The representative assembly of the National Education Association (NEA), the country’s largest teachers’ union, rejected an anti-Israel resolution that would condemn the Jewish state for its “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians.
The failed measure, which only 23 percent of members supported, was one of over 30 items the organization was scheduled to debate at its annual conference, according to The Algemeiner.
The decision comes after certain teachers’ unions, including three local unions affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, denounced Israel as an apartheid state and indicated sympathy for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement last month.
New Business Item 29 asked that the union allocate approximately $71,500 to advance Palestinian causes through a number of programs. The resolution used language that legitimized Palestinian terrorism as a “heroic struggle” in the fight to combat alleged Israeli “military repression” and “ethnic cleansing.” It also urged the NEA to “publicize its support for the Palestinian struggle for justice and call on the United States government to stop arming and supporting Israel.”
After Jewish members and others voiced their opposition and lobbied against it, the item was defeated in the chamber by a significant margin.
Chairman of the NEA Jewish Affairs Caucus Patrick Crabtree noted, “I’m almost positive 29 is so divisive, it will go down in flames.”
In a statement, the Jewish caucus leadership wrote that the resolution, in addition to another anti-Israel item on the table, “could inadvertently exacerbate antisemitic sentiment, or anti-Arab sentiment, in the United States, and G-d forbid, lead to hate crimes of some sort.”
The letter warned that the measure could make Jewish students “feel uncomfortable” and put the NEA “at odds with the larger Jewish community.”
Last month, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) approved a resolution demanding the United States cut all aid to Israel and join the international coalition pursuing BDS against the nation. In response to the perceived anti-Israel sentiment and pro-Palestine advocacy within the UTLA, one Los Angeles teacher resigned stating, “I feel unsafe as a Jew in this UTLA.”
Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, an organization that seeks to stop progressive activism from infiltrating schools, slammed the NEA for prioritizing a political agenda over promoting a quality education system for students and teachers.
“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 said. “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.”