FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Educators March in DC to Revoke Largest Labor Union’s Endorsement of Biden Amid Genocide in Gaza
On February 10th, 2024, at 11:00 AM, rank-and-file educators from across the nation will gather in Washington DC for a march demanding that the National Education Association revoke its endorsement of President Biden until a set of demands have been met, including a permanent ceasefire. The march, organized by “Educators for Palestine,” will begin at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Headquarters (555 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001) and culminate at the National Education Association (NEA) Headquarters (1201 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20036).
At NEA Headquarters, the program will include Palestinian and Jewish educators, as well as members from both AFT and NEA, that strongly believe in the need for a permanent ceasefire and an end to the current genocidal harm that Israel has inflicted upon the people of Palestine. Union solidarity will be present with members from SEIU Local 500 and UAW Labor for Palestine.
Union members from across the country have committed to participating in the march, to local actions and ceasefire resolutions, and to canceling their donations to the NEA PAC until the group’s demands are met.
“I’m Palestinian and I’m a dues paying union member. It is unconscionable for my union to stand behind the politician who is funding the genocide of my people.” – Rahaf Othman, IEA/NEA, Oak Lawn, IL
“As educators, we are committed to the well-being of children. How can we sit idly while we watch thousands of children being killed by Israel, their schools destroyed, and their families displaced? We want our union to live up to its values by letting President Biden know that we expect better from our country. And since he is not listening, we have to use our endorsement as leverage to show we are serious.” – Stephen Siegel, OEA/NEA, Portland, OR
“I’m a Jewish educator who has been seeking support from my union because my employer has tried to discipline me over my advocacy for my Palestinian students. It makes no sense for that same union to endorse a politician like Biden who describes Palestine solidarity activists like me as dangerous.” – Nicole Morse, NEA/AFT, West Palm Beach, FL
“The US labor movement is coming out strongly in support of peace, of life, and of justice. NEA is the strongest union of educators in this country. We must stand for children everywhere and leverage our collective power to pressure President Biden to join the 153 other countries that support a ceasefire. As a unionist, I want my union to be in solidarity with the rest of the labor movement in advocating for what is best for US safety, security, and well-being.” – Melissa Tomlinson, NJEA/NEA, Mays Landing, NJ
“Another Trump presidency would be devastating for education in the US. Biden won’t beat Trump if he continues to support the intentional slaughter of students in Gaza. The majority of his base want a ceasefire now.” – Fadi Saba, NEA, San Jose, CA
“In 2024, we need a Democratic candidate who is ready to defy racism both abroad and at home. Right now, Biden is supporting ethnic cleansing by Israel as well as draconian oppression of immigrants here in the US. As educators and union members, we can’t vote for such a candidate, and we demand that our union send a clear message by revoking the endorsement.” – Nancy Harb Almendras, Federal Education Association/NEA, Wiesbaden, Germany (US Military Base)
FULL STATEMENT BY EDUCATORS FOR PALESTINE (available here):
Since October 7, Israel has intensified its war on the Palestinian people, violating international law, displacing millions and killing tens of thousands of civilians, destroying entire neighborhoods, bombing hospitals, schools, and children. President Biden and his administration have been complicit in this humanitarian crisis, voting against numerous UN ceasefire measures, ignoring UN experts’ characterization of the events unfolding as a genocide, and ramping up weapons sales without oversight to Israel.
Additionally, President Biden has indicated a willingness to support a new law allowing US border officials to expel migrants without processing their asylum claims in exchange for congressional support for sending $14 billion dollars of military aid to Israel. This behavior overwhelmingly violates NEA’s core values related to justice. As other unions are acting in solidarity with the call from Palestinian trade unions for a ceasefire, NEA is increasingly isolating itself from the labor movement.
Therefore, we call on NEA to revoke our endorsement of President Biden until the following conditions have been met. Furthermore, until NEA takes this step, we pledge to withhold future NEA PAC donations.
In order for President Biden to earn back his NEA endorsement, the following must first occur:
1. A permanent ceasefire!
2. Stop sending military funding, equipment, and intelligence to Israel.
3. 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 .
4. 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.
5. Commit to a fair due process for asylum-seekers and refugees that follows international law, de-militarizing the border, stopping all further building of the border wall, permanently closing open-air detention centers, expanding shelters, work permits, relocation support and legal pathways to citizenship (such as DACA), ending a foreign policy that creates the economic and political instability making migration necessary, and not compromising on these commitments in exchange for military aid to Israel.