JUNE 24, 2021
NEA Headquarters | Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The largest labor union in the United States will weigh whether to approve two motions condemning Israel and recognizing the “State of Palestine” during its annual meeting.
During a virtual assembly held from June 30 to July 3, the National Education Association (NEA) — which represents over 2 million education workers, from public school teachers to retired college faculty — will debate and vote on a motion to support “the Palestinian struggle for justice.”
“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,” the motion says.
It also calls for an end to US aid to both Israel and Saudi Arabia and recognition for Middle East refugees.
A second motion, New Business Item 51, would use NEA resources to “educate members and the general public about the history, culture, and struggles of Palestinian children” and “the recognition and existence of the State of Palestine.”
The pending motions have prompted a campaign by the nonprofit StandWithUs, which casts them as part of a “larger pattern” of US teachers’ unions endorsing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
NBI 29, the group said, “glorifies a ‘heroic struggle’ against Israel,” which “can only fuel more conflict, not justice and peace.”
The second motion, it argued, calls for an NEA partnership with No Way to Treat a Child — which it termed a “deeply misleading and problematic campaign” run by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
“These dehumanizing campaigns against Israel are anything but harmless,” StandWithUs said. “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.
Roz Rothstein, the group’s co-founder and CEO, told The Algemeiner, “We’ve heard from so many teachers, students, and parents about how harmful such actions are, especially at a time when attacks against Jewish communities are on the rise. The NEA has a responsibility to help build mutual understanding, instead of fueling more division and hate.”
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