Anti-Israel views crop up on high school campus too

Anti-Israel sentiments aren’t limited to college campuses.
Last fall, when the Arab-Israeli hip-hop trio DAM came to Lincoln High School, Jewish parents and students who were concerned about DAM’s inflammatory anti-Israel lyrics contacted the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland.
When school resumed after winter break, LHS global studies teacher Pam Hall invited JFGP Community Relations Director Robert Horenstein and Israeli shaliach (emissary) Amos Meron to address her classes and a small assembly at the Portland high school.
“It was very important to give the students another perspective from what they might have gotten at the assembly (featuring DAM) and to give them an opportunity to ask questions,” said Meron.
The only time “we mentioned DAM was when a student brought up the hip-hop group,” said Horenstein, adding it was not their intention to “trash DAM.”
DAM did come up. One student said, “DAM compares Israelis to Nazis. How do you react to that?”
Horenstein told the students the irony is that the Arab rappers are Israeli citizens who “are free to say that Israeli Jews are like Nazis…that Israel is a police state. Nothing will happen to them. No one will be imprisoned or executed, because Israel is a democratic society with free expression.”
Meron shared his personal story with the students. As an Israeli Defense Force reconnaissance officer in the Gaza Strip, one of his assignments was to make sure terrorists didn’t cross into Israel. He was also responsible for finding outwho was firing rockets into Israel, some of which were hitting his home community of Moshav Beit Elazari.
“I think the kids understood,” he said. “It’s easier to connect with a personal story.”
Meron and Horenstein asked students what the United States would do if Vancouver, B.C., was firing rockets at Portland.
“We got the same answer – ‘Nuke ’em – from kids in three different classes,’” Meron said. He told the teens that Israel has been “much more patient than the students would have been.”
In the global studies classes, the two used a PowerPoint presentation on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the assembly was about Israel beyond the conflict.
“We showed them ‘Israel Inside,’ a documentary that stresses Israel’s technological innovations, healthcare achievements and humanitarian relief efforts around the world in such places as Haiti and Japan,” said Horenstein. “We wanted them to see that there is a lot more to Israeli society than what they are learning in the classroom about the conflict.”

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