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NYC Public School Wipes Israel from the Map

The Free Press: “The poster at Brooklyn’s PS 261, where young students are taught ‘Arab Culture Arts,’ is part of a program funded by the Qatar Foundation. A New York City public school is being accused of “Jewish erasure” after a map from one of its classrooms surfaced showing all the countries of the Middle East except Israel, which is labeled “Palestine.” The Free Press was shown a photo of the map of the “Arab world,” hanging in the art classroom at PS 261, a public elementary school in Brooklyn. Rita Lahoud uses the classroom to give lessons to pre-K and elementary students in the “Arab Culture Arts” program, which is funded by Qatar Foundation International (QFI). QFI is the American wing of the Qatar Foundation, a nonprofit owned by the ruling family of the wealthy Arab state, which harbors leaders of the terrorist group Hamas. Tova Plaut, a New York City public school instructional coordinator for pre-K through fifth grade classrooms, said she found the map “concerning.” “It’s not just that we’re experiencing Jewish hate in NYC public schools, we’re actually experiencing Jewish erasure,” Plaut said. “And here is proof of that.” Rita Lahoud did not respond to an email seeking comment. The principal of PS 261 deferred comment to the Department of Education. After The Free Press emailed the Department of Education to ask if the map remains in the classroom after Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, a spokesperson wrote back: “Why would it not be?” Nathaniel Styer, the DOE spokesperson, added in his reply that “this is a map of countries that speak Arabic.” Around two million people living in Israel are Arab, which is just over 20 percent of the country’s population. Many of them speak Arabic. The emergence of the map comes after a Free Press investigation showed how educators in American public schools are increasingly teaching students to hate Jews. One curriculum—the Brown University Choices Program—which presents ideas of Israel being an “apartheid state” and “a military occupier” taught to one million public school students nationwide, has been distributed by QFI.”

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