As Israeli and Jewish Americans, we see no shortage of antisemitism and anti-Zionism in our society and there is no such thing as a “minor” incident of discrimination. This happens even in our school systems, despite the purpose of schools being to inclusively educate children without political bias or bigotry of any kind. To effectively educate our communities on the dangers of antisemitism, and to protect our schools from discrimination, we must speak up and demand action, each and every time antisemitism rears its ugly head.
Bullying and Harassment
Preventing antisemitic discrimination is of paramount importance to the IAC, especially since we know that discriminatory behavior can often escalate to violence. Instances of antisemitic language or bullying can often be used as a teachable moment. Educating students, teachers, and administrators on the dangerous history and consequences of antisemitism can help prevent future acts of violence by people who may have otherwise remained ignorant. If any kind of bullying or harassment persists, you may consider bringing the issue to the attention of higher-level education officials like superintendents or school board members. Consistent harassment of Jewish and Israeli students will not be tolerated and should be reported to school leaders as soon as they arise. We also highly recommend submitting an incident report to School Watch so that we can follow the progress and provide any assistance that may be needed.
Vandalism is the original form of anonymous internet hate and continues to be the most frequently reported expression of antisemitism. We often see vandalism containing swastikas, epithets, and vulgar language, which are perpetrated by people too cowardly to take responsibility and claim ownership of their hate. School leaders are traditionally supportive of combatting these acts since they trigger widespread public outrage. If antisemitic and hateful vandalism is not taken seriously by any school, the IAC can provide additional support.
When an educator willingly chooses to use problematic content and push politically motivated, hateful lessons, we must educate the teacher and counter these clear biases. Teachers have reportedly assigned readings that inaccurately describe the creation of the State of Israel and label Zionism as racism. This is unacceptable and hurtful. By reporting incidents like this, IAC is working to educate teachers on the dangers of antisemitism in the classroom.