Suspend disbelief for a moment and imagine a teachers’ union in California voting on and publishing a statement or resolution that exclusively laid blame for the ongoing conflict in Nigeria, which has killed millions of people since 1960, on only the Muslims in Nigeria.
Imagine further, that in laying blame on and condemning only the Muslims living in Nigeria for this deadly conflict, that this resolution repeatedly lied about the actions of the Muslims in Nigeria, and completely ignored any actions or conduct by any other parties to the conflict, in order to paint the picture that Nigerian Muslims were exclusively responsible for the deaths and misery caused by the ethnic conflict in Nigeria. Imagine that this statement was issued on the eve of Ramadan.
Then, imagine that this very one-sided statement included the following disclaimer:
“WHEREAS, we condemn the recent spate of anti-Muslim attacks in the United States and other parts of the world, just as we condemn white supremacy and violence against Blacks, and members of the AAPI, LatinX, and LGBTQ communities. We also unequivocally condemn Islamophobia or anti-Muslim violence wherever it occurs. However, let us be clear that condemning Nigerian Muslims for their war crimes against non-Muslims is not anti-Muslim or Islamophobic.”
Now, imagine the reaction to this resolution. Imagine the uproar. Imagine the righteous indignation to the inequity of such a one-sided resolution. And imagine the likely greater indignation over the insensitivity of issuing such a statement right before Ramadan and the audacity of trying to preempt claims of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry by issuing such a flimsy disclaimer about how your mendacious, one-sided resolution somehow wasn’t grounded in, and promoting, anti-Muslim hatred.
Of course, given the ideological bent and the culture of politically correct intersectionality that governs the actions and thoughts of most teachers’ unions in California, such a scenario is actually unimaginable. But, substitute “Jews” for “Muslims,” and “Israel” for “Nigeria,” and the foregoing is exactly what the American Federation of Teachers AFT Guild, Local 1931 (“AFT”) did in its “Statement by the AFT Guild, Local 1931 regarding the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” which the AFT in San Diego issued on the eve of Rosh Hashana on September 5, 2021.
The mere fact that this one-sided statement was issued right at the start of the most important and sanctified holidays and ten-day period of time in the Jewish calendar is enough to make it deeply offensive. Add to it that nearly every sentence and claim in this statement is based on lies that serve to demonize and delegitimize the only Jewish state in the world while also holding Israel to a different standard than every other state in the world, including all of Israel’s neighbors, and this AFT statement hits the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s trifecta for antisemitism.
While it should be read in full to appreciate its mendacity, audacity and raw promotion of antisemitism (all while issuing patronizing disclaimers about the very Jew-hatred it promotes) some of the bigger Pinocchios in the AFT statement can be found right in its opening clause:
“WHEREAS, the AFT Guild condemns the forced removal of Palestinian residents in West Jerusalem, the bombing of civilian areas in the besieged Gaza Strip, and the continued human rights violations committed by the Israeli government during its 73-year occupation of this land.”
“West Jerusalem” is a reference to the section of Jerusalem that Israel was able to hold onto after Jordan invaded and tried to destroy it in 1948. Jordan did conquer the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter; and Jordan then illegally held onto all of the land it conquered in 1948 until it lost it during Egypt’s, Syria’s and Jordan’s second attempt to destroy Israel in 1967. But while Jordan forcibly evicted every single Jew from the Old City of Jerusalem and destroyed nearly 60 synagogues in the process (as well as damage numerous other Jewish holy sites and cemeteries) no Arabs were forcibly removed from “West Jerusalem.”
As for the “bombing of civilian areas in the besieged Gaza Strip” this whopper of misstatements, in only nine words, ignores why Israel is bombing anywhere in Gaza, who else is bombing Gaza, and why Gaza is “besieged.”
