As I reported on November 25, Jonathan Haidt was shocked to discover that politically correct teachers and administrators in excellent high schools were indoctrinating their students. They were teaching feminist dogma as absolute truth and were demeaning and diminishing boys at the expense of girls.
If you thought that that was bad, take a look at what is being taught at one of New York City’s finest private schools, Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Apparently, a sixth grade teacher decided to teach the students that the swastika was a symbol of peace. Huh?
You have to read it to believe it. The New York Post has the story:
Sixth-graders at an elite Bronx private school have been caught drawing swastikas in art class, so administrators met with the kids — talking mainly about how the symbols represent peace in some cultures.
One parent who wishes not to be named said Jewish students have felt unsafe since the images began popping up three weeks ago at Ethical Culture Fieldston School, where tuition costs $45,100 a year.
In addition to the swastikas, a notebook was found at the middle school campus with the words “Hitler Rocks!” scrawled on the front, the parent said.
Parents, many of whom, one imagines, are Jewish, protested, so the administration held a meeting to clear the air:
Administrators decided to address the apparent anti-Semitism by holding a grade-wide meeting.
Parents say teachers spent nearly 12 of the 15 minutes on a PowerPoint presentation on how the swastika was still considered a sacred symbol — while only briefly mentioning how the Nazis had adopted it in the 1920s.
School officials never once mentioned the Holocaust, a parent said.
When asked what they learned, the kids simply said, “It wasn’t a good idea to draw” the swastikas.
It’s a failure of an institution to educate,” one parent said. “Teachers and administrators were calling for a town hall meeting, but instead, they chose to do just sixth grade.
Obviously, this is appalling. It shows that anti-Semitism has become acceptable in the American academy. In particular, anti-Semitism has become acceptable to progressives and leftists..
To take a random example, last week an Israeli executive tried to rent a car from Avis on the Upper West Side of Manhatten… traditionally a notably Jewish neighborhood. The clerk and the manager rejected his application because he had an Israeli passport. The manager even claimed that it was company policy not to accept Israeli passports. Link here.
When the executive contacted Avis customer service, he was told that Avis did accept Israeli passports. The Avis customer service representative explained it to the manager. At that point the manager and the clerk declined to rent the car because they said that they did not like the way the man had behaved.
You might think that these Avis employees would have been sanctioned for their behavior. They were not. As of the most recent report, Avis was defending them.
The progressive left, even in Jewish neighborhoods, has become anti-Israeli, and, by extension, anti-Semitic. Let’s go back to Fieldston, which held an Israel-Palestine Day a couple of years ago. Here is the way one source described it:
At Ethical Culture Fieldston School, a prep school in New York, administrators held an Israel-Palestine Day and, under the pretense of "evenhandedness," invited Rashid Khalidi and Tony Judt as featured speakers to represent "both sides" of the conflict. Both Khalidi and Judt believe the state of Israel should not exist. Rabbi Avi Weiss, one of the panelists, withdrew from the conference upon learning about the contents and opted instead to organize a counter-demonstration. The school refused to allow a single pro-Israel speaker at this event. Among the invited speakers were noted anti- Israel advocates Sara Roy from Harvard University, Kenneth Roth from Human Rights Watch and Fawaz Gerges from Georgetown University. Meanwhile, teachers instructed students not to speak to the protesters or the media, and the school's Principal announced at the end of the conference that they just heard a "comprehensive" analysis of the Middle East conflict from distinguished speakers and to remember that "the protesters are outnumbered." This event drew strong criticism from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and several politicians.
Of course, those liberals who find this offensive have only themselves to blame. As long as high schools that purvey anti-Semitism are supported by the parents who send their children there, the problem will persist. From my limited interviews I have gotten the impression that the schools do what they please because parents are afraid to do more than complain. They are afraid that they will damage their children’s prospects for getting into a good university.
What is the source of the problem? As I have occasionally remarked, we live in the Age of Obama. The president’s contempt for all things Israeli has created a cultural climate in which anti-Semitism is again acceptable.
And the president wants to bring more anti-Semites into the country. Interestingly, the Daily Mail reported this morning on the chaos being visited on Germany by the flood of Syrian refugees. Among the cultural qualities they are bringing with them: misogyny and anti-Semitism.
Now, with the support of the misguided Jews who compare these refugees to the Jews fleeing Nazism in the 1930s, President Obama wants to bring more Syrians into the country… just in case we are running low on anti-Semites.