Jewish New York High School Student Facing Legal Action for Supporting Palestine

January 8, 2016   |   admintam

The superintendent defended the school’s actions, insisting they were forced to investigate by an anti-bullying law that’s “one of the strictest in the nation.”

Kit O’Connell
January 8, 2016

(MINTPRESSFair Lawn, NJ — Twitter users rallied this week behind a Jewish high school student that faced possible legal action after she criticized Israel on the social media network.

Bethany Koval is an 16-year old Israeli Jewish student at Fair Lawn High School, but she’s also accumulated thousands of followers on Twitter for her outspoken views on apartheid Israel’s treatment of Palestine. Unfortunately, she’s also found herself accused of bullying after a student apparently complained to her school about tweets she’d written over her December holiday break.

Koval was summoned to speak with school administrators on Wednesday, and tweeted out updates throughout the day on her account, @bendykoval. “Principal just called me down. I’m about to be exposed for being anti-Israel. Pray for me.” read one widely retweeted message from the incident.

Supporters quickly spread her story on Twitter, leading to the hashtag #IStandWithBenny and even pledges of support from the Anonymous hacktivist collective:

Although Koval made her Twitter account private on Thursday, Muftah, an independent news site focused on the Middle East, compiled many of her tweets from December which likely got her into trouble.

In the series of Tweets, decried the high body count of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza last summer, during which over 2,100 civilians died, most of them children. Koval defined why she believes Israel’s occupation of Palestine should be considered apartheid, and decried both the slaying of the Palestinian Dawabsheh family in an arson and the later stabbing of a photo of the Dawabsheh’s toddler by Israelis at a wedding party in an illegal settlement. Two settlers have been charged in the slaying, Amiram Benoliel and Elisha Odess, who is a U.S. citizen.

In other tweets, Koval also celebrated a pro-Israel classmate unfollowing her, and shared that student’s name with another classmate on Twitter.

According to Nathan Tempey, writing for Gothamist, school administrators initially forced Koval to write up a written statement, then allowed her to rescind it with the intention of bringing a new statement to a follow-up meeting on Thursday. According to Annie Robbins, writing in Mondoweiss, she’s also retained the legal services of activist and lawyer Stanley Cohen.

Bruce Watson, the superintendent of Fair Lawn public schools, defended officials actions in a statement issued on Thursday, insisting that “at no time have District officials sought to censor or reprimand any pupils for their online speech” but that they were forced to take action by “New Jersey’s anti-bullying statute — one of the strictest in the nation.”

In a follow-up article published in Gothamist, Alexander Shalom, senior staff attorney at ACLU-New Jersey, told Tempey that while he’d heard of New Jersey’s anti-bullying law being applied to protected political speech in the past, “This is probably the most egregious example of it I’ve heard.”

Shalom also told Tempey that this case was an example of the ACLU’s concerns when the anti-bullying law was proposed: “The school only has a right to regulate conduct when it has an impact on the orderly operation of the school” he said, continuing, “There are real concerns about the school getting involved in the business of students on break.”

How a NJ Teenager Got Railroaded By Her School for Being Pro-Palestine”  from Muftah:


This article (Jewish New York High School Student Facing Legal Action for Supporting Palestine) originally appeared on MintPressNews.com and was used with permission. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: admintam

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30 Comments

  1. This world is becoming so disgusting! Leave her alone! She did nothing but speak the truth!

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  3. Indeed, but we can't have students expressing their opinions freely, now can we? First, we let them speak, then they'll think critically, then they'll demand change, and before you know it, the very foundation of civilization will come crashing down!

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  4. What about the Christian fucks? Don't forget about them, just as bad

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  5. Mike Berry Yeahh.. I suppose they did commit the worst genocides 100s & 100s of years ago. I'm not praising either, however i can see your trying very hard to get under my skin lmfao

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  6. Thomas J. Fizz I'm guessing he doesn't understand that Jews and Muslims are two different things. Brown guys with beards living in the middle east? Good enough for Tommy. I guess Australia has it's share of ignorant idiots, too.

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  8. Now, that's not really a good response either. You can't call for peace and also attack. Let's be better than them.

    Post a Reply
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  10. Now, I will say this – she is not just facing legal action because of Israel V Palestine. Sure, indirectly, maybe you can make that case – but she was calling out another student by name and criticizing her – likely bringing trolls and just well-intentioned but poorly acting supporters of this student to attack the other.

    I mean – I can see why flaming of another student on social media – regardless of the topic subject matter or reason – can be constituted as bullying in a school where they claim to have the "toughest stance on bullying in the nation."

    So that somewhat annoys me that "theantimedia.org" is playing this up as an attack on Palestine – when it's merely more of school code being enforced. No one is asking her, from what I have seen, to stop posting her opinions about Israel. She crossed the line by calling out another student (a MINOR also) by name publicly.

    "Koval also celebrated a pro-Israel classmate unfollowing her, and shared that student’s name with another classmate on Twitter."

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  11. Disclaimer – I am actually quite Pro-Palestine (though that does not make me Anti-Israel). I think both have made mistakes – however I do place more blame on Israel, having the size, the money, and the global support – they should be taking the high road – find a peaceful solution. Not force Palestine's hand.

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  12. Who cares, the spoiled snowflake should have just crawled into a safe space and kept her ugly mouth closed.

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  13. Mike Civita Yeah truth i suppose you learn something every day, to be honest i just dont like the sickness that spreads amongst all the poverty. I see it as a continuous cycle, not that Americas any better they've helped cause alot of the problems, like Christians have apparently, but shit there all fucked in there own way. I'de rather not worry about this shit & keep Australia Australia & not have sympathisers bend our lands rules towards the appesement of muslims ect. Halal cert with funding going back to Syria, i never wanted that bullshit' Unfortunetly Politics is very weak & is a problem in any Country with Immigrants. You dont like what i say, – i dont give a fuck.

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  17. I am ­­­­­­­­­making ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­good ­­­­­­­­­salary ­­­­­­­­­from ­­­­­­­­­home ­­­­­­­­­$1200­­­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­­­$2500/week , ­­­­­­­­­which ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­amazing, under ­­­­­­­­­a year ago I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­jobless ­­­­­­­­­in ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­horrible economy. ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­thank God ­­­­­­­­­every ­­­­­­­­­day ­­­­­­­­­I was ­­­­­­­­­blessed ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­these ­­­­­­­­­instructions and ­­­­­­­­­now ­­­­­­­­­it's ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­Here is ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­started,,,,,,­­­­­­­­­

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  20. Now, I will say this – she is not just facing legal action because of Israel V Palestine. Sure, indirectly, http://organifigreenjuiceguide.com maybe you can make that case – but she was calling out another student by name and criticizing her – likely bringing trolls and just well-intentioned but poorly acting supporters of this student to attack the other.

    Post a Reply

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