenSword
        September 8, 2011, 3:34 am

        Modern Israeli Hebrew is at the core relexified Yiddish. Wexler has done a lot of analysis both on the nature of MIH and the development of Yiddish.

      • DBG
        September 8, 2011, 11:17 am

        Chaos, they borrow some slang, that is about it. where do you come up with this stuff?

  13. flyod
    September 7, 2011, 3:22 pm

    link to hlacharterschool.org

    the appropriate link

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 4:15 pm

      Yes flyod, we’re all aware the school has a website with one picture of kids waiving an Israeli flag. As I said above, it is no different from the Hellenic Classical Community School in Brooklyn, a Greek Charter where the students attend the Greek Independence Day Parade and waive Greek flags. Their photo gallery has lots of pictures of it.

      link to hccs-nys.org

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2011, 5:11 pm

        Not lots of pictures but a few. The hypocrisy is the Kahil Gibran school being closed down.

        link to hccs-nys.org

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 5:20 pm

        Yes, well, on the Hebrew language charter school site, there is all of ONE.

        I think I’ve said a number of times I was a supporter of KGIA and of Debbie Almontaser. However, the school’s closing was simply a result of poor academic performance. Many, many charter schools fail for this reason; it is very hard to start a charter school and make it successful. It is an open question whether the school would have done better had Almontaser been permitted to run it. Perhaps; she certainly had a stellar reputation that the principal who ultimately ran it did not. The principal of the Hebrew Charter School speaks no Hebrew, from what I understand. So the lack of an Arabic-speaking principal was probably not the sole reason.

        I do believe there will be future efforts at an Arabic-language school, and if you are in NY, I urge you to get behind them. We definitely need more Arabic speakers in this country.

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2011, 5:56 pm

        Come on go read who targeted them. Who are you kidding?

        Go read Phil’s links all ready

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2011, 6:08 pm

        Hophmi you know you are speaking bull shit. Phil is clearly pointing the contradiction. A formidable group of Jews went after the Arabic language school. Some of them sound like they are very involved with the opening up the Hebrew dual language charter school. Some of these same individuals mentioned in the 130 page report recently released by the Center for American Progress “Fear Inc” Phil is turning the light on the horrific contradictions and racism in the effort to close down the Arabic charter school while many of the same people supported the Hebrew charter school.

        I went to Catholic Schools that cost my parents a fair amount when I was a kid. Taxpayers should not have to pay for any Religious school or school focused on a particular culture or another country. Period

        Fear Inc
        link to americanprogress.org

        From Phils link
        “I never thought I would be at the center of such attacks given the number of years I have worked in public education and interfaith work. The charge was led by Daniel Pipes, the head of the Middle East Forum, and Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a Board of Trustees member at the City University of New York. Accompanying them were Pamela Geller, a right-wing blogger, later to be infamous for her attack on the Park51 Muslim community center in lower Manhattan, and a few others who formed a group called “Stop the Madrassa Coalition” (STM Coalition). The DOE tried to counter some of the attacks in various media. However, by July 2007, the STM Coalition were appearing at events where they hurled Islamophobic rhetoric at me. This included accusations that I was a 9/11 denier; a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah; part of the U.S. history revisionist movement (which denies that the Holocaust occurred); and that I was going to teach children Sharia law, and to hate Christians and Jews.”

      • hophmi
        September 7, 2011, 6:31 pm

        Excuse me. It was a lot more than your antisemitic suggestion of “a formidable group of Jews.” The main op-ed writer in the Sun against the school was Alicia Colon. She’s not Jewish. The NY Post is not a Jewish newspaper and neither was the NY Sun. It was the one who ultimately did the hatchet job on Almontaser that led to her resignation. This thing became a conservative issue, just like the Park51 project did. The opponents were people on the right. There are Jews on the right, and Dan Pipes was particularly prominent, but they were not the cabal you suggest.

        “Some of them sound like they are very involved with the opening up the Hebrew dual language charter school. ”

        They “sound like”? ARE THEY OR AREN’T THEY? Steinhardt isn’t. Berman wasn’t. None of the people who are in the Islamophobe movement had anything to do with starting the Hebrew language charter school. Do you know why, Kathleen? Because the point of the school was to provide a charter school alternative to the day schools, because tuition was out of control. None of these guys, not Pipes, not Emerson, none, are part of the Jewish community in that way because Jewish education is not their issue. Steinhardt’s been involved in Jewish education for years.

        “Taxpayers should not have to pay for any Religious school or school focused on a particular culture or another country.”

        Good. Then I expect to see you at the forefront of the movement to shut down the Hellenic Classical Community School, which teaches Greek and focuses on Greek culture, including marching in the Greek Independence Day Parade.

        “Phil is turning the light on the horrific contradictions and racism in the effort to close down the Arabic charter school while many of the same people supported the Hebrew charter school.”

        NAME ONE. NAME ONE PERSON WHO WAS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE ANTI-KGIA MOVEMENT AND AT THE FOREFRONT OF SUPPORTING THE HEBREW LANGUAGE CHARTER SCHOOL IN NEW YORK. ONE.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 12:53 pm

        Where did I say shut down the school? What forefront? My question is did some of the same people who are involved with opening the Hebrew charter school do their best to shut down the Arabic charter school?

        Hell the closing of this school is mentioned in the Center for American Progress’s recently released report “Fear Inc”

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:20 pm

        “Where did I say shut down the school? ”

        You’ve said countless times that the school is religious and should not get taxpayer funding, which is pretty much the equivalent of what KGIA opponents said about KGIA. And you’ve suggested that the people in the anti-KGIA movement are the same people who are behind the Hebrew language school. You keep asking the question. I’ve given you the answer. You’re more interested in playing to the paranoid fantasies of people here.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 7:53 pm

        who said “cabal”? Hophmi

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 9:06 pm

        Hophmi “You keep asking the question. I’ve given you the answer. ”

        You don’t know and either do I. But am asking the question. The only way to know if the same people who pushed hard to shut down the Arabic Charter school based on Islamophobia are involved with the creation and support of this Hebrew Charter school is to access their donation and funding list. That is the only way to know

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2011, 9:54 am

        “who said “cabal”?”

        You said “A formidable group of Jews went after the Arabic language school.”

        That’s pretty much the same as “cabal.”

        Alicia Colon is not Jewish. Robert Spencer is not Jewish. Sean Hannity is not Jewish. Carl Campanile (the education writer at the NY Post at the time of the Almontaser piece) is not Jewish. Cal Thomas is not Jewish. Pat Robertson is not Jewish.

        I’ll expect your apology for characterizing those who supported the closing of KGIA as “a formidable group of Jews.”

  14. Chu
    September 7, 2011, 5:08 pm

    from article:
    “There are also several new dual immersion schools, some of them charter schools. Dual immersion schools offer instruction in two languages: English and one other.
    The other language might be Spanish, or Chinese. Or it might be a much less widely spoken language.
    And it’s when a school takes on one of these smaller languages that critics fear the school may be catering to a single ethnic group and reinforcing cultural isolation.”

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 10:55 am

      “And it’s when a school takes on one of these smaller languages that critics fear the school may be catering to a single ethnic group and reinforcing cultural isolation.”

      As I said above, to worry about cultural and ethnic isolation in a place as segregated as the city is, particularly Brooklyn, makes little sense. This school is without a doubt more diverse than most.

  15. Chu
    September 7, 2011, 5:10 pm

    Creating a school dedicated to such a niche language worries Richard Kahlenberg, an education scholar at the Century Foundation. “There is a danger with charter schools that they will balkanize our country,” says Kahlenberg. He believes that charter schools aimed at one particular ethnic or religious group risk deepening divides between Americans of different backgrounds.
    Kahlenberg cites examples of ethnic charter schools in Minnesota, where there are Somali and Hmong charter schools. Those types of schools “contradict the purpose of public education in America to educate children of all different backgrounds about what it means to be an American in a democratic society,” says Kahlenberg.

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 5:16 pm

      So I take it you opposed KGIA, then?

      Anyway, it’s complete nonsense. A dual language charter school does no worse at enforcing cultural isolation than a school in the ghetto where everyone is from the same race and background. Cultural isolation and ethnic and racial segregation are far bigger problems in the average inner-city public school than they are at a racially and ethnically diverse school like the Hebrew language Charter School or the Greek one in Brooklyn.

      • Chu
        September 7, 2011, 5:22 pm

        If it was sung once by the kids, ok. No issue for me. But for it to occur every day, or once a week, is bad practice. Kids don’t deserve to be subjected to things like this at an early age.

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2011, 7:46 pm

        Whose national anthem did they sing at KGIA? I’m guessing it was the US national anthem instead of Israel’s.

  16. Kathleen
    September 7, 2011, 5:15 pm

    These folks were slammed.

    “As the project director and principal, I was charged with assembling a school design team to write the proposal for submission to New Visions and DOE. The design team was ethnically and religiously diverse, comprised of educators, former principals, assistant principals, prospective parents, community members, and professionals. There were members of the team who spoke Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, French, and Chinese. The design team and I worked for the next six months developing the proposal and getting endorsement letters from the Arab-American community and the larger community to accompany the proposal. Incredibly, we had over eleven partnering groups such as the Tanenbaum Center for Inter-religious Understanding, the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Conservatory for Music, Alwan for the Arts, and several others. We met weekends and weeknights and worked through the wee hours of the night to meet the New Visions and DOE deadlines. And finally, on December 1, 2006, we submitted the final proposal to the DOE.

    Our objective was to establish a school that emphasized critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills through inquiry project-based learning. The Arabic language program was a critical component of the curriculum as well. Weeks later, the DOE approved Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA). Its creation was publicly announced along with eighty other schools being approved for the 2007–08 school year. KGIA made its national debut on February 12, 2007, in the New York Times. But only days later, right-wing bloggers began to create a negative narrative about the school. New Visions and the AAFSC had been responsible for preparing a school website and hiring a communications person, but at that point neither had happened. In spite of the steadily increasing attacks, I remained focused on the work ahead.

    KGIA faced additional complications due to not having a home. The first location explored was P.S. 282 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, but the DOE, as is typically the case, had made no attempt to engage the community in assessing space feasibility. The parents of P.S. 282 protested against KGIA, landing it on the front page of local papers. The Brooklyn Paper headline was “Holy War! Slope Parents Protest Arabic School Plan,” while the New York Sun proclaimed “A Madrassa Grows in Brooklyn” and “Arabic School Idea Is a Monstrosity.” After weeks of parent protests, the DOE abandoned P.S. 282 and set its eyes on the Sarah J. Hale Campus in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, where two schools already existed, subjecting KGIA to even more parental opposition. However, after some negotiation, KGIA was accepted.”

  17. foodoo
    September 7, 2011, 5:18 pm

    I wonder what the feeling would be if in German language
    class they sang “deutschland über alles” ?

    My children go to a school and at the Christmas/Holiday concert
    some of the songs are Israeli nationalist songs—It
    is a strange conflation of state and religions and culture.

    Maybe Catholic Christmas songs should yearn for the
    days of the holy Roman empire

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 10:56 am

      “I wonder what the feeling would be if in German language
      class they sang “deutschland über alles” ?”

      Stop with the Nazi references. It’s bullshit.

      “My children go to a school and at the Christmas/Holiday concert
      some of the songs are Israeli nationalist songs—It
      is a strange conflation of state and religions and culture.”

      Which ones?

  18. Kathleen
    September 7, 2011, 5:22 pm

    “How does one gauge success in such an undertaking? While Debbie did not return to KGIA, as we had all hoped would happen, in fact something powerful did happen. Communities and individuals from every background came together and were relentless in demanding that our institutions be held accountable for promoting racism and bigotry. Most importantly, the story of what had actually happened was told and re-told by those who had lived and experienced it. And with the EEOC Determination, the story was also told in the legal arena, which reflected the truth as we knew it to be. All in all, critical relationships were developed, connections were made amongst our many interrelated struggles, and community power was built that reverberates to this day. We all remain personally and politically connected in deep ways and are working closely together—some of us with groups to challenge Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia; some in groups for justice in Palestine—which I think reflects the power and strength of the community that so many of us built together and the justice of the cause. The struggle definitely continues.”

    But no school.

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 10:57 am

      “But no school.”

      Because it failed academically.

  19. Kathleen
    September 7, 2011, 5:24 pm

    “Michael Steinhardt, who is pro-Israel.”

    And directly financed Islamophobia.

    link to mondoweiss.net

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 6:38 pm

      It’s just amazing how hateful you and this site is. This is what Phil wrote about Steinhardt in this link:

      “author/financier and backer of Jewish day school in New York, the New Republic, and Makor, a social center aimed at promoting Jewish inmarriage”

      The Hebrew Language Charter School is not a “Jewish day school.” Makor is now the 92Y’s Tribeca location. It is a Y. Here is how the Y’s website describes it:

      “Makor, (Hebrew for “source”) promoted the arts and provided opportunities for personal connection and Jewish exploration. Within a few years, Makor had established itself as a place where new artists could develop their work and audiences could find innovative, thought-provoking entertainment. Makor’s music cafe has been recognized in Rolling Stone and Spin as one of the premier venues in the city while Makor’s film program is known for its broad range of classic, art-house films, Jewish-themed, Israeli, cult and alternative offerings.

      The center’s successful community-building can be seen in the variety of social and professional networks and volunteer opportunities to which it has given birth. It has also given, and continues to give, New Yorkers in their 20s and 30s opportunities for spiritual exploration within an environment committed to Jewish pluralism and intellectual excellence.”

      To Phil, Makor simply “promotes Jewish inmarriage.”

      You are a bunch of sordid liars, and this is just another instance where your lie has nothing to do with Israel or the Palestinians but the Jewish community at large.

      • Cliff
        September 8, 2011, 12:51 pm

        What you wrote sounds like a brochure. The only LIAR here is you, who wrote that Palestinians supported Hitler. Then weasel worded back to ‘Palestinian leaders supported Hitler’ as if it were a relevant and said ANYTHING about Palestinians as a whole which was your original intention.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:17 pm

        “What you wrote sounds like a brochure. The only LIAR here is you, who wrote that Palestinians supported Hitler. Then weasel worded back to ‘Palestinian leaders supported Hitler’ as if it were a relevant and said ANYTHING about Palestinians as a whole which was your original intention.”

        Nice to see you’re responsive to the actual argument. Broken record, much?

  20. seafoid
    September 7, 2011, 5:25 pm

    I think it’s important for Hebrew to be spoken in the US and for kids to be familar with songs like Hatikva. Because they’ll still have it after Israel collapses.

    • DBG
      September 7, 2011, 5:39 pm

      Where are the Jews of Israel going once it collapses seafoid? you talk a good game, but you never really answer that one.

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2011, 7:47 pm

        Maybe back home? Guilty’s from Britain, wondering jew was from the US and eee’s family is from eastern Europe.

        What about you? Oh that’s right — you still live here in the US! Good for you, you’ve already gotten that out of the way!

      • DBG
        September 7, 2011, 9:15 pm

        back home? 70% were born in Israel. How about the over 50 percent of Arab Jews in Israel? Do you think they’ll be welcomed with open arms back to their country? I really doubt it.

      • RoHa
        September 7, 2011, 11:08 pm

        “Where are the Jews of Israel going once it collapses?”

        A fair number of the dual passport ones will run away.

