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US teaching union adopts resolution denouncing Israeli apartheid 

September 14, 2021 at 9:05 pm

Members of the American Federation of Teachers logo on April 21, 2017 in Washington, DC [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

A resolution condemning Israel’s brutal military regime and “apartheid” has been passed by a local branch of America’s second largest teaching union, the American Federation of Teachers.

Teachers, staff members and instructors voted to adopt a resolution by AFT Guild Local 1931, which serves colleges and education faculties in San Diego, and a statement in support of Palestine that was approved earlier this month.

In a lengthy statement that included denunciation of Israel’s occupation and its practice of apartheid, the union began by saying: “AFT Guild condemns the forced removal of Palestinian residents in West Jerusalem, the bombing of civilian areas in the besieged Gaza Strip, and the continued human rights violations committed by the Israeli government during its 73-year occupation of this land.”

Commenting on the recent forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem they said that it “follows a 73-year pattern of disenfranchising Palestinians of their rights, property and the opportunity to live with dignity.”

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The group argued that since Israel began its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, home demolitions, land confiscations, systemic denial of building permits, and massive illegal settlement building have become official Israeli policy, despite repeated condemnation by the international community.

The statement also condemned anti-Semitism but argued that the conflation of criticism of Israel with racism towards Jews was a dangerous trend. The group cited a 2018 open letter signed by over 40 Jewish groups worldwide opposing what they said was a “dangerous conflation of anti-Jewish racism with opposition to Israel’s policies and system of occupation and apartheid.”

In their open letter the Jewish groups argued that “this conflation undermines both the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and the global struggle against anti-semitism” and moreover “serves to shield Israel from being held accountable to universal standards of human rights and international law.”

The lack of an even-handed approach by the US was also criticised, which in addition to the unrestricted military aid to Israel, the group argued, “emboldens Israeli militarism, contradicts our policy regarding the status of the occupation of the Palestinian lands, and dooms the two-state solution to failure”.