Anti-Israel teachers in NYC public schools get away with unchecked antisemitism while critics of Palestinians are immediately reprimanded, critics charge.
James Parra, a paraprofessional at Brooklyn Arbor Elementary School in Williamsburg, shared a photo of himself on Instagram — apparently inside the school — wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf. He wrote, “It’s a good time to remind y’all that Palestine will be free from the river to the sea within our lifetime.”
“That alone for us is a direct call for a genocide,” said Shy Galor, a Jewish and Israeli mother in Brooklyn’s District 14.
In another Instagram post, Parra called Israel a “racist” and “terrorist” state, saying, “If me calling someone a Zionist pig infuriates you and offends you I’m going to need you to do some self-examination and reflection as to why.”
Parra’s Instagram account, “Rebels of Today,” was switched from public to private this month after the city Department of Education received more than 850 complaints, an activist said.
Though an investigation was purportedly launched, Parra, who did not respond to requests for comment, has remained at the school — a “double standard” compared to the case of history teacher Robert Rossicone, who was removed from PS 104 in Bay Ridge over posts on his soccer club’s Instagram page calling Hamas fighters “animals,” according to the NYC Public Schools Alliance, a group formed by educators to fight antisemitism.
“The unequal treatment in these cases reflects the political bias in the NYC public school system,” said Tova Plaut, a pre-K educator.
“What you’re seeing are local school administrators enabling and reinforcing the worst biases and prejudices. They should be teaching our children about the shared values that unite us and how to love and respect all New Yorkers.”
Other educators slammed for divisive speech appear to still have their positions, including Mohammad Jehad Ahmad, a math teacher at Gotham Tech High School in Queens who called the Hamas attacks a “successful military campaign,” and Siriana Abboud, a pre-K teacher at PS 59 in Midtown who touted pro-Palestinian lessons for tots on her Instagram accounts.
Abboud took a medical leave following The Post’s reports on her anti-Israel postings, and has yet to return.
Galor, a former member of the District 14 Community Education Council who dropped out over the board’s politics, is among parents calling on the DOE to take serious action against antisemitism.
“I’m extremely concerned and even more concerned with how the DOE is not giving us answers or dealing with it in an appropriate way,” she said.
While controversial CEC 14 President Tajh Sutton has maintained her reign, others have been dismissed for political public statements. Adriana Alicea, a former CEC 28 member appointed by the Queens borough president, got the boot for anti-Israel posts including “Free them all. From the river to the sea. Free Palestine.”
CEC 14, which ejected Jewish parents and critics from its online monthly meeting in November, did so again in December, blocking Citywide Council on High Schools representative Rachel Fremmer from joining. The board did not respond to a request for comment.
The New York branch of the ACLU wrote a letter to schools Chancellor David Banks this week defending students voicing pro-Palestinian beliefs, stating that there may have been “possible mistreatment and lack of protections” for them in school.
The DOE did not respond to inquiries.