A Hebrew teacher in Scotland who showed his 12-year old pupils an 18-rated film about a massacre that took place during the Israel-Lebanon War was lawfully sacked, a tribunal has ruled.
Jonathan Guetta, an Ivrit teacher, was dismissed from Mearns Castle High School in May last year after parents complained that he had shown their children the award-winning graphic war film Waltz with Bashir during an after-school class.
Guetta, who remains a registered teacher who also teaches French, alleged that he was dismissed from the East Renfrewshire school for reasons of antisemitism but employment tribunal chair Michelle Sutherland disagreed.
Waltz with Bashir was written and directed by Ari Folman, who served in the 1982 war as an infantry soldier and put the film together in order to help him and others piece together the events of the conflict, which involved Israeli teams infiltrating Lebanon in order to kill Palestinian militants.
The film’s depiction of the slaughter of hundreds of innocents, including children, during the Sabra and Shatila Massacre has been described as “shocking”. Other scenes have been described as showing “explicit” animated pornography.
Although Guetta is understood to have stood in front of the screen during the more disturbing scenes, one father described it as “wholly inappropriate for children” and Sutherland agreed, saying it was “akin to a graphic novel”.
In finding that East Renfrewshire Council acted lawfully, she said: “It contains war violence, including real life video footage of the aftermath of the massacre showing lifeless bodies of adults and children. It also has a brief explicit pornographic scene showing an animated man penetrating an animated woman.”
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