Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, speaks during a protest on June 3, 2022 in Miami, Florida.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Federation of Teachers Joins Call for Gaza Cease-Fire

The union's executive council called for a cease-fire after months of pressure from educators across the United States.

The result of "significant" input from rank-and-file members of the American Federation of Teachers from across the United States, the 1.72 million-strong union's executive council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The resolution calls for a "negotiated bilateral cease-fire" that would be guaranteed by the international community, including the U.S. and other countries that are supporting Israel's bombardment of Gaza.

"A cease-fire agreement must include the immediate provision of desperately needed food, water, medical care, clothing, emergency shelter, and other humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the release of all hostages abducted by Hamas from Israel on October 7," reads the statement.

The resolution also reaffirms "the AFT's support for a two-state solution," condemns antisemitism and Islamophobia, and demands that all people should be "safe to express dissent" in the United States.

"The conflict should not be used as an excuse to wage political attacks on American colleges and universities, or as a pretext to undermine necessary efforts to increase diversity, promote equity, and advance inclusion," reads the union's statement.

The resolution was passed after numerous attacks on Palestinian rights protesters' right to organize groups and demonstrations on college campuses.

"The conflict should not be used as an excuse to wage political attacks on American colleges and universities, or as a pretext to undermine necessary efforts to increase diversity, promote equity, and advance inclusion."

Randi Weingarten, president of AFT, noted that many members of the union "are deeply connected to people in Israel and the Palestinian territories, so they feel that pain personally; and many others, including the students we teach, are horrified and aggrieved by what has happened."

The resolution was passed as at least 26,751 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in less than four months, as Israel has claimed to be targeting Hamas and the U.S. government has vehemently defended Israel's actions—even as the International Court of Justice found last week, after reviewing South Africa's case against Israel, that the country is "plausibly" committing genocidal acts in Gaza.

"The time for war is over, and the time for diplomacy must begin," said Weingarten. "We believe wholeheartedly that the path forward in the Middle East must end the decades of conflict and bloodshed by recognizing the rights of both peoples and affirming a two-state solution. Our work does not stop with a resolution: We will not shy away from continuing to listen to our members and our communities and endeavoring to move toward a lasting peace."

State and local teachers' unions across the country have passed resolutions demanding a cease-fire over the past three months. The United Auto Workers, American Postal Workers Union, Service Employees International Union, and other labor groups have also made the demand.

Weingarten herself called for a cease-fire last month. Olivia Katbi, an organizer with the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement to fight Israel's apartheid policies in Palestine, noted that Weingarten announced her position following "months of pressure from rank-and-file educators across the country."

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