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Anti-Israel teachers want NEA to ditch endorsement of Joe Biden

Pro-Hamas educators want the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, to retract its endorsement of President Joe Biden due to his support for Israel.

Educators for Palestine called on the union to hold a secret ballot vote on the matter, while criticizing Biden’s funding of the Israeli military and urging him to call out the country’s alleged war crimes, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The group also supports “at least” 10 items the union is considering at its annual meeting in Philadelphia, including using “digital communication tools” to educate NEA members on the “Nakba,” and “defend[ing] educators’ and students’ speech ‘in defense of Palestine.’”

Proposals for the NEA agenda can be submitted if they have at least 50 delegate signatures.

Iowa teacher and founder of the NEA Arab-American Educators Caucus Samy El-Baroudi said Educators for Palestine also wants the union to distinguish between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

“This is about human rights — all humans,” El-Baroudi said. “We need to stop this process of devaluing the lives of brown people that get in the way of white people.”

But El-Baroudi and Educators for Palestine have their critics:

“What we’re seeing is a group of extremists who are hijacking the system … and use it as a way to make a statement about geopolitics, which we don’t believe belongs in the NEA’s wheelhouse,” said David Smokler, director of K-12 educator outreach at StandWithUs, a pro-Israel organization.

Smokler, a former public schoolteacher in Massachusetts, said Israel was the only foreign country targeted on the union’s agenda. He called the BDS movement a “discriminatory” campaign that seeks to “delegitimize Jewish self-determination … This is an organization that seeks one thing, which is the destruction of Israel.”

Biden was scheduled to speak at the NEA conference this weekend, but canceled after the union’s staffers announced a strike.

According to the Inquirer, keeping his commitment to speak “would have likely drawn more scrutiny as Biden has long touted his record as the most pro-union in history.”

MORE: Massachusetts teachers union offers anti-Israel webinar

IMAGE: Christy/X

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