Pro-Palestinian School Walkout Organized by Groups With Links to Terrorism

By Matis Glenn

A walkout organized by several pro-Palestinian organizations, some of which have ties to Islamic terror groups, was attended by several hundred city students and teachers Thursday afternoon in Manhattan.

The walkout, called “Shut it Down,” which called on students and school staff, was scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. in Bryant Park. CBS news reports that at least 75 city high schools were planning to participate, as well as many colleges. Thousands were expected to attend, but CBS reports that the number was in the hundreds.

The walkout was called on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, when German and Austrian Nazis and their supporters destroyed Jewish homes, synagogues, and businesses, heralding the beginning of the largest scale genocide in world history.

Organizers of the protest included the Palestinian Youth Movement, which has called for Israel’s destruction. “We will continue resisting until the land is rightfully ours once more, and until our people secure their right of return. From the river to the sea,” the organization posted on social media in 2020.

PYM believes, in line with age old antisemitic tropes of Jews controlling world affairs and the economy, that Israel is the cause of a host of problems in the Arab and Muslim world.

“We recognize that poverty, dictatorship, repression, sectarianism, civil war and state violence in the Arab countries is directly an outcome of Zionism and its goal to destabilize the region,” the group’s website states.

PYM also say that the United States’ war on terror is “a borderless and boundarliness(sic) war that takes shape on Arab and Muslim communities, bodies and lands wherever we are in the world and that has killed millions of our people from Iraq to Afghanistan and Syria to Yemen,” and that it is an extension of white supremacism.

NYC schools Chancellor David Banks issued a letter Wednesday, warning teachers not to violate the Education Department rules on political speech, according to Chalkbeat.

Banks called on school staff to not involve their classes in their personal political beliefs, and said that political activities, even if held outside of school, can go against city rules if it “disrupts … the school environment.”

“When speech and action — even on one’s personal time — undermines the mission or core functions of NYCPS, we will review and take appropriate action on a case-by-case basis,” Banks wrote.

At around 11:30 a.m., around three dozen teenagers marched in the outskirts of Boro Park, holding signs and chanting pro-Palestinian slogans.

Video shows the protestors, which appear to be school-aged teenagers, walking on 20th Avenue and 59th Street during school hours.

An NYPD car drove slowly down the street as the march took place.

The teachers’ union told CBS that there were some schools where students walked out, but returned to school without traveling to Bryant Park.

Chancellor Banks reportedly said he will deal with teacher attendance on a case-by-case basis.

Another organization involved in planning the event, Al-Awda, has expressed support for Hamas, according to the Jerusalem Post, which cited several examples of social media posts.

During the 2014 wave of terror in Israel, when Palestinian terrorists targeted Israelis with car rammings, shootings and stabbings, Al-Awda treasurer Anas Amireh posted to social media an image of a gun and a car with the words “by all means necessary,” in English, and a caption in Arabic which read: “Resist, even by using your car.”

The Al-Awda Facebook page honored Ghassan Kanafani, a former leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist group. In November 2018, Al-Awda co-founder and NY chair Lamis Deek shared a link from Hamas’s official page praising Hamas terrorists, saying that they are “astounded from your bravery. Glory is for the martyrs,” the Post reported.

Al-Awda has repeatedly invited and hosted convicted terrorists at its events. George Habash, then Secretary General of the PFLP spoke via video at an Al-Awda rally in New York in 2001; he was joined by  convicted Islamic Jihad terrorists Mazen al-Najjar and Sami al-Arian.

Al-Awda’s website contains a section of false, debunked quotes from Israeli citizens, authors and officials advocating for the mistreatment of Palestinians.

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