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Ithaca Tag

Ithaca, NY, home to Cornell University, is a notoriously liberal town. That liberalism, both on and off campus, is taking on an increasingly intolerant and totalitarian tone, as was just demonstrated when a small pro-Trump rally was attacked by a crowd organized by the Ithaca Democratic Socialists, but also carrying Black Lives Matter and anarchist flags and posters.

You remember the Extreme Ithaca Liberal campaign theme used successfully by Republican Representative Tom Reed in my home district NY-23? The Extreme Ithaca Liberal theme was used to beat well-financed liberal challengers over the head with a caricature of Ithaca liberals. It was a brilliant campaign theme because there was at least a kernel of truth to it, and the challenger didn't have to be from Ithaca for it to work.

Despite a lot of political flim-flam from the Tracy Mitrano campaign, including misleading use of polls to suck over $1 million from area liberals based on the false hope that the race was close, Republican Tom Reed easily won reelection in NY-23. The district includes ultra-liberal Ithaca and Tompkins County, where there was record turnout mostly for Mitrano, but Reed prevailed by 10 points:

I don't know Dr. Tom Taylor. But I understand his situation when he decided to attend Republican Congressman Tom Reed's town hall this morning in Ithaca, NY, where I work at Cornell Law School. In case you were unaware, Ithaca is like Berkeley, California, only smaller. Ithaca is in the NY-23 District. Reed has won in landslides the last two elections against Democratic challengers backed by national money. While no one is a sure thing, he is in a very strong position in this mostly conservative district. Ithaca is an anomaly in the District. In fact, Reed twice ran campaigns lambasting "Extreme Ithaca Liberals." This ad against Martha Robertson in 2014 irked many Ithaca progressives:

You probably have seen viral videos of the disruption of town halls held by Congressman Tom Reed. The media narrative is that there was an organic, grassroots uprising by concerned citizens. Don't believe it. As detailed below, there was a well-organized national and local campaign to get activists to Reed's town halls for the specific purpose of creating a protest environment. Instructions how to protest and what questions to ask were circulated. Though the town halls were in the western part of the district, liberal groups in Ithaca and Tompkins county organized protests and got their members there. Other liberal groups like Planned Parenthood also got their people out. The issue is not, as some have portrayed it, whether people were paid to protest. While most of the people at the town halls may have been there without prodding, it is clear that liberal activists groups made sure there were enough protesters, who had been schooled in tactics, in the crowds to create the viral video they hoped for. This was astroturf. The deliberate, well-planned creation of the appearance of grassroots opposition.

I was not in my hometown of Ithaca (NY) for the Women's March. Ithaca, in case you didn't know, is like Berkeley, California, only smaller. Here are the directions I used to give to my house, from November 2008:
To live in Ithaca is to live in a city alive with anti-Bush, anti-war protest.  I often joke that the directions to my house in Ithaca read as follows: Take a right at the fifth Obama sign, a left at the third “Impeach Bush” placard, bear right at the “Support Our Troops, End the War” poster, and we are the house just after the “There’s a Village in Texas Missing its Idiot” banner.
The Women's March attracted quite the crowd, estimated at 8-10 thousand people.

I appeared on the Mark Levin radio show on Wednesday night, December 14, 2016, to talk about my post, VIDEO: Activists manipulate third-graders into hating Israel. Video of the event is at the link above, which also has extensive background. The short version is that Ariel Gold from Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace arranged for Bassem Tamimi to appear before the third grade classes at an elementary school in Ithaca, NY. Tamimi is best known for using children, including his own, to confront Israeli soldiers in the hope of creating viral photos and videos. Tamimi urged the children to become activists and "freedom fighters for Palestine."

Anti-Israel activism by faculty at colleges and universities receives a lot of media attention in part because campuses generally are open to the public and college students are able to report on what happens. Faculty-inspired anti-Israel activism, however, is not limited to colleges and universities. I hear many parents and students complain that by the time many students reach college, they already have been turned against Israel. Far under the radar, the attempt to demonize Israel is moving down the educational chain even into elementary schools, pushed by activists who accept no boundaries even for young children. Yet because such activities take place in schools to which access is limited, and the young students are not developmentally able to report on what happens, it's rare to obtain hard visual proof. We have such proof.

On Friday morning, September 18, 2015, the third grade classes at the Beverly J. Martin School in Ithaca, NY, heard a presentation on “human rights” by Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi and local anti-Israel activists, led by Ariel Gold. In fact, through the investigative and litigation efforts of Legal Insurrection, it has become clear that the Tamimi event was an anti-Israel propaganda event targeting young children, and as we just learned, caused at least one student to suffer nightmares.

The Attempt to Portray the Tamimi Event as Loving and Promoting Peace

On Sunday night, September 20, Legal Insurrection broke the story, Anti-Israel activism hits elementary school in Ithaca, NY. Because of Tamimi’s notoriety for exploiting children in videotaped confrontations with Israeli soldiers, Tamimi’s mere appearance in a third grade class raised suspicions about the event.

We recently wrote about Miko Peled after Jewish Voice for Peace accused him of posting an antisemitic tweet, Jewish Voice for Peace disavows BDS activist Miko Peled: “No place 4 antisemitism in our movement”: https://twitter.com/mikopeled/status/776147480299835392 Peled denied that the tweet was antisemitic, as detailed in the prior post. But the fact that an anti-Israel group like JVP would make this accusation against Peled and would support the cancellation of his speech at Princeton was pretty remarkable.

The Ithaca Journal has an article today about my court victory against the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) seeking records under the NY Freedom of Information Law regarding the anti-Israel 3rd Grade event. The Ithaca Journal article, discussed below, reveals that ICSD spent over $20,000 in its fight to avoid having to disclose video and documents regarding the event. I laid out the history and the court ruling in my post, Another Legal Insurrection victory: Ct orders video released of anti-Israel 3rd Grade event. The short version is that for the second time, the court granted virtually all my requests, including forcing ICSD to release a video of the event. Before the litigation began I suggested the video be redacted by ICSD to protect student privacy, but ICSD refused to release ANY portion of the video or audio, even the portions that didn't contain student images or voices.  Instead, ICSD produced a partial transcript with obvious gaps.
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