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As anti-Semitic attacks proliferate across New York City, the social media postings of one outspoken teacher at an elite Bronx private school are raising fresh concerns among Jewish parents and students.
"Making latkes tonight for my birthday and channukah [sic], text me if you want to come over, no Zionists," J.B. Brager, a history teacher at the prestigious Ethical Culture Fieldston School, tweeted on Dec. 20.
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That posting and others singling out straight individuals for criticism and portraying Israel as a genocidal aggressor in its conflict with the Palestinians have caught the attention of Fieldston students and parents, particularly given that Brager is slated to teach an elective history course titled "Nazi Germany and the Holocaust" later this month.
The Ethical Culture Fieldston School, founded by progressive Jews in the late 19th century, has grappled with accusations of anti-Semitism in recent years. Among other issues, the school organizes students into ethnic and racial "affinity groups" starting in the third grade but has firmly refused to establish a Jewish affinity group, a Fieldston parent told the Washington Free Beacon. That has contributed to a perception among parents that administrators at the avowedly progressive school do not consider Jews a minority worthy of recognition, understanding, or protection.
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The school’s treatment of Jewish issues has come under increasing scrutiny as a wave of anti-Semitic attacks have set New Yorkers on edge. On Wednesday, congressmen Josh Gottheimer (D., N.J.) and Max Rose (D., N.Y.) condemned recent remarks delivered at a Fieldston assembly, where a guest speaker argued that Holocaust survivors living in Israel are guilty of perpetrating similar atrocities against Palestinians. The comments by A. Kayum Ahmed, a top officer at George Soros's Open Society Foundations, drew condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League and left many in the community concerned about the school’s direction.
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