        The rest will have to learn to get on with the neighbours.

      • annie
        September 7, 2011, 11:24 pm

        why would they have to go anywhere? nobody asked where the whites would go when jim crow ended. do you mean where could they go to fulfill their ethnic nationalist aspirations? do people ask this about communist countries? where will the communists go? or neoliberalism? where can we go to be neoliberalist? or socialist? zionism is a political construct, it’s ethnic nationalism. i’m in support of people adapting and making accommodations. i think there will be lots of migration this century due to environmental catastrophe and i think societies all need to do there part. so this isn’t just an i/p myopic view it is a humanity view. there will possibly be millions displaced and every society needs to learn to adapt. homogenous states are ..i don’t know what they are but they don’t seem normal.

      • DBG
        September 8, 2011, 1:26 am

        annie, are you really this naive? seriously? the Jews would be driven out w/ out Israel. that is why a binational state will never happen and Israel will never been defeated.

      • seafoid
        September 8, 2011, 9:51 am

        DBG

        The Israeli economy will be destroyed absent a massive political u-turn. You think middle class Israeli Jews are going to hang around in an Argentina type situation ? Do you think the 16 oligarchs are going to put the settlers above their own insatiable greed when the crisis arrives?
        What is Israel then going to do about repatriating the settlers? who is going to pay for it?

      • DBG
        September 8, 2011, 11:16 am

        comments like this show how bigoted you are. You are basing your entire ‘prediction’ on the Jews thirst for money and privilege.

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2011, 11:50 am

        annie, are you really this naive? seriously?

        Wow it must be dump on annie day. You need to take a number and be seated. annie you must be doing something right.

        a binational state will never happen and Israel will never been defeated.

        Israel has always been a binational state. If it tries to hang on to the West Bank it will simply become another Arab majority state in a much shorter period of time.

      • Philip Weiss
        September 8, 2011, 12:24 pm

        thank you for standing up for annie, who has been a godsend to our efforts on this site

      • seafoid
        September 8, 2011, 12:34 pm

        I’m basing it on the efficient markets hypothesis, baby.
        Israelis are rational actors , are they not ?

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2011, 2:02 pm

        You are basing your entire ‘prediction’ on the Jews thirst for money and privilege.

        There are about 400,000 protestors who have taken to the streets looking to improve their lot in life. The available statistics indicate that disgruntled Israelis have already moved-on to bigger and greener pastures elsewhere, e.g.

        To conclude, let me present a statistic that exposes the grim reality in which Israel, as an absorber of immigrants, finds itself. According to a survey conducted by the Guttman Center on behalf of the Institute for Jewish Studies in the CIS, Jews who have remained in Russia and Ukraine have no desire to move here: No less than 59% fear immigrating to Israel due to the expected drop in their socioeconomic status.
        .
        The time has come to stop investing resources and effort in “aliyah-boosting” in global backwaters by Jewish Agency propagandists. These resources would be better spent in improving the absorption of those who are already here, in developing Israel’s border towns, in building transportation infrastructure between the center and periphery, in ensuring suitable working conditions, and in fighting corruption and cronyism in Israel. Hopefully, this would make Israel’s economy more flexible and attractive, bringing new immigrants who could realize their potential—for their good and the good of the state—and enabling us to hold onto the fine people who are already here.

        –“Every Second Person Leaving Israel Is a FSU Immigrant, Failed integration of the Russian aliyah is not a natural, predictable process but a painful failure for Israel as a host society” link to idi.org.il

      • Danaa
        September 8, 2011, 6:10 pm

        Hostage, it’ll interest you to know that at least four Russian scientists I know in the US came by way of Israel – didn’t take them too long to realize the bloom is way off that rose. I know two more who are in israel now and are desperately seeking positions elsewhere. One is trying for the 2nd time the H1B route (he didn’t make the lottery last he tried with an offer in hand). In Europe, there’s hardly a hi tech company (especially the smaller ones and start ups) who don’t have Russians on board in some capacity, and a large number of them are jewish ones who tried israel first, then escaped as fast as they could to more hospitable places. There’s prejudice in western Europe too, but nothing like in Israel, and not nearly as virulent.

        What the article you quote says is true – conforms to what I know from personal experience (and my window is a relatively narrow one, mostly scientists and engineers. I can only imagine how many FSU emigrants who were involved in the arts left israel as soon as they could fins something elsewhere).

        Come to think of it, I just thought of who else i can forward this Russian Israeli scientist’s resume to……if it works out, I’ll have another friend for life (and I sure need all the ones i could get, too…).

        Tx for the good link.

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2011, 10:49 pm

        Hostage, it’ll interest you to know that at least four Russian scientists I know in the US came by way of Israel . . .Tx for the good link.

        Thanks. I did find your anecdotal evidence interesting. In the past, we’ve discussed the fact that the Jewish Agency had proactively lobbied other governments, notably Germany, in order to have them adopt immigration policies that made refugees from the Soviet Union unwelcome. So, it’s possible that Israel wasn’t the first choice of many refugees.
        link to mondoweiss.net

      • seafoid
        September 8, 2011, 4:20 am

        The ones who can earn a better salary abroad will move.
        Maybe Israel has a Plan Dalet 2, this time for its own people. It should. The status quo isn’t going to work out.

  21. Kathleen
    September 7, 2011, 5:39 pm

    Phil do you know if any of the 7 foundations that funded the 40 millions towards fueling fear about Islam are funding this school in any way?

    Fear Inc
    link to americanprogress.org

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 5:49 pm

      Kathleen: Do you have ANY EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that this school is engaged in teaching students to fear Islam in any way?

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2011, 6:23 pm

        No. But sure likes Phil has connected the dots that some of the very same people who did everything they could to shut down the Arabic charter school are some of the very same individuals who funded fear of Islam and are mentioned in the recently released Center for American Progress Report about foundations and individuals who have been financing Islamophobia. And that some of these individuals are involved with funding this Hebrew Charter School. Know nothing about the law. But this recent report sounds like it could sure be used if this case were ever opened again

        So sounds like shutting down this school was one of their Islamphobia projects

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2011, 6:23 pm

        But sure looks like

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 11:00 am

        The anti-KGIA are not the people behind the Hebrew language Charter School. You’ve not provided an iota of evidence in support of this argument. All you’ve said is that anti-KGIA people are Islamophobic, which is a duh statement.

  22. ToivoS
    September 7, 2011, 5:48 pm

    Simply based on the facts presented this school is an abomination and should be terminated. It is a public school supported by taxes that is deliberately indoctrinating their students in the alien ideology of Zionism. And teaching loyalty to a foreign nation. It does not matter that overt religion is not part of the curriculum.

    Imagine some other scenarios. How many of the parents of that school would protest if the children were taught to sing the US Marine corp battle songs? But here they allow them to become pretend IDF warriors. Also imagine the political storm if in the mixed Spanish-English speaking public schools in Southern California, the students began their day singing the Mexican national anthem. That would never be allowed. There are some really weird double standards in this country.

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 6:18 pm

      “Simply based on the facts presented this school is an abomination and should be terminated. It is a public school supported by taxes that is deliberately indoctrinating their students in the alien ideology of Zionism.”

      No fact has been presented to suggest this, other than that the children learn Israeli songs and waive Israeli flags once in a while. No evidence of a Zionism class. No evidence of indoctrination. And no evidence that even if all this were true, that an academically successful school that serves its entire community should be shut down.

      “How many of the parents of that school would protest if the children were taught to sing the US Marine corp battle songs?”

      At a charter school that has a military angle to it? None, I imagine.

      “But here they allow them to become pretend IDF warriors.”

      Apparently, being a pretend warrior consists of singing Hatikvah while standing up straight.

      “Also imagine the political storm if in the mixed Spanish-English speaking public schools in Southern California, the students began their day singing the Mexican national anthem.”

      Hmm. Except that the children are being taught Hatikvah in music class. They’re not starting each day singing it.

      But go ahead, please feel free to tell the Carribean and Nation of Islam parents who send their kids there that the great education they receive should stop because their children are being “indoctrinated.”

      • Chaos4700
        September 7, 2011, 7:49 pm

        You spend a LOT of time defending a school where the kids sing the Israeli national anthem instead of the US anthem. Are we supposed to believe you put even half this much effort defending Arabic language schools? When they are assaulted within the Jewish community — because a LOT of the pressure against Arabic language schools comes from Jewish leaders — have you stood up and vocally opposed that?

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 11:02 am

        “You spend a LOT of time defending a school where the kids sing the Israeli national anthem instead of the US anthem.”

        You spend a lot of time making stuff up. No one said the Israeli national anthem is sung INSTEAD OF the US anthem. The article says kids were taught the Israeli anthem in music class. In music class. In music class. Not every day. Not every day. Not every day. Not instead of. Not instead of. Not instead of. Maybe if I repeat everything for you several times, you’ll get it.

        “Are we supposed to believe you put even half this much effort defending Arabic language schools?”

        I put the same effort into that as I do into this.

    • Duscany
      September 7, 2011, 6:50 pm

      You’re absolutely right about double standards. A couple of years ago I saw a story about a Jewish American high school graduate who announced he planned to enlist in the IDF. At the news, the story said, his whole synagogue stood up and cheered. I wonder how many times that synagogue cheered anyone who joined the US Marines.

  23. Taxi
    September 7, 2011, 6:02 pm

    Here’s a list of the top 5 spoken languages in the world in order of popularity:

    1- Chinese
    2- Spanish
    3- English
    4- French
    5- Arabic

    • hophmi
      September 7, 2011, 6:19 pm

      Your point?

      • eljay
        September 7, 2011, 6:47 pm

        Singing foreign national anthems in a class at a private school is no big deal. I studied Croatian for a number of years when I was young (my dad was Croatian; I’m first-generation Canadian) and we sang the Croatian national anthem (“Lijepa Naša Domovina”) all the time.

        That being said, I believe that only secular public schools should be publicly funded. Religious, ethnic and other such types of schools should be entirely privately funded.

      • eGuard
        September 7, 2011, 6:52 pm

        Hophmi, congrats. In about a score posts here you have said that the school doesn’t do religion. So you denied that Israel, whose anthem the children have to sing, is a Jewish state.

        You have to twist a lot to make a point. Don’t get seasick, it might leak into you writings.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 11:04 am

        “Hophmi, congrats. In about a score posts here you have said that the school doesn’t do religion. So you denied that Israel, whose anthem the children have to sing, is a Jewish state.

        You have to twist a lot to make a point. Don’t get seasick, it might leak into you writings.”

        You’re the one twisting, not me. And you look ridiculous and paranoid, like most here.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        September 7, 2011, 7:19 pm

        >> Your point?

        His point? Well, presumanbly his point is that it is in the US public’s interest to learn the most popular languages in the world. If I learn mandarin, I can speak to a billion people. That’s a good return on educational tax dollars. Spanish, French and Arabic — ditto.

        Hebrew? How many people speak Hebrew? 5 million? (And how many of those also speak English?) Would the US not be better teaching kids Finnish or something? Maybe Dutch? Afrikans?

        I think Taxi’s point is pretty clear. -N49.

      • ToivoS
        September 7, 2011, 9:47 pm

        N49 says: Would the US not be better teaching kids Finnish or something?

        I was raised in a Finnish speaking household and at the age of 4 could understand my grandparents in that language. When I was a bit older I wanted to learn the language better and my uncle told me not to be a fool — there were only 5 million people on the planet that knew that language. Anyway today I remember very little — none of the syntax and only a few words. My uncle’s advice was pretty sound, I really missed out on little.

      • Antidote
        September 8, 2011, 5:53 pm

        “I really missed out on little.”

        Wow, tovoiS, you just dismissed one of the oldest European cultures (and language does have a lot to do with culture) on the grounds that a small population like 5 million people are not worth bothering with. That was also taxi’s point, and I objected only to be ridiculed. But wiping declaring Palestinian culture as irrelevant is problematic? Whatever.

        In reply to a post on June 12 you wrote:

        “Great essay. I realize it is about the Jewish contribution to progressive thinking in the US buy it does leave out a lot of other voices. European immigrants have been major voices in American radical politics. The Scotch/Irish were an important voice in the 19th century. The socialist movement that developed here in the late 19th/early 20th century had major contributions from Italians, Germans and hard to imagine even the Finns. If my memory serves me correctly, the US communist party was founded by a coalition of Jewish and Finnish labor federations.”

        That you find it hard to imagine that “even the Finns” were ‘progressives’ and contributed to the socialist movement in the US is astonishing. Apparently, you didn’t pay much attention to Finnish political history either.

      • Antidote
        September 8, 2011, 6:06 pm

        addition:

        Taxi not only ridiculed, but unsexed me. “Sad man”? Neither / nor

        And I misspelled ToivoS’s name.

      • Taxi
        September 8, 2011, 8:19 pm

        Antidote, would ‘sad pip’ work for you?

      • Antidote
        September 9, 2011, 12:11 am

        ?

      • Taxi
        September 7, 2011, 7:22 pm

        LOL hophmi you REALLY are a paranoid schizoid!

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 11:09 am

        I’m not the one worrying about a fifth column because some kids were taught the Hatikva in music class in a Hebrew language charter school. LOL.

      • Taxi
        September 8, 2011, 8:22 pm

        I don’t give a doodoo either as it happens. Teach away, teach anything you want. This is America. And all the songs and anthems will still not save Apartheid israel from it’s imminent doom.

        Go ahead knock yourselves out, spend money setting up a million hebrew singing schools. It’s all gonna be for nothing anyway. Puhh.

      • Antidote
        September 7, 2011, 7:22 pm

        I don’t get the point either. Popularity? The reason why Spanish, English and French occupy ranks 2-4 is obvious: Colonialism

      • Taxi
        September 7, 2011, 8:05 pm

        “Colonialism”.

        LOL sure thing buddy – whatever you say sad man.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 8:52 pm

        Hebrew, Greek not on that list. Is that Greek school a charter school? Do they get taxpayers money?

        With those top five spoken languages one would think there would be more of a focus in our public schools on Chinese, and Arabic. French and Spanish have been available in our public schools for quite a while

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2011, 9:59 am

        “Is that Greek school a charter school? Do they get taxpayers money?”

        Yes, as has been pointed out several times here. It’s the Hellenic Classical Community School. It’s a Greek-language charter school in NYC.

  24. Kathleen
    September 7, 2011, 6:24 pm

    So Phil how will you or others access who and which foundations have given money to this school? Will be interesting to see exactly how it lines up with the Fear Inc folks mentioned in that report

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 11:31 am

      I must say again that I find all of this disgusting. The Hebrew Language Charter School is not an anti-Islam project. The Islamophobes and those behind the school are two different groups of people. You’ve not presented a single fact supporting an argument that the school is in any way Islamophobic.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 8:55 pm

        We need access to all who have donated to that school to see if there is an overlap. Hophmi do you know how to access that information? Who has donated to the school. Foundations and individuals?

        Phil/All anyone know how to access that information? Should be available since they are receiving public funding.

  25. POA
    September 7, 2011, 6:28 pm

    If the parents of these kids WANT such activities, then certainly, who are we to dictate the curriculum they CHOOSE to expose their children to?

