Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Not Objective?

The man who is about to become the United Nations' lead investigator into Israeli conduct is standing by his comments comparing Israeli actions in Gaza to those of the Nazis. Richard Falk will begin his job as special rapporteur for the UN's Human Rights Council later this year.

He said last year that Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Gaza is similar to Nazi Germany atrocities during World War II. He tells the BBC that he made the comment in order to shake up ambivalent U.S. public opinion. Falk says up to now Israel has been successful in avoiding the criticism that it deserves.

Negotiating With Terrorists?

Former President Jimmy Carter is said to be preparing for an unprecedented meeting with the leader of Hamas — an organization the U.S. government considers one of the leading terrorist threats in the world.

An Arabic-language newspaper reports Mr. Carter will meet with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal on April 18 in Syria. A Carter spokeswoman confirms the Mideast trip — and does not deny the meeting with Meshal. The head of one Muslim advocacy group cites Mr. Carter's credibility in the region because of his past peace efforts.

But former U.N. ambassador John Bolton calls it, "par for the course from President Carter, demonstrating a lack of judgment typical of what he does."

Religious School?

A substitute teacher in Minnesota says a taxpayer-funded charter school features adult-led prayers, Islamic studies and requires teachers to escort students to the restroom for what is called "ritual washing."

The Star Tribune newspaper reports teacher Amanda Getz contends students at the Tarek Ibn Ziyad Academy in Inver Grove Heights are required to attend prayers — and stay after school some days for Islamic teaching.

Federal guidelines prohibit teachers from participating in prayers with students, and the favoring of one religion over another. The State Department of Education says it inspects the school regularly and does not consider it a religious institution. But records show just three inspection visits to the campus in five years. The American Civil Liberties Union has launched an investigation of the school, and the state education department also has begun a review.

Not-So-Free Speech

And finally, Athens, Texas middle school student Melanie Bowers says she was attacked after making a sign critical of illegal immigration as part of a history assignment.

The 13-year-old Bowers was told to make a protest sign for class, so she came up with, "If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration."

But a local TV station reports Bowers says she was jumped and slammed into a wall by one Latino student — and that a group of boys threatened to rape and kill her. She says school officials ordered her back to class afterward and told her she could not call her parents.

Bowers' father says the school put his child in danger and mishandled the whole thing — from the assignment to its response to what he called a racially motivated crime. School officials say they have suspended three students involved in the incident.

FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume