NEWS: ‘Divisive’ Palestine event draws 80 NYC teachers, anti-Israel speaker
About 80 New York City and New Jersey educators attended a virtual “curriculum share” seminar Saturday morning where they obtained tips to “get around censorship” while teaching students about the “Israeli occupation” and “ongoing genocide in Gaza.”
The organizers encouraged participants to consider using fake names or blurring their video out of paranoid fear of “conservative Zionist individuals” who have targeted the event and might “dox attendees.”
The event sparked outrage this week among critics who slammed it as antisemitic and divisive.
It aimed “to push anti-Zionism propaganda and wrongfully inject divisive politics” into classrooms, Bronx Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres wrote in a letter ahead of the event imploring the city Department of Education to intervene.
“It is gravely concerning that NYC educators who have little to no background knowledge of Jewish experiences and Israel’s history have taken a crash course in antisemitism and left feeling like they are experts in Middle East studies,” Tova Plaut, a founder of the advocacy group NYCPS Alliance, told The Post.
The curriculum share gives teachers license to use skewed information in their classrooms and share it with their colleagues, further embedding antisemitism in kids, Plaut added.
The one-sided event was geared toward K-12 classroom teachers and hosted by the NYC Educators for Palestine and the New Jersey-based group Teaching While Muslim.
Breakout rooms were led by social studies, music, math and ELA teachers who shared lessons they have developed that incorporate “the cause.” Palestinian olive harvesting was the focus of one fifth-grade lesson on decimals and a “human rights lens” was applied to middle school poetry teachings, according to screenshots obtained by The Post.
Recommended materials came from The Progressive Classroom Project, which gives social studies teachers “classroom-ready resources” and uses content from Al Jazeera, according to its website.
Its lesson on Zionism says students should “develop an awareness of its colonial nature.”
“What do you do if a Zionist student protests the lessons?,” one participant asked in the chat. “Do you incorporate the Holocaust into the framework?”
The event also covered how to “get around censorship,” according to promotional materials, and featured “a panel of organizers and legal experts.”
One of the speakers was Rabab Abdulhadi, a San Francisco professor and activist and a co-founder of the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism, according to sources.
In the article, she linked the Israeli flag to “racial supremacist political messaging” seen at the Capitol riot in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, 2021, and at Nazi rallies in Europe.
The institute labels Israel and the United States “settler colonial states” — which the group says it opposes.
Teachers were promised they would get “a collection of lessons they can use with their students” out of Saturday’s event.
At least one principal, Terri Grey, who heads the remote Virtual Innovators Academy high school, sent out an email informing recipients about the event, The Post reported this week.
A spokesman for the DOE said the agency had nothing to do with the event and that it was not Grey’s “intent to promote it” — and claimed she did not send the email to her staff.
“This Zoom conference is not affiliated with, endorsed or hosted by NYCPS, as such we have no authority over whether or how it is conducted,” the spokesman said.
Public school educators have been blasted for pushing anti-Israel propaganda in the classroom with little oversight from administrators or the city.
A third-grade teacher at PS 705 in Prospect Heights posted to social media recently thanking the website Woke Kindergarten — which calls Israel a “made-up place” — for materials that helped him create a lesson on Palestine.