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Texas teacher reportedly fired after reading from Anne Frank’s diary to students

(JTA) – A middle school teacher in a district outside Houston, Texas, has been fired reportedly for reading a sexual passage from Anne Frank’s diary out loud to eighth-grade students, the district told local news. 

The passage came from a 2018 graphic version of the diary by the world-famous Jewish Holocaust victim that restored some portions of the initial book that had been cut from the most well-known editions. 

“Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” has also been at the center of several other recent book-related controversies in public schools: It was briefly pulled from another Texas district, permanently removed from a Florida district and has spent several months under review at another Florida district; a Republican Jewish lawmaker in Florida has called it “Anne Frank pornography.”

“A version of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ book that was not approved by the district was read in class,” Mike Canizales, a spokesperson for Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District, told a local news channel. The teacher was sent home last week and replaced by a substitute, and “there is an active investigation,” Canizales continued.

The graphic version of Frank’s diary was reportedly on a reading list the school sent out to parents at the start of the school year, though district officials claimed it had never been approved for classroom use. The fired teacher had read portions of the diary aloud in class, in addition to assigning it for students to read.

In the book, adapted by Ari Folman and David Polonsky, a passage dated March 24, 1944, depicts Anne describing male and female genitalia, including descriptions of “the clitoris” and pubic hair. The words are really Anne’s own, and appear in her initial handwritten draft of the diary. The passage comes immediately after a passage describing “the sound of gunfire” as Nazi soldiers attacked Allied forces parachuting out of a crashing plane.

“It’s bad enough she’s having them read this for an assignment, but then she also is making them read it aloud and making a little girl talk about feeling each other’s breasts and when she sees a female she goes into ecstasy, that’s not OK,” a parent of twin boys in the class told local news. The parent was referring to another passage from the book, in which Anne briefly describes her latent feelings toward another girl, that some conservative parents and activists say they find objectionable.

The day before the district fired the teacher, it alerted parents that “inappropriate” content had been read aloud in class. “The reading of that content will cease immediately. Your student’s teacher will communicate her apologies to you and your students soon, as she has expressed those apologies to us,” the district wrote in an email.

The Anne Frank Fonds, the Switzerland-based foundation that oversees the copyright to Frank’s diary and authorized the new graphic adaptation, has defended the work in the past. “We consider the book of a 12-year-old girl to be appropriate reading for her peers,” board member Yves Kugelmann has told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Jewish books including “Anne Frank’s Diary,” “Maus” and “The Fixer” have become frequently ensnared in a broader, conservative-led effort to purge schools of material that activists deem inappropriate, largely for content involving sexuality, gender identity and race. Teachers are increasingly facing censures and firings for including controversial books, including by race writer Ta-Nahisi Coates, in class.


The post Texas teacher reportedly fired after reading from Anne Frank’s diary to students appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world. pic.twitter.com/fqTGVqMdDu

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

The post Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

The post Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

The post U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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