NY high school students visit Western Wall, Israel Museum, and AJC, but Foxman blasts them for daring to meet Palestinians

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 29 Comments
Friends Seminary group in Palestine, earlier this month, at their site

The Anti-Defamation League‘s Abe Foxman is annoyed that a group of seventeen high school students and six faculty members from New York City’s prestigious Friends Seminary recently visited Israel and Palestine (which he terms the “West Bank region”), but didn’t spend nearly enough time being force-fed ADL-approved hasbara.

Writing in The Jerusalem Post in late March, Foxman expressed his clear frustration that “the participants will be spending most of their time in the West Bank meeting with Palestinians,” during which time students “will have overnight stays with Palestinian families” and “will be developing oral histories of those families.” While Foxman states that “[t]here is, of course, nothing intrinsically wrong in doing these things,” he worries that “because of the intensely personal nature of the home visits in the West Bank, which will expose the group only to a Palestinian perspective, these visits should be balanced by similar experiences with Israelis within Israel,” including “meeting with Israeli families” and “visiting important venues like the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem.”

Foxman is irked about what he calls the school’s “distorted, anti-Israel version of historical and current events in the Middle East” and worries that its administrators and students won’t “recognize how easily what seems like criticisms of Israel can veer into anti-Semitism.

What Foxman deftly omitted from his criticism of the Friends trip is that, at the time his piece was published, students had already visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall, explored a number of synagogues, St. Anne’s Church and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, spent time at The Israel Museum, where they met with the director of a program that conducts workshops in which Palestinian and Israeli children create art together, and visited the Jordan River Valley with Mira Edelstein of the Tel-Aviv-based organization EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME). The day after Foxman’s piece appeared in the Jerusalem Post, the group traveled to Jaffa where they met with Dr. Edward Rettig, Director of the Israel/Middle East Office of the American Jewish Committee as well as a representative of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, a non-profit organization dedicated to “promote coexistence and equality among Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens.”

Nevertheless, Foxman criticizes Friends for “taking high school kids to the Middle East and devising such a pro-Palestinian schedule,” especially because “Israel is America’s main ally in the region, a number of the students are Jewish, and balance is one of the school’s valued and oft-stated educational goals.”

It is unsurprising that Foxman’s disingenuous yearning for “balance” is driven by his desire to see the “impressionable high school students” exposed to Israeli narratives that reinforce the eternal victimhood of not only Israel but all Jews worldwide and which equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Learning about the personal experiences of Palestinians and experiencing the infrastructure, discrimination and oppression of the occupation does not fit with Foxman’s agenda.

This past November, the ADL took a “group of senior Latino and Latin American journalists, editors and producers [on] an eight-day mission to Israel” in an effort “to counter what it sees as Latinos’ less favorable attitudes toward Israel.” The Jerusalem Post reported that “Stops on the tour included the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, Sderot, Nazareth, Safed, Lake Kinneret and the Golan.”

What balance!

These Latino journalists, who hailed from the United States, Bolivia, Chile and Venezuela, went to multiple areas under Israeli occupation and probably met with numerous local colonists in their illegal settlements on stolen land! Imagine how “intensely personal” these “visits in the West Bank” were for the journalists. One has to assume that, due to Foxman’s apparent commitment to a “balanced” narrative presenting “similar experiences” of both Israelis and Palestinians, when visiting Christian holy sites on the ADL’s dime and with their own guides, the Latino journalists were able to spend ample time speaking with Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim. Oh, wait, that didn’t happen? Shocking!

In early 2004, the ADL took “[s]enior law enforcement personnel from across America, including “sixteen police chiefs and FBI terrorism task force representatives,” to Israel to meet “with their Israeli counterparts and learned how to better predict, prevent and respond to terrorism.” By Foxman’s standards of “balance,” the officials must have been told about the rampant Israeli arrest of Palestinian children and toddlers, who suffer abusemental, physical and sexual – and who are tortured during and traumatized by their imprisonment.  They surely learned about Israel’s use of administrative detention to hold Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial, a direct violation of universal human rights and international law.

Did the group visit Palestinian communities victimized by housing demolitions, a particularly vindictive form of collective punishment favored by the Israeli government, examine the illegality of Israel’s Apartheid Annexation Wall and U.S.-supplied weaponry, or study the implications of a surveillance state built upon domestic spying and racial profiling? Of course not.

