A Northern Virginia school district is under fire for banning Israel from a district-wide “multicultural fair” held in its schools.
The fair was held by the Stafford County Public Schools and meant “to empower multicultural awareness,” Just the News reported.
The supposed fair was held in all 33 schools among 1,000 students.
Stafford Middle School reportedly chose to represent “Palestine,” a choice supposedly goaded by a second language teacher.
But in the school’s display of maps and other photos to represent “Palestine,” Israel was not represented. Indeed, Israel was labeled “Palestine.”
Per Just the News:
The school district confirmed with The Center Square that “table organizers worked with their school administration to develop their displays.” Several Islamic sites, including the Dome of the Rock, were highlighted. The adjacent Wailing Wall, considered the most religious site in the world for the Jewish people, was not.
Among the handouts was a coloring map of the country, known as the pre-1947 Palestine Mandate map.
The representation of “Palestine,” while failing to indicate the existence of the State of Israel at the school district’s event, comes on the heels of several pro-Palestinian student-led protests across the commonwealth, sparking condemnation and an executive order from Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration.
“The display at Stafford Middle School is a deeply concerning display of antisemitism,” Youngkin’s spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told The Center Square. “The governor’s executive directive 6, combating antisemitism and anti-religious bigotry, directs the Superintendent to provide local guidance to ensure local school divisions prevent antisemitism and discrimination.”
The district defended its “Palestine” display.
“The Stafford Middle School booth was led by an ESOL teacher, who did not intentionally leave out representation on her map. It is worth noting that 52 countries are represented by students attending this middle school, and that flags representing all 52 countries (to include both Israel and Palestine) are hanging in the school,” said Sandra Osborn, chief communications officer for Stafford County Public Schools.
“In no manner was there ‘a deliberate attempt to erase the recognition of the State of Israel by school educators and administrators,'” Osborn added. “We take antisemitism very seriously. The school district routinely works with the Anti-Defamation League and we treasure both our Jewish and Islamic families. Last year in fact, we incorporated both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur into our school calendars.”
There is a particular point, though, that the school did not address. The fact — and it is a 100 percent true fact — that there is no such country as “Palestine.” There has never in history been a “Palestine.” It never existed. It does not exist now.
Israel, on the other hand, has thousands of years of history. And even if you discount all that, there is the fact that Israel has been a country since May 14, 1948.Commentary