A Philadelphia-area school board member has resigned after making antisemitic comments on social media.
Jamina Clay, a school board member for the Colonial School District (CSD), received harsh rebuke for her comments regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The post was eventually deleted but nonetheless sparked outrage in the community.
“This is an elected official … posting LIES and incendiary comments that are not only false information but blatant antisemitism,” responded Rabbi Glenn Ettman, whose synagogue is located within CSD.
“The main thing that sticks out as harmful – not just hurtful, but harmful – was calling the Israel Defense Force a terrorist organization,” Ettman continued. “Words do matter. Words have influence, and certainly words that come from people who are elected officials hold even more weight because of the position which they hold.”
Clay publicly resigned Nov. 16, according to a Facebook post online, which is no longer accessible.
In a follow-up Facebook post, she said her intent was “to draw attention to the conflict in the middle east” and that “my choice of words may have caused harm to many.”
Though resigned from the CSD board, she will keep her job as assistant superintendent in the nearby School District of Philadelphia (SDP).
A spokesperson for SDP said Clay’s speech was protected by the First Amendment, but that her views “do not reflect the position, opinion or views of the School District of Philadelphia.”
Clay’s resignation didn’t stop angry citizens from condemning her actions at CSD’s meeting that night.
“Her statement was intellectually dishonest, hateful and frankly un-American,” Spencer Yablon told the board. “Your colleague’s comments bring to the surface what Jews have always felt: that antisemitism is all around us.”
Other education groups – such as the Oakland teachers’ union – have been blasted for seeming to take Hamas’ side in the conflict with Israel, while top universities have been losing donors over the issue.
After some hesitation, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution condemning student groups for using pro-Hamas rhetoric.