DRAFT AFT Guild Statement in Support for All Innocent People Suffering in Gaza and Israel (11/28/2023)

Dear AFT Guild Members,

Please find below a DRAFT statement which was crafted by the Guild’s Social Justice Committee.  We will be discussing and voting on this statement for adoption at our December 7th Union meeting beginning at 3:00pm at City College.

I