    On the other hand, who are THEY to expect our tax dollars to subsidize such a curriculum? Certainly, Hophni would not be so forgiving of our tax dollars supporting madrassas in the heart of NY?? In fact, even Islamic places of worship or community seem to fall outside the “acceptability” of inclusion in the fabric of New York’s “melting pot”. How much furor was raised about the Muslim community center that was to be built NEXT TO Ground Zero?

    Sorry, but this particular school, and other glaring clues, strike me as just more indication that certain Jews here in our homeland, and, certainly, many Jews in Israel, have signed onto a pogram against Muslims, that INCLUDES indoctrinating and nurturing racial and religious bias in their youth, masqueraded as nationalism.

    The incessant blahblahblah of justification and rationale offered here by the usual suspects is in fact quite enlightening, the absurdity of their arguments and premises as plain as day.

  26. Kathleen
    September 7, 2011, 6:29 pm

    At the site

    Hebrew at the Center, Inc. is supported through the generosity of Arnee R. and Walter A. Winshall and The Jim Joseph Foundation.

    Who has donated otherwise

  27. Kathleen
    September 7, 2011, 6:33 pm

    Hophm Dual language Hebrew School, Dual Language Arabic School, dual language Greek school…I could care less. Do not think that US taxpayers money should be used for these charter schools if the focus is the other culture.

    But more importantly if the very same people who shut down the dual language Arabic school are some of the same individuals who are funding the dual language Hebrew school…well that sounds like racism, and a crime

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 11:36 am

      “Hophm Dual language Hebrew School, Dual Language Arabic School, dual language Greek school…I could care less. Do not think that US taxpayers money should be used for these charter schools if the focus is the other culture.”

      Please list all actions you’ve taken against the Arab language and Greek language schools. Also tell us why you’re against the teaching of other cultures in public schools.

      “But more importantly if the very same people who shut down the dual language Arabic school are some of the same individuals who are funding the dual language Hebrew school…well that sounds like racism, and a crime”

      It isn’t a crime, and you’ve still shown nothing other than your own prejudice.

      • Philip Weiss
        September 8, 2011, 11:38 am

        but is this good wise prudent policy hophmi? and shd public funds be paying for kids to be indoctrinated in hatikvah?
        i say No.

      • DBG
        September 8, 2011, 11:41 am

        how is someone indoctrinated by a song? what bout the 40% of African American students who are more than likely being saved by attending here? not worth it because their music class sings HaTikvah?

        This is sick Phil, this is why this blog is getting a bad name.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 11:54 am

        “but is this good wise prudent policy hophmi?”

        The success and diversity of the school says absolutely yes.

        “and shd public funds be paying for kids to be indoctrinated in hatikvah?
        i say No.”

        You say “indoctrination.” It’s not indoctrination. It’s simply a song in Hebrew to most of these kids. And it is not religious to learn the national anthem of another country or this one for that matter, and it’s not endorsing religion to teach kids a song that mentions the Jews.

        You have not spoken out, for instance, against teaching kids American the Beautiful, which mentions G-d. The great irony is that your rhetoric is nearly identical to those of the anti-KGIA movement, whose central assertion was that an Arabic-language school would inevitably encompass the teaching of Islam because of the linkage of Arabic and Islam. You are no better than them. I think you’re trying to be them, actually. You’re a first-class Judeophobe.

      • eljay
        September 8, 2011, 12:00 pm

        >> what bout the 40% of African American students who are more than likely being saved by attending here?

        What do you mean by “being saved”?

      • Cliff
        September 8, 2011, 12:07 pm

        Oh please!

        Every other thread, you and the other Zionists off the short-bus are claiming end times because of some article posted on the blog.

        You can think whatever you want about Mondoweiss. You’re a Zionist.

        That being said, it’s not simply the song. It’s everything that is going to go attached with it. The notion that these kids aren’t going to be groomed to become Zionist bots is a total lie. There are Jewish kids who are already being groomed to be Zionist bots without this song being taught in school.

      • Chu
        September 8, 2011, 12:14 pm

        African Americans being saved???

        wow, you must know about zero black people. Lol.

        I assume you’re white and Jewish, DBG? But please do explain.
        I’m all ears, cause that’s one of the stupidest flippant comments witnessed here in a long time. unreal…

      • Philip Weiss
        September 8, 2011, 12:23 pm

        this am on comment thread, i spoke out against pledge of a using god, my mother’s secular concerns about that. i like separation of church and state which i think is in the constitution.
        the idea that the hatikvah is not religious and that first graders instructed to act like soldiers is not some type of indoctrination…. well, believe what you please, your bs detector musta been built in the FSU

        “As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

        With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,

        Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost”

        if christians were selling this pollytwoddle in publiclyfunded schools, i’d be on them like a duck on a junebug, hop and you’d be right dere wit me.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 12:41 pm

        Phil what concerns me are the same people who went after the Arabic school involved with opening or funding this school?

        If that is the case some very serious racism going on here as well as financially using media outlets to take out that school. Fueling hatred and fear, being part of shutting down the schools seems like a court case to me

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 12:58 pm

        “i like separation of church and state which i think is in the constitution.”

        It isn’t, actually, but I like it too. There is nothing about this school that violates that principle. Speaking Hebrew is not endorsing Judaism any more than speaking Greek is endorsing Greek Orthodoxy.

        “the idea that the hatikvah is not religious and that first graders instructed to act like soldiers is not some type of indoctrination…. well, believe what you please, your bs detector musta been built in the FSU”

        Spare me. Hatikvah is not religious. It is nationalistic. In fact, many religious Jews in Israel object to it because it is not religious. And no one is “instructing first graders to act like soldiers.” Gimme a goddamn break. They were asked to stand like soldiers. They’re not being given toy guns and uniforms and playing war. They’re being asked to stand straight.

        “if christians were selling this pollytwoddle in publiclyfunded schools, i’d be on them like a duck on a junebug, hop and you’d be right dere wit me.”

        It’s called a holiday show. There are Christmas songs sung across this country at public school functions.

      • POA
        September 8, 2011, 1:33 pm

        “the idea that the hatikvah is not religious and that first graders instructed to act like soldiers is not some type of indoctrination”

        Allegedly, they were not told to “act” like soldiers. They were told to “stand” like soldiers.

        In elementary school, we were told to “stand at attention” to say the Pledge Of Allegiance. In doing so, were our teachers telling us to “act like soldiers”?

        Certainly, “stand at attention” is a military phrase, is it not?

        This thread is getting silly.

        Telling a roomfull of kids to “stand like soldiers” is no different than telling them to “stand at attention”. Its quite easy to imagine a teacher saying “stand like soldiers” to instruct her students to stand up straight, without having sinister intent or ulterior motive.

      • POA
        September 8, 2011, 2:07 pm

        Its a sad day indeed when the discourse here gets so asinine that I find myself aligned with a Hophni stance.

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2011, 2:23 pm

        how is someone indoctrinated by a song?

        Anthems are by definition compositions having a sacred or moralizing text that are used as hymns of praise or loyalty. Why did the Zionist Organization need an an official anthem about “Jewish souls” and “our land”? BTW, there are ready comparisons in the anthems of other fascist and separatist movements.

        This is sick Phil, this is why this blog is getting a bad name.

        There is nothing sick about someone taking issue with the selection of material here. There are plenty of Hebrew songs that aren’t hymns of praise to a racial supremacist ideology.

      • seafoid
        September 8, 2011, 4:03 pm

        What are the Xtians doing in Texas , Phil, or have the state and the Feds abandoned public education there ?

      • Cliff
        September 8, 2011, 12:10 pm

        Wrong Hophmi. Tell us what ‘Hebrew school with the Israeli national anthem being sung by students’ or similar cases are being campaigned against by politicians, journalists and concerned citizens?

        This is identity politics and Jews aren’t ever going to be subjected to the same bullshit that is subjected to Arabs and Muslims. That is a FACT and we have a damn near perfect sociological experiment before us happening right now to judge that.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:16 pm

        “This is identity politics and Jews aren’t ever going to be subjected to the same bullshit that is subjected to Arabs and Muslims.”

        Well, Cliff, perhaps that has something to do with the identity of the people who attacked us on 9/11. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s hardly the fault of the Jewish community.

      • annie
        September 8, 2011, 5:22 pm

        nah. it has to do w/a massively funded islamophobic campaign demonizing muslims.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:32 pm

        “nah. it has to do w/a massively funded islamophobic campaign demonizing muslims.”

        Whatever. There’s a reason the campaign is possible. For a fear to be exploited, the fear has to exist in the first place.

      • annie
        September 8, 2011, 5:43 pm

        i do not agree. the campaign is exploiting the attack for it’s own benefit. if this kind of fear existed nobody would have to dump millions of dollars into exploiting it, it would permeate just fine on it’s own.

        it reminds me of the lobby. if americans were as supportive of israel and congress’s support inplied they would have no need for a lobby, that goes without saying.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:45 pm

        ” if americans were as supportive of israel and congress’s support inplied they would have no need for a lobby, that goes without saying.”

        I would say that if Americans did not like Israel in the first place, the lobby would not be nearly as successful.

      • annie
        September 8, 2011, 5:53 pm

        the success of the lobby is not due to americans love for israel. you can talk ‘nearly’ all you want. go ahead and take the last word. this is a boring conversation.

  28. POA
    September 7, 2011, 7:02 pm

    OK, so you have, above, my knee jerk response.

    Now, I’m digging a little deeper. I may hafta back off a bit……

    link to thejewishweek.com

  29. Kathleen
    September 7, 2011, 7:06 pm

    Phil /All
    I knew I had seen that Arabic dual language school mentioned in the 130 page “Fear Inc” Report. On page 87 (or also comes up 47 out of 70) under “David Horowitz Freedom Center” Last paragraph on that page.

    link to americanprogress.org
    “For instance, they used Front Page Magazine to promote their overhyped Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition, which aimed to shut down a New York City public school simply because it taught Arabic language and culture. The school was the Khalill Gibran International Academy, named after the Lebanese Christian poet.”

    Geller and Gaffney’s names dominate that report

    • hophmi
      September 9, 2011, 10:26 am

      Neither Geller nor Gaffney had anything to do with HLA.

  30. Michael W.
    September 7, 2011, 7:29 pm

    At French class in my Jewish high school in America, we sang and learned the French national anthem. I don’t know what the Spanish and Latin classes did. I think we heard the Canadian anthem as well, we had a few Canadians in class too. I think learning the national anthem is one aspect of learning the culture where the language originated from. It doesn’t serve as a recruitment device for a nationalist cause.

    • Michael W.
      September 7, 2011, 7:33 pm

      However, I did get a recruitment letter from the French Army when I was 17 (I am technically a French citizen). I never got a letter from the IDF (I am an Israeli too). I didn’t get a recruitment letter from the Tunisian army either (guess what, I’m Tunisian as well!). Of course, I saw lots of US military brochures (Yes, I am ‘merican).

    • RoHa
      September 7, 2011, 11:04 pm

      “I don’t know what the Spanish and Latin classes did.”

      We certainly didn’t sing the Roman national anthem in my Latin classes.

    • annie
      September 7, 2011, 8:15 pm

      that doesn’t surprise me. there’s been a lot of reporting on this. as i recall the general MO is it takes longer to wait for a trial date that the sentence and kids want to go home. they hold em til they confess, sometimes with intermittent sleep and torture.

      • CTuttle
        September 7, 2011, 8:38 pm

        What did surprise me was the 100% conviction rate of Stone throwers, and, over half hadn’t even ‘launched a projectile’…! *gah*

        Mere 15 yro’s, fer gawd’s sake…! 8-(

      • annie
        September 8, 2011, 12:51 am

        have you been reading joseph dana or Aya Kaniuk and Tamar Goldschmidt? this is no surprise. it’s not so much about stone throwing, it is about incarcerating the youth for the purpose of intimidating communities. especially the communities with non violent resistance. they trap the children, then interrogate them to either give up their elders (‘impress’ them to ‘confess’ they directed them to throw stones and be violent) or use them to implicate others. this is a well trodden path. so the kids ‘confess’ or stay in lock up for a long long time waiting trial. all that time they are subject to interrogation sans representation. it’s really the story i think would tip the scales if it would get out. the msm won’t touch it and it has been well documented.

        children in palestine are not safe. plus, israel most likely has a data base on most children along w/a psychological profile wrt how they react to torture, stress, etc. it is a laboratory. a human laboratory.

        imho

      • Danaa
        September 8, 2011, 12:34 pm

        Child torture is an atrocity, by any measure. Time to call the executioners and torturers by their true name. If they were not so-called jewish, I bet no one would be mincing words about such inhumane practices.

        To me, that’s what all of israel has become – by complicity. Child torturers. The sad thing is they’d do far worse if they thought they could get away with it. It is thanks to people like Joseph Dana and the many good people who document these hideous acts that worse has not occured yet. We better believe that they would kill those children – and their parents if they felt there would be no repercussion.

        I implicate all of israel in these crimes against humanity because of their silence. Because they know very well what’s done in their name, and not only do they approve but many (most?) wish that more – and worse could be done. To set an example, as they like to say.

        And then they, the tent protesters wonder: how come their ‘social” protests are not getting all the sympathy they think they deserve? how come, indeed.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 2:27 pm

        “To me, that’s what all of israel has become – by complicity. Child torturers. ”

        Glad you can see the nuance. Another for my list of overblown hyperbolic ridiculous statements.

      • seafoid
        September 8, 2011, 4:05 pm

        hophmi is right. the 1948 Palestinians have no part in the machine.
        Anyone who sends their kids to the IDF or the national religious yeshivas, on the other hand…

      • Danaa
        September 8, 2011, 5:13 pm

        hophmi – please read the rest of my post. They only tacitly stand by while children are tortured because they don’t think they can get away with what they really want to do, which is to make these children – and their parents – disappear.

        Why don’t you take a stroll sometime in the excellent israeli streets (once the tents have been cleared) and listen to what people say they would like to do, assuming you can even understand a word of the language you are so keen to protect.

        What israelis want is heinous.

        not all, to be sure. But a sizeable majority. And one that you support wholeheartedly.

  31. POA
    September 7, 2011, 10:40 pm

    I’m reconsidering the whole nexus of this debate. Reading that Mrs. Berman’s husband is South African, and forty percent of the students are African American, its becoming harder to attribute Israeli nationalism or zionist designs to the curriculum, or underlying motive, of this educational institution.

    I still have a problem with this school receiving public funding, but I certainly do not decry parents being able to choose what kind of curriculum their children are exposed to. Even if it does have a zionist slant, or seeks to instill loyalties to the “Jewish State”, SO WHAT?? Are we to decide that parents can’t choose the educational institution that they wish their children to attend?

    It seems the ONLY issue deserving of debate in regards to this school is funding.

    • annie
      September 7, 2011, 11:20 pm

      poa, i am not a fan of publicly funded charter schools although i’ve heard of some great ones. one of my (very) best friends from college is a district school superintendent and she thinks they would be the cats meow so i’ve heard an earful of the pro side. i’m more sceptical of privatizated charter schools taking over our school system sucking fed funds off the regular public school system.

      but other than that i don’t have a problem for the most part w/charter schools. the only thing i found strange about your link was the social studies program. i guess i’m not understanding the upside of public funding for a curriculum that focuses on Jewish communities around the world but then again maybe there’s enough going on around the world in jewish communities a kid could learn a lot. christian schools do that and they have volunteers in other continents and cultures building houses and wells or whatever. but we don’t fund them either. i support the idea of a city having a publicly funded HS w/an art focus or science focus. language immersion is one thing but political systems are different. it should either be well rounded or focus on the US constitution.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 1:06 pm

        link to jwi.org

        Take-Charge Woman

        Sara Berman, a dynamic mother of six, is spearheading a controversial movement to create Hebrew-language charter schools.

