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Virginia Student Suspended After Reporting Antisemitic Incident at School, Parents Say

Langley High School students displaying an antisemitic image. Photo: Screenshot

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), a school division in Northern Virginia, has been sharply criticized for allegedly suspending an Asian-American student who exposed antisemitism at his high school.

School officials accused a student at Langley High School of leaking to the public a photograph of other students drawing and holding for display a US flag in which its stars were replaced with 25 swastikas and the words “Free Palestine” were written in between the stripes, the Fairfax County Times reported. The image had been drawn during a meeting of the Muslim Students Association.

The image was shared across the school, as anti-Israel students staged a “walkout” earlier this month, carrying another sign with swastikas on it and chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — a slogan widely interpreted to be a call for the destruction of Israel, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Langley school administrators reportedly suspended two students: the Muslim student who drew the swastikas on the US flag and an Asian-American student whom school officials said had publicized the photo that was widely circulated on social media.

Parents and local leaders expressed outrage at the school for disciplining a student for reporting antisemitism, arguing it will deter others from coming forward to expose such bigotry. On Friday, parents held a demonstration outside FCPS’s administrative building in Falls Church, Virginia, to protest both the student’s suspension and what they described as unheeded concerns about rising antisemitism in FCPS schools going back several years.

“What really has upset me about this is that the only way that they can prove that there is something is to take a picture, and then the student got suspended for taking a picture,” one parent of a student attending Langley High School told a local CBS affiliate covering the protest. “There’s a history of trying to silence or not allowing these images to come to fruition to show that we have a problem here.

FCPS has denied suspending the student for exposing an act of antisemitism.

“No student at Langley High School was suspended for reporting an incident of antisemitism to school administrators,” FCPS superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid told WUSA. “We will continue to denounce all acts of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hatred in any form.”

Speaking to WUSA9, Eric Rozenman, a Jewish activist and writer, alleged that the country can plausibly deny suspending a student for reporting antisemitism because its student code of conduct is a mammoth document comprising vague rules and regulations, many of which can be cited as sufficient cause for sending a student home.

“They can make that claim because they have a long list of bureaucratic regulations in the student handbook about what is and isn’t permitted,” Rozenman said, explaining that the incident is an example of the FCPS’ allegedly insufficient approach to addressing antisemitism, an issue that is currently being probed by the federal government.

In Nov. 2022, the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched an investigation into a complaint, filed by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), alleging that Jewish students in the county continually face harassment and a hostile learning environment. Chants of “Heil Hitler,” swastika graffiti, and scheduling of important tests on Jewish holidays are some of the indignities Jewish students have endured without recourse to school officials, the complaint said.

The complaint also alleged that antisemites work for the school board, hampering FCPS’s ability to confront the scope of the problem and enact meaningful reforms. In May 2021, during Israel’s last conflict with Hamas, FCPS official Abrar Omeish tweeted, “Israel kills Palestinians & desecrates the Holy Land…apartheid & colonization were wrong yesterday and will be today, here and there.”

“We want [FCPS] to be able to recognize what is antisemitic and anti-Jewish in the first place,” Rozenman said during Friday’s demonstration. “Take it just as seriously as they would take something that was anti-Black, anti-gay, or anti-Muslim. This is the thing they’re not doing. They can’t recognize it or don’t want to act.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid make their way to the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, May 30, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The United Nations Famine Review Committee (FRC), a panel of experts in international food security and nutrition, has cast doubt on the notion that the northern Gaza Strip is suffering through a famine.

In a report released earlier this month, the committee responded to a claim by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) — a US-created provider of warning and analysis on food insecurity — that a famine was likely underway in northern Gaza. FEWS NET said that northern Gaza began experiencing famine in April and projected that the embattled enclave would endure famine until at least July 31.

The FRC rejected the assertion that northern Gaza is experiencing famine, citing the “uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence employed in the analysis.” The panel carries out evaluations of humanitarian conditions on behalf of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an international famine monitoring initiative. 

The FRC added that there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of a famine within northern Gaza and called for more humanitarian access into the warzone, providing experts an opportunity to give an accurate assessment of the conditions. 

