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McCormick Speaks Out on Pro-Palestinian Protesters Occupying Universities

As a pro-Palestinian encampment and protest at the University of Pennsylvania continues, Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick is calling on the university to put an end to the illegal demonstration.

More than 3,200 students, faculty, and staff signed a petition telling the university to disband the encampment. School administrators have ordered the it closed. Protesters defied those orders.

McCormick, who visited the Penn campus last week, told DVJournal in a podcast interview, “What we’re seeing on these campuses is the explicit antisemitism, explicit anti-Americanism, an environment that’s intimidating to other students.”

“It’s standing in the way of the fundamental purpose of the universities, which is to create an environment where people can learn,” said McCormick. “It’s the threat of violence and violence has occurred in a number of places. So, I’m a strong proponent of free speech and the First Amendment. I’m a soldier. I went to war to make sure that American values would prevail. But what’s happening on those campuses goes far beyond that. It’s created an environment of hatred and bigotry that’s unacceptable.

“And these encampments are in direct violation of university policy,” said McCormick. “And so you walk through this, and it’s heartbreaking.”

“Many of the people are not students, they’re from outside,” he added. “Agitators, Antifa and others. But you do see kids on these campuses. They don’t know the difference between right and wrong. They don’t know the difference between good and evil. And you say, ‘My, God. How could that happen?’ on the campuses of some of our greatest universities and then you see that congressional testimony of those three college presidents, and you say, ‘That’s how it happened.’”

Asked about the double standard of how some people accept protesters’ antisemitism when they would not accept bigotry toward other minority groups, McCormick said, “If you had taken that congressional testimony and put African American or LGBTQ or anything instead of Jewish students, those university presidents could have never even conceived of giving the testimony they gave.

“And I think it almost emanates from a basic Marxist ideology that’s defining the world as the oppressed and the oppressors. We see this across university campuses,” he said.

McCormick noted the campus “jihad” is “not just against Israel and Jewish students. It’s directed at all of us. And so this is a big fight. It’s a big fight of ideas. It’s the big fight of hatred. And we have to embrace the fight. We have to get in the fight with leaders who are not going to mince words. And are going to be clear on the moral imperative and have the courage to speak out truthfully on it.”

“You can’t have it both ways,” McCormick said. “You can’t say you’re against antisemitism and endorse an antisemite like [U.S. Rep.] Summer Lee (D-Pa.),” he said. “You have to show leadership, and sadly, [Sen.] Bob Casey and so many others have failed.”

Casey’s silence is in stark contrast with his fellow Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. John Fetterman, who’s been an outspoken advocate for Israel’s right to self defense and an unapologetic critic of the protesters.

Fetterman said the protests were “working against peace in the Middle East” and reiterated his backing for the U.S. sending aid to the country.

“If you’re going to protest on these campuses, or now what, they’re going all across America as well, too. I really want to, can’t forget, that the situation right now could end right now, if Hamas just surrendered,” Fetterman said.

Penn senior Eyal Yakoby showed McCormick around campus and also helped to deliver the petition demanding an end to the encampment to university administrators. Yakoby also spoke at Congress prior to the college presidents’ ill-fated testimony.

“The community of Penn stands with the law and with Jameson’s words last Friday to clear the encampment. We do not stand with hate or bigotry of any kind,” he said Friday.

Far-left Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner visited the Penn pro-Palestinian encampment Wednesday and said, “The First Amendment comes from here. This is Philadelphia, we don’t have to do stupid like they did at Columbia,” Krasner told Penn’s student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. “What we should be doing here is upholding our tradition of being a welcoming, inviting city, where people say things, even if other people don’t like them.”

Despite Krasner’s remarks, the Philadelphia police stand ready to help the University of Pennsylvania police if called.

