Tuesday, January 28, 2020

New York high school sparks public storm over free speech about Israel

On January 9, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School — an elite private school in the Bronx known for its diversity and progressive values — fired JB Brager, a 31-year-old history teacher. Brager, who is Jewish, had expressed views on Twitter that were anti-Zionist and in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Brager’s firing appears to be the latest instance in a trend, trickling down from colleges to high schools, in which educators whose politics challenge the mainstream Zionist narrative about Israel are punished for their political views.

“To me, what makes a good teacher is making clear my views and helping my students argue against me,” Brager (who uses they/them pronouns) tells me, in their first comments to a reporter since being fired. “I feel strongly that one should be able to teach students of all different political belief systems, but that doesn’t mean I have to change my beliefs.”

Brager’s dismissal followed a series of tweets they posted in November 2019 regarding a recent incident involving a speaker at a school assembly. Kayum Ahmed, an adjunct law professor at Columbia University and a division director at Open Society Foundations, gave a talk at Fieldston about apartheid South Africa. In response to a question from a student, Ahmed discussed the phenomenon of victims becoming perpetrators.

In a video of the talk posted by the right-wing Washington Free Beacon, which has played a key role in drawing national attention to this incident, Ahmed said that “the Jews suffered in the Holocaust and established the State of Israel. Today they perpetuate violence against the Palestinians that are unthinkable… the victims of the Holocaust and violence have become perpetrators of injustice against Palestinians.”

The Free Beacon and Tablet reported that some parents took issue with the comments. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told the Free Beacon, “To blame the victim in this manner was really outrageous and these virulent views — saying that Jews who escaped the Holocaust are now the perpetrators of injustice — has [sic] no place in our society and certainly not in our schools where we’re educating young people.”



Anonymous said...

Political Correctness is evil !

Stan B said...

A mentally unstable professor (they is NOT a singular pronoun, but "git" is...) is fired for expressing support for an anti-semitic movement, and the liberals rush to its defense. The BDS movement is an attack on the only functional, stable democracy in the region, and no logical argument can be made that changing their policies would lead to more safety and security for their own citizens.