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Why Is a California Teachers Union So Anti-Israel?

Teachers unions have historically been formed to protect the rights of faculty members through collective bargaining. So, why would the California Faculty Association, a union from the largest state university system in the country go out of its way to issue an resolution that is decidedly anti-Israel? Additionally, why is a teachers union even spending time discussing, debating and passing a resolution about Israel and the Palestinians? Let's drill down into the union for more information.

The CFA (the California Faculty Association) claims to be a union which exists to support the teachers California's colleges and universities. From their own website;

CFA stands for:

  • Quality education for our students
  • Fairness for those of us who earn our living as teachers
  • Policies that ensure access to higher education

That all sounds fairly typical of a teachers union; deliver quality education, get paid a decent salary and push so more people can gain access to the schools (guaranteeing continued employment). No big deal, right?

The union also states;

We are a union of 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches who teach in the California State University system. In classrooms on the 23 CSU campuses, CFA members work hard to teach our students the critical-thinking skills, the technical know-how and the cultural insights they need to be thoughtful, productive and artistic participants in our society.

Great! All of that sounds swell. Digging a little deeper into the CFA's history reveals some surprising ideas.

In 2009 the union adopted a resolution in 2009 titled, "CFA Call for a Halt to Violence Against All Civilians in Palestine and Israel." The resolution is so patently Anti-Israel, that Leila Beckwith, a former UCLA professor, wrote the following in early 2010 for the American Thinker;

The resolution states seven propositions that form the basis for the actions recommended. The propositions include affirming a moral equivalence between Israel defending its citizens from missile attacks and Hamas firing missiles against Israeli civilians, a misstatement of the conditions in Gaza, an omission of the U.N. Security Council's condemnation of acts of terrorism, and a false charge against the U.S. of not seeking a just peace agreement.

The suspect resolution was spearheaded by CFA board member Manzar Foroohar, a history professor with an obvious anti-Israel bias. Who is Manzar Foroohar? Lee Kaplan reports for FrontPageMag.com;

Manzar Foroohar, an Iranian immigrant and history professor specializing in the modern Middle East and Latin America at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo—came to the fore. However, the extent of her involvement was never publicly acknowledged. In fact, Foroohar authored and championed the resolution, which was presented by the CFA Peace & Justice Committee (Committee), unanimously adopted by the CFA Board of Directors on February 7, 2009, and passed by the CFA General Assembly in Sacramento on April 4-5 that same year.

Kaplan continues;

A cursory review of Foroohar’s academic work at Cal Poly reveals that she donates a good deal of her time both inside and outside the classroom to demonizing Israel, particularly by promoting boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). Indeed, Foroohar, along with a number of Middle East studies academics teaching in California, is on the organizing committee for the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, a group that works internationally to promote BDS.

BDS - Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions. Does that sound like the basic planks of education you might expect a student to be learning in college?

Mr. Kaplan's research discovered that Ms. Foroohar's personal bias against Israel has been public for almost a decade, but recently have become more pronounced;

Foroohar gave lectures at California State University, Sacramento, in February 2009 titled, "Occupation of Palestine: The Obstacle to Peace" and "Zionism and Peace: Compatible or Contradictory Ideas?" In March 2009, she took part in a panel discussion at the University of Southern California titled, "From la Frontera to Gaza: Chicano-Palestinian Connections." She presented a slide show and discussion at California State University, Fresno, in October 2002, on "Occupation and Resistance." In May 2005, Foroohar moderated a discussion session at Cal Poly following a Muslim Student Association co-sponsored screening of several anti-Israel "documentaries," including Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land.

Based on her continued actions, and the resolution she is alleged to have written and pushed through the CFA, Ms. Foroohar's personal beliefs on Israel appear to be creeping into the CFA.  Again the question should be raised, 'Why is a teachers union so involved in Middle East politics?'

We looked to the union for answers. Their web page has the following 'Mission Statement' (from the CFA's Peace & Justice Committee);

Our Principles

To protect our members and the lives and livelihoods of working people everywhere, we will advocate, educate and mobilize in the US labor movement for:

• A Just Foreign Policy that will bring genuine security and prosperity to working people. A policy that strengthens international treaties, supports human rights institutions, respects national sovereignty and upholds the right of self-determination for all peoples. $ A foreign policy that solves disputes by diplomacy rather than war. $ A policy that promotes global economic and social justice rather than the race-to-the-bottom, job-destroying, discriminatory practices favored by multinational corporations.

The opening paragraph of the CALIFORNIA Faculty Association says almost nothing about education, instead it focuses on 'GLOBAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE.'  But wait, there's more. The very next item in the Mission Statement says the following;

• An end to U.S. Occupation of Foreign Countries, replaced by the reconstruction of war-devastated nations with the full support of the international community and the full participation and decision-making power of affected peoples.

Again, nothing about educating students or providing a better working environment for teachers. There must be something about teachers pay and benefits in the next paragraph. Right?

• Redirecting the Nation's Resources from inflated military spending to meeting the needs of working families for health care, education, a clean environment, housing and a decent standard of living based on principles of equality and democracy.

This one at least mentions the word 'education' - even if it is buried among what sounds like the basic promises of most Socialist organizations.

The CFA mission statement wraps up with three final goals;

• Supporting Our Troops and their Families by bringing the troops home now, by not recklessly putting them in harm’s way and by providing decent compensation, veterans’ benefits and domestic policies administered without discrimination that prioritize the needs of working people who make up the bulk of the military.

• Protecting Workers' Rights, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties and the Rights of Immigrants by promoting democracy, not subverting it. Ethnic, racial and religious profiling and stereotyping must be replaced by policies that promote dignity, economic justice and respect for all working people.

• Solidarity With Workers and their Organizations Around the World who are struggling for their own labor and human rights, and with those in the U.S. who want US foreign and domestic policies to reflect our nation's highest ideals.

It might be of interest to know that the CFA is also connected to SEIU, the large and powerful union that President Obama told, 'SEIU's agenda is MY agenda.' Let's not forget that SEIU reportedly spent $60 million dollars to get Barack Obama elected in 2008.

The CFA is SEIU Local 1983.

Any questions?

H/T to the tireless members of the 9-12Project for bringing this to our attention.

One last thing…
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