School Apologizes After Palestinian Activist Goes Off Script On An Anti-Israel Tangent During ‘Diversity Event’

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A principal at a Michigan high school recently addressed concerns from parents after a Palestinian activist spoke to a group of sophomores about the Israel-Palestine conflict, according to an email obtained by StopAntisemitism (SA).

Bloomfield Hills High School (BHHS) hosted an event on March 14 with Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian activist and human rights lawyer who has a history of making anti-Israel comments, for a group of 10th-grade students, according to an email from BHHS’ Principal Lawrence Stroughter. After the event, during which Arraf talked about the Israel-Palestine conflict, parents expressed concerns about Arraf’s portrayal of the situation, prompting Stroughter to address it in an email. (RELATED: ‘Environmental Justice’: College Palestinian Group Blames Israeli ‘Colonization’ For Climate Concerns)

“At the diversity event for the 10th-graders, one of the speakers deviated from the prompts,” Stroughter wrote in an email obtained by SA, “Without prior knowledge of the organizers, the speaker discussed the conflict in Gaza from their own personal political perspective and experience. This discussion was outside of the perimeters of the assembly and was addressed by the high school administration immediately after the speaker left.”

Stroughter further denounced “any speech that targets individuals or groups based on religion” and apologized for the “harm” that the situation had caused to BHHS families and students. He clarified that the event was supposed to help students learn about the effects of discrimination and to “build empathy.”

Arraf’s position on the Israel-Palestine conflict can be found on her personal Twitter account. On Feb. 29, Arraf called for an end to Israel’s alleged “settler colonialism and apartheid” in a tweet.

On Jan. 26, Arraf tweeted that the Israel Defense Forces shot at “unarmed Palestinians” and repeatedly refers to Israel as the “colonizers,” warning against “Jewish supremacists” in her posts.

Arraf is also the co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an organization that purports to be a “nonviolent movement” supporting Palestinian rights, but ISM also says it does not have the “right” to tell Palestinians how to go about freeing themselves from Israel’s “military occupation and apartheid.”

Arraf told the DCNF that she was “honored” to be involved in the “wonderful program” at BHHS and called the outcry from the school community “unfortunate.”

“My message addressed the harms caused by racism and discrimination, and denying others the same rights as yourself; rights that all people deserve,” Arraf said. “It’s unfortunate that certain interest groups are now harassing the BHHS administration and student organizers over my participation. These are the same forces that have been working to shut down Palestinian voices for decades, enabling Israel’s human rights abuses.”

Arraf also said that “tens of thousand of Jews” support the “side of freedom” from “occupation, colonization, and oppression.”

A spokesperson from SA told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the school should have taken action when Arraf went off script.

“Instead, they allowed Ms. Arraf to finish her radical anti-zionist remarks – subjecting her heavily Jewish audience of 15- and 16-year-olds to hate – and later issued an unacceptably anodyne apology to parents that failed to mention Jews or Israel,” SA’s spokesperson said. “As a prominent BDS supporter who falsely refers to Israel as an apartheid state, Ms. Arraf should have been properly vetted by the event’s faculty sponsor. StopAntisemitism calls on Bloomfield High to issue a proper apology that acknowledges the pain Ms. Arraf caused through their negligence.”

BHHS did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

This article has been updated with comment from Huwaida Arraf.

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