Some teachers are reportedly pressuring the National Education Association — the largest labor union in the United States — to withdraw its endorsement of President Joe Biden if he continues to send aid to Israel and fails to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
The Nation reported on Monday that there was a “small-but-growing campaign” to put pressure on the White House, led by teachers who have begun to circulate a petition among NEA chapters across the country.
Members of the NEA teachers union want to revoke their endorsement of Joe Biden in the 2024 election until he secures a “permanent cease-fire” and stops “sending military funding, equipment, and intelligence to Israel.”
NEA members won’t be happy until America abandons Israel in… pic.twitter.com/8hfxPpvxlH
— Nicki Neily (@nickineily) January 23, 2024
The list of demands, according to the petition, includes:
- A permanent ceasefire!
- Stop sending military funding, equipment, and intelligence to Israel.
- 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.
- 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.
According to The Nation’s report, teachers like Illinois social studies teacher Rahaf Othman, who told the outlet that her “nightmares” began when Israel began to execute military strikes against Hamas in Gaza in October. She made no mention of the brutal and unprovoked attack that Hamas perpetrated against Israel on October 7.
“I was functional at work, but barely functional. My brain was mush. I was getting traumatized every time I turned on my phone,” she complained. “For the first month, people were asking me what we should do, but I couldn’t think, couldn’t focus. Educators rallied together and created this group, Educators for Palestine. I am grateful they brought me along for the ride.”
Aaron Phillips, a Texas fifth-grade teacher weighed in as well, saying, “There’s a growing group of board members that support [the move to withdraw a Biden Endorsement]. 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.”