University of Florida student Virlany Taboada was sent to Israel in 2010 by the ADL and “visited key sites related to Israel’s history,” “learned the country’s significance to the Jewish people,” and heard “different perspectives…from a variety of people while in Israel including military and a family that the group had a Shabbat dinner with one night.” Balance!

No wonder that upon her return, Taboada said,

“For people who say that the Holocaust didn’t exist or that God doesn’t exist, you know the moment you go to the Jewish home and see a Jewish city that something happened. You know something took place that has completely transformed the way Israel is and the way people talk about it and I think that is what I saw there — that there is something special and something unique that you can’t find in a lot of places.”

That “special” and “unique something” is actually called Apartheid, Virlany. In fact, the ADL’s annual Campus Leader Study Mission is so balanced, the non-propaganda just drips from the following description of last year’s trip:

Each year, the ADL brings leaders from colleges across the country to Israel. In August, 17 campus leaders joined the latest of these annual trips.

The eight-day trip, designed for students who have never visited the country, included visits to the Dead Sea, the Golan Heights, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, the Jordan River and Christian and Jewish holy sites.

Students also learned about Israel’s diverse culture. They had Shabbat dinner with a family in Jerusalem and met with members of the Druze community as well as Ethiopian immigrants. They met Israeli Defense Force soldiers, students, and young citizens at the forefront of the summer’s tent city protests.

The mission also sought to further the students’ understanding about the conflict by bringing speakers with varying opinions such as a West Bank settler and a Palestinian journalist.

Whoa, one whole Palestinian journalist, eh? What perspective. Assuredly, Foxman didn’t raise any qualms about “balance” when AIPAC brought over 80 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to Israel in a move that was assailed by Palestinian Knesset member Ahmad Tibi as a “propaganda tour” designed to whitewash and obfuscate “the discrimination and occupation that the state of Israel imposes on the Palestinian people in its midst.

But Foxman is right: how are New York students supposed to internalize hasbara when they’re actually meeting with Palestinians in Palestine and staying in their homes under Israeli occupation?  And all without a visit to Yad Vashem?  I mean, when exactly was the emotional blackmail supposed to occur?  And how are they supposed to make out with IDF soldiers if they’re busy learning Palestinian oral histories?

But that’s not all.

Foxman attacks not only the “imbalanced structure of the trip” but also one of its chaperones, a history teacher at Friends, who he describes as having “well-known anti-Israel views, which he promotes at the school” and who “he presents the students a completely biased and one-sided version of events in the Middle East.”  Here, the ADL chief seems to be taking his cues from the eminent warmonger, torture-advocate, and outspoken terrorist supporter Alan Dershowitz, who recently also took to the pages of The Jerusalem Post to declare Friends Seminary a haven for anti-Semitism and condemn the same teacher as “rabidly anti-Israel…who propagandizes his students against Israel in the classroom, and who has a picture of Anne Frank wearing a Palestinian headdress on his website.”

“In his World History class, when he devotes one day to Israel, his two primary sources have been reported to be a speech by former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and a paper by the American Friends Service Committee,” reveals Foxman, adding that the AFSC “has a long history of one-sided advocacy against the State of Israel.”

But Foxman’s selective and sensationalistic suggestion is not supported by facts and deliberately seeks to elicit shrieks of shock and condemnation.

The speech assigned to students is not just “a speech by former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat,” it is the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, written by renowned poet Mahmoud Darwish.  Students are also assigned to read both the 1917 Balfour Declaration and Israeli’s own 1948 Declaration of Independence. Furthermore, that a Friends school would include a paper by the American Friends Service Committee is hardly newsworthy.

Foxman also misunderstands the “oral history” component of the Friends trip.  The project consists not of Friends students doing oral histories of Palestinian families, but rather sharing their own oral histories about Friends Seminary and Meetinghouse in Manhattan with Palestinian students from the Ramallah Friends school who developed oral histories of their own families.

The fact that the picture of Anne Frank in a kaffiyeh – used to spooky effect by Dershowitz – was actually this photograph of New York City street art posted on Flickr by someone else and merely “liked” by the history teacher in question hardly merits any attention, but perhaps demonstrates just how absurd these charges are.

Perhaps most telling is the inconvenient fact which Foxman and Dershowitz both deliberately leave out of their libelous descriptions of the Friends history teacher: he’s Jewish.

