The largest teachers’ union in the United States has backed two proposed resolutions attacking Israel, in line with the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
At its “Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly” on Wednesday, the National Education Association will consider the resolutions , which accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and call upon the U.S. government to “stop arming and supporting Israel.”
The resolutions claim that Israel has practiced “the detention and abuse of children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” and praises the “Arab population of Palestine,” which “has again risen up in a heroic struggle against military repression and ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the Israeli state and extreme nationalist forces in Israeli society,” the Daily Wire reported.
One of the two resolutions calls for the establishment of a “Palestinian state.” Experts say that a so-called “Palestinian state” administered by the Palestinian Authority would endanger Israel’s national security.
The resolution, titled Business Item 29, reads:
The NEA will publicize its support for the Palestinian struggle for justice and call on the United States government to stop arming and supporting Israel and Saudi Arabia. … The Arab population of Palestine has again risen up in a heroic struggle against military repression and “ethnic cleansing” by the Israeli state and extreme nationalist forces in Israeli society. The NEA’s support of this struggle will weaken reaction internationally.
Another resolution, Business Item 51, calls on the NEA to recognize the sovereignty of Palestine and require teachers to “educate members and the general public about the history, culture, and struggles of Palestinians.”
Earlier this year, three local unions affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second largest teachers’ union, condemned Israel as an “apartheid state.” Federation President Randi Weingarten described Jews as being “part of the ownership class” and repeated antisemitic, leftist tropes about Jews becoming capitalists to attain power and oppress the poor:
American Jews are now part of the ownership class. Jews were immigrants from somewhere else. And they needed the right to have public education. And they needed power to have enough income and wealth for their families that they could put their kids through college and their kids could do better than they have done. Both economic opportunity through the labor movement and an educational opportunity through public education were key for Jews to go from the working class to the ownership class. What I hear when I hear that question is that those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.
The effort to centre pro-Palestinian activists in their conflict against Israel has been condemned by the Parents Defending Education, which highlighted much more pressing issues currently facing students in the U.S.
“Over the past 15 months, students across the country have been shut out of schools, creating learning deficits that will haunt our kids for a generation,” wrote Nicole Neily, founder and president of the organization. “The NEA’s inflammatory and divisive fixation on political issues is further proof that the education of America’s students isn’t a priority for the union. My heart goes out to the Jewish members of the NEA whose union dues are being used to promote anti-Semitic lies about Jews and Israel.”