        By Elicia Brown
        August 2011

        “Before Brooklyn’s Hebrew Language Academy Charter School opened two years ago, becoming the first such school in New York City, skeptics questioned how it could avoid meandering into the religious realm, violating the Constitution by teaching Judaism, using public dollars. The first Arabic-language charter school in New York was recently forced to close. But for now, criticisms of the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School have largely subsided. In fact, the school has recently been such a darling of the press, that one writer jokingly described it as “sababa,” Hebrew slang for “awesome.”

        The biggest question is who, how and why the Arabic Charter school was forced to close? Are those same individuals who did everything to fuel the hatred towards this school have anything to do with opening the Hebrew charter school?

        And clearly should taxpayers dollars be funding these types of schools. No in my book. Sounds way unconstitutional

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 2:58 pm

        “The biggest question is who, how and why the Arabic Charter school was forced to close? Are those same individuals who did everything to fuel the hatred towards this school have anything to do with opening the Hebrew charter school?”

        You are like a broken record. You keep asking the same question over and over and over again. The answer is no.

        OK, Kathleen, since you are apparently incapable of basic research, here are links to an article about the school’s closing.

        The school was a disaster. Its students didn’t do well academically; the school received grades of F for student performance and student progress. The place also wasn’t safe; it had one of the highest suspension rates in the city. It also faced declining enrollment. I want to stress that all of these are problems that plague charter schools and are reasons why they get shut down.

        link to schools.nyc.gov
        link to nytimes.com
        link to bed-stuy.patch.com

        Here’s the site visit report for the Hebrew Language Charter:

        link to schools.nyc.gov

        Here’s a link to a couple of parent reviews.

        link to greatschools.org..HeaderLink

        “And clearly should taxpayers dollars be funding these types of schools. No in my book. Sounds way unconstitutional”

        It isn’t. If it was, there would be no school.

    • American
      September 8, 2011, 9:22 am

      “Reading that Mrs. Berman’s husband is South African, and forty percent of the students are African American, its becoming harder to attribute Israeli nationalism or zionist designs to the curriculum, or underlying motive, of this educational institution”

      If you don’t think there are ‘zionist designs” in the curriculum, particularly in the singing of the Israeli national anthem you aren’t up on the all the ways, plots and tactics of the zionist.
      Why do you think AIPAC and JINSA sponsor trips for catholic Hispanic Americas to Israel, why do you think they embrace the christian zionist, why do you think they work 24/7 and spend millions of dollars to convince Americans that Israel is the USA, why do you think Hoyer said it was his job to make sure every freshman congressperson coming into office is loyal to Israel?
      Zionist overlook nothing, small or large, in their efforts to brainwash e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e in this country, not just Jews, into believing Israel is part of and even the most important part of the USA.

      Tell me…what is the point of singing the Israel anthem?…..when there are hundreds of other hebrew songs they could use…..hummm?

      • POA
        September 8, 2011, 12:42 pm

        “Tell me…what is the point of singing the Israel anthem?…..when there are hundreds of other hebrew songs they could use…..hummm?”

        Thats irrelevent. As I CLEARLY state above, the curriculum is only an issue because of funding. If the parents of these children are OK with their kids doing backflips for Israel, who are you to meddle?

        You wanna bitch and moan about funding such a curriculum? Fine, do so. But you have no right to seek to control or influence the actual curriculum. Frankly, aside from the funding, its none of your business.

      • American
        September 8, 2011, 2:34 pm

        I was addressing what you said about not seeing any zionist intent in the singing of the Israeli anthem…I was not addressing the funding issue.
        I made it plain what part of your comment I was responding to by copying your statement.

        Now, I’m going to ignore your comments from here on. Your constant pissing on other posters here, like annie in particular, and and your asshole attitude toward everyone makes your comments worthless.

    • Hostage
      September 8, 2011, 11:29 am

      Are we to decide that parents can’t choose the educational institution that they wish their children to attend?

      The ADL already does that in cases where it says that “constitutionally suspect” public vouchers are used to pay for religious education. Many states have constitutions that prohibit the practice. link to adl.org

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 11:55 am

        When you actually have an argument showing how the Hebrew language charter school in unconstitutional, present it. So far, I see nothing here except Judeophobia.

      • POA
        September 8, 2011, 12:37 pm

        So, Hostage, you advocate for such a practice because “the ADL already does it”?

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2011, 2:48 pm

        So, Hostage, you advocate for such a practice because “the ADL already does it”?

        No, I was pointing out that Zionists hold others to a much higher standard. For example, the Courts have affirmed that the Anti-Defamation League practices defamation. It seems they can dish it out, but they can’t take it.
        link to jweekly.com

        Frankly their position paper on the so-called Ground Zero Mosque is a masterpiece of dissimulation about the rights of the “families of the victims”. link to adl.org

        The bottom lines is that teaching about religious or separatist political movements is acceptable, but not proselytizing. So, the school should definitely find less objectionable material for its Hebrew music class.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 3:00 pm

        “The bottom lines is that teaching about religious or separatist political movements is acceptable, but not proselytizing. So, the school should definitely find less objectionable material for its Hebrew music class.”

        You’re a joke. If you can’t tell the difference between teaching kids a cultural song for mentions Jews and proselytizing, you should get your head checked.

      • American
        September 8, 2011, 5:03 pm

        “If you can’t tell the difference between teaching kids a cultural song for mentions Jews and proselytizing, you should get your head checked.”

        The Israeli national anthem is not a ‘cultural’ song of America’s and therefore should not be financied by Americans.
        If Jews or zionist want Israeli and Hebrew centric schools they need to pay for them themselves.

        I am not surprised though that these schools are getting and trying to get federal money. For several years now I have been reading articles in Jewish papers about how Jews can’t afford to send to send their kids to private Jewish schools and the high ‘cost of being Jewish”….you can look up some of these articles in the Forward.
        Nevertheless they need to start paying their own bills or do without their Jewish schools. I went to private schools all my life and they were not in the slightest part financed by Federal tax dollars.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:29 pm

        “The Israeli national anthem is not a ‘cultural’ song of America’s and therefore should not be financied by Americans.”

        LOL. Neither is Frere Jacques. Should kids not sing it in French class?

        “I am not surprised though that these schools are getting and trying to get federal money. For several years now I have been reading articles in Jewish papers about how Jews can’t afford to send to send their kids to private Jewish schools and the high ‘cost of being Jewish”….you can look up some of these articles in the Forward.”

        Anyone who says something like this has no concept of what a charter school is and what a Jewish day school is. These charters are not substitutes for day schools. They are an alternative.

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2011, 6:28 pm

        When you actually have an argument showing how the Hebrew language charter school in unconstitutional, present it. So far, I see nothing here except Judeophobia.

        I don’t think the government should fund anything that proselytizes on behalf of the belief system of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism or any form of secular or religious Zionism.

        So far as I’m concerned, Zionism is the civil religion of the State of Israel. It really doesn’t matter if you consider it a religious belief system that is subject to the prohibition contained in the 1st amendment or an ethnic separatist movement covered by the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.

        The establishment of “Jewish states” really isn’t something that the Constitution has empowered our government to undertake on the taxpayer’s dime, either in the US or anywhere else in the world. In Reid v Covert, the Supreme Court ruled that the President and the Congress are merely creatures of the Constitution and that they have no authority to do anything overseas that the Constitution would prohibit right here in the United States. Needless to say, nobody would tolerate a statute that required the inhabitants to recognize one of the United States as “the state of the Jewish people” or to grant them superior rights and privileges. It doesn’t make a bit of difference if “the Jewish people” believe that they are part of a religious sect or an ethnicity.

        I think that this song is a minor example of offensive proselytizing on behalf of a fringe denomination of the Jewish religion or a Jewish ethnic political separatist movement. I also wonder if other children in the neighborhood are getting equal protection when competing for scarce government resources? From what you’ve said, it is obvious that Arabic speaking kids do not.

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2011, 10:30 am

        “I think that this song is a minor example of offensive proselytizing on behalf of a fringe denomination of the Jewish religion or a Jewish ethnic political separatist movement. I also wonder if other children in the neighborhood are getting equal protection when competing for scarce government resources? From what you’ve said, it is obvious that Arabic speaking kids do not.”

        I think it’s the national anthem of the one country in the world that speaks Hebrew. You look silly characterizing as a “fringe denomination” something that is supported by the vast majority of the world’s Jews. You’re exhibiting Judeophobia if you read the lyrics of Hatikva and conclude that it’s proselytizing.

        “From what you’ve said, it is obvious that Arabic speaking kids do not [get equal protection].”

        It is far from obvious. There was a KGIA. It failed, but is now going to be reconstituted as a high school.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2011, 9:57 pm

        I think it’s the national anthem of the one country in the world that speaks Hebrew. You look silly characterizing as a “fringe denomination” something that is supported by the vast majority of the world’s Jews.

        The majority of the world’s Jews choose to live in other countries, not Israel. The fact remains that we’ve provided you with links to articles which say the leading donor, Steinhardt, considers this to be a cheaper method of strengthening Jewish identity without the private and communal expense of day schools – and that he wants to franchise the model. The GAO discovered that 23 Orthodox Jewish schools, or yeshivas, in New York City were involved in misconduct relating to the Pell Grant Program and were scamming the taxpayers for years to fund religious education at the public’s expense. They simply pretended that they were providing vocational training. They submitted false documents to the Department of Education for institutional eligibility and program curricula. link to archive.gao.gov

        HaTikvah was the official anthem of Hovevei Zion and the Zionist Organization. For “2,000 years” it was religious Jews who thought of the return to Zion as a metaphor for the world to come or a messianic spiritual age. Even then, the particular view that all Jews shared a personal yearning for Zion is an idea that wasn’t necessarily shared by secular Jews or people of Jewish descent, like Baruch Spinoza, Benjamin Disraeli, Casper Weinberger, Alfred Lilienthal, and etc.

        You’re a joke. If you can’t tell the difference between teaching kids a cultural song for mentions Jews and proselytizing, you should get your head checked.

        Zionism and the lyrics of that song are based upon a particular religious belief system and racist myths. See for example Israel Jacob Yuval, The Myth of the Jewish Exile from the Land of Israel: A Demonstration of Irenic Scholarship Common Knowledge – Volume 12, Issue 1, Winter 2006, pp. 16-33
        link to muse.jhu.edu

        You’re exhibiting Judeophobia if you read the lyrics of Hatikva and conclude that it’s proselytizing.

        No you’re just demonstrating your own ignorance again. The New York Times article that Kathleen cited illustrates another Zionist song the school was teaching the children. Mira Sucharov wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the use of songs for indoctrination – and she cited that one as a specific example. She said

        Songs have been an important part of Israeli nation building since the earliest days of Jewish settlement in Palestine. Zionism was animated by lyrics such as “Eretz Yisrael sheli yafa v’gam porachat!” (“My land of Israel is beautiful and blossoming!”).

        link to huffingtonpost.com

        The author of the New York Times article was pulling everyone’s leg by citing the example of two members of a Nation of Islam Mosque singing “I have a land and I have a house in the land of Israel!”, but she strained credulity when she suggested they might fit right in “elbowing their way down Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.” After all we are talking about a society that can’t integrate Jewish Russian or Ethopian immigrants very well and deports Hebrew speaking children of migrant workers born in Israel in order to preserve the “Jewish character” of the State. Nowadays the Zionists are openly singing songs with lyrics like “Muhammad is Dead!”…”butcher the Arabs… death to Arabs… May your village burn…” & etc. in the streets of Jerusalem. link to youtube.com!
        link to ynetnews.com

        I’d suggest that you read some of the derogatory and racist material about the nature of gentiles in the Talmud; the Schulchan Aruch; the Tanya, Auto-Emancipation; The Jewish State; and other Jewish classics before employing ignorant slurs about Judeophobia. Zionism is NOT based upon the principles of universalism reflected in the works of the latter-day prophets of Israel and neither are some of the many “Orthodox” sects within Judaism. We can criticize them here without fear of “throwing the baby out with the bath water”.

      • hophmi
        September 13, 2011, 9:25 am

        “The fact remains that we’ve provided you with links to articles which say the leading donor, Steinhardt, considers this to be a cheaper method of strengthening Jewish identity without the private and communal expense of day schools – and that he wants to franchise the model.”

        The fact remains that strengthening Jewish identity through school that emphasize aspects of Jewish culture and allow anyone to attend does not violate the First Amendment. There’s no religious education going on at HLA.

        “The GAO discovered that 23 Orthodox Jewish schools, or yeshivas, in New York City were involved in misconduct relating to the Pell Grant Program and were scamming the taxpayers for years to fund religious education at the public’s expense.”

        A completely unrelated matter. HLA is not a yeshiva. And your mentioning this unrelated matter here shows what your allegiances are. By the way, this report is from 1993. I guess you had it handy in your “dirt on the Jews” file. It’s amazing that in a discussion about a charter school you’d bring up a twenty year old report on Pell Grants.

        “Even then, the particular view that all Jews shared a personal yearning for Zion is an idea that wasn’t necessarily shared by secular Jews or people of Jewish descent, like Baruch Spinoza, Benjamin Disraeli, Casper Weinberger, Alfred Lilienthal, and etc.”

        Again, none of this constitutes an argument against teaching the song to kids in a charter school.

        “Zionism and the lyrics of that song are based upon a particular religious belief system and racist myths”

        Look, you can pull academic articles off the web all day if you want to show off how smart you think you are. I’m certain you can find an article to support any crazy viewpoint you may have. You’re not fooling anybody. Zionism is a political ideology. It’s not a religion. The First Amendment does not prohibit the teaching of a political ideology.

        “The New York Times article that Kathleen cited illustrates another Zionist song the school was teaching the children.”

        Yes, I’m quite familiar with the song. Once again, no mention of G-d in it. It’s a pioneer song, no difference from the many songs about the American frontier. Its message is one of togetherness. You may disagree with the politics (and I’ll look forward to your screeds against those American songs that fail to mention the Native Americans).

        “The author of the New York Times article was pulling everyone’s leg by citing the example of two members of a Nation of Islam Mosque singing “I have a land and I have a house in the land of Israel!””

        How so? Do you dispute that the school has children from the Nation of Islam?

        “but she strained credulity when she suggested they might fit right in “elbowing their way down Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.” After all we are talking about a society that can’t integrate Jewish Russian or Ethopian immigrants very well”

        Really? Seems to me both groups are for the most part happy to be there. You’re just arguing politics here; I get it. It’s a shame that you mix it with bogus arguments about the First Amendment.

        “Nowadays the Zionists are openly singing songs with lyrics like “Muhammad is Dead!”…”butcher the Arabs… death to Arabs… May your village burn…” & etc. in the streets of Jerusalem. ”

        Uh-huh. All the Zionists sing about butchering the Arabs. Have you ever seen what the Palestinian Arabs sing about? Oh wait, you’re one of their partisans.