While Foxman claims to have spoken to “a number of parents” who seem to question the “balanced” nature of Middle East curricula at Friends, Joel Cohen, a current Friends parent, responded to both Foxman and Dershowitz’s attack on the school.  In a letter written to and published by The Jerusalem Post the day after Foxman’s article appeared, Cohen condemns the “unjustified and unsupported attack on a New York private school, Friends Seminary, that Alan Dershowitz began last month,” stating that “Foxman, like Dershowitz, criticizes this respected school, its administration and faculty based on assertions he fails to support.” Cohen writes that Foxman “cites no evidence for his accusation about the history teacher, much like Dershowitz failed to offer when he began the attacks against Friends and this teacher. Like Dershowitz, Foxman also fails to provide evidence that he in fact knows anything meaningful about the Friends visit.” An even more detailed rebuttal of Dershowitz’s claims was posted on the Friends Seminary Facebook page in late February. 

But the best counter to the attacks on Friends and its faculty lies with the students themselves. During the trip to Israel and Palestine, the students kept an incredible, publicly-accessible blog, entitled “Friends Visiting Friends in the Middle East.” It features posts written by the students themselves about their experiences and feelings.

Reading through the posts (written by the students themselves about their experiences and feelings during the trip), understanding the trip’s itinerary and looking at the gorgeous pictures, one can easily see why Foxman and friends are terrified of Friends students traveling to Israel and Palestine without the requisite hasbara pit stops.  Truth and knowledge are anathema to Zionism’s stranglehold on emotional blackmail, ethnocratic exclusivity, and perennially exploited victimization.

In one entry, a Friends student named Eliza wrote about her conflicted feelings:

When I reflect on the experiences of this trip, the criticisms of it, and the larger conflicts within this region, I have found it really easy to lose sight of the human element in all of this. When I think about my host mother and the way she treated me with love and warmth despite my personal religion and political views, I find it a little bit easier to see the human side and I am incredibly grateful and thankful for that. I am more appreciative that I feel I am coming away from this experience with more of a human connection absent of all politics.

Jacob, who is in his senior year at Friends, wrote the following after spending time with Palestinian students and his host family in Ramallah:

I was amazed at how much these students like me, and also fascinated by the cultural differences…I never want to forget my experiences here, nor do I want to forget the lessons that I drew from them even though we are from different cultures and hold different beliefs. We are the same where it matters most: we both want peace, we both want to laugh, we both value passion, and we both enjoy a good felafel.

Another senior, Will,  described painting messages on the separation wall as “one of the most ‘Friends’-like experiences I’ve ever had,” elaborating

We were all painting messages of hope and peace, and beyond that I was moved by how much we were supporting each other, both metaphorical and literally: Not only did we cheer each other on and applaud each other’s handiwork, but I actually lifted Rose up on my shoulders so she could find space to write. I also wrote my own message; after much internal debate, I decided to write the phrase that kept coming to my head: “WE ARE FRIENDS.” And walking away in the sunlight, with empty spray-paints cans in hand and classmates at my side, I really did felt that these words were true.

Shortly after arriving in Israel and traveling to the West Bank, Rose summarized her feelings about what she had experienced so far:

We’re simply not staying here long enough.  It’s a relief.  A dream come true.

It is no surprise that experiences like those described by the courageous students of Friends Seminary, experiences that humanize Palestinians, represent a dangerous threat to the hegemony of narrative so desperately promoted by career Zionist apologists like Foxman and Dershowitz.

For them, Rose’s “dream come true” is an absolute nightmare.

This post appears also on Nima Shirazi’s site, Wide Asleep in America.

About Nima Shirazi

Nima Shirazi is co-editor of the Iran, Iraq and Turkey pages for the online magazine Muftah. His political analysis can be found on his blog, WideAsleepinAmerica.com, where this post first appeared. Follow him on Twitter @WideAsleepNima.

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29 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    April 8, 2012, 12:01 pm

    Dear Prof. Foxman,

    We know an artisan by his works.

    Thanks indeed for telling us that something important has happened in Israel. Today is (Western) Easter and I am happy to agree with you that something important has happened: out of ashes Israel has indeed risen.

    A people for too long powerless and scattered — and having no societal instincts or habits for restraint arising from responsibility rather than from fear — has come together to teach and re-teach itself endless distrust, endless hatred, and to “give itself permission” to treat its neighbors and victims, endlessly, without the softening power of the ancient Jewish admonition not to do unto others as you would not have them do unto you. Jews were frightened and timid. Israelis say they are frightened, but are not timid, and seem to have little in common with the Jews of old.

    You want all visitors to Israel/Palestine to spend time learning about Jewish lives. No need to worry. Everyone can see it by visiting the OPTs. We know an artisan by his works.

