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NY School Superintendent: Anti-Israel Speaker Made “Inflammatory” Statements To 3rd Graders

The superintendent of the Ithaca, N.Y. school system has apologized for an event last week in which an anti-Israel speaker made a “politically skewed [and] inflammatory” presentation to a third grade class.

The lecture by Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School on September 18 was “not developmentally appropriate” and “not endorsed by the Ithaca City School District,” superintendent Luvelle Brown wrote in an email to Cornell University Prof. William Jacobson, who exposed Tamimi’s talk earlier this week on his blog, Legal Insurrection.

In her email to Jacobson, Brown admitted that the school district administration “was not informed beforehand of the invitation to include” Tamimi, who has encouraged his children to throw rocks at Israeli soldiers.

After investigating, Brown discovered many “egregious examples” of bias in Tamimi’s talk:

● At the beginning of the session, the speakers showed a brief video of a young Palestinian girl who references Israelis killing Palestinians;

●There was an indication by the speakers that Israel has broken many United Nations’ laws and that Israel controls all of the resources of the geographic area;

● In a closing statement of how students could help, a speaker spoke of solidarity and being freedom fighters for Palestine; to bring peace and protect the future of their children.

The Ithaca City School District’s position is that such statements are not developmentally appropriate for third graders, nor aligned with the New York State standards. The statements were politically skewed, inflammatory, and not endorsed by the Ithaca City School District.


“We recognize that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is very sensitive to many members of our community,” Brown said in a statement to The Ithaca Voice. “We also recognize that this delicate topic was not presented in a manner consistent with its importance. We sincerely regret that this has occurred.”

[Photo: Edustat University / Flickr ]