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What Would You Do

From The Times “School Gate”:

Juliette is 9. She was looking forward to going back to school this week following the winter break, but she’s not happy. In fact, although it’s only Thursday, she’s found the week very hard and doesn’t want to go to school tomorrow. You see, she’s being bullied – because she’s Jewish.

“What sort of people are you?” she’s being asked, constantly, at school. “You Jews are terrible, you’re all the same. You’re murderers. Why are you killing thousands of people in Palestine? Why don’t you leave other people alone?”

Juliette’s mother, Laura, is at a loss for what to do, especially as the political situation in Israel has become her daughter’s sole topic of conversation. She doesn’t feel that Juliette is sophisticated enough for a full understanding of Middle Eastern politics, but she is trying to help, especially as her daughter has become obsessed by the daily news. Juliette is slowly realising that not everything her tormentors are saying is actually true, and that they see no difference between Israel and the Jews, but knowing that doesn’t help her feel any better. They – particularly the Muslim girls, who have told her about all the rallies they have gone on and are especially vitriolic – seem to think that Juliette has responsibility for what is going on in the Middle East.

But Laura hasn’t even spoken to her daughter’s teacher about all this, even though Juliette is becoming increasingly upset.

“It’s so sensitive,” she says. “My daughter’s on the receiving end of classic anti-semitism, but it’s hard. She only went back to school this week and I don’t want to be seen to be as a whinging parent. I suppose I’m also worried about the political views of the teachers themselves. I do want it nipped in the bud, but what if they sided with the bullies?”

Hat tip: Keith