Israel “bombs” Gaza for same reason that Gaza is “besieged” (meaning subject to a limited blockade): because Hamas, a tyrannical, theocracy, terrorist group that is the ideological brother-in-extremist-hate to the Taliban, and has a Charter that reads like it was written by a hybrid of Osama Bin Laden and Nazi propagandist-in-chief Joseph Goebbels, controls Gaza and has fired approximately 20,000 rockets and missiles at Israeli civilians, all while it tries to launch terrorist attacks from the sea and through tunnels at other Israeli civilians.
The AFT statement doesn’t mention Hamas. It also doesn’t mention the 20,000 missiles and rockets fired at Israeli civilians.
The AFT statement doesn’t mention Hamas. It also doesn’t mention the 20,000 missiles and rockets fired at Israeli civilians. It doesn’t even mention the Hamas rockets and missiles that misfire and land on (and kill) people in Gaza. The AFT statement also doesn’t mention that Gaza has a border with Egypt and that Egypt also blockades Gaza (because Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which threatens the stability of the Egyptian government).
None of these important facts make it into the AFT’s one-sided statement. More importantly, this statement leaves the false impression that Israel is just bombing “civilian areas” as capriciously and broadly as the Allies bombed Berlin or Dresden during WWII. The truth, however, is that Israel has always been incredibly careful in its responses to Hamas rocket fire. It has targeted only Hamas’s weapons and weapon systems (like rocket launchers) as well as Hamas’s fighters and leadership; and Israel’s military has called off countless missions against those targets when it appeared that there were going to be civilian casualties. That is why Israel’s combatant to civilian casualty ratio in all of its conflicts with Hamas in Gaza has been at least twice as good as the NATO allies in the Balkans or for the U.S. or British forces in Iraq. But one would never know that based on the misleading claims in the AFT statement.
There are many more outright lies, critical omissions and corresponding demonizations of the one Jewish state in the AFT’s Rosh Hashana statement. One such lie is where they claim:
“[S]ince the 1967 War, 48,488 Palestinian homes and other structures have been demolished compared to none belonging to Israelis.”
First, this statement changes the date back to 1967—probably to avoid all of the Jewish homes, synagogues and holy sites destroyed by the Jordanian army between 1948 and 1967. Second, even with 1967 at its starting point, it’s a lie. The near 50,000 “homes and other structures” is a completely made up number pulled from the very corrupt and authoritarian Palestinian Authority. To believe it, one would have to believe Israel destroys approximately 1000 Palestinian Arab homes a year. And while Israel does destroy homes that are built without proper permitting, as well as the homes of terrorists convicted of murdering Israelis, that number has not come close to averaging 1000 per year, even based on the hyper-inflated numbers provided by the very biased and anti-Israel UN.
Meanwhile, the claim that no “Israeli” (meaning Jewish) homes have been demolished since 1967 is an even more obvious outright lie. As noted above, Israel demolishes, like all countries, homes that are built without proper permitting. Every year, that includes homes built by Jews throughout Israel and in particular in Judea and Samaria. And anyone who watches the news or can read a newspaper article (which, one should be able to assume, includes educators who belong to the AFT), should know that nearly 3000 Jewish homes in Gaza were destroyed after Israel unilaterally, for the cause of peace, withdrew every single Jew from Gaza in 2005.
But the biggest lie that permeates the AFT’s statement and makes it is so plainly antisemitic is the lie of omission.
While the AFT’s statement pays quick tribute to the civilians on “both sides” that have “suffered casualties,” it then only blames Israel for those casualties. Reading the AFT’s statement, one would never know that:
- Before Israel even declared its independence in 1948, it twice (in 1937 and 1947) agreed to share well over half of the arable land west of the Jordan River, and twice agreed to the creation of the first ever independent Arab state west of the Jordan River.
- The Arab side to the conflict rejected both of those offers and every peace deal offered to them since then, in favor of war; and, but for those wars, there would have been no refugees or casualties from the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- After Israel declared its independence, Arab dictatorships throughout the MENA forced nearly 1,000,000 Jews from their homes and almost all of those Jewish refugees found refuge in Israel.