        “I’d suggest that you read some of the derogatory and racist material about the nature of gentiles in the Talmud; the Schulchan Aruch; the Tanya, Auto-Emancipation; The Jewish State; and other Jewish classics before employing ignorant slurs about Judeophobia”

        Thank you for proving your Judeophobia by arguing like a member of the KKK (or Hamas, for that matter) about Jewish texts. Maybe next you’ll start posting bogus Talmudic quotes like one of those Radical Islam or white supremacist websites.

        You’re a Judeophobe.

      • Hostage
        September 13, 2011, 12:54 pm

        The fact remains that strengthening Jewish identity through school that emphasize aspects of Jewish culture and allow anyone to attend does not violate the First Amendment. There’s no religious education going on at HLA.

        You are still beating the dead horses of Zionism. All I took issue with was the ludicrous claim that teaching Zionist anthems about Jewish souls yearning for Zion and a mythical 2,000 year exile wasn’t a form of religious indoctrination.

        “The GAO discovered that 23 Orthodox Jewish schools, or yeshivas, in New York City were involved in misconduct relating to the Pell Grant Program and were scamming the taxpayers for years to fund religious education at the public’s expense.”

        A completely unrelated matter.

        Same Jewish community, same Jewish identity movement, same desire to outsource the costs to the taxpayer .

        Look, you can pull academic articles off the web all day if you want to show off how smart you think you are.

        I notice you’ve never been able to support your claims in similar fashion no matter how smart you think you are.

        Uh-huh. All the Zionists sing about butchering the Arabs

        There’s a line of braying jackasses for as far as the eye can see in that video, and as usual, the public and the authorities didn’t say a word about this massive rally violating the racial incitement laws.

        yearning for Zion is an idea that wasn’t necessarily shared by secular Jews or people of Jewish descent, …Again, none of this constitutes an argument against teaching the song to kids in a charter school.

        Poor attempt at deflection. Only religious Jews believe and teach that they have souls that have yearned for Zion for 2,000 years.

        Thank you for proving your Judeophobia by arguing like a member of the KKK (or Hamas, for that matter) about Jewish texts. …You’re a Judeophobe

        No, the Zionist movement is a racial supremacist movement just like the KKK. I’ve routinely taken issue with your posts here that have justified and even excused war crimes and crimes against humanity that were directed towards Palestinians – just because they disagreed with a recommendation of the General Assembly. I’ve never advocated any violence against Jews. The government of Israel just announced plans to forceably displace 30,000-40,000 of its Bedouin citizens. It continues to adopt racist laws that grant superior rights and privileges to people of Jewish decent. It threatens, persecutes, and kills people well beyond its own borders with absolute impunity. Anyone who isn’t frightened by the actual fruits of Zionism is out of touch with reality. No one has any business using taxpayer dollars to inculcate the values of any “ism” here in America, much less sing anthems that glorify the founding of a dysfunctional racist society.

      • hophmi
        September 13, 2011, 1:17 pm

        “You are still beating the dead horses of Zionism. All I took issue with was the ludicrous claim that teaching Zionist anthems about Jewish souls yearning for Zion and a mythical 2,000 year exile wasn’t a form of religious indoctrination.”

        Yes, and as you well know, you’re essentially arguing that the school is unconstitutional. If this is your argument, then you’d presumably oppose teaching children any song that mentions any religion of any kind. No more Jingle Bells.

        “Same Jewish community, same Jewish identity movement, same desire to outsource the costs to the taxpayer .”

        Then you apparently know diddly about the Jewish community. The schools in twenty year old report are all ultra-orthodox yeshivas where secular education is an afterthought. Those who run such institutions would never approve of a charter school project. And the fraud here involves Pell Grants, something private institutions are eligiible for under normal circumstances. Steinhardt and those behind HLA come from a completely different part of the Jewish community than these folks, and their project is completely different, as is their use of taxpayer money. Your argument is so completely dishonest, it’s a wonder you would make it.

        “I notice you’ve never been able to support your claims in similar fashion no matter how smart you think you are.”

        Citing a journal paper that has nothing to do with the actual question and ignoring all evidence contrary to your own viewpoint is not impressive outside of a partisan community like this one.

        “There’s a line of braying jackasses for as far as the eye can see in that video, and as usual, the public and the authorities didn’t say a word about this massive rally violating the racial incitement laws.”

        Right. Still nothing to do with the question, and nothing we don’t see from both sides in internecine conflict.

        “Poor attempt at deflection. Only religious Jews believe and teach that they have souls that have yearned for Zion for 2,000 years.”

        Based on what, exactly? The yearning for return has been expressed in fora like the Passover Seder for many hundreds of years by Jews of all religious denominations. And moreover, your argument is ridiculous on its face. You argue that because a song expresses a religious idea, it therefore constitutes religious indoctrination. Once again, you offer a formula for excluding the teaching of any Christmas song, and any song that mentions G-d, like America the Beautiful.

        You have still not made a single cogent argument that the school’s existence violates the First Amendment. All you’ve said is that you don’t like the school’s curriculum and the politics of its founders.

        “No, the Zionist movement is a racial supremacist movement just like the KKK.”

        Which is why there are Zionists of every race.

        “I’ve never advocated any violence against Jews.”

        No. You’ve just repeated old antisemitic canards made against them.

        “Anyone who isn’t frightened by the actual fruits of Zionism is out of touch with reality.”

        I suggest that if fright about the ideology of a country precludes teaching about it, you should advocate an end to teaching students about China.

        “No one has any business using taxpayer dollars to inculcate the values of any “ism” here in America, much less sing anthems that glorify the founding of a dysfunctional racist society.”

        When you become king, you can change our First Amendment, and end all singing of the Star-Spangled Banner, which was written in the midst of a war to preserve a Union that featured slavery.

      • Hostage
        September 13, 2011, 3:37 pm

        “Same Jewish community, same Jewish identity movement, same desire to outsource the costs to the taxpayer .”

        Then you apparently know diddly about the Jewish community.

        Don’t dissimulate. Yeshivas are part of the Jewish community and local Jewish culture. Your Hebrew Charter school teaches classes that cover Jewish culture and history and modern Israeli society.

        Yes, and as you well know, you’re essentially arguing that the school is unconstitutional. If this is your argument, then you’d presumably oppose teaching children any song that mentions any religion of any kind. No more Jingle Bells.

        You are the one who asked about the Constitution and I simply pointed out the 1st anf 14th Amendment implications. Providing separate, better, educational opportunities to Hebrew speaking grade schoolers discriminates against others. Despite your claims to the contrary, the public school districts where I live do not include the pledge of allegiance or God Bless America & etc. in their activities or curriculum.

        Right. Still nothing to do with the question, and nothing we don’t see from both sides in internecine conflict.

        Actually the New York Times article says the school curriculum includes classes on Jewish culture, history, and Israeli society. So, yes that annual xenophobic display, the official policy of deporting the children of migrant workers to preserve the Jewish character of the state, and the Grand Apartheid policies regarding the removal of thousands of Bedouins are very relevant. Taxpayers have no obligation to support a Zionist charter school or a KKK charter school – and no change to the First amendment is really required to convince DOE officials to not renew or halt funding to a program.

        I suggest that if fright about the ideology of a country precludes teaching about it, you should advocate an end to teaching students about China.

        We don’t fund or encourage the teaching of Chinese religious myths or sing anthems about the glorious peoples revolution in China. Your series of straw man arguments are pointless diversions.

      • hophmi
        September 13, 2011, 4:33 pm

        “Don’t dissimulate. Yeshivas are part of the Jewish community and local Jewish culture. Your Hebrew Charter school teaches classes that cover Jewish culture and history and modern Israeli society.”

        How am I dissimulating? The Jewish community is not a monolith, and Jewish education is not monolithic. Neither is public education. You’re conflating a charter school that teaches aspects of Jewish culture with a yeshiva that emphasizes Jewish religious education.

        “Providing separate, better, educational opportunities to Hebrew speaking grade schoolers discriminates against others”

        That’s a load of baloney. First of all, the school is not made up exclusively of Hebrew speaking grade schoolers. Anyone can attend the school, and indeed, about half of its students do not come from Jewish families, let alone Hebrew-speaking families. Second of all, the availability of such a school does not de facto mean that others are discriminated against. There was an Arab language school (which will be reconstituted as a high school next year). There are foreign language schools all over the city. The presence of the charter school does not obligate the city to make sure that every other language is represented. Equal protection does not work that way, and you damn well know it.

        “Despite your claims to the contrary, the public school districts where I live do not include the pledge of allegiance or God Bless America & etc. in their activities or curriculum.”

        I could care less. The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of public schools that put on holiday plays where religious songs are sung. There are plenty of public schools that teach their kids to sing G-d Bless America. There are plenty of school with choirs who sing religious music. None of it constitutes religious education.

        “Actually the New York Times article says the school curriculum includes classes on Jewish culture, history, and Israeli society.”

        Yes, and none of this is the same as providing a religious education. Teaching Jewish history is no more religious than teaching the Holy Roman Empire in Social Studies. Teaching Jewish culture is no more religious than teaching kids of America’s Protestant work ethic, and teaching Israeli society is no more religious than teaching kids about any other nation’s society, whether it’s France, China, or Saudi Arabia.

        “So, yes that annual xenophobic display, the official policy of deporting the children of migrant workers to preserve the Jewish character of the state, and the Grand Apartheid policies regarding the removal of thousands of Bedouins are very relevant.”

        And you’re free to go start an Arab language charter (or stand on a bloody street corner) and promote your politics.

        “Taxpayers have no obligation to support a Zionist charter school or a KKK charter school”

        If a charter school complies with the First Amendment and has its educational plan approved by the Charter School board, it has a right to the taxpayer funds earmarked for that purpose. You have equal opportunity to present your plan to the same board for any school you want, including a school with the Hamas Charter as its foundational document. And if you’re not approved, sue. I look forward to it.

        “We don’t fund or encourage the teaching of Chinese religious myths or sing anthems about the glorious peoples revolution in China.”

        This is the website for the Yu Ying Charter in Washington DC. Among its activities:

        Being invited to meet Hu Jin Tao, the leader of a totalitarian dictatorship, at the White House.

        link to washingtonyuying.org

        Do you think the students are taught about the imprisonment of juveniles, the execution of a few thousand people a year, China’s Tibet policy, its North Korea policy, and China’s other ills?

        This NY Times article talks about how the Chinese government sends teachers to the US to teach Chinese at schools throughout the US.

        link to nytimes.com

        Can you assure me that these students are never taught songs about Chinese culture?

        “Your series of straw man arguments are pointless diversions.”

        Please. I know you well enough to know that you damn well understand the 1st and 14th Amendments and you know what you’re saying is a load of crap. You’re simply distorting the issue for the benefit of a friendly political audience whom you know doesn’t question what you write.

        I can appreciate that your political views are different than mine. I cannot respect your clearly deliberate distortion of basic constitutional law.

      • Hostage
        September 13, 2011, 7:14 pm

        You’re conflating a charter school that teaches aspects of Jewish culture with a yeshiva that emphasizes Jewish religious education.

        No I’m saying that a Forward article said that the major contributor was disenchanted with the cost of supporting Jewish day schools and thought that this charter school would be a cheaper alternative to get taxpayers to pick-up the tab for the Jewish identity movement. The school administrator was evasive when questioned on that point. The members of the Jewish community in New York have used this same modus operandi in the past and you have not established for a fact that these kipot-wearing Zionist hymn and anthem-signing folks aren’t just taking a page from their brethren’s playbook.

        First of all, the school is not made up exclusively of Hebrew speaking grade schoolers.

        I understood the articles to say that this school utilizes partial Hebrew immersion techniques on all of the attendees. You’re the one who claimed that this school “saved” black kids from receiving a poor education elsewhere in the system without explaining why those same kids can’t get “saved” in their regular neighborhood English-only schools. The Arab school will gradually stop serving middle school students in grades 6-8 altogether, and will instead serve high school students in grades 9-12. So, on its face there are apparent inequalities that don’t appear to be addressed.

        You also keep trying to reframe the discussion in a way that avoids the obvious Constitutional questions regarding politics and nationalism. Even if HaTikvah isn’t a religious song, it can still be unconstitutional for a state official to require a Palestinian or Muslim student to sing it in order to be graded on Hebrew proficiency or musical ability. The Supreme Court applied the 1st and 14th Amendments in West Virginia v. Barnette to both coerced words and acts (e.g. singing) of any political, national, or religious character:

        If there is any fixed star in our Constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

        Please. I know you well enough to know that you damn well understand the 1st and 14th Amendments and you know what you’re saying is a load of crap.

        No I think you’re deliberately demonstrating your (feigned) ignorance.

      • hophmi
        September 14, 2011, 10:48 am

        “No I’m saying that a Forward article said that the major contributor was disenchanted with the cost of supporting Jewish day schools and thought that this charter school would be a cheaper alternative to get taxpayers to pick-up the tab for the Jewish identity movement. ”

        A straw man. Whatever Steinhardt’s motives for funding the school, it has no bearing on the constitutional question. It’s not about what Steinhardt’s motives are. It’s about what the school actually does. The school emphasizes Hebrew language and includes aspects of Jewish CULTURE. It does not include religious education. Students do not pray in school. They are not celebrating the holidays. It is, again, no different than any other language immersion school that includes in its curriculum education on the culture of the country or countries that speak the language.

        “The members of the Jewish community in New York have used this same modus operandi in the past”

        Are you referring to your twenty-year old report on the yeshiva movement? I’m not aware of previous attempts to start Hebrew language charter schools in NY.

        “and you have not established for a fact that these kipot-wearing Zionist hymn and anthem-signing folks aren’t just taking a page from their brethren’s playbook.”

        I’ve established it beyond any doubt. You’re simply conflating two very disparate elements, one an ultra-orthodox community whose yeshivot got government funding to serve immigrant populations, and one a basically secular community that applied for a charter before a state board, got approved, and started a school that is universally hailed for offering an excellent secular education to its student population, which is drawn from all races and religions.

        Your argument boils down to this: a few ultra-orthodox yeshivot abused the Pell Grant system in 1993. Therefore, it’s fair to assume that all Jews who receive government funding of any kind for a school abuse the system. That’s a load of antisemitic nonsense. It’s like saying that since one Catholic priest abused an alter boy, they must all do it. Or because a few Muslims are terrorists, they must all be terrorists.

        “I understood the articles to say that this school utilizes partial Hebrew immersion techniques on all of the attendees. ”

        That’s true. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s no different from any other language immersion program.

        “You’re the one who claimed that this school “saved” black kids from receiving a poor education elsewhere in the system without explaining why those same kids can’t get “saved” in their regular neighborhood English-only schools. ”

        Huh? Actually, I think DBG used the word “saved.” I don’t know where you’re from, but many of the inner-city public schools in NY are not great. That one reason there’s been an expansion in the number of charter schools in New York City. Students always have the option of attending their local elementary schools. They also have the option of applying for the lottery for charter schools like HLA (or Hellenic Community, or Yu Ying, or KIPP). No one is forcing anyone to attend HLA, or any other Charter. If you want to have a discussion about the merits of using government funds for charter schools as opposed to pumping the money in conventional public schools, that’s fine, but it has no bearing on the Constitutional questions.

        “The Arab school will gradually stop serving middle school students in grades 6-8 altogether, and will instead serve high school students in grades 9-12. So, on its face there are apparent inequalities that don’t appear to be addressed.”

