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Lawsuits Over 'Pervasive Anti-Semitism' at New York School

Three families sue school-district over pervasive Anti-Semitism, comes after survey finds European hatred of Jews rising.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 11/9/2013, 8:44 PM

Illustration: Swastika scrawled in Brooklyn
Illustration: Swastika scrawled in Brooklyn
Israel news photo: Dov Levi

In Pine Bush, New York, three Jewish families are bringing lawsuits against their school district for "pervasive anti-Semitism and indifference by school officials," which has led their children to feel unsafe going to school. 

The news comes after a survey by the European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) revealed anti-Semitism in Europe is on the rise as well, with 76% of respondents saying anti-Semitism had worsened in the past five years.

The New York lawsuit is against the Pine Bush Central School District, which serves 5,600 children, and is located about 90 minutes north of New York City.

The New York Times relates testimony that recently in the school district swastikas "seemed to be everywhere," drawn in various places around the schools, while Jewish students have been called names, had coins thrown at them, been shoved and even beaten.

The students further report witnessing "white power" chants and Nazi salutes.

While the school district is contesting the lawsuit brought by three Jewish families last year, some school officials have admitted in depositions that there is a serious problem.

The Jewish students accuse at least 35 students of anti-Semitic acts, while other offenders are identified more indirectly.

Meanwhile in Europe, the FRA survey found that anti-Semitism on the internet has become increasingly prevalent.

The survey was released ahead of the 75th anniversary of "Kristallnacht," a major pogrom in which supporters of the Nazi regime embarked on a deadly rampage against the Jewish community, killing dozens and torching scores of synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses.

In commemoration, German President Joachim Gauck on Friday visited a former workshop whose owner fought to save his staff from a subsequent mass-deportation of Jews to concentration camps.