Teachers Want Union to Rescind Biden Endorsement Until He ‘Secures Permanent Ceasefire’ in Gaza

2024-01-24 14:00:44

Educators in the National Education Association, the largest union in the country, want the leaders to rescind its Biden endorsement until he gets a ceasefire in Gaza.

They even formed a group within the NEA: Educators for Palestine.

What a shock that the union is anti-Israel. The group even has an Instagram page.

By the way, The Nation article that reported the petition is saturated with anti-Israel rhetoric. So weird how they all forget that Hamas caused this war.

The Petition

I wonder how Jewish union members feel about this petition (emphasis theirs):

Since October 7, Israel has intensified its war on the Palestinian people, violating international law, displacing millions and killing tens of thousands of civilians, destroying entire neighborhoods, bombing hospitals, schools, and children. President Biden and his administration have been complicit in this humanitarian crisis, voting against numerous UN ceasefire measures, ignoring UN experts’ characterization of the events unfolding as a genocide, and ramping up weapons sales without oversight to Israel.

Additionally, President Biden has indicated a willingness to support a new law allowing US border officials to expel migrants without processing their asylum claims in exchange for congressional support for sending $14 billion dollars of military aid to Israel. This behavior overwhelmingly violates NEA’s core values related to justice. As other unions are acting in solidarity with the call from Palestinian trade unions for a ceasefire, NEA is increasingly isolating itself from the labor movement.

The Educators for Palestine have steps Biden must take to receive the NEA endorsement:

1. A permanent ceasefire!

2. Stop sending military funding, equipment, and intelligence to Israel.

3. Use diplomatic pressure to end Israel’s blockade/siege of Gaza and settlement activity in the West Bank, to stop Israel’s killing of journalists, and to secure the release of all political prisoners and hostages

4. Commit to demanding that Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights, including ending the occupation and dismantling of the illegal apartheid wall, equal rights for all Palestinians, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as called for by Palestinian civil society.

5. Commit to a fair due process for asylum-seekers and refugees that follows international law, de-militarizing the border, stopping all further building of the border wall, permanently closing open-air detention centers, expanding shelters, work permits, relocation support and legal pathways to citizenship (such as DACA), ending a foreign policy that creates the economic and political instability making migration necessary, and not compromising on these commitments in exchange for military aid to Israel.

The Union and Anti-Israel Members

Illinois teacher Rahaf Othman, a Palestinian American, lost sleep after Israel started fighting back against Hamas after the terrorist group invaded and slaughtered thousands of Israelis on October 7.

Israel’s actions traumatized Othman. Many teachers felt the same way. They formed Educators for Palestine.

NEA member Olivia Katbi, a track and cross-country coach, “organizes with the Palestinian BDS National Committee.”

Katbi wants the Gaza ceasefire to become an official NEA policy.

The petition completely ignores the atrocities unleashed on Israel by Hamas. The educators ignore the hundreds of Israelis still held hostage by Hamas (emphasis mine):

But that has started to change. In 2022, the representative assembly passed an NBI that the union “will protect members and local affiliates that educate students about the history, geography, and current state of the Palestinian people.” And in 2023, two NBIs related to Palestine passed, focused on using “existing digital communication” to recognize Palestinian history and culture, as well as Palestinian students and members.

Othman is part of an Arab American caucus within the NEA, which helped these NBIs get approved. Stephen Siegel, a high school special education teacher at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Ore., said it was through these national efforts that a rank-and-file informal grouping began to form within the NEA. “That group stayed small and mostly focused on the representative assembly,” he said.

Then Israel unleashed its current military operations in Gaza. “Some of us wanted to get together and meet, and then other people heard about us who had never been to an NEA assembly,” said Siegel. “So that small Signal group of 12 or 15 of us grew to about 100, and those are educators who are pretty spread out.”

Did you people really expect Israel to sit back and take it?!

Sheesh.

The group just started, but it’s building. It convinced “19 local, state, and regional bodies of the NEA” to demand Biden secure a ceasefire. The National Council of Urban Education Associations has “251 large NEA locals and UniServ Councils.”

Educators for Palestine took credit for NEA President Rebecca Pringle tweeting support for a Gaza ceasefire.

NEA board member Aaron Phillips agrees with the petition and revoking the Biden endorsement: “There’s a growing group of board members that support it. If I were to make a motion, I’m confident I would have a second and would have a growing group of board members stand with me.”

Phillips is more than happy “to make the appropriate motions” to revoke Biden’s endorsement.

The NEA hopes its agenda will persuade other unions to push Biden to get a ceasefire:

While the US labor movement has historically been supportive of Israel, largely in line with broader US foreign policy, there have been notable detractors, and that number is growing as the Palestinian death toll rises. Major national unions have joined the call for a cease-fire, including the United Auto Workers, National Nurses United, the American Postal Workers Union, and the Association of Flight Attendants–CWA, and across the labor movement, members at other unions are mobilizing to expand this number. While the effort hasn’t shifted the position of the AFL-CIO, it has thrust this cause into the limelight as an issue workers care about—and are divided on. These developments come amid sustained public protests against US support for Israel’s actions, led by Palestinian American communities, progressive Jewish organizations, and people of conscience across the country.

NEA members hope that, by going a step further and calling for the union to rescind Biden’s endorsement, they can escalate this push. “The NEA is the largest union in the country, and for so long we’ve seen many of these massive unions just go along with the status quo,” Katbi said. “But if anything is going to change that, surely it must be witnessing a genocide in real time.”

Insanity. Pure insanity.




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