AFT Guild Local 1931, which serves colleges and education faculties in San Diego, passed a statement in support of Palestine that had been approved earlier this month.
The union denounced Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands and its practice of apartheid, saying in a statement that it “condemns the forced removal of Palestinian residents in West al-Quds, the bombing of civilian areas in the besieged Gaza Strip, and the continued human rights violations committed by Israel during its 73-year occupation” of Palestinian territories.
The statement highlighted that a large number of Palestinian lives have been lost and essential infrastructure destroyed in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s use of advanced weaponry in its indiscriminate bombing of the impoverished coastal enclave.
The teaching union also decried the Tel Aviv regime’s attempts to forcibly expel Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East al-Quds.
It said the measure “follows a 73-year pattern of disenfranchising Palestinians of their rights, property and the opportunity to live with dignity.”
The group said Israel, irrespective of repeated condemnation by the international community, has pursued home demolitions, land confiscations, systemic denial of building permits, and massive illegal settlement building as its official policy ever since the regime began its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza back in 1967.
“Since the 1967 War, 48,488 Palestinian homes and other structures have been demolished compared to none belonging to Israelis. The United Nations has condemned Israel’s continued occupation of territory after the 1967 war. The International Court condemns the settlements, and Israel has repeatedly snubbed efforts to limit the settlements, which are viewed as an obstacle to peace,” the union pointed out, Press TV reported.
The statement also condemned anti-Semitism, but argued that the conflation of criticism of Israel's policies and system of occupation and apartheid with racism towards Jews was a dangerous trend.
The group cited a 2018 open letter signed by over 40 Jewish groups worldwide, which argued that “this conflation undermines both the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and the global struggle against anti-Semitism” and “serves to shield Israel from being held accountable to universal standards of human rights and international law.”
Moreover, AFT Guild Local 1931 criticized the absence of an even-handed US foreign policy, in addition to massive unrestricted military aid to Israel.
The group emphasized that such an approach “emboldens Israeli militarism, contradicts our policy regarding the status of the occupation of the Palestinian lands, and dooms the two-state solution to failure.”
Israel occupied East al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip during the Six Day War in 1967. It later had to withdraw from Gaza but has been occupying the other territories since.
About 700,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built in the West Bank and East al-Quds since then. The international community views the settlements as illegal under international law but has done little to pressure the Israeli regime to freeze or reverse its policies.