Not in any yearbook!

Not in any yearbook!

Aside from the Cancel Culture using the shifting verbal sands as a cudgel, some once-innocuous words, phrases, and symbols, through no fault of their own, have taken on an entirely different dark context that precludes their use going forward.  

Take the word “boy.” There was a time it meant nothing more than a male child, but now its use connotes subservience. Hurl that term at a black man, and no matter how innocent your intent, it won’t work out very well for you.

The “OK” hand signal we all used right up to 2017 simply conferred that everything was copacetic. But then a bit of Net satire accidentally turned it into a “white power” symbol and, despite its inoffensive since the 17th Century, it will never mean “things are good” again,

But the granddaddy of this mutable process is the ancient swastika, a symbol that meant well-being to Hindus, the “wandering tribes” to the Hopi, and the sacred “whirling log” to the Navajo.

No matter how defiantly you define its meaning, for all of the obvious National Socialist baggage, should you be foolish enough to wear swastika earrings, you’re going to have a very bad day. And no amount of rehabilitation will bring that revered symbol back to respectability.

The same thing goes for:

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

Because no matter how desperately you try to reframe that slogan/chant, once it was co-opted by groups unflinchingly dedicated to the destruction of Israel, it was swiftly distilled down to an anti-Semitic call for the mass murder of Israeli Jews. And just like our previous examples, no amount of propaganda or attempted recovery is going to change that reality.

So, when Bartlett High School administrators were warned that this genocidal slogan had somehow slipped into their 2024 yearbook, they didn’t dither. They did exactly the right thing by halting its distribution until the offending photo could be removed.

Considering current events and previously publicized errant yearbook declarations that made it past the censors, I’m not sure how this one got by them. But in the pantheon of challenges facing today’s school administrators, not the least of which is mass shootings, yearbooks don’t rank among their top priorities.

Of course, when they pulled that photo from the yearbook, it should’ve been the end of it. But “the end of it” never seems to be the case in the post-COVID world. So, instead of a hearty pat on the back those same sane administrators are being subjected to a national backlash over removing an obviously anti-Semitic photograph.

Proving just how white they really are, Bartlett High parents and alumni flocked to sign a petition demanding the photograph’s reinstatement. That puerile reaction begs the question, how would they react to a depiction of a Black Lives Matter banner or Confederate flag gracing those same pages.

Not to be outdone, Uday Jain, a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Chicago, said the slogan isn’t antisemitic, it’s “anti-Zionist.” “It is essential to differentiate Judaism from Zionist thought,” he explained.

So apparently, it’s just a “coincidence” that all Zionists are Jews?

Jain added “…they [administrators] have no right to silence and criminalize students who are making this urgent, thoughtful, and loving critique,” which only proves that when it come to fucking idiots, he’s the undisputed champion. And that’s really saying something when you consider competition like Donald Trump

“Criminalize?” What student was charged with any hate crime? “Silenced?” What student was told to shut up? They have the inalienable right to march in a protest while proudly chanting for the extermination of Middle Eastern Jews.

And “loving?” Nothing quite says “love your neighbor” like threatening to wipe them out.

In addition to extolling the “support,” Bartlett High School senior and former advisor to the school board, Asraar Siddiqui, tried to tell that same body that, “None of these signs were created or displayed with malevolent intent and antisemitic prejudice, and there is nothing inherently offensive about them.”

Considering teenagers’ inherent idiocy and their slim potential for redemption, it would be unfair for me to claim that U-46 taxpayers aren’t getting much of a return on his 12-year education.  Though I’m sorely tempted to do so. What I will say is his capacity to willfully ignore the truth indicates he has a bright future as a Trump supporter.

I do not believe that Mr. Siddiqui nor his cohorts harbored any ill will here, but his attempted mitigation is utterly immaterial because the slogan has taken on a meaning that’s far greater than any individual intent. Put more simply, its inherent anti-Semitism CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be ignored.

If, after reading that paragraph, our young charge still doesn’t get it, here’s what I want him to do. Please purchase a swastika t-shirt and proudly wear it while walking around downtown Elgin. If he gets a sideways glance from anyone, I want him to explain that the swastika is a 6,000-year-old Native American symbol that has absolutely nothing to do with hate, Aryan superiority, or the Holocaust.

Particularly as an Arab-American, I sincerely doubt he’d make it through the day.

Just like the Nazis assimilated that once-venerable symbol, Fatah, Hamas, and Hezbollah have co-opted “From the river to the sea” such that its singular meaning is a call for the destruction of Israel along with the mass murder of Jews, and nothing will ever change that reality.

That’s why that slogan has no place in any yearbook anywhere and I laud those Bartlett High School administrators for seeing and appropriately responding to the truth. And the fact that some of you still fail to understand the truth doesn’t make it any less valid.

One thought on “Not in any yearbook!

  1. Ahhh Jeff . . how did that SNL line go . . Jeff you ignorant slut . . your Pro-Genside, Pro-Zionist, Pro-Netanyahu worldview is showing . . . in this case your ignorance is showing . . . Bigly . . .
    First . . the overwhelming majority of Nazis, I mean Zionists are christian . . Demented, Hateful creatures foaming at the mouth wanting a war in Palestine to hasten the return of their imaginary jesus and start the End times . . (see Mike Pence )
    The jewish Nazis, I mean Zionists (Netanyahu and his right-wing-nut religious zealots) believe that a book their religious ancestors wrote (about 25 – 2700 years ago), explaining a ‘god’ their religious ancestors invented promised them, pretty much, most of the Middle East(ish) . . these Nazis, I mean Zionists religious ancestors, according to this book, committed Genocide like it was any Thursday . . and this ‘god’ told them they were the master race, wait no that was the Zionist, I mean Nazis (I get them mixed up) . . The Nazis were the Master race and the Zionists were this ‘god’s “chosen people” . .
    . . the Nazis, I mean Zionist say . . From the river to the sea, Israel will be free! . . ¿ are you saying that is okay . . BUT . . From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free! is NOT ???? . . There is one thing . . when the Nazis, I mean Zionists say “From the river to the sea, Israel will be free!” they back it up with their, ‘god’ approved, acts of Genocide . . . (see Gaza)

    Jeff . . this is another topic you have oversimplified because of your ignorance . .
    Here are some “Rules of thumb” . .
    1) Nazis / Zionists . . . B A D . .
    2) Jews . . . Good . . .
    3) Palestinians. . Oppressed people, aka Victims

    Oh, Oh, Oh . . Google “Semitic people” . . . the Palestinians ARE also Semitic. . as is all of Nothern Africa and pretty much all of the Middle East . . the Nazis, damn I mean Zionists stole the phrase to mean only them . . So contrary to your Pro-Genside, Pro-Zionist, Pro-Netanyahu worldview All Jews are NOT Nazis. I mean Zionists . . many Jews denounce Zionism . . . I can back up everything I wrote with FACTs . . .you remember Fact . . those are things you normally use when you are not being a tool of your Pro-Genside, Pro-Nazi, Pro-Zionist, Pro-Netanyahu masters . . .

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