“The very fact that we are unable to endorse (or not) FEWS NET’s analysis is driven by the lack of essential up-to-date data on human well-being in northern Gaza, and Gaza at large,” the report stated. “Thus, the FRC strongly requests all parties to enable humanitarian access in general, and specifically to provide a window of opportunity to conduct field surveys in northern Gaza to have more solid evidence of the food consumption, nutrition, and mortality situation.”

However, the panel warned that Gaza is still enduring “extreme human suffering” and called for the “complete, safe, unhindered, and sustained” transport of aid into the enclave.

The report represents a course-reversal for the FRC, which claimed that Gaza likely surpassed the “famine thresholds for acute malnutrition” in March. The FRC now contends that civilians in Gaza are experiencing improved humanitarian conditions as a result of increased aid flowing into the war-torn enclave.   

“Since the FRC review conducted in March 2024, there seems to have been a significant increase in the number of food trucks entering northern Gaza,” the report read.

“The FEWS NET analysis acknowledges that humanitarian assistance in the area has increased significantly, finding that caloric availability from humanitarian assistance increased from 9 percent in February to 34 percent  to 36 percent in March and 59 percent to 63 percent in April. The opening of alternative routes to the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, the authorization of commercial truck entry, as well as airdrops, allowed for an increase of food availability,” the report continued.

Several aid agencies, media outlets, and politicians, as well as pro-Palestinian activists, have repeatedly accused Israel of inflicting famine on Palestinians since beginning its military operations in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people throughout southern Israel. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, accused Israel of using starvation as a “weapon of war.”

Despite these allegations, data produced by the United Nations showed that Israel allowed more than 100 food trucks to enter Gaza per day in March, an increase from the daily average of 70 trucks before the war. Moreover, many trucks transporting aid into Gaza have been hijacked and seized by Hamas terrorists, increasing the difficulty of distributing food to civilians.

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Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism

Hundreds of people filled the lawn in front of the Toronto District School Board (TSDB) to oppose a proposed anti-discrimination policy being voted on by trustees that would include recognizing anti-Palestinian racism—while failing to acknowledge rising antisemitism in schools. The report, entitled Combating Hate and Racism: Student Learning Strategy, was received without any amendments by […]

The post Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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French President Denounces ‘Scourge of Antisemitism’ After 12-Year-Old Jewish Girl Raped

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Paris, France, June 12, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday denounced the “scourge of antisemitism” and called on schools to hold discussions on racism and hatred of Jews after three boys were charged with raping a 12-year-old Jewish girl in a Paris suburb.

The young girl told police that she was approached by three boys who raped and beat her in the northwestern Paris suburb of Courbevoie on Saturday in an incident that French authorities have described as a hate crime. According to French media, the assailants called the victim a “dirty Jew” and uttered other antisemitic remarks during the brutal gang-rape.

A police source told AFP that one of the boys asked the young girl questions about “her Jewish religion” and Israel, citing the child’s statement to investigators.

The boys — two aged 13 and one 12 — were arrested on Monday and indicted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Macron’s office said the president asked French Education Minister Nicole Belloubet “to organize a discussion in all schools on the fight against antisemitism and racism, to prevent hate speech with serious consequences from infiltrating schools.”

The rape of the unnamed 12-year-old girl has caused outrage throughout France and among the Jewish community.

Elie Korchia, president of France’s Central Israelite Consistory, told BFM TV that the girl was raped “because she is Jewish,” adding, “We have never seen antisemitism that extends so far in all areas of life.”

Courbevoie Mayor Jacques Kossowski echoed that sentiment in a statement released on X/Twitter, saying, “The rape was carried out with antisemitic intent.”

Eric Ciotti, leader of Les Républicains, also condemned the “rise of antisemitism” in France, which he argued was “fueled by the alliance of the far left.” He added that “we must act as a bulwark” against antisemitism.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally party, decried the rape on social media. She noted “the explosion of antisemitic acts” in France since Oct. 7.

The recent gang-rape came amid a record surge of antisemitism in France in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. Antisemitic outrages rose by over 1,000 percent in the final three months of 2023 compared with the previous year, with over 1,200 incidents reported — greater than the total number of incidents in France for the previous three years combined.

In April, a Jewish woman was beaten and raped in a suburb of Paris as “vengeance for Palestine.”

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