Stacy Gittleman

An Open Letter to Bloomfield Hills Schools

Dear Bloomfield Hills Schools Officials,

On October 25, for 40 minutes, a group of your students stood outside the main entrance of Bloomfield Hills High School and chanted “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free,” and other genocidal death threats towards Jews within a school district that is home to the largest Jewish population in Michigan.

The school was warned by the community that this walkout was about to take place as one slice of a global, organized walkout that was occurring in every city and on every campus. These walkouts and demonstrations are conducted with the intent not solve the plight of the Palestinians, but to incite more acts of hate and violence against diaspora Jews at the bidding of Hamas. Since that day, the FBI chief has testified that antisemitism has risen to unprecedented levels in the United States.

I hope that’s specific enough for you.

But in true school administrative fashion, the high school principal in recent days released an email vaguely describing the “challenging week” the community has experienced and welcomes phone calls and meetings with individuals. While these phone calls and meetings are going on, the principal wants families to “encourage our students to only participate in school action or activities that are inclusive of the entire school community.”

That’s very nice.

But has this school district learned anything since March?

Let’s refresh your memory.

Last March, a known supporter and probable connection with Hamas terrorism disguised as a human rights lawyer was invited to speak and without permission or proper vetting by any school official, spewed anti-Israel propaganda at a school-wide diversity assembly.

I covered the story and its aftermath as a reporter. The incident drew national and international attention and tarnished the reputation of a once-stellar school district.

Eight months later, I am still trying to process how a public school system charged with the responsibility of teaching critical thinking based on weighing historical facts with multiple viewpoints allowed the founder of the International Solidarity Movement a pulpit to spread her myopic anti-Israel propaganda, and perhaps even recruit some of our students to weigh the merits of terrorism, as seen at the Oct. 25 protest.

In the months after the assembly, the school district was supposed to have a concrete plan in place for the restoration of a safe learning environment for all.
It stated that the district would put into place “healing and restorative practices” for students and faculty that were supposed to go into effect this fall.

Has the school enacted this long-term plan?

Judging from the hate-filled protest, fully amplified with a bullhorn so it could be heard reverberating through windows of classrooms where classes were still in session, I am assuming no.

Because if those learning and listening circles had occurred it would have encouraged students to look at historical facts and dialogue with varying viewpoints to solve complex problems, as your school’s mission states.

In those deep learning circles, these students could have realized they are free to think for themselves. They are not under a dictatorial regime as those who live in Gaza. There, the slightest public diversion or protest against Hamas results in torture, imprisonment, or death.

If these students want a “Free Free Palestine,” they could have used a walkout and called out Hamas for not having elections since they brutally came to power in 2007. They could have questioned why Hamas has squandered billions of international aid to not build up infrastructure, education, housing and other resources to better the lives of their people but instead to terrorize both Israelis and Palestinians.

But no. They chose not to think but to join the cult-like chants taking over our college campuses like a zombie invasion.

The Palestinian student activists stuck to a well-formulated script put out by National Students for Justice in Palestine.

According to the Anti Defamation League, chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) explicitly condone terrorism and violence. SJP has known ties to American Muslims for Palestine. According to the non-profit watchdog Influence Watch, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is an anti-Israel organization with strong ties to pro-Hamas individuals and organizations. While AMP refers to itself as an educational organization focused primarily on raising awareness for Palestinian causes, it has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as “the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training” in America.

AMP was founded in 2006 by Hatem Al Bazian, a controversial Palestinian-American professor at the University of California at Berkeley with ties to multiple anti-Israel organizations. 56 Bazian gave a speech in 2004 in which he called for an “intifada,” or uprising, in the United States. 7

School administrators and faculty who teach in a school that values global understanding should always back up the lens to see the source where the propaganda is coming from. I hope, in your investigation of the students in question, you take the above information very seriously.

But let’s get back to those chants.

Your students chanted: “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free.”

As evidenced on October 7, Hamas carried out the intentions of that chant.

That chant meant a brutal 21st Century pogrom.

It meant massacring young adults dancing at a Burning Man-like music festival for peace and co-existence.

It meant gang-raping young women until their pelvises broke. In front of the bodies of their murdered friends.

It meant going house to house (can you imagine it in a Bloomfield Hills cul de sac?) in jeeps with combat weapons, murdering family members in front of each other by first raping them, and cutting off their breasts, and then helping themselves to whatever was in the fridge.

The Bloomfield Hills High School students in their chanting not only condoned the largest murder of Jews not seen since the Holocaust, they called for more of it.

Did they then expect to file back into algebra, bio and AP Language and sit next to their Jewish peers again? As if calling for genocide against their classmates is totally normal and a part of their right to exercise free speech?

In your investigation, I hope you ask the students directly if the massacres on October 7 in Israel actually happened. A simple yes or no response is all that’s required. But from my experience and observations, you should expect them to deny that Hamas committed any such atrocities at all. Keeping in step with the playbook of this movement, they will deny it, in this new, modern version of Holocaust denial.

Your Jewish students are watching with great fear how those chants, when echoed on the college campus, are making higher learning almost inaccessible to them. It is hard to focus on the rigors of a college course load when fellow classmates are barricading you in libraries as we have seen at Cooper Union or threatening to slit your throat as we have seen at Cornell University. Or lighting up the side of a building at George Washington University with projected messages that said “Glory to the Martyrs.”

In this age that is supposed to promote diversity and inclusion, your college-bound seniors are afraid to identify as Jewish on their common app.

Calls for genocide and siding with terrorism while on school grounds are a violation of your district’s code of conduct. It disrupted the environment of learning, obstructed free movement on the property because it blocked the front entrance, and caused interference to the educational process.

Though there is nothing in the Code of Conduct that explicitly forbids a student from siding with a US-recognized terror organization, it should certainly qualify for expulsion.

Now, you are already getting blowback from the Council of Arab and Islamic Relations decrying your actions as racist, Islamophobic and encroaching on violating the rights of free speech.

You should have expected that.

But the Jewish families in your district, and any family in your district that values decency and goodness in the face of the intents of pure evil are counting on you to show absolute moral clarity.

Please hold onto your moral compass and hold your ground.

We, the residents of Bloomfield Hills Schools, who next Tuesday, Nov. 7, are about to vote on a millage to once again raise our taxes to support your school district, need to know what kind of school district we are financially supporting.

If Bloomfield Hills Schools is truly a “No Place for Hate” district, expulsion is the only solution.

About the Author
Stacy Gittleman is a freelance writer and social media manager from Metro Detroit.
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