NJ Union Encourages Teachers to Attend Pro-Palestinian Education Training

By Matis Glenn


New Jersey teachers are being urged to support BDS and teach the “heroic” resistance of the Palestinian people to impressionable children, according to Parents Defending Education, a parents’ advocacy group.

The Passaic County Education Associations (PCEA), an unofficial teachers union, reportedly emailed a newsletter to its constituents asking them to attend an event named “Educators for Palestine Summer Series”, in which teachers will be “equipped with the knowledge and practices needed to bring the truth about Palestine into classrooms,” the letter advertises.

The event, hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America, BDS, and the Palestine Solidarity Working Group, does not claim to be neutral. “In order to teach about Palestine authentically and critically, we must understand the history of its people and their heroic resistance to Zionism,” reads the description.

The training is scheduled to be held over four Saturdays in July. Its theme is “Learning Toward Liberation”, and the topics include “Inclusion and Representation of Arab & Muslim Students,” “Palestine: The History of a People,” “Teaching Palestine With Humanity,” ending with a session on how to deal with “all too frequent backlash.”

“Teachers’ unions are deeply involved in the ideological take-over of our public school classrooms,” Erika Sanzi, Director of Outreach for Parents Defending Education told The Washington Examiner.

“Sadly, anti-semitic curriculum presented as ‘the truth’ is on an ascendancy from coast to coast. Parents, teachers and community members must be vigilant and stand up to this the moment they see it.”

This isn’t the first time a teachers’ union has espoused anti-Israel and antisemitic views.

In May 2021, United Educators of San Francisco voted to adopt the platform of BDS and to label Israel as an “apartheid” state. The Seattle Education Association did the same thing the following month. After five out of eight chapters of United Teachers Los Angeles voted to support BDS and end US aid to Israel, a final vote for the organization to adopt BDS as a whole ended in a stalemate, with a decision to table the vote indefinitely.

When San Francisco’s union adopted the resolution, it was met with condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League. “Not only was the resolution ‘one-sided,’ it was also “inaccurate and counterfactual, including blaming the recent outbreak of violence solely on Israel and questioning Israel’s right to defend itself,” said Seth Brysk, Anti-Defamation League regional director.

Randi Weingarten, President of the AFT and herself Jewish, said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that American Jews started out as immigrants who rose up in society, and are “part of the ownership class” which “now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.” She does, however, stop short of supporting BDS. In 2013 she was against the American Studies Association’s move to support BDS, and said that it would “stifle intellectual and democratic engagements.”

The National Education Association voted on expressing a pro-Palestinian stance, denouncing Israel as apartheid in July 2021, without mentioning BDS by name. It was defeated, though 29% of union members supported it.  

Other unions unrelated to education have expressed support for BDS. In June 2021, an Oakland, CA, union of longshoremen stood by anti-Israel protestors who barricaded a cargo ship owned by an Israeli company from docking.

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