August 7, 2007 — Dhabah “Debbie” Almontaser is to be principal of Khalil Gibran Interna tional Academy, New York City’s new Arabic-centered public school, when it opens in the fall.
Either she is a fool or she thinks New Yorkers are morons. Regardless, she has no business running a public school.
Almontaser, as The Post’s Chuck Bennett and Jana Winter reported yesterday, sits on the board of an organization that shares office space with a group called Arab Women Active in Art and Media, which has been selling T-shirts proudly proclaiming “Intifada NYC.”
What does that mean, exactly?
Is it meant to support the Palestinian intifada, which has killed thousands of innocent people over the years?
Is it an incitement to such deadly violence here in New York City?
Neither, according to Almontaser.
“The word basically means ‘shaking off,’ ” she tells The Post. “That is the root word, if you look it up in Arabic.”
And while she says that intifada “is developing a negative connotation” because of its murderous anti-Israeli violence, Almontaser claims the shirts are merely “an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society . . . and shaking off oppression.”
And the moon is made of green cheese.
No doubt, Almontaser is right about the literal definition of “intifada.”
But if its generally accepted meaning were as benign as she insists, you can bet no one would be wearing it on a T-shirt.
You can further bet that she knows it.
Now, if Dhabah Almontaser is going to be as disingenuous about something like this, why should New Yorkers believe her claim that “you won’t find religious or political indoctrination or anti-Americanism” at her Khalil Gibran school?
Or, if she really doesn’t understand the difference, what is she doing with the job in the first place?
We’ve been leery about the Gibran school from the outset, because it may prove to be more a madrassa than a true public school. But we’ve kept our counsel because of our high regard for Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.
But if Klein chooses to go ahead with this dubious enterprise, he needs to do it with someone other than Dhabah “Debbie” Almontaser as principal.