“The Philadelphia Police Department remains committed to facilitating safe demonstrations while ensuring the safety and upholding the First Amendment rights of all who live, work or visit our city,” a spokesperson told DVJournal. “In line with this commitment, the Philadelphia Police Department maintains a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Pennsylvania Police Department to ensure effective cooperation in situations requiring a police response. As per the MOU, the PPD will provide assistance to the UPPD as needed. However, for tactical purposes, we do not publicly discuss specific planning or engagement strategies related to ongoing situations.

Our response will be based on the specific circumstances of each situation.”

A Penn spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

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At Least Two DelVal School Districts Are Dealing With Alleged Antisemitism of Board Members

As blowback from the Israeli/Hamas war continues to affect the U.S. some elected officials revealed their thoughts on social media, leading to controversy. State Sen. Nikil Saval (D-Philadelphia) protested with pro-Palestinian groups at 30th Street Station recently. And one of Saval’s staffers posted anti-Israel, pro-Hamas messages to social media.

Now a Colonial School Board member and a newly elected but unsworn Upper Dublin School Board member have both been called out for alleged antisemitic incidents.

After she said in a Facebook post that the Israeli Defense Force was a terrorist group and that their campaign against Hamas was genocide, Colonial School District residents were outraged. School Board Member Jamina Clay Ph.D. submitted her resignation and the board heard comments from an outraged public at a Thursday night meeting.

Although she has resigned from her elected suburban post, Clay remains an assistant superintendent in the Philadelphia School District, which released a statement saying that while they disagree with her comments, she has a First Amendment right to speak.

Clay posted an apology to Facebook: “Because of the pain that my post has caused, I have resigned from my seat on the Colonial School Board effective immediately. I understand that the district needs to heal from the painful words that I chose, and it is best to do that in my absence. The board is prepared to move forward and I hope that with me no longer occupying the seat, the community is able to do so as well…I apologize for the post that I made and I hope to learn from this situation. I will continue to pray for peace in the Middle East.”

The  board will vote on whether to accept Clay’s resignation next month.

The district issued a statement, that said in part, “Colonial School District prides itself on cultivating a sense of belonging. All our schools work hard each year to maintain their designations as No Place for Hate Schools as part of our partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and take part in many other initiatives and programs meant to encourage equity, inclusion, and belonging. We condemn all forms of hatred and violence and remind all that we have counseling services available for anyone who may be struggling.”

“The work to cultivate a sense of belonging in our schools is ever-evolving and never truly complete. We continue this work in a spirit of kindness, empathy, and in the hopes of moving our district forward in a positive direction,” the sdistrict said.

Jamina Clay Ph.D.

A petition with more than 2,000 signatures has been launched about Tricia Ebarvia, a newly elected Upper Dublin School Board member who ran as a Democrat.

Ebarvia posted to Facebook promoting a seminar that purports to teach the history of Israel and the Palestinians but is filled with inaccurate and antisemitic tropes. Among them are descriptions of Israel as a colonial power and references to  “ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.”

Community members then launched  a petition with more than 1,500 signatures, asking her to refuse to be sworn in and apologize to the Upper Dublin community.

Ebarvia’s post, made shortly after her election, encouraged Upper Dublin residents, students, and teachers to participate in the webinar entitled “Getting to the Root: Sharing Stories and Humanizing Palestine-Part 1”.

One of the speakers on the webinar (who Ebarvia follows on Instagram) is Sawsan Jaber. Jaber recently posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) referring to President Joseph Biden as “Genocide Joe.”

In another X post, Jaber, a teacher in the Chicago area, wrote, “Teaching Palestine is dismantling single story narratives that serve the purpose of justifying genocide and displacement funded by our American $$. You can’t be a social justice advocate and not advocate for Palestinians.”

The petition says, “In the Upper Dublin School District, we have a relatively large number of Jewish students, parents, teachers, staff, and administration members. The District is also home to a number of Israelis. The language identified in the webinar’s description and Ms. Ebarvia’s close association with those who are supporting the same is very concerning. The language is not only inaccurate and extremely hurtful to Jewish and Israeli people, but her associates’ comments about the United States should be distressing to all Americans.”

