Nation’s Largest Teachers’ Union to Consider Resolution Condemning Israel’s ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Palestinians

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A worker takes a break while cleaning up a basketball court at Glasgow Middle School, a Fairfax County Public School, during deadline day for families and teachers countywide to decide between teaching/learning from home or in the classroom due to the coronavirus, in Falls Church, Va., July 15, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers’ union, is set to debate a pair of resolutions this week that would express the group’s public support for Palestinian statehood and condemn Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians.

The proposals are two of the more than 30 measures that the group will debate at its annual conference, which runs from June 30 to July 3.

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One resolution would call on the U.S. to cut material support and funding to Israel while another proposes that the union spend an estimated $71,500 to promote Palestinian causes through a number of programs, the Washington Free Beacon first reported.

New Business Item 29, which was co-sponsored by more than 50 members of the NEA, would “publicize” the union’s support for the Palestinian authority.

“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 item reads. 

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Meanwhile, New Business Item 51 calls for the union to “recognize the existence and sovereignty of Palestine and Palestinian children and families and their human right to access a quality education and live freely as outlined in United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.”

Some activists have been dismayed to see the union focused on attacking Israel rather than working toward alleviating problems caused by a year of remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” Nicole Neily, the president of Parents Defending Education, said in a statement.

“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,” Neily added. “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.”

Yet the NEA’s proposals are not an anomaly: teachers’ unions nationwide have issued statements against Israel in recent months.

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Three local unions affiliated with the country’s second-largest teachers’ union, the American Federation of Teachers, issued statements condemning Israel as an apartheid state this month. AFT president Randi Weingarten claimed in an interview earlier this year that Jews are “part of the ownership class” that works to deny opportunities to others.

During the conference this week the NEA is also set to debate measures on “decolonizing curriculum,” creating a racial justice task force and opposing police unions, according to the report. The union will also discuss sending a letter to the University of North Carolina to urge the school to grant tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times journalist who developed the magazine’s controversial “1619 Project.”

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