Students expelled over inappropriate ‘Jews Vs. Nazis’ beer pong game
Given the recent political tensions over so-called white supremacist rallies in the USA, one would assume that trivialising the events of WWII - in which millions of Jewish people were slaughtered at the hands of the Nazis - would be something best avoided.
A group of students at the Lovett School in the state of Georgia seemed to think otherwise, however, when they posted pictures of themselves playing 'Jews Vs. Nazis' beer pong. The images, which were distributed via Snapchat, show students playing the popular drinking game on a table with cups arranged on one side as the Star of David, and as the Nazi Swastika on the other. Over thirty people were in attendance at the gathering, 19 of which were current school seniors.
So far, one student has been expelled, five were suspended and two have been banned from co-curricular activities at the $27,720 a year prep school.
“The fact that someone could even conceive of such a game and then play it and think it’s funny is beyond words,” said Rabbi Peter Berg, who reported the students to the school's headmaster after seeing a photo of the game on social media. "We as a community, as a country, have to get our hands and wrap our hands around the problem of hate speech in general, to understand how horrifying that image is to Jewish people."
The incident, which took place at an off-campus house party, is just one of an increasing number of anti-Semitic acts to have been committed in the USA recently.
The Anti-Defamation League, a religious organisation whose aim is to protect Jewish people and "secure fair treatment for all", reported an 86 per cent spike in anti-Semitic cases in the United States of America in the past 18 months. This comes just after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which participants of a "Unite the Right" rally were reported to have been chanting "blood and soil" - a Nazi slogan that derives its meaning from the idea that farmers of German ethnic origin were superior to Jews.
"They're seeing major events of hatred in the public, and they're thinking that hate is ok," said one of Anti-Defamation League's regional directors, Allison Goodman, in a statement about the house party. The increasing amount of racism towards individuals of Jewish heritage is simply unacceptable, and it cannot be allowed to continue without punishment.
The school's headteacher, William S. Peebles, has yet to release a statement to news sources, but has apparently sent a letter out to parents regarding the event. In the letter, Peebles revealed that the expelled student had been ousted from the Lovett School because he lied to school officials about his role in organising and playing the game.
A similar event actually happened a year ago at Princeton High School - again with pictures of the incident having been posted to social media - though nobody is reported to have been expelled over the matter. At the time, Steve Cochrane, the school's Superintendent, stated that he was, "deeply upset that some of [Princeton's] students chose to engage in a drinking game with clearly anti-Semitic overtones and to broadcast their behavior over social media."
Hopefully the retribution faced by students at the Lovett School will deter anybody else from participating in the game in future.