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Exclusive: Emails Show Alarming Level Of Anti-Israel Activity At Illinois STEM School

"from the river to the sea" anti-israel sign
Image CreditParents Defending Education/Public Records Request

Emails obtained by Parents Defending Education show several cases of anti-Israel activity at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

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An Illinois-based STEM school is experiencing an alarming level of anti-Israel activity among students and faculty, communication records provided to The Federalist show.

Obtained via open-records request by Parents Defending Education (PDE), the emails in question document numerous instances of antagonism toward Israel by Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) staff and students. Much of the rhetoric and activities mirror growing antisemitism at other U.S. academic institutions.

On Oct. 15, 2023, for example, IMSA President Evan Glazer sent an email to staff in which he expressed concern about Hamas’ Oct.7 attack on Israel that left more than 1,200 civilians dead. While the message was largely devoted to school-related matters, Glazer wrote in the final paragraph that he “can’t help but struggle over the reports out of Israel with the impact on citizens and children” and encouraged faculty members to reach out to friends and family who may be affected by the tragedy.

“When I lived in New York, we were good friends with an Israeli family, so I texted them and was relieved their family hadn’t been harmed,” Glazer wrote. “If we have any Israeli or Palestinian families, let’s find a way to check in on them.”

In a response sent later that day, one staff member — whose name is redacted — complained there “isn’t much coverage of the effect the war has had on the Palestinian people” and claimed “there has been as much if not more death and devastation” in Gaza, a popular talking point inspired by fake casualty numbers peddled by Hamas terrorists. The staff member further opined that it was important that “we remain unbiased and impartial throughout this conflict without the appearance of taking sides.”

Glazer responded to the unknown official’s email the following day, providing a draft of remarks he intended to publish in a weekly newsletter sent to students, parents, faculty, and staff. In his draft, Glazer stated: “The turmoil developing in Israel is a reminder that we have a responsibility to condemn violence that harms and displaces innocent lives. Regardless of a person’s position on the conflict, citizens deserve dignity as Israelis and Palesinians [sic] work through their differences.” He also called on students to learn from their differences with others to “come to terms on how we can be a more tolerant society.”

While the official thanked Glazer for penning the article — which watered down the barbaric attack on civilians as a “conflict” and reduced the terrorism to “differences” — he or she fired back with the claim that “there’s turmoil in both Israel and Gaza,” and that the latter is “an occupied Palestinian territory.” Glazer thanked the official for the “clarification” that evening.

The IMSA president seemingly embraced the undisclosed official’s claims. An amended version of Glazer’s article was published in the school newsletter the next day and included a paragraph that was altered to read: “The turmoil developing in Israel and Gaza is a reminder that we have a responsibility to condemn violence that harms and displaces innocent lives” (emphasis added).

Anti-Israel attitudes were also seemingly professed by members of the school’s student body. On Nov. 15, 2023, an unidentified IMSA area coordinator sent an email informing DEI Director Adrienne Coleman and other school officials that he or she had come across a fundraising pamphlet in a classroom that links to a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) website.

As Yaron Brook wrote in these pages, UNRWA “portrays itself as a United Nations agency meant to help refugees.” Earlier this year, however, “information surfaced alleging at least a dozen UNRWA ‘aid’ workers took part in the brutal Oct. 7 Hamas attacks,” and, “Israeli Defense Forces found Hamas tunnels running right underneath UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza City.”

In the email to Coleman and others, the area coordinator claimed: “When I scan the QR code [linking to the fundraiser], it mentioned IMSA and had a student IMSA’s name that created the page.” This prompted the coordinator to question whether the pamphlets were “approved” for the IMSA campus and to explain, “In the past, we had student clubs have to receive a stamp before posting flyers or pamphlets across campus.”

“Is this still a practice we follow?” the coordinator asked.

[RELATED: Parental Rights Group Files Complaint Against Illinois School For Racist Black- And Hispanic-Only Programs]

Photographs of the pamphlet indicate the handout was published by IMSA’s Amnesty International and Muslim Students Association (MSA) clubs. The front of the pamphlet reads, “Palestine: The Ongoing Nakba,” apparently in reference to Israel’s war of independence, which was launched by five Arab armies in 1948 after the creation of a Jewish state. The headline is accompanied by a Palestinian flag and a series of maps showing what the pamphlet’s authors claim to be the “Palestinian Loss of Land” from 1947 to today.

Meanwhile, the back of the pamphlet includes a section labeled “False Narratives,” which attempts to disprove true statements about the Israel-Hamas conflict, such as, “Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitism,” and, “Israel Is Defending Itself.” Under the latter statement, the pamphlet claims: “This claim stems from a lack of historical context,” and, “As occupied people, the Palestinians have the right to resistance in any way possible, and Israel DOES NOT have the right to defend itself.”

anti-Israel pamphlet

No follow-up emails to the coordinator’s inquiry about the pamphlet “were provided in the request response” filed by Parents Defending Education, according to the group.

The Amnesty International and MSA pamphlets are just the tip of the iceberg, however. Fliers apparently displayed at IMSA are emblazoned with the slogan: “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free,” a phrase often used by pro-Hamas demonstrators to call for the eradication of Israel.

A separate email acquired by PDE shows an unidentified IMSA student seemingly affiliated with the Student Coalition for Racial Justice club asking an administrator about funding for stamps the group could use to send letters to “representatives in favor of calling for a ceasefire” in so-called Palestine.

In a statement to The Federalist, PDE Director of Outreach Erika Sanzi blasted IMSA officials for “proselytizing about the Middle East conflict to a captive audience of students” and called on them to “find another job” if they “prefer to be activists during the school day.”

“This is a math and science academy, not a madrassa,” Sanzi said.


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