US school classroom
US school classroomiStock

The union that represents over two million education professionals, the National Education Association (NEA), will be voting on two motions condemning Israel and recognizing the “State of Palestine” at its upcoming annual meeting.

The NEA is the largest union in the United States.

During its virtual annual meeting, taking places from June 30 to July 3, the NEA will discuss and debate a resolution in support of “the Palestinian struggle for justice.”

The motion supports the Palestinian Arabs’ “(rising) up in a heroic struggle” against Israel and asks the NEA to “support” the struggle.

“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,” it states.

It further demands an end to US aid to Israel and Saudi Arabia while recognizing Middle Eastern refugees.

A second motion, “New Business Item 15,” seeks to develop “professional learning opportunities” at NEA events for members and the general public to learn about the “history, culture and struggles of Palestinians including the negative impact on Palestinian children in regards to access to a quality education, and the recognition and existence of the State of Palestine.”

It also argues for the publication of articles in the union’s magazine and in education publications about union members’ pro-Palestinian activism, and advocates for partnering with anti-Israel NGO No Way to Treat a Child.

It gives as a rational for the motion, “The NEA must 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.”

The one-sided motions have sparked a response campaign by Jewish advocacy organization StandWithUs.

The two motions “are part of a larger pattern. In recent weeks, teacher's union leaders in San Francisco and Seattle passed resolutions endorsing the destructive Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. BDS systematically promotes national origin discrimination against Israelis, as well as anti-Semitism more broadly,” stated the organization.

StandWithUS called No Way To Treat a Child a “a deeply misleading and problematic campaign.”

“This campaign is run by a group whose leaders have promoted violence and are closely tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S. designated terrorist organization,” they said.

They called the motions by the NEO part of a “dehumanizing campaign against Israel that (is) anything but harmless.”

“Anti-Israel narratives have fuelled a shocking spike in hate crimes against Jewish communities across the United States, including assault, vandalism, and harassment. Too many teachers and students are wondering whether or not they are safe and welcome, and NBIs 29 and 51 will only add more fuel to the fire,” they said.

Earlier this week, a US parents group sent a letter to American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten asking her to denounce two California unions that produced anti-Semitic statements.

“The undersigned organizations write to you because we are concerned about the recent adoption by two American Federation of Teachers (AFT) affiliates of anti-Semitic resolutions that falsely accuse Israel of ‘apartheid and war crimes’ and that formally endorse the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement. The goal of the BDS movement is the destruction of Israel,” they wrote.