(Newport Beach, CA - March 5th, 2019) -- StandWithUs and Artists4Israel are deeply concerned about the Nazi salutes and swastika caught in a photo of a high school party in Newport Beach, California. Displays of support for Nazism have no place in our society, and it is shocking that students at Newport Harbor High School (NHHS) and Costa Mesa High School (CMHS) would engage in such bigotry. At the same time, we applaud student leaders, school administrators, and local officials for their swift condemnation and action in response to this deeply disturbing incident. We also appreciate the apologies by some of the students who participated.
"As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I know that swastikas and Nazi salutes are not a joke or something to be taken lightly," said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. "To make light of the industrial scale genocide committed against Jews and others during World War II is to dance on the graves of millions of people. That said, despite the insensitivity and ignorance this incident represents, I believe it also creates an opportunity for a powerful teachable moment."
Craig Dershowitz, CEO of Artists4Israel, said that, "the Holocaust degrades our morality. It is a stain upon our humanity and a time of great sorrow for the world and of particular anguish for the Jewish people and other victims who, to this very day, suffer from its terror. There is never a place to make light of it and especially in these divisive times we should be more sensitive to hate and intolerance in every form. Our future generations have the opportunity to either sink into the abyss or rise above. We hope it is the latter."
We are encouraged by the response from NHHS students and administrators, as well as local officials who have shown overwhelming support for Jews and others who have been affected. We urge them to follow through with a comprehensive campaign to educate and break down prejudices among students, and are offering our resources and support to communities in Orange County.
StandWithUs (SWU) is a seventeen-year-old, international, non-profit Israel education organization. Through fellowships, conferences, materials, social media, educational films, and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their campuses and communities about Israel.
Based in Los Angeles, SWU has chapters throughout the United States, in Israel, Canada, and the U.K.
Celebrating its 10th Year Anniversary, Artists 4 Israel stops the spread of anti-Israel bigotry and bias through art and helps communities and people affected by terror and hate.