    As you should know, for in your many years of teaching Holocaust, how many times have you looked closely into the lives and histories of the perpetrators of it? For you, the perpetrators of the Holocaust were sufficiently known by those who knew only their works.

    Go yourself to the OPTs. Learn what Israel is. We know an artisan by his works.

    • Abu Malia
      April 8, 2012, 6:51 pm

      A Powerful missive!

    • CigarGod
      April 9, 2012, 11:27 am

      Brilliant logic.
      Unfortunately, Foxman, Dersh and others tend/cultivate and guard vast gardens…rows and rows of plants…unable to reason.

  2. Wonder Bunder
    April 8, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Thanks, Nima, for bringing this story to attention. This trip captures perfectly how youth in the United States and the rest of the world are becoming aware of the truth and how Foxman and Dersh’s propaganda is slowly but surely being seen for what it is.

  3. chuckcarlos
    April 8, 2012, 1:27 pm

    “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” Abraham Lincoln

    We have supported every two bit tin horn fascist government for the last 60 years and it is time to bring this to an end and stop shipping US Arms to Israel. Every day Israel creates more terrorists which plague the world. Time for an END.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    April 8, 2012, 3:47 pm

    RE: “Each year, the ADL brings leaders from colleges across the country to Israel… The eight-day trip, designed for students who have never visited the country, included visits to the Dead Sea, the Golan Heights, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum… Students also learned about Israel’s diverse culture. ” ~ ADL

    SPEAKING OF “DIVERSE CULTURE”: Russian Jews defy Israeli rabbis’ ban on marriage, by Jonathan Cook, The National (U.A.E.), 08/06/11

    [EXCERPT] TEL AVIV // Two immigrants from the former Soviet Union staged a very public wedding in the streets of central Tel Aviv this week to highlight the plight of hundreds of thousands of Jews barred from lawfully marrying in Israel. Nico Tarosyan and Olga Samsovatov chose to tie the knot in a special ceremony on Tuesday – watched by family, friends and curious passers-by – after Orthodox rabbis had denied them the right to wed. The rabbinate says that Mr Tarosyan cannot prove he is Jewish according to its strict standards and therefore should not marry Ms Samsovatov, who is considered a proper Jew.
    Mr Tarosyan, aged 34, who moved to Israel from Moscow in 1995, called his treatment by the rabbis “humiliating”. “In Russia we were hated because we were Jews and here in Israel we are discriminated against as Russians,” he said. An underclass of Jews has emerged in Israel since the early 1990s, when more than one million immigrants began pouring into Israel following the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Many were entitled to emigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, which requires only that they have a single Jewish grandparent. But the authorities – keen to bolster the number of Jews in Israel’s demographic battle with the Palestinians – also allowed some to arrive with little documentation or faked papers.
    This set the new immigrants on a collision course with Israel’s Orthodox rabbis, who regard themselves as guarding the Jewish people’s ethnic and religious purity
    , said Ofer Kornfeld, the chairman of Havaya, an organisation that officiates at unrecognised weddings like the one conducted in Tel Aviv this week. “Civil marriages are not possible in Israel,” he said. “So the rabbis get to decide who can marry and who cannot.”
    Israel has passed control of all matters relating to personal status – births, marriages and divorces, and deaths – to rabbis belonging to the strictest stream of Judaism, Orthodoxy.
    Havaya, said Mr Kornfeld, offered unrecognised, secular and non-Orthodox Jews the chance to marry in a ceremony that retained Jewish rituals while tailor-making the event to their own convictions. Official figures show that as many as 350,000 Jews are classified by the rabbinate as having “no religion”, and are therefore unable to marry in Israel. Their only option is to wed abroad – the marriage is then recognised on their return. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to thenational.ae

    • RoHa
      April 8, 2012, 8:22 pm

      “Israel’s Orthodox rabbis, who regard themselves as guarding the Jewish people’s ethnic … purity,

      Anyone who regards themself as “guarding ethnic purity” is flat out evil.

      • RoHa
        April 9, 2012, 7:33 pm

        Themself ?

        That I should write such a thing shows how strongly I feel about such people. My anger and disgust overwhelmed my pedantry.