        Such as? There’s no Hebrew language charter middle school or high school in NYC as far as I know. And again, I see no problem getting an Arab-language charter elementary re-founded; it only takes the same thing any other Charter school does – money, energy, and a good plan. But a charter has to be successful to stay in business. That’s how charters work. They have to be renewed every few years (I think every three in NY).

        KGIA was not successful. And yes, the DOE did not do a great job supporting it. Its problems, however, are far from unique; it is common for charters to have trouble finding space and have trouble getting off the ground. The DOE is a dysfunctional bureaucracy.

        HLA also did not get the space it wanted; the original plan was to put the school in Marine Park; it also faced a public outcry. Yes, KGIA faced a public outcry that was unusually fierce and nasty. But in the end, it did get founded. It just was not successful. So it was closed. And there was little outcry when it did close, because most people understood that it was not working very well. But as I said, I see no reason why a committed group of people can’t take another shot. Blaming the city and turning your anger on the city’s successful Hebrew language charter is not going to get the job done.

        “You also keep trying to reframe the discussion in a way that avoids the obvious Constitutional questions regarding politics and nationalism.”

        Which obvious Constitutional questions are you talking about? There’s no First or Fourteenth amendment bar to government support of a school that teaches a politically controversial subject that has religious or nationalistic elements to it. You’re conflating the teaching of a subject with compelling students to adopt opinions on a subject.

        “Even if HaTikvah isn’t a religious song, it can still be unconstitutional for a state official to require a Palestinian or Muslim student to sing it in order to be graded on Hebrew proficiency or musical ability. ”

        Except that no one is being coerced here. You’re simply suggesting that they are. But there’s no reason to believe that the first graders are either being forced to sing Hatikvah or are being graded on it.

        West Virginia v. Barnett is a 1943 Supreme Court case in which the Court held that Jehovah’s Witnesses could not be compelled to salute the flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance. The key word here is “compelled.” Jehovah’s Witnesses faced expulsion for failing to salute or say the Pledge. We all agree that students cannot be compelled to sing Hatikvah, just as they cannot be compelled to sing Jingle Bells, say the Pledge, or sing G-d bless America. You and others here have suggested that Government should not support any institution that teaches any song with a religious element to it. If that argument were applied to the Barnett case, it would mean that having the Pledge in school at all would be unconstitutional. That’s a misreading of Barnett.

      • Hostage
        September 14, 2011, 7:23 pm

        Hophmi,

        I quoted the relevant Supreme Court precedent and pointed out that it would prohibit a music teacher from forcing a Palestinian or Muslim child to agree to engage in any political, national, or religious act just because his or her parents had enrolled the child in a Hebrew language school. There are plenty of Hebrew songs that aren’t about Zionism and you know that.

        Once again you are beating the dead horses of Zionism, and dissimulating throughout the whole thread. Any reader can see that you are peppering the page with ad hominems and bullshit pilpul and that you are avoiding the issue that teachers are engaging in subtle political and nationalistic indoctrination in your favorite “ism”. The Supreme Court prohibited that too, and I think you know that. Even if you don’t want to admit it, the details have been spelled-out for the readers. Similarly, they will understand that both Jewish groups are trying to outsource the funding of their parochial movements. Nothing prevents you from doing that on your own dime.

      • hophmi
        September 14, 2011, 8:44 pm

        “I quoted the relevant Supreme Court precedent and pointed out that it would prohibit a music teacher from forcing a Palestinian or Muslim child to agree to engage in any political, national, or religious act just because his or her parents had enrolled the child in a Hebrew language school. There are plenty of Hebrew songs that aren’t about Zionism and you know that.”

        As both of us acknowledge, the decision you cited is about COERCIVENESS. It stands for the proposition that students cannot be forced to act against their conscience. It does NOT stand for CONTENT. It is not a bar to teaching cultural subject matter. The availability of non-Israeli and non-Zionist songs does not obligate HLA to teach them instead of Hatikva.

        The hypothetical Palestinian or Muslim child cannot be coerced to sing a song against conscience in ANY public school setting, not just HLA.

        Your post is otherwise completely unresponsive to my argument. Your interpretation would mean that teaching the Pledge, and indeed, any song with some connection to religion, regardless of the cultural value (ie Jingle Bells) is barred by the Constitution.

        “Once again you are beating the dead horses of Zionism, and dissimulating throughout the whole thread.”

        You keep repeating this line. I haven’t mentioned Zionism in several posts, and it has nothing to do with any of this.

        “Any reader can see that you are peppering the page with ad hominems and bullshit pilpul ”

        Cut the crap. Your arguments are full of ad hominem, and they’re mostly unresponsive.

        “you are avoiding the issue that teachers are engaging in subtle political and nationalistic indoctrination in your favorite “ism””

        None of that, even if true, is unconstitutional. Again, if it were, teaching American history would also be unconstitutional.

        “The Supreme Court prohibited that too, and I think you know that.”

        Name the decision. I think you know that that’s not what it says. It prohibits coercing students to learn something, not teaching a particular subject from a particular point of view.

        ” Even if you don’t want to admit it, the details have been spelled-out for the readers.”

        In no sense have you spelled it out.

        “Similarly, they will understand that both Jewish groups are trying to outsource the funding of their parochial movements.”

        Only if they buy your willful distortion of the issue. The reality is that religious organizations get government funding directly and indirectly all the time for non-religious activities. An example is Headstart. Another is Pell Grants. Another is vouchers. Another are the grants from the Department of Homeland Security for safety purposes.

        HLA is example of a charter school which teaches Hebrew language and some Jewish culture. There is NO RELIGIOUS EDUCATION. No Bible studies. No praying. No Talmud. No religious education.

        Either you don’t understand the First Amendment, or you do, and you know a lot of people here (like Kathleen) don’t.

        Try responding to any argument I’ve made, principally that your argument would ban the Pledge of Allegiance.

      • Hostage
        September 15, 2011, 12:02 am

        the decision you cited is about COERCIVENESS. It stands for the proposition that students cannot be forced to act against their conscience. It does NOT stand for CONTENT.

        Actually its stands for both coerciveness and content. A teacher can require a student to recite or sing material for a grade, but not if the content deals with political opinions, nationalism, or a religious subject. The students in the case had received lower marks for citizenship.

        You still haven’t responded to the basic question of whether or not you believe a child could be coerced into singing the content of HaTikvah while standing like a soldier in order to get a better grade in a music class. If they can’t, then nothing prevents this material from being the subject of a constitutional challenge, after the fact, by a parent or child on the grounds of the 1st and 14th amendment. BTW that’s exactly what happened in the case I cited.

      • hophmi
        September 15, 2011, 9:22 am

        “You still haven’t responded to the basic question of whether or not you believe a child could be coerced into singing the content of HaTikvah while standing like a soldier in order to get a better grade in a music class. ”

        I have, a number of times. I said that he cannot be coerced. That’s obvious enough. But that does not mean that teaching him the song in the first place in unconstitutional. If it were a matter of conscience, the child could opt out.

        “A teacher can require a student to recite or sing material for a grade, but not if the content deals with political opinions, nationalism, or a religious subject. The students in the case had received lower marks for citizenship.”

        Again, that’s true. But the meaning of “require” is in question here. There is no doubt in my mind that students at HLA can opt out of things like singing Hatikva. I have no doubt that everything the school does and puts in the curriculum is vetted to ensure that it’s legal.

        This is West Virginia v. Barnette, link to scholar.google.com,

        It is pretty clear that the Court’s concern is with coerciveness, not content. The Court is not concerned with the content of the Pledge. They’re concerned that students are being required to recite it and even more, required to declare a belief by saluting the flag, and even more, to do this on pain of expulsion and fines.

        As Justice Jackson wrote: “They are not merely made acquainted with the flag salute so that they may be informed as to what it is or even what it means.” So it’s not about the teaching of content. One can teach the Pledge. One can teach Hatikva. One can teach Zionism. One can teach Calvinism. One can teach Jingle Bells. None of this offends the Court’s ruling in Barnette. It is when students are coerced into declaring an allegiance – support Israel or we’ll throw you out of school, sing Hatikvah or you’ll get a bad grade, say you love Jesus or you won’t get on the football team, say the Pledge or you’ll be expelled – that the Constitution is violated.

        There’s simply no showing of compulsion here. And it’s clear from the Court’s opinion that merely teaching a subject is not the same thing as compulsion. Teaching Hatikva is not the same as compelling students to sing it. Putting up an Israeli flag in a classroom is not the same thing as requiring students to salute it.

    • Kathleen
      September 8, 2011, 12:26 pm

      I think independent charter schools are a great thing. As long as they follow the basic fundamentals of learning that all kids need as well as the other topics that they decide to focus on. But if within that charter school they are teaching an allegiance to another country, or have particular religious or cultural studies that they have decided to focus on NO PUBLIC TAX DOLLARS.

      But what I think is far more important here are if it is a fact that some of the very same people that started this Hebrew charter school are part of the pack that did everything possible to shut down the Arabic charter school? Did they use Zionist funded newspapers, media outlets, influence to shut down the Kahlil Gibran Academy? If that is the case that is not only abusive, immoral, racist. Sounds criminal.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 12:27 pm

        are a great thing….

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 3:05 pm

        “But what I think is far more important here are if it is a fact that some of the very same people that started this Hebrew charter school are part of the pack that did everything possible to shut down the Arabic charter school? ”

        This is sixth time in this thread you’ve asked the same exact question. It’s about the third you’ve accused people of being “criminal.” I’ve said multiple times now that the group involved in starting HLA is not the group that was involved in anti-KGIA. You’ve shown nothing to support your argument. Put up or shut up, and stop throwing around the accusations. You’re clearly repeating the same thing over and over again in an attempt to suggest that it’s true even though you’ve provided no facts to support it. PUT UP OR SHUT UP. And stop the Judeophobia.

      • James North
        September 8, 2011, 3:25 pm

        hophmi: Just by chance, I was surprised and delighted to find a spirited and eloquent defense of the Ground Zero mosque on a different website from a year ago, and you were the author — unless there is more than one “hophmi.” One suggestion: You can say what you want here, subject like everyone else to the Mondoweiss comment policy, but if you showed that other side of yourself here once in awhile I think what you have to say would be taken more seriously.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 3:40 pm

        I’m sure it was me, but what was the website? I argued this out on Israpundit once. I’ve also had things in print, but I’ve not posted them to protect my anonymity here.

  32. POA
    September 7, 2011, 11:29 pm

    Annie, I am not interested in your opinion, or ANY discourse with you. You showed me your mettle when you insulted me, then saw to it that none of my rebuttals were allowed.

    Go impress someone else with your obviously overly elevated opinion of yourself.

    • CTuttle
      September 8, 2011, 12:13 am

      Go impress someone else with your obviously overly elevated opinion of yourself.

      Will you take your own advice, POA…?

    • Kathleen
      September 8, 2011, 12:33 pm

      POA both you and Annie are very intelligent individuals. Way different styles and that is great. I enjoy both. I also have come to trust both of your sources, links, information. I respect but do not always agree with both of your opinions, concerns and conclusions. But so what..that is actually a delight. Thoughtful, respectful challenges. Even though I have a tendency to curse (rats ass, horse shit etc my blue collar up bringing) I do respect and appreciate others well thought out honest opinions and views.

      Both you and Annie are great. Hope you get around, through, over this. We need both of you on these critical issues.

      Keep pushing and “stay human”…and add some humor.

      Really do appreciate both of you and your different, passionate styles

  33. POA
    September 7, 2011, 11:48 pm

    LOL!!!!

  34. POA
    September 7, 2011, 11:50 pm

    So, you didn’t allow the post, then you did.

    Amazing.

    As if I didn’t already know what I was dealing with.

  35. annie
    September 8, 2011, 12:14 am

    poa, i’ve heard your accusations towards me lately about your posts being deleted. maybe you should write phil or adam. there maybe some mods out there who don’t appreciate your style on occasion but it has not been me deleting them.

    good luck. if i were you i might consider looking within and not trying to find a scapegoat for why all these alleged posts of yours don’t get thru. it could very well be they are just offensive.

    aside from all your angry posts towards me i thought i would respond to this one above about the school because no one else seemed interested in your link earlier.

    unfortunately you can’t control who responds to you and if you say something i feel like responding to i will. bummerella for you.

    cheerio.

    ps, i’m a firm believer of letting people hang themselves so..go for it. whatever you have to dish out i think i can handle. can you?

    • Walid
      September 8, 2011, 7:44 am

      I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere that only Israel’s national anthem was sung and not in addition to the Star Spangled Banner. If only the Israeli one is sung, Americans have reason to be very upset, otherwise we are making an issue out of nothing.

      • Chaos4700
        September 8, 2011, 9:15 am

        I think it matters if the Israeli national anthem is sung more often than the US anthem, actually.

  36. Mooser
    September 8, 2011, 11:02 am

    Wait a minute. There really are moderators? Nah, I still don’t believe it. Not one post of mine has ever, ever been disallowed. You call those moderators?

    • Kathleen
      September 8, 2011, 12:36 pm

      I know folks over at Race for Iran who have stated that they are not allowed on over here. I have let them know that I was willing to directly question Phil, Adam etc in their behalf. The turned me down, which makes me question their claims. Anyway I am sure there are plenty of statements that these guys have to moderate…abusive language etc. But one of the more open forums on these issues that I have found.

      Hooray for Mondoweiss. Thanks so much Mondo team

    • POA
      September 8, 2011, 12:46 pm

      I responded, but, as usual, the moderator seeks to cast themself in an underserved light by disallowing my response.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 1:15 pm

        Take your comment over to another site and post it. Talk about the censorship if you need to. If it is truly a reprehensible comment others will see it

      • POA
        September 8, 2011, 1:56 pm

        ROFLMAO!!!

        “Reprehensible”???? Kathleen you are assuming in the wrong direction. The monitor censors perfectly civil comments, that have no “reprehensible” context. I also see many of my comments languish in “moderation” long after other comments, clocked in later, have been allowed to appear, moving the appearance of my comment into the wee hours of the morning, or burying it in the middle of previously read comments.

        This is called “spite” not “moderation”. Undoubtedly, you won’t see this comment either.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 2:31 pm

        Annie again. Take your comments that never appeared and post them over at Race for Iran, or Firedoglake or somewhere else ask others to read them. Although I would think it would take someone who is a qualified expert to determine what is anti Jewish, anti semitic, anti goyim etc etc. Or it is up to the blog owner. I took the comments of mine that FDL questioned or took issue with (Jane Hamsher, Rayne) and took them to other sites and let others discuss it. If the owners of the blog are biased or unable to confront or allow certain issues to be discussed it generally gets exposed.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 2:34 pm

        oops I meant POA. Seriously POA if we can not work out our differences here how in the hell can we expect the big shots to work through theirs. If you really feel that you are being treated unfairly and there is real bias and unfair censorship allow others to see what was held up. Then your point will be proven.

        I repeat you and Annie are both incredibly intelligent and your opinions, research, info links are so valuable.

  37. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 1:14 pm

    Interesting article. The Americans tax money is going to have to be taken out of this. This sounds unconstitutional as can be

    link to forward.com

    Mega-Donor Throws Clout Behind Hebrew Charter School
    Steinhardt Backs Proposal for Publicly Funded School in N.Y.

