The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, a local unit of the statewide Education Minnesota teachers union, faced criticism this week for a resolution that blames “Israeli occupation and apartheid” for the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
“MFT mourns the loss of innocent life in Israel and occupied Palestine. We categorically reject violence against all civilians whether Israeli or Palestinian. We therefore call for an immediate ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and to de-escalate the conflict,” state’s the union’s “Israel-Palestine Resolution.”
Our resolution on Israel & Palestine. pic.twitter.com/STgWMum4ea
— MFT 59 (@MFT59) November 14, 2023
Israel has been at war with Hamas since Oct. 7 when the designated terrorist organization invaded the Jewish state and slaughtered civilians. Since that time, calls for a ceasefire have grown more intense, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected as a call to “surrender to Hamas.”
One of the loudest proponents of a ceasefire is Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who on Tuesday urged Netanyahu to end his “brutal bombardment” of Gaza. Omar was endorsed by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) in 2022. She was also one of 10 members of Congress who voted against a resolution late last month expressing support for Israel and condemning the Hamas attack.
I will never stop demanding a ceasefire. In Gaza, families are being massacred before our eyes while children beg for their lives. Around the world, calls are mounting for Netanyahu to end this brutal bombardment.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) November 14, 2023
The MFT resolution goes on to “condemn” the role of the U.S. government in “supporting the system of Israeli occupation and apartheid, which lies at the root of the Palestinian Israeli conflict.”
“Finally, we call on the Minnesota State Legislature to repeal anti-BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) legislation as it stifles free speech and discriminates against Palestinian refugees, their families, and their supporters. The BDS movement is a peaceful and powerful way to affect lasting, positive change in the region,” the resolution concludes.
The resolution was criticized by a handful of current and former state legislators, some of whom said the union should be focused on student proficiency. In Minneapolis Public Schools, just 35% of students are meeting standards in math while only 41% can read at grade level.
“Blaming the existence of Israel as a Jewish state for the Hamas attacks is antisemitism. And antisemitism has no place in our schools,” said former Democratic House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler.
The Minnesota Parents Alliance pointed to the apparent hypocrisy in the union’s statement.
Just so we’re clear…
Teacher unions: “parents running for their local school board are anti-Semitic and are bringing politics into public education”
Also teachers unions:
— Minnesota Parents Alliance (@MNParentsFTW) November 14, 2023
The president of MFT previously bragged about the union’s involvement in “every inch” of the George Floyd “uprising” in 2020. Another union leader is a prominent activist who has been heavily involved in the occupation of George Floyd Square.