Anti-Israel items voted down by largest US teachers union

The two resolutions calling for union to "publicize its support for the Palestinian struggle" were overwhelmingly voted down by a majority.

Dan Verbin ,

Classroom (illustration)
Classroom (illustration)

A series of anti-Israel resolutions was voted down by the assembly of the largest teachers union in the United States.

With over three million members, the National Education Association (NEA) is the most influential US national teachers union that is seen as influencing the country’s overall education policy and is active in Democratic politics.

The two anti-Israel motions were voted down by a large majority of the 8,000 member general assembly, with only 23 percent of the union voting in favor.

According to the Cleveland Jewish News, the union’s Jewish Affairs Council had taken a strong public stand against two “business items” that were under consideration at the assembly. Both were staunchly anti-Israel motions.

The head of the caucus, Patrick Crabtree, told the Jewish News that the caucus watched for “divisive” business items and always made sure to inform the education association presidents.

If passed, the resolutions would have the NEA, “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” and also “further publicize its support for refugee status for the millions of people across the region who are forced to move and seek refuge for themselves and their families because of the ongoing conflict and repression.”

“I’m almost positive 29 is so divisive, it will go down in flames,” Crabtree said in an interview with the Jewish News. “I really do believe that.”

In a statement, Crabtree wrote that if the motions had passed, the result could make Jewish students “feel uncomfortable” and would put the NEA “at odds with the larger Jewish community, which has a historical record of support for quality public school education, and the rights of teachers and others to be part of the union of their choice.”

“In our years of attending the various NEA representative assemblies, we have seen offensive anti-Semitic, anti-Israel (new business items) and I even rose to the microphone to object to consideration, but never have we seen (a new business item) reverberate like these two (new business items) throughout the Jewish community,” he wrote.

He added, “We want you to know that we feel Israel has a right to exist and be secure.”

He concluded, “We are asking that if the (new business items) are not ruled out of order, or object to consideration fails, that the NEA body soundly defeat these divisive, inflammatory, tendentious and costly (new business items).”

The new business items also stated that “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."

They further demanded an end to US aid to Israel and Saudi Arabia.