- From 1948 to June 1967—before there was any “occupied territory”—no one ever tried to create a Palestinian Arab state in either Gaza or in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”) even though both areas were controlled by Arab countries; and during this time, nearly 1000 Israeli civilians were killed in terrorist attacks.
- The Palestinian Authority in 2000 and 2001, without ever making a counteroffer, rejected two different offers that would have created a first-ever Palestinian Arab state in over 90% of the “West Bank” and Gaza; and they launched a brutal bombing campaign (called the Second Intifada) that murdered over 1000 Israelis and maimed another 10,000 in barely more than four years.
- The Palestinian Authority’s corrupt dictator (who recently built himself a $13,000,000 home and is in the 17th year of his original four-year term) funds a virtual “pay to slay” program that incentivizes Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews by paying those who murder Jews nearly eight times the average salary earned by a high school teacher working for the PA.
- Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas promote incredibly antisemitic propaganda that demonizes all Jews (not just Israelis) and deny the historic, cultural, archeological and religious connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel—all while promoting Nazi-like stereotypes of Jews. The Hamas Charter, for example, literally blames Jews for causing every conflict from the French Revolution through WWII. Just like the Nazis did.
None of these, and numerous other easily discoverable facts are even alluded to in the AFT’s statement.
Thus, the uninformed reader could easily conclude that the one Jewish state in the world is the only one that is to blame for all of this violence and the lack of peace in the region.
And after the uninformed reader scours through the AFT website and doesn’t see a single statement condemning Syria (which has killed over 500,000 of its citizens), China (which runs a brutal police state and has over 1,000,000 Uighur Muslims in concentration camps) or Qatar (which uses slave labor and has thousands of political prisoners) or any of the brutal regimes that make it a crime to be gay (including both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority), why wouldn’t that reader conclude that the world’s only Jewish state must be truly evil? Among all of these blatant war criminals and abusers of human rights, the only state the AFT feels it has to call out in writing, is Israel.
It is somewhat ironic that these same academics and union leaders—who regularly claim that Israel is supposedly “disproportionate” when it responds to thousands of rockets being fired at its citizens—never see how “disproportionate” their reactions are to Israel in a world where millions are killed in Africa, millions are imprisoned in China, and gay people are hung from scaffolding in Iran.
History, and in particular, Jewish history, has shown that once a group of people is successfully demonized, one can rationalize doing almost anything to them, including mass murder. That is what makes this AFT statement, and the corresponding milquetoast reaction to it by most educators, politicians and other leaders, so antisemitic and so dangerous.
History, and in particular, Jewish history, has shown that once a group of people is successfully demonized, one can rationalize doing almost anything to them, including mass murder.
But perhaps the most antisemitic aspect of the AFT’s statement is its opening clause and justification for their issuance of this one-sided statement, where the AFT refers to Israel’s “73 year occupation of this land.”
Seventy three years ago, Israel first declared its independence. It is when Israel survived a self-described “war of annihilation” declared by the entire Arab League, and fought against five Arab states and at least two different Palestinian Arab militias. It wasn’t when Israel gained control of the disputed territories of Gaza and Judea and Samaria, during the Six Day War, from Egypt and Jordan.
According to AFT, Jews living in any part of the Jewish people’s indigenous, historic and religious homeland are “occupiers.” According to AFT, the country that is home to nearly 50% of the world’s Jews isn’t legitimate and should be destroyed. The AFT doesn’t say what should happen to the nearly seven million Jews living in Israel, but given how one-sided their statement is, and the militant fist logo that AFT placed at the end of their statement, the implication is clear. At best, they don’t care. At worst, what’s a few million more dead Jews?
Micha Danzig served in the Israeli Army and is a former police officer with the NYPD. He is currently an attorney and is very active with numerous Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, including Stand With Us and the FIDF, and is a national board member of Herut North America.