        • eljay
          April 10, 2012, 10:57 am

          >> That I should write such a thing …

          Yeah, you should of wrote hisself instead. ;-)

  5. ravendxpac
    April 8, 2012, 3:59 pm

    Yad Vashem is so incredibly overrated and wildly boring…If you have seen any Holocaust Museum in the US, it is just as good if not better. Yad Vashem is meant to commemorate a genocide by building a museum on an ethnically cleansed Palestinian village. They go on throughout the whole thing using the holocaust and everything since to justify anything involving Israel. Save your time, save your money, go to Boston, NYC, DC, or wherever else there is one, I promise you it is better.

  6. Annie Robbins
    April 8, 2012, 7:16 pm

    thanks Nima, great reporting.

  7. CigarGod
    April 9, 2012, 11:22 am

    Which religious scholar/monk/priest said: “Give me the boy and the man is mine”?

    Sounds like Foxman cares more about indoctrinating “impressionable high school students” than teaching them how to think.

  8. CloakAndDagger
    April 9, 2012, 10:24 pm

    The saving grace of this planet is that old men eventually die and are replaced by young minds with fresh thoughts and perspectives. Sadly, while these men are alive, many tend to succeed in tainting enough of these young minds who replace them, as evidenced by the recent drama in that Jerusalem Mall.

    And I use the term “men” loosely.

  9. Walid
    April 10, 2012, 6:51 am

    With over 30 such museums already existing in the US and another 90 or so in 23 other countries, Foxman should learn this thing about diminishing returns. Force-feeding so many kids on these horrors is starting to backfire and making them wonder why these things that happened to the Jews are being made to happen all over to the Palestinians by Jews. There will soon be a 6th such memorial opened in Israel; it’s the one being built over the ruins of the Mamilla Palestinian cemetery currently under destruction. Those along with the visits to Auschwitz are Jonestown in slo-mo on a universal scale.

    • Sumud
      April 10, 2012, 10:13 am

      Force-feeding so many kids on these horrors is starting to backfire and making them wonder why these things that happened to the Jews are being made to happen all over to the Palestinians by Jews.

      And wonder may well turn to rage at some point.

      It’s shocking enough when you come to understand the true nature of what has happened, and is happening in Israel & Palestine. Then you learn that the perpetrators have endlessly exploited the shoah – which most anyone in a western country has been taught to treat with reverence – and the sense of betrayal is intense. I think of myself of reasonably level-headed, but it did take a while for that feeling to dissipate.

      • Chu
        April 10, 2012, 11:27 am

        “the sense of betrayal is intense. I think of myself of reasonably level-headed, but it did take a while for that feeling to dissipate.”

        -I feel the same sense. It’s an ugly reality beneath these overt deceptions -it makes ones stomach turn.

    • Mayhem
      April 13, 2012, 10:10 pm

      In Melbourne there are at least 7 Islamic schools and only one of these has visited the local Holocaust Museum. Many hundreds of other schools of many different religious denominations have visited as part of their school programs teaching genocide studies and racial tolerance. That sounds to me like Holocaust denial is very entrenched in Islamic society.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 14, 2012, 12:04 am

        lol! so we need Holocaust Museums on every block and that will be the smell test. we don’t even have a genocide musuem for our own natives! have you checked to see if those 7 Islamic schools have visited an aboriginal museum? seriously, get a grip.

      • RoHa
        April 14, 2012, 2:37 am

        “That sounds to me like Holocaust denial is very entrenched in Islamic society.”

        Or just a refusal to kowtow to Jewish demands that we treat the Holocaust as more important than the genocide of the Aborigines or the mass slaughter of the Cambodians.

      • straightline
        April 14, 2012, 3:03 am

        As someone who lives in Melbourne – that’s Victoria I’m assuming and not Florida – I can say that none of the children I know – children of friends etc – is Muslim. None of them attend Islamic Schools and none have – as far as I know – visited the Holocaust Museum. Maybe I hang out with strange people but their children attend fairly regular public or private schools. Interesting. It seems that holocaust denial is everywhere Mayhem – perhaps even under your bed!

        • straightline
          April 14, 2012, 10:13 pm

          250 schools – that’s about 1 in 10 schools in Victoria. And presumably some of those school visits are from other states. Lots of holocaust denial going on Mayhem.

      • CigarGod
        April 14, 2012, 6:52 pm

        There are many hundreds of other schools in Melbourne have visited?

