NYC elementary teacher Saiful Ashraf faces backlash for alleged antisemitic remarks, triggering protests and a city investigation into the incident.

Who is Saiful Ashraf?

Saiful Ashraf, a New York City elementary school teacher, is under scrutiny for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Jewish college athletes, referring to them as “Zionist bombers” and accusing them of whitewashing terrorism. Ashraf, employed by the NYC Department of Education, is facing backlash for his comments.

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In recent developments, a Facebook photo surfaced showing Ashraf holding a sign that reads, “I stand with Israel.” This triggered a planned protest by students who, upon seeing the image, discussed “starting a riot” in their group chat. The incident unfolded at Hillcrest High School in Queens, where students chanted, waved Palestinian flags, and demanded the teacher’s removal.

The teacher, who has remained unnamed, has been part of the city’s school system for 23 years and taught at Hillcrest for seven. She expressed feeling shaken by online threats and calls for violence against her.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams condemned the incident as a “vile show of antisemitism” and emphasized that such hatred will not be tolerated in schools. The mayor announced a full investigation by NYC Public Schools into the circumstances surrounding the antisemitic display.

The teacher’s safety concerns highlight the broader issue of rising antisemitic incidents. Since a deadly attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists, New York City has witnessed a surge in anti-Jewish incidents, with the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force investigating 69 cases in October alone, marking a 214% increase compared to the previous year.

Mayor Adams has committed to addressing the unacceptable behavior and ensuring that students, teachers, and staff members feel safe within the school environment. Project Pivot teams are set to engage with Hillcrest students to convey the gravity of such behavior and promote understanding.

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As the investigation unfolds, concerns persist about the impact of hate speech within educational institutions and the need for measures to prevent discrimination and maintain a secure learning environment.