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Tue May 28, 2024, 12:05 PM May 28

K-12 Schools in New Jersey Are Becoming a Battlefield Over Palestine Advocacy


K-12 Schools in New Jersey Are Becoming a Battlefield Over Palestine Advocacy

For months, pro-Israel advocates in New Jersey have lobbied school districts to suppress discussion of Palestine.

By Sam Carliner , TRUTHOUT
Published May 26, 2024

On the heels of the eruption of the university movement for Palestine and the subsequent wave of repression that has been at the center of national politics, Congress has begun questioning K-12 school districts about how they will clamp down on the movement for Palestine. Under the guise of addressing “antisemitism,” public K-12 schools may become more of a flashpoint across the country over Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.

In New Jersey, this has already been the case for several months.

Lobbying From Livingston to Newark

A microcosm of these attempts to silence Palestinian voices played out in Livingston, New Jersey, on February 27 when less than a dozen pro-Palestine activists found themselves surrounded by hundreds of pro-Israel parents and community members from Livingston and surrounding towns at a Board of Education meeting.
The superintendent of Livingston Public Schools had returned from a “fact-finding” delegation to Israel after October 7, which was paid for by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, an influential pro-Israel organization in North Jersey. According to its website, the organization’s stated mission is to “ensure the continuity and strength of the Jewish People, to support a secure Jewish and democratic State of Israel, and to care for Jews in need locally and around the world.”

She described the Livingston Board of Education meeting as one of the most threatening environments she’d ever been in. Ro said that when the meeting was opened up to public comments, Zionist counterprotesters elbowed and tried to trip the pro-Palestine activists on their way to line up to make comments.


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