        There aren’t even “many hundreds” of schools, total. There are just about 300 of all types of schools including colleges, universities and specialty schools.
        So, you are saying that over 100% of all schools in Melbourne have visited the museum.
        Sounds like Reality Denial, to me. Maybe Exaggeration Embracing. Maybe something else…

        • Mayhem
          April 14, 2012, 8:04 pm

          I checked this and if you like I could publish the list of 250 schools who have visited the Jewish Holocaust Museum in Melbourne, Australia in just the two years 2010 – 2011.
          An Islamic museum is planned for Melbourne and when it opens will be the first of its kind in Australia.

        • Sumud
          April 14, 2012, 9:10 pm

          Sounds like Mayhem is trying to do what zionists normally do – divert, exaggerate and lie.

          Let’s recall his/her original premise: they claim that 1 of the 7 islamic schools in Melbourne have visited to local holocaust museum, and therefore: “That sounds to me like Holocaust denial is very entrenched in Islamic society.”

          That’s zionist logic for you.

          1.5 billion muslims in the world and a not-sourced claim a few islamic schools in the arse-end of the world haven’t visited the local holocaust joint means “Holocaust denial is entrenched in Islamic society”.

          Actually, I happen to live in Melbourne also, and until I read Mayhem’s unsupported claim I didn’t even know there was a ‘Jewish Holocaust Museum’ in Melbourne. Want to know why? There isn’t one. There is a small centre called the ‘Jewish Holocaust Centre’, and I didn’t know about that one either. I’ve lived in Melbourne for ~20 years now and have actually worked on a project for the local Jewish Museum. I still didn’t know there was a Jewish Holocaust Centre.

          Apparently unless you visit it you are a holocaust denier.

          It’s a pretty primitive sort of hasbara you’re peddling there Mayhem. Might wash with impressionable school kids though.

        • Cliff
          April 15, 2012, 4:06 am

          I don’t know any Jews personally and haven’t been to any Holocaust museums.

          I guess that makes me a Holocaust denier!

        • Mayhem
          April 15, 2012, 10:14 am

          Buddhist, Hindu, Anglican, Catholic etc in numbers but just one Muslim school. Just makes you wonder. And really Sumud it is pretty petty to demean a Holocaust Centre which has a museum in it, because it doesn’t have the word ‘museum’ in its name.

        • Antidote
          April 15, 2012, 10:48 am

          “I don’t know any Jews personally ”

          Why not, Cliff? Have you been avoiding Jews? The “Some of my best friends are Jews” – claim is suspicious enough, but to come right out and say: “I don’t know any Jews personally” – what is one to make of that? Maybe you’d meet some nice Jews if you weren’t a H-denier and visited H-museums.

      • eljay
        April 14, 2012, 8:42 pm

        >> In Melbourne there are at least 7 Islamic schools and only one of these has visited the local Holocaust Museum. Many hundreds of other schools of many different religious denominations have visited as part of their school programs teaching genocide studies and racial tolerance. That sounds to me like Holocaust denial is very entrenched in Islamic society.

        How many Nakba Museums are there? How many Jewish schools have visited Nakba Museums or commemorate the Nakba? Hmmm…that sounds to me like Nakba denial is very entrenched in Jewish society.

        Seriously, are you that petty? Is the suffering of people of the Jewish faith really the very bestest of all human suffering?

  10. Rusty Pipes
    April 12, 2012, 5:01 pm

    Seventeen language students from a religiously affiliated school in NYC recently took a trip abroad to learn more about the language, culture and history of some native speakers. But they neglected to get Abraham Foxman’s approval for their itinerary.

    Every year in High Schools across America, students studying international languages travel abroad through a school program to have the opportunity to use their language skills among native speakers. When my sister was in high school, she traveled to Latin America with her High School Spanish club during one of her school breaks.

    A few weeks ago, students from a 220 year-old Quaker school in America visited students from a 120 year-old Quaker school in another part of the world and stayed with their families. The American Quaker school offers four international languages to its 700 students and 17 students of one of those languages chose to take a trip abroad. The American School has been taking part in an NPR project, Story Corps, as part of its celebration of its upcoming 225th anniversary, so some students who have been recording their stories as part of that project were prepared to interview their host families when they traveled abroad. But the language the students were studying was Arabic, the 120-year-old Quaker school was in Ramallah and the families whose whose homes and stories were shared were Palestinians.

    Just as Israelis control all of the access points to the West Bank, even the Allenby Bridge, Foxman wants to control these students’ access to the narrative about Palestine and Israel. But these young people and their parents, even those who are Jewish, aren’t bothering to submit to inspection from the major Jewish organizations as much as in the past. They are finding other paths and other sources for their information, which makes the old gatekeepers cranky.

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