Jewish community protests Oakland teachers' resolution supporting Palestinians, cease-fire

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Saturday, November 11, 2023
Jewish parents call Oakland teachers' resolution 'anti-Semitic'
A group gathered to protest a resolution passed by the Oakland Education Association this week regarding the war between Israel and Hamas.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A group gathered to protest a resolution passed by the Oakland Education Association this week regarding the war between Israel and Hamas.

ABC7 News has not been provided a copy of the resolution from OEA but Jewish parents and teachers, who say they've seen it, shared it with us and say they are enraged by it.

The resolution appears to support Palestinian liberation, calls for an immediate end to the occupation of Gaza by the Israeli military and calls on all elected officials to call for an immediate cease-fire. It also mentions giving support to any teachers reprimanded for teaching about Palestinian liberation in their classrooms.

The group, including Jewish teachers, parents, members of the American Jewish Committee and the ADL and Jewish Community Relations Council were some of those speaking out against the resolution during a news conference Friday at Montclair Elementary in Oakland.

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They're calling on OEA to reverse the resolution and apologize.

"This was terrorism that Hamas engaged in and terrorism that OEA is endorsing," said Marc Levine, ADL regional director. "And what's happened since here in our own community. Anti-Semitic incidents have increased by nearly 400% since Oct. 7 and engaging in the type of political activity that OEA is engaging in is encouraging anti-Semitism against our own Jewish community. It is wrong."

"We are afraid to send our kids to school," said Heather Eisner, who has children going to schools in the Oakland Unified School District. "We are afraid to wear a Jewish star. We are removing mezuzahs from our doors. I have a hard time understanding why a teachers union or school board thinks they should be creating resolutions around one of the most complex international conflicts, when even global leaders currently cannot agree on a resolution."

Those at the news conference say they hope the Oakland Unified School District school board doesn't pass a resolution about the war and there had been talk about that happening. ABC7 News reached out to OUSD and hasn't heard back.

MORE: Bay Area Jewish community ties ribbons, rallies for Israel as war in Middle East continues

OEA sent ABC7 this statement but it doesn't appear to address their most recent resolution but rather an earlier one centered around student activism:

"Please see our updated Facebook post (excerpted below):

Our Executive Board passed a resolution in response to student activism around the conflict in Israel and Palestine. A post on our Instagram did not accurately represent our original resolution passed by our Executive Board. We take responsibility and are learning from this harmful mistake.

Over the past few weeks, we've heard from our members, students, and families about their views on the conflict in Israel and Palestine. As educators, we are always seeking to listen and learn. As unionists, we are moved by calls for solidarity from civilians in both Israel and Palestine. We are committed to continuing the conversation within our union as we engage in our democratic processes. Our union unequivocally condemns anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We call for the release of hostages held by Hamas. We mourn the loss of life, and we add our voices to a growing collective calling for a ceasefire.

We will continue to hold space for conversations in our union and in our community about this resolution and how we can move forward together."

ABC7 is working to get more information on this developing story.

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