A group of teen Israeli boys from an affluent Jerusalem suburb dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes and blackface on Friday to re-enact a segregation-era lynching as part of a Purim celebration.
The Times of Israel reported that the boys are students at Harel High School and are unashamed of the display. The school principal defended the boys’ decision, saying that the costumes provoked discussion and were therefore not offensive.
One student said that he had “no regrets” about the tasteless costumes. Another said that the decision was no worse than deciding to dress up as Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
When the boys posted photos of their costumes — including cages, wrist bindings and leg irons for the “black” students — on Facebook, other users immediately protested.
“There is no doubt that this is a shameful provocation that displays insensitivity,” said one commenter.
“I am ready to make a bet that if this were a picture of Nazis instead of KKK members and instead of bound up black people it involved Jewish prisoners, social networks and the media would be much more outraged now,” said another user.
It was through Facebook that the Israeli news agency Mizbala discovered the photos and published them.
The high school’s principal said that she sees no problem with the costumes.
“The costume created an interesting and important discussion,” said Rina Even-Tov. “This act essentially created a platform for discussion, it is no different from a Nazi costume.”
The images are currently still posted on the high school’s Flickr photostream.
Purim is a Jewish festival day commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from a Persian plot to murder them.
[image via Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]