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Minneapolis teachers union walks back controversial statement on Israel-Hamas war

War in the Middle East creating controversy in the classroom
War in the Middle East creating controversy in the classroom 03:04

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Public Schools' teachers union apologized Wednesday for its statement regarding the Israel-Hamas war earlier this month.

The union came under fire after it condemned what it called "the system of Israeli occupation and apartheid," and endorsed a boycott of the Jewish state.

Jewish families and teachers expressed outrage and worry over the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59's "Israel-Palestine Resolution" posted Nov. 14.

Our resolution on Israel & Palestine.

Posted by MFT 59 - Minneapolis Federation of Teachers on Tuesday, November 14, 2023

READ MORE: Jewish families blast Minneapolis teacher union statement on Israel as "dangerous to our children"

"I don't see them commenting on genocides happening in Yemen or Libya or Sudan or other places throughout the world," Elly Fine-Sternberg, whose three children attend MPS schools, told WCCO. "Personally I was really hurt, I was really angry, I was really sad."

Jeremy Cohen, another MPS parent, echoed that sentiment and claimed the MFT statement "violates" a teacher's obligation to protect all students.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, or JCRC, says it worked closely with Jewish and allied MFT members, as well as Minneapolis families since the original resolution passed.

In the new resolution, passed on Wednesday, the union said that its previous statement "harmed many Jewish members, students and families while causing unnecessary division within our union," and expressed its regrets.

"We are especially concerned in this moment for our Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, and Palestinian students, who are deeply hurting. Our focus must remain centered on fostering a safe learning environment for all students," MFT said.

The latest resolution passed with 115 yes, 69 no and 8 abstentions. MFT noted that more members attended Wednesday's meeting than the Oct. 25 meeting, where the original resolution was passed.

NOTE: The video above is from Nov. 17, 2023, before the most recent resolution was passed.

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