Jaclyn Ackerman signed the petition and wrote, “We thought we lived in this bubble called Upper Dublin, and this bubble is no longer a bubble. After seeing what has been going on in Jewish communities throughout the world, we need to stand up and not be silent in the face of ignorance. Never again is now!”

Another person who signed, Ryan Levinson, wrote, “It is absolutely disgusting that this is happening in UD–a place that has been very welcoming to Jews since I was born. I graduated from UD in 2019 and could not be more disappointed. It is sad knowing that an Upper Dublin school board member is stupid enough to fall for the propaganda and lies being pushed out by Hamas.”

“Ms. Ebarvia’s social media activities demonstrate a complete lack of judgment with and, worse, has essentially endorsed antisemitic propaganda that has no place in our community,” the petition states. It asks that Ebarvia not take the oath of office and apologize to the community.

Otherwise, it suggests her removal from the board will be sought.

Ebarvia, who works as a diversity, equity, and inclusion administrator at the Greene Street Friends School in Philadelphia, did not respond to requests for comment.

Upper Dublin School Board President Jeff Wallack released this statement: “It is not the Board’s position to comment on election matters or statements made by, or about, a community member recently elected to the Board, but not yet sworn in and seated. It is the Board’s position to comment that the mission of the School District is to provide the best educational opportunities and support to and for all students.  The Board and the District oppose anything contrary to that mission, including acts of hatred, bullying, and intolerance such as, without limitation, terrorism, antisemitism, and religious or cultural discrimination or intolerance of any type against members of any community.”

Resident Files Petition to Recall Great Valley School Board Members

Seven members of the Great Valley School District could be driven from office if irate residents have their way.

The seven are named in a petition in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas last Thursday, filed by a local taxpayer angered over the district’s mandatory mask policy. The district was served Tuesday, said Kerry Puia, the lead plaintiff.

Puia, whose own children are grown, told the Delaware Valley Journal Tuesday that she is striking a blow for freedom. And, she believes, thousands of others share her sentiments.

“I got involved because of the fact that people’s freedoms were being taken away,” said Puia.  Puia noted that the two school board members not named in the recall petition were absent last July when the board voted to impose mask mandates.

“Basically, we started our own petition because of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling, which is cited in the petition, that what the governor and school boards were doing was unconstitutional.”

The school boards “are not listening to parents or taxpayers,” she said. The Paoli resident and others tried to talk with the board before taking this step, but nobody listened to them, she said.

“People are being completely shut out,” she said. “Their voices aren’t being heard…And so it’s gotten to this point.”

The board is “not allowing parents a choice,” she said. And even though the mask mandate is being lifted next week, the district could just as easily re-impose it.

“We’re the voice for thousands of people,” said Puia, who noted that people in some other districts, including West Chester and Downingtown, have also filed petitions to recall school board members.

The petition accuses GVSB members David Barratt, Rachel Gallegos, Wendy Litzke, Jennifer Armstrong, Stephen Dittmann, Samantha Jouin, and Neha Mehta of failing to perform their duties.

“The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled the order to force EUA (emergency use authorization) experimental medical devices to be worn by healthy children (masking) by the Secretary of Health was so illegal, it should have never occurred,” the petition said. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the PA Commonwealth Court decision on December 10, 2021. The ruling has deemed the forced masking order by the Secretary of Health “void ab initio” and unenforceable.”

The petition further stated, “Municipal government agencies may not create new rules or regulations’ out of whole cloth’, only the Pennsylvania legislature has that authority.

“There is no state of emergency in Pennsylvania allowing for rules to be subverted, and the highest courts in our state ruled, twice, that the Pennsylvania Health Department may not force mask healthy children. ‘The Board’ has failed to follow proper procedure for exception requests to their illegal policies.”

A spokeswoman for the Great Valley School District did not respond to a request for comment.

The court has not set a hearing date for the petition.


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