What can a kid learn in school that he or she can’t learn by cutting class and wandering over to Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan? Answering that question is part of the plan for tomorrow’s large-scale “Shut It Down For Palestine” protest extravaganza.
“We are calling for movements, trade unions, youth, students, media and healthcare workers, and all members of society to increase the pressure with more marches, walk-outs, sit-ins, strikes, and other forms of direct action directed at the political offices, businesses, and workplaces that fund, invest in, and collaborate with Israeli genocide and occupation,” reads the Code Pink description.
Teachers Unite—an organization of teachers who say they are “transforming the public school system into one that is governed by democratic control, and grounded in values of racial and economic justice, restorative practice, and equity”—want New York youth to be well represented among those seeking to take “direct action” against Zionist targets.
A “Day of Action toolkit” reminds students they don’t need their school’s permission to leave school to join the youth brigades, “but it helps.” Sure. And what community-minded school principal would object to little Johnny’s heartfelt desire to take to the streets and protect the fatherland from naughty shopkeepers who sell Israeli salad? And listen, “If you and your peers do not feel comfortable leaving your school, you could also march through the hallways and gather in central spaces in the school (or on the school steps) to do a sit in.”
If you can’t convince the principal to join you on this journey, at least try to bring along other kids. Just remember to “Accept and acknowledge that not everybody you speak to has access to the spaces you do and might be conditioned by what they see or hear (propaganda).” And make sure you and your deprogrammed new friends are “at Bryant Park by 3:00pm.” Every good student knows the importance of being pünktlich.
One thing I’ve noticed about the Shut It Down for Palestine advertisements and videos is that their map of “Palestine” encompasses the entirety of the land between the river and the sea, not just the Palestinian territories. Perhaps they’re just looking for some living space.
In any event, it seems pertinent to remind parents that: a Jewish man was killed by a pro-Palestinian protester near Los Angeles, according to police; assault by protesters against Jewish passersby is not uncommon; and in recent weeks “direct action” seems to include things like setting fire to synagogues and driving into houses or buildings that look Jewish. Protests and marches are known for their genocidal chants and vandalism. And particularly in New York, it has been open season on visible Jews for quite some time. In 2021, which also saw an Israel-Hamas conflict, the ADL counted 51 physical assaults on Jews in the state, the most it had ever recorded. More than half of those were in Brooklyn alone.
All of which is to say, the people who want to take your kids out of school for “direct action” might just need some nice posters made or help making a proper woke Spotify playlist or something equally harmless. But I wouldn’t bet the beet farm on it.