On Friday morning, September 18, 2015, the third grade classes at the Beverly J. Martin School in Ithaca, NY, heard a presentation on “human rights” by Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi and local anti-Israel activists, including Ariel Gold of the local chapter of the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (she also is a full time employee of Code Pink), and Mary Grady Flores. The event was arranged through third grade teacher Brooke Burnett, a friend of Gold and Flores.

Bassem Tamimi Beverly Martin School Ariel Gold redacted w border

On Sunday night, September 20, Legal Insurrection broke the story, Anti-Israel activism hits elementary school in Ithaca, NY. Because of Tamimi’s notoriety for exploiting children in videotaped confrontations with Israeli soldiers, Tamimi’s mere appearance in a third grade class raised suspicions about the event.

Docs Confirmed Third Grade Event Was Anti-Israel Propaganda

After our September 20 report, a firestorm of controversy erupted, with the Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), Dr. Luvelle Brown, conducting an investigation, after which he issued a statement that the event was “politically skewed, inflammatory, and not endorsed by the Ithaca City School District.”

The controversy received widespread news coverage, particularly over the activists’ request to the students to become “freedom fighters for Palestine”:

I filed a NY Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request seeking documents about the event. While numerous documents, including a video of the event, were withheld by ICSD, what was produced was enough to declare without doubt that the event was an anti-Israel presentation in which both the activists and the teacher leading the discussion skewed the conversation against Israel to the extent that one or more students were incited to express hatred of Israel.

I described my findings and the evidence obtained in a post on November 8, 2015, New docs reveal Third Grade Anti-Israel event much worse than thought.

Court Battle No. 1 – Prevent Destruction of Records

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