Oakland teachers union passes controversial resolution supporting Palestinian liberation

The Oakland Education Association passed a non-binding resolution Monday night demanding "freedom for Palestine," a ceasefire and "Israeli de-escalation," which some fear could lead to more antisemitism at Oakland schools. 

The vote – on the heels of similar controversial messages on social media last weekend that causes a massive rift in the community – came after a meeting that lasted about two and a half hours and left most of the Jewish teachers very upset.  

The resolution is one-sided, placing blame squarely on Israel and uses triggering language, glossing over the complicated history of Israel and Palestine. 

It reads in part, "the Israeli government created an apartheid state and the Israeli government leaders have espoused genocidal rhetoric and policies against the people of Palestine."

Roosevelt Middle School music teacher Randy Porter, who is Jewish, joined the union meeting remotely.  It was open only to its members.

"I will stop paying my dues to OEA," Porter said. 

He said this resolution will cause harm district wide because Jewish students feel unsafe.

"A lot of hurt, shock and disbelief. It's short-sighted," Porter added. "Jewish families are going to pull out of this district. We don't need more families leaving the district." 

After teaching in Oakland public schools for nearly four decades, Porter may do more than withdraw from the union. 

"We'll have to see what the environment is like.  See how safe it feels," he said. "I know that  a lot of colleagues don't feel safe with antisemitism on the rise." 

But not everyone felt that way. 

"You need to have sympathy for the other side, too," said Hatim Nasser, a father from Yemen who has a daughter who attends an elementary school in north Oakland. 

Nasser agreed with the OEA's resolution.

"You cannot act desensitized and have no emotions and have no reactions to what's taking place elsewhere," he said. "What happens there impacts people here, too."

Nick Landry, another parent with a daughter who attends 5th grade at an Oakland school, said it makes sense for the teachers union to weigh in. 

"A lasting peace in Palestine and Israel starts with folks being educated on the history and current reality of life for Palestinians in Gaza," Landry said. 

In response to the resolution, the Anti-Defamation League issued a written statement saying that "it's painful for parents and students of OUSD schools to learn of the one-sided condemnation of the war in Israel, issued by the OEA which endorses dangerous and false narratives."

The Anti-Defamation League said it will be working with the school superintendent on this matter.

KTVU reached out to the school district but it declined to comment on the resolution.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU.  Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.