    Read more: link to forward.com

    “The Steinhardt group is not the only school attempting to follow in the footsteps of the Ben Gamla school. Last April, the Bergen Record reported that a group of parents had submitted an application to the New Jersey Department of Education to open a Hebrew language and culture charter school in the city of Englewood. Peter Deutsch, a former congressman who founded the Ben Gamla school, said he had spoken with other groups from across the country that were interested in starting a Hebrew charter school, but he knew of no other groups submitting applications.

    Deutsch has spoken extensively with the Steinhardt group, and he says that its application push will bring a new level of resources and expertise to Hebrew charter schools that could benefit the entire movement.

    “If we’re the jalopy held together by rubber bands, they’re [Google founder] Sergey Brin’s 747,” Deutsch told the Forward. “They’re spending time and effort on curriculum development that we could never afford.”

    The legal requirement that public schools steer clear of religion has required charter school backers to walk a delicate line in talking up their merits in promoting Jewish identity. When the Ben Gamla school first opened in August of last year, it made national headlines because of concerns about the separation between church and state in the school’s curriculum. The School Board of Broward County delayed the Ben Gamla school from implementing its Hebrew-language curriculum for several weeks, but ultimately allowed the school to proceed.

    New York City already contains a number of language- and culture-themed schools, including, most controversially, the Khalil Gibran International Academy, a specialty school (which is not a charter school) that deals with Arabic language and culture. After plans were announced last year for the Gibran Academy, activists who argued that the school would promote an Islamic agenda assailed the school and its principal, Debbie Almontaser. Last fall, Almontaser was forced to step down, and she and her critics have since engaged in a series of legal skirmishes, but the school is open and is wrapping up its first academic year.

    Berman, a former news and features editor at the Forward, writes a regular column on parenting for the New York Sun, a New York daily newspaper in which Steinhardt is an investor. The Sun was one of the leading opponents of the Gibran school.

    Ben Gamla and Gibran have been given a mixed reception by the Jewish community, which has traditionally supported a strong division between church and state. Marc Stern, a church-state expert at the American Jewish Congress, said that teaching Hebrew language and culture in public school is no more constitutionally problematic than teaching any other language or culture. But he and others have suggested that the general proliferation of language and culture schools threatens to balkanize American society along ethnic lines.

    “One of the central purposes of public education in America is to bring kids from different backgrounds together to teach them what they have in common, to be tolerant citizens in a democracy,” said Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Century Foundation, speaking prior to announcement. “I’d have some concerns about any charter school or public school which is aimed at a particular racial group, ethnic group, language group.”

    Berman steered clear of any suggestion that the school would promote Jewish identity, saying that the school’s purpose was to provide a high-quality, dual-language education for students of all backgrounds.

    Read more: link to forward.com

    • Kathleen
      September 8, 2011, 1:23 pm

      “Berman steered clear of any suggestion that the school would promote Jewish identity, saying that the school’s purpose was to provide a high-quality, dual-language education for students of all backgrounds.”

      How can you teach Hebrew without promoting Jewish identity? How often is a kid going to need Hebrew in their life unless they live in Israel?

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:13 pm

        “How can you teach Hebrew without promoting Jewish identity? How often is a kid going to need Hebrew in their life unless they live in Israel?”

        You’ve made exactly the argument the Islamophobes made against KGIA. You’re pretty much a Judeophobe, Kathleen.

      • Cliff
        September 8, 2011, 7:18 pm

        No she isn’t.

        The kids are singing the Israeli national anthem. They are grooming little kids for Zionism in the US.

        It’s not about ‘teaching Hebrew’ AT ALL.

  38. POA
    September 8, 2011, 1:17 pm

    I was banned here for a week or two for alleged “anti-semitism”. Personally, I find that ironic, because this thread has some anti-semitic undertones that cannot be ignored.

    What, EXACTLY, is the issue with this school, OTHER than funding? It seems many of you are ignoring the funding issue while attacking the curriculum.

    There is no way I advocate for this school to recieve public funds. But remove the public funding, and the curriculum is NONE OF MY BUSINESS. Nor, is it any of YOUR business.

    • Kathleen
      September 8, 2011, 1:41 pm

      “the curriculum is none of my business” I basically agree. But do know there must be some government officials who would have to determine whether you are teaching the students to be good citizens of this country or promoting allegiance to another before the US.

      Take the taxpayers money out of it.

      But also have a real problem if the same individuals who funded this school had anything to do with closing the Arabic charter school. If that is the case some serious racism and abuse going on

      • POA
        September 8, 2011, 2:21 pm

        “But also have a real problem if the same individuals who funded this school had anything to do with closing the Arabic charter school. If that is the case some serious racism and abuse going on”

        OF COURSE there is “serious racism and abuse going on”. Thats why this school enjoys public funding and flourishes, while the Arabic School was dead on arrival.

        But NEITHER school deserves public funding. Or, if one does, the other does, (we both KNOW neither do).

        So really, thats the issue, isn’t it? Its not that this school tells its students to “act like soldiers”, which is one of Phil’s absurd conclusions, or that the founders of this school have acted hypocritically. We KNOW they have, and will, act hypocritically in matters such as this. The whole zionist thing is DROWNING in hypocricy.

        But, still, the only rightful issue here is funding, and surely we must agree that neither school was, or is, deserving of public funds. And Kathleen, in the interest of honest debate, wouldn’t you bet that the Arabic leaning school would have had a curriculum immersed in religious doctrine, AT LEAST to the degree this “hebrew language” school does??? It pains me to admit that I believe it would have undoubtedly been even more non secular than Mrs. Berman’s school is.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 2:37 pm

        “But, still, the only rightful issue here is funding, and surely we must agree that neither school was, or is, deserving of public funds. And Kathleen, in the interest of honest debate, wouldn’t you bet that the Arabic leaning school would have had a curriculum immersed in religious doctrine, AT LEAST to the degree this “hebrew language” school does??? It pains me to admit that I believe it would have undoubtedly been even more non secular than Mrs. Berman’s school is.”

        More than likely. And the question is is the same criteria, standards etc being applied to both schools. And are some of the same individuals involved in knocking out the Arabic school funding and involved in this expansion of Hebrew Charter Schools effort. They have big plans. Go check out some of those articles I linked above.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 2:38 pm

        below

    • Hostage
      September 8, 2011, 8:04 pm

      What, EXACTLY, is the issue with this school, OTHER than funding?

      FYI, the United States of America and the ancient Kingdom of Israel were both founded as a direct result of tax rebellions.

      The article that Kathleen provided said that “the school’s curriculum would incorporate Hebrew-language instruction, as well as classes that cover Jewish culture and history and modern Israeli society.”

      The article said that the major donor, Steinhardt, is a backer of the Birthright Israel program, but had previously soured on funding private Jewish day schools because they are too expensive and have been unable to attract most Jews. He praised Hebrew charter schools as a way to strengthen Jewish identity without the private and communal expense of day schools. So the objection would be to the overt act of privileging Jews at the expen$e of other groups. Steinhardt is obtaining savings on the backs of taxpayers that don’t share his enthusiasm for Jewish identity politics.

      Read more: link to forward.com

  39. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 1:21 pm

    If this template is working for Hebrew charter schools. Why would Arabic charter schools not follow the same strategy. That is sure what I would try to do. American taxpayers money being used for religious and cultural schools.
    Sure sounds unconstitutional.

    Sounds like Berman ran with the Arabic schools idea. But interested parties knocked out the Arabic school first

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 3:19 pm

      “Sure sounds unconstitutional. ”

      But it isn’t. Oh so sad for you. Teaching culture is not a violation of the First Amendment. Neither is teaching a language, regardless of whatever messed up ideas you have about how you can’t teach Hebrew without prosthelysizing Judaism as a religion.

      “Sounds like Berman ran with the Arabic schools idea. But interested parties knocked out the Arabic school first”

      You know nothing. Starting a Hebrew Language Charter School was on the table for many years in the Jewish community as one response to the high cost of Jewish day school. It was not a copy of the Arabic language school, which I will say once again, was something most of the Jewish community had no problem with and even worked on behind the scenes.

      You’ve also not said anything to overcome the cold hard fact that KGIA failed for the same reason many charters fail – poor academic performance, safety, and administration.

      • POA
        September 8, 2011, 4:47 pm

        “You’ve also not said anything to overcome the cold hard fact that KGIA failed for the same reason many charters fail – poor academic performance, safety, and administration”

        Whats to be said? The DOE was completely unsupportive, going so far as to appoint uninspired leadership to key school positions. The ability of this school to achieve anything approaching good academic performance was utterly undermined by the actions of the DOE.

        And what’s this “safety” strawman you throw up? Care to elaborate?

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 4:57 pm

        “The DOE was completely unsupportive, going so far as to appoint uninspired leadership to key school positions. The ability of this school to achieve anything approaching good academic performance was utterly undermined by the actions of the DOE.”

        I hate to break it to you, but there are a lot of uninspired DOE leaders in the city. And I’m not sure that’s supported by the facts. All were experienced administrative professionals, which is a lot more than some other schools get.

        “And what’s this “safety” strawman you throw up? Care to elaborate?”

        As I said above and as the articles I linked say, the school had one of the highest suspension rates in the city. That’s the safety issue I’m talking about. You could call it discipline as well.

      • Walid
        September 8, 2011, 6:53 pm

        The Arabic school had less than a hundred students after 3 years; that’s not much of a school and I doubt the Jews had anything to do with its closing. The KGIA was sharing an already overcrowded building with another elementary school and a high school. It had a poor performance record and could not attract new students. The parents of the elementary school kids that was there before the KGIA moved in were already upset with having to share the building with a high school and nobody had consulted them about the KGIA move-in. In general Arabs tend to send their kids to private school even if they have to borrow to do it so from the start, the KGIA didn’t have much of a chance. I still can’t grasp what all this brouhaha about the Hebrew and Arabic schools is about here. As to the tax dollars being spent on a few of these charter schools, 40% of NYC’s student population is of foreign roots and talk of having tax dollars being cut from charter schools borders on racism. The kids attending them would have probably attended public schools if there weren’t any charter schools so the tax dollars would have been spent on them there anyway.

  40. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 1:35 pm

    Articles about this issue
    link to ejewishphilanthropy.com

    Ok Berman says the school is not going to be teaching Jewish identity but the boys are wearing kipas. No Jewish identity there. Take the taxpayers money out of this. What percentage of the school is supported by American taxpayers?

    Success and Scrutiny at Hebrew Charter School
    link to nytimes.com

    Proposal for Hebrew Charter School Advances
    link to nytimes.com
    /13hebrew.html?ref=michaelhsteinhardt

    link to sheepsheadbites.com
    Hebrew Charter School Coming to Sheepshead Bay

    by Ned Berke on Jun 3rd, 2008

    Tomorrow the New York City Department of Education and the New York State Board of Regents will receive an application for the establishment of the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School. If approved, the school could open in Fall 2009. Philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, who also helped found the Birthright Israel program and the NY Sun newspaper (which fervently opposed a similar dual-culture Arabic school last year), is the prime backer of the application. The school, to be in Sheepshead Bay and a part of District 22, will offer secular instruction of the Hebrew language and modern Jewish and Israeli culture. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

    Hebrew-Language Charter Schools Overcome Stigma and Plan To Proliferate
    A Center Whose Goal Is To Seed and Support Such Schools Has Plans To Open 20 In Next Five Years

    Read more: link to forward.com

    If these Hebrew schools have found a way to use American taxpayers money Arabic schools should follow the path. Let the games begin…or take the American taxpayers money out of it

    • American
      September 8, 2011, 2:48 pm

      “or take the American taxpayers money out of it”

      Absolutley.
      I can’t even count all the tax money that is funding special interest orgs and agencies of US zionist for their work in propaganizing the public or setting up special privilages for Jews only.
      They have been pointed out here extensively in front page articles.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 3:08 pm

        Just amazing how they are able to access American tax payers money for a school that clearly gives strong indicators of being a religious school.

        And their plans are to expand big time. Open up these schools across the country. If that is the case and they get away with it. Hope the folks who were trying to open that Arabic school follow suit.

        Don’t think Catholic schools get any taxpayers money. And they should not

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:12 pm

        “Don’t think Catholic schools get any taxpayers money. And they should not”

        Neither do Jewish day schools. As has been explained to you multiple times, schools which actually teach religion and have prayer are not funded by the government. The Hebrew language charter school does neither of these things, and KGIA did neither of these things. That is why they comply with the First Amendment and were able to get funding.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 3:09 pm

        And donations to Israel and charitable organizations giving money to Israel…tax exempt. Hogwash

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 5:01 pm

      “Ok Berman says the school is not going to be teaching Jewish identity but the boys are wearing kipas. No Jewish identity there.”

      Yes, some of boys are observant Jews. It is not against the First Amendment (it is actually a celebration of the First Amendment) to wear a yarmulke to school. If you don’t like that, move to France, where head coverings are banned.

      “Take the taxpayers money out of this. What percentage of the school is supported by American taxpayers?”

      It’s a charter school, Kathleen. A charter school is a public school that is run privately and is exempt from certain DOE rules. There’s no reason to discriminate against the founders of the Hebrew Language Charter School by denying them funding. Charters have to be renewed every few years. You’re welcome to offer public comment on why this successful school should not have its charter renewed.

      “If these Hebrew schools have found a way to use American taxpayers money Arabic schools should follow the path. Let the games begin…or take the American taxpayers money out of it”

      They have, as I pointed out by citing examples of Arabic language charters in Ohio and Georgia. Are you stupid or something? You seem not to read anything but your own hot air.

  41. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Clearly there are strong indicators that the Hebrew school is a religious school. Why are the little boys wearing kippas?

    Should government money support religious schools?
    link to annenbergclassroom.org
    “But if you attend a private religious school, not so much. Religious education institutions – Catholic schools, for instance – get their money from the tuition your parents pay every year. Taxpayer money is generally not allowed to go to religious schools…but sometimes, it makes it to them through roundabout ways.”

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 5:09 pm

      “Clearly there are strong indicators that the Hebrew school is a religious school. Why are the little boys wearing kippas?”

      Because they’re observant Jews. What are you having trouble understanding about this? Muslim kids wear their headscarves to public school all the time. Does that mean their schools are religious?

      “Should government money support religious schools?”

      No, of course not. Neither KGIA nor the Hebrew Language charter are religious. They do not have religious classes and they do not pray in school. You’re simply stating falsehoods here.

  42. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 3:05 pm

    Just looked through the Stop the Madrassa website…Whoa. Lots of racist assumptions, lots of hatred. The demands that they called for should be applied to the Hebrew school if they were applied to the Arabic school
    link to stopthemadrassa.wordpress.com

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 5:09 pm

      “The demands that they called for should be applied to the Hebrew school if they were applied to the Arabic school”

      They weren’t. The Arabic school got founded, remember?

