Friday, November 27, 2009

Students Participate in “Kick a Jew Day”

Who doesn’t want another holiday to celebrate?  Let’s face it, most of them are a lot of fun.  They usually foster some kind of community through the bringing together of families, or they inspire national pride.  Even the ones that don’t give you an official day off like groundhogs day, can be full of laughs and happy expectation.  Knowing how much we love holidays, is it any wonder that the children of North Naples Middle school decided to create their own?

They could have picked something benign like everyone celebrate how beautiful red is, or even a day regarding school pride, but these kids decided to start Kick a Jew Day.

Eighth grader Ashley Brusca said she saw it happen to lots of kids.

"They came up to you and asked you if you got kicked today and if not, they kicked you," she explained.

Apparently, it was initiated with an e-mail by a single student, but the fact that it so quickly spread and involved so many participants, highlights a distinct breakdown in that community.  Somewhere along the line, both the school and the parents failed these children.    The mere fact, that they believed that this was in the least bit appropriate is evidence of this. 

It is clear evidence of Anti-Semitism, which is something far too many people believe to be a thing of the past.   Anti-Semitism is often taught in terms of the Holocaust and while this is a good message of what can happen when hate is allowed to control a society, it also sends the message that this is something the allies brought to an end with their victory at the end of WWII. 

Anti-Semitism is not a thing of the past.  People regularly deny the holocaust and question the right of the Jews to have a home state.  While there are certainly issues with Israel’s criminal treatment of the Palestinians, to deny the right of a Jewish home state, is certainly a desire to reduce the possibility of any form of power and or security. 

We need not stay in the Middle East to see hate directed at Jewish people.  Neo-Nazis continue to thrive on Anti-Semitism.  On Nov 8, a synagogue was defaced in Dresden, Germany, with swastikas.  Considering that this happened one night before the anniversary of Kristallnacht  (the night of broken glass), it is clear that these criminals were sending a very direct message. 

On November 16, someone sprayed anti-Semitic graffiti in two southwest Calgary neighbourhoods.  They even went as far as to deface mailboxes, signs at several synagogues and even a war memorial in honour of Holocaust survivors with swastikas. The messages read "six million more."

These are not isolated incidents.  A simple google search on defaced synagogues brings up hundreds of hits.  Unfortunately, Anti-Semitism is alive and well despite the known cost of such hatred.  To openly promote or celebrate something as terrible as the holocaust, speaks to a total denial of the humanity of Jewish people.

When these students decided to participate in Kick a Jew Day, they may have just thought of it as a harmless prank, but when placed inside of a culture that has decidedly made clear an intolerance and deep seated hatred of Jewish people clear; it is extremely problematic. 

Rather than reacting with shame and a vow to educate their children in the cost of hateful behaviour, a grandparnet chose to treat this incident carelessly.

But one grandparent said he just chalks it up to kids being kids.

"Personally I think it's a non issue," said Raymond Brusca.

 

The students received an in class  day suspension, but this hardly reveals to them the seriousness of their behaviour.  When a child commits an obvious hate act, they need to be taught in no uncertain terms, that not only is their behaviour completely unacceptable, but of the consequences of their actions.  People die when we ignore hatred and do really need another message like the holocaust to teach us that?