  43. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Just wondering if any of the top seven contributors promoting Islamophobia in our country are contributing to the Hebrew Charter School. Or anyone else who has been fueling Islamophobia in this country:

    #Donors Capitol Fun
    # Richard Mellon Scaife Foundations
    #Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
    #Russell Berrie Foundation
    #Anchorage Charitable Fund
    #William Rosenwald Family Fund
    #Fairbrook Foundation

    Phil can you access the Hebrew Charter Schools other funding sources? I think this has to be accessible to the public since they are receiving taxpayers funding

  44. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 3:31 pm

    Sara Berman, 35

    Hebrew charter school pioneer

    link to thejewishweek.com
    “Berman is president of Brooklyn’s Hebrew Language Academy Charter School, which opened last August with 150 students. The tuition-free school devotes more than an hour each day to Hebrew, and the students — approximately 40 percent of whom are African American — have a unique social studies curriculum that focuses on Jewish communities around the world. Berman also chairs the newly created Hebrew Charter School Center, which, through seed money and technical assistance, seeks to establish 20 Hebrew charter schools by 2015. (The bulk of the funds for the project comes from Areivim, a philanthropic partnership that Steinhardt co-founded.)”

    TAKE THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS MONEY OUT OF THIS SCHOOL NOW!

    They have plans to try to open these schools nationwide. Do it without American taxpayers money

    Can you imagine if this same things was happening in an Arabic Charter school? Oh yeah the Islamophobes closed down the Arabic charter school. This is the height of hypocrisy.

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 3:49 pm

      “Can you imagine if this same things was happening in an Arabic Charter school? Oh yeah the Islamophobes closed down the Arabic charter school. This is the height of hypocrisy.”

      You mean like this one in Georgia?
      link to amanaacademy.org

      Or this one, in Ohio?

      link to ohiobridgeacademy.net

      I guess you’re into big lie theory. Again, it was poor performance that ended KGIA, not Islamophobia. You have not shown otherwise.

      • hophmi
        September 8, 2011, 5:10 pm

        I’m waiting for your response Kathleen. You’re repeating the same things over and over and over and over again and have made no effort to respond to any counterargument.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 8:27 pm

        We do not know that yet. Bet if Phil gets all of the funding information for the school would put money on that there would be over lapping with those who went after the Arabic charter school. That information should be accessible by the public since they are getting American taxpayers money

        Wonder if there is over lap with any of these foundations mentioned in the Center for American Progress “Fear Inc”

        “• The foundations funding the misinformation experts: Donors Capital Fund; Richard Mellon Scaife Foundation; Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation; Newton and Rochelle Becker Foundation and Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust; Russell Berrie Foundation, Anchorage Charitable Fund and William Rosenwald Family Fund; Fairbrook Foundation.

        The misinformation experts • Five experts generate the false facts and materials used by political leaders, grassroots groups, and the media: • Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Policy • David Yerushalmi at the Society of Americans for National Existence • Daniel Pipes at the Middle East Forum • Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Stop Islamization of America • Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism ”

        Phil /All
        I knew I had seen that Arabic dual language school mentioned in the 130 page “Fear Inc” Report. On page 87 (or also comes up 47 out of 70) under “David Horowitz Freedom Center” Last paragraph on that page.

        link to americanprogress.org
        “For instance, they used Front Page Magazine to promote their overhyped Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition, which aimed to shut down a New York City public school simply because it taught Arabic language and culture. The school was the Khalill Gibran International Academy, named after the Lebanese Christian poet.”

        David Horowitz Freedom Center
        link to theamericanmuslim.org
        link to theamericanmuslim.org
        Horowitz has become of those professional Islamophobes whose name turns up so often that it is time to devote an article to him.

        David Horowitz is the Editor of Front Page magazine which is published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC). The center also publishes DiscoverTheNetworks.org He is the director of the annual (sort of) “Islamofascism Awareness Week“ IFAW. The Terrorism Awareness Project is a project of the Horowitz Freedom Center. Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch site is a project of the Horowitz Freedom Center. He is a prolific builder of far right institutions and organizations. Sourcewatch lists his affiliations as, David Horowtiz Freedom Center (DHFC), Center for the Study of Popular Culture, FrontpageMag, Discover the Networks, Encounter Books, Individual Rights Foundation, Wednesday Morning Club, Matt Drudge Defense Fund, and Students for Academic Freedom. **

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 8:30 pm

        Link to that report on “Fear Inc” where the Arabic charter school is mentioned
        link to americanprogress.org

  45. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 3:35 pm

    poa“Reading that Mrs. Berman’s husband is South African,”
    link to thejewishweek.com
    “I didn’t realize my family had such means until I was a teenager,” she says, adding that she her and her husband, South Africa-born hedge fund manager David Berman (who she met while in high school), are determined to raise children “with good values” who do not “feel entitled.” “If there’s one quality I have no patience for, it’s arrogance,” she says.

    SOUTH AFRICAN BORN HEDGE FUND MANAGER

  46. POA
    September 8, 2011, 5:08 pm

    This is a must read if you are going to counter Hophni’s hasbarist garbage about the true motives behind the closure of the Khalil Gibran International Academy’s middle school…..

    link to gothamschools.org

    Excerpt…..

    The Slow Death of Khalil Gibran International Academy

    by Donna Nevel, at 12:19 pm

    The Department of Education recently announced that it plans to close the Khalil Gibran International Academy’s middle school, NYC’s first Arabic dual language program. There’s an important backstory.

    In August 2007, New York City’s then Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott called Debbie Almontaser, then the acting principal of KGIA, into his office to tell her that Mayor Michael Bloomberg had lost confidence in her and wanted her to resign from her post. But that wasn’t all. Walcott also told her that the mayor wanted the resignation immediately because he intended to announce it on his radio show the next day. She was told that if she did not resign, KGIA would be closed. Knowing how much the school meant to the Arab community and to so many others, Almontaser submitted her resignation.

    She brought suit soon after, charging that the city and the DOE had discriminated against her by bowing to anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry in demanding her resignation. In March 2010, the federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission upheld Almontaser’s charge of discrimination. It ruled that, in demanding her resignation, the DOE “succumbed to the very bias that the creation of the school was intended to dispel, and a small segment of the public succeeded in imposing its prejudices on the DOE as an employer.”

    CONTINUES………..

    Here is another link……………

    link to gothamschools.org

    • hophmi
      September 8, 2011, 5:27 pm

      Most of this article says nothing different from what I said.

      “The DOE claims that the reduced enrollment meant there wasn’t enough interest in the middle school, but after forcing out its visionary leader, moving the school away from the community it was designed to serve, and doing almost nothing in the past four years to insure the school would survive, how could the result have been any different?”

      Two responses. One: The Hebrew Language Charter was supposed to be in Marine Park. It had to be moved to Kings Highway. It’s a success. So clearly, it’s not always about location. As I’ve said several times here, this is little more than what-if. The reality is that many charters fail for the same reason KGIA did. Starting a school is like starting a small business. A lot of the time, you fail before you succeed. People should be happy that KGIA will continue as a high school and should work to ensure it remains a dual-language school.

      • POA
        September 8, 2011, 6:37 pm

        “Most of this article says nothing different from what I said”

        You gotta be kidding me. Uh, you seem to have omitted the lawsuit, and its findings.

        Look, Hophni, I’m willing to debate with you, but I’m no fool. Offer an honest argument, and I’ll respect that. But try to cram horseshit into the engagement, and I’ll catch it everytime, and make sure it’s underscored. Blatant hasbarist CRAP won’t fly.

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2011, 10:48 am

        “You gotta be kidding me. Uh, you seem to have omitted the lawsuit, and its findings.”

        I didn’t “omit” the lawsuit. I made clear that Almontaser was attacked and that I opposed it. She was vindicated. All I am saying is that this was not necessarily the main reason the school was shut down. It was primarily due to a bad report card and low enrollment. And again, I admitted that this could be due to the school’s change in location, but that’s far from the given. Charters often have problems finding space.

        If it were uncommon for charters to fail and for the DOE to be less than supportive of its schools, it would be one thing. But it is quite common, and not a problem limited to KGIA. The DOE is one of the most dysfunctional bureaucracies in the city on its best day.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2011, 8:33 pm

        After being attacked and attacked.

    • Kathleen
      September 8, 2011, 8:32 pm

      POA did you get this. about Bermans husband
      Berman“I didn’t realize my family had such means until I was a teenager,” she says, adding that she her and her husband, South Africa-born hedge fund manager David Berman (who she met while in high school), are determined to raise children “with good values” who do not “feel entitled.” “If there’s one quality I have no patience for, it’s arrogance,” she says.

      SOUTH AFRICAN BORN HEDGE FUND MANAGER

    • Kathleen
      September 8, 2011, 8:48 pm

      Thanks for that link

      The DOE helped destroy the school after being pressured by racist groups filled with hatred.

      “In a recent statement, Communities in Support of KGIA, a coalition of racial justice, immigrant rights, and peace groups and Muslim, Jewish, and Arab groups that formed after the DOE and mayor forced Almontaser to resign (and with which I have been intimately involved), outlined what happened and described the DOE’s four-year process of killing the school:

      The mayor and DOE forced the resignation of Debbie Almontaser after the New York Post, which asked her to define the word intifada, misreported and sensationalized her response. Right-wing groups that had been opposing the school added their own brand of anti-Arab racism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

      The DOE first replaced this long-time bilingual and bicultural educator with an interim acting principal who spoke no Arabic and had no local community roots. A deeply flawed search for permanent principal then took place in which the DOE would not consider Almontaser’s application for that position. The person selected as the school’s next leader had little knowledge of, or relationship with, NYC’s Arab communities and no experience leading a school. Increasingly, the school was in disarray.

      The DOE consistently refused to provide KGIA with the support necessary for it to succeed as it had been envisioned. For example, the school operated for at least several months without a special education teacher; space issues were never adequately addressed; and the school lacked the leadership it needed. Further, Arabic language instruction was significantly reduced so that a school that had begun with an exciting vision as a dual language school designed to educate its students about the Arabic language and Arab culture became just another middle school in which students studied a foreign language a few periods per week.

      Without any consultation with KGIA families, the DOE decided to move the school in September 2008 from its original site near neighborhoods with sizable Arab communities to a site in Fort Greene, with a small Arab population and where public transportation is sparse. Although parents of students then enrolled in KGIA objected to the move, the DOE ignored their views.”

  47. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 8:39 pm

    No indoctrination here (Choke)

    link to nytimes.com

    “Every so often, Aalim Moody, 5, and his twin sister, Aalima, break into a kind of secret code, chatting in a language their father does not understand.

    Walking along Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, they make out the lettering on kosher food shops and yeshiva buses, showing off all they learn at the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School in Midwood, where they both attend kindergarten.

    Ask Aalim his favorite song and he will happily belt out:

    “Eretz Yisrael sheli yaffa v’gam porachat!” — My land of Israel is beautiful and blossoming! — and then he continues in Hebrew:

    Who built it and who cultivated it?

    All of us together!

    I built a house in the land of Israel.

    So now I have a land and I have a house in the land of Israel!

    Aalim and Aalima are not Jewish. They worship at a mosque affiliated with the Nation of Islam. But at the Hebrew Language Academy, they fit right in.

    When state officials approved the school, critics wondered whether it would become a publicly financed religious school masquerading as a place open to everyone. And after a battle for space, it landed in a yeshiva.

    But as the school’s first year draws to a close, its classrooms are filled with a broad range of students, all seeming confident enough to jabber away as if they were elbowing their way down Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem. Perhaps surprisingly, the school has become one of the most racially mixed charter schools in the city. About a third of the 150 students are black, and several are Hispanic.

    The school’s organizers say it has been so successful that they plan to help create dozens like it, pledging to spend as much as $4.8 million next year to seed schools in Phoenix, Minneapolis and Manhattan Beach, Calif., in addition to one set to open next fall in East Brunswick, N.J.”

    • hophmi
      September 9, 2011, 10:52 am

      Include the rest:

      “Students are just as likely to learn about Christmas or Ramadan as about Purim, and teachers say they check with the school’s lawyers before veering into any lesson with ties to Judaism. . .

      “Some parents who are not Jewish said they applied because they were simply eager for their children to learn a second language. But others gave reasons the school would be unlikely to cite in its recruitment brochures.

      “By going to school with Jewish children, they are going to be getting a good education,” said Mr. Moody. “In that community there’s no foolishness when it comes to education.”

  48. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 10:13 pm

    The Center for American Progress report “Fear Inc”
    The seven top donors who fueled Islamophobia.

    Donors Capital Fund: Their board
    link to donorstrust.org

    Board of Directors

    Adam Meyerson, Chairman
    President, The Philanthropy Roundtable
    Kimberly O. Dennis, Vice Chairman
    President, Searle Freedom Trust
    Whitney L. Ball, Director
    President & CEO, DonorsTrust
    Christopher DeMuth, Director
    D. C. Searle Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
    Steven Hayward, Director
    F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
    Kris Alan Mauren, Director
    Executive Director, The Acton Institute
    William H. Mellor, Director
    President, Institute for Justice
    Stephen Moore, Director
    Economist
    John A. Von Kannon, Director
    Vice President, The Heritage Foundation

    Officers

    Whitney L. Ball, President
    President & CEO, DonorsTrust
    Kimberly O. Dennis, Secretary
    President, Searle Freedom Trust
    Steven Hayward, Treasurer
    F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
    Jeffrey C. Zysik, Assistant Treasurer
    CFO & CIO, DonorsTrust

    Scaife foundation recipients (one of the seven in that Center For American Progress report) That donation list only goes up to 2006.
    link to old.mediatransparency.org

    They gave to the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

    David Horowitz “boasts two online magazines Front Page Magazine and Jihad Watch directed by Robert Spencer” (page 87 in the “Fear Inc” report)
    “For instance, they used Front Page Magazine to promote their overhyped Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition, which aimed to shut down a New York City public school simply because it taught Arabic language and culture. The school was the Khalill Gibran International Academy, named after the Lebanese Christian poet.”

    Would sure like to know if David Horowitz or Robert Spencer donated to the Hebrew Charter School. They went after the Arabic school full tilt
    David Horowitz
    link to old.mediatransparency.org

    Founding Benefactor

    Bruce H. Jacobs, 1918-2010
    Anacortes, Washington

    [top]

    Sarah Scaife foundation
    link to scaife.com

    The Bradley foundation (one of the seven mentioned in the “Fear Inc” report) They have given a whooping 3 million to charter schools
    link to bradleyfdn.org
    Bradley Foundation: Charter School Growth Fund
    link to chartergrowthfund.org (does not break it down into individual schools that they give to)

    link to chartergrowthfund.org
    Would be interesting to see if any of these Bradley charter school associations funded the Hebrew Charter School
    # Uncommon Schools
    #Explore Schools
    #Success Charter Network
    #Achievement First

    Sure would be great to get the list of just who donated to the Hebrew Academy to see if any of the Foundations or individuals who donated cross over to the groups who cultivated Islamophobia or directly went after the Kahlil Gibran academy

  49. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 10:24 pm

    Check this out. One of the seven foundations mentioned in the “Fear Inc” Report “the Newton and Rochelle Becker Foundation” Who is funding that school? Just really want to know if these two worlds over lap

    Welcome Learn Hebrew Prayer
    link to learnhebrewprayers.com

    Funded by: The Newton and Rochelle Becker Foundation.
    A WEBstationONE.com production. [CREDITS]

  50. Kathleen
    September 8, 2011, 10:34 pm

    ot but interesting
    When will the Dept of Treasury start investigating the donations of these foundations and individuals who financially support illegal Israeli settlements?

    I believe all of these donations to illegal settlements are tax exempt. Basically donating to Israeli terrorist

    link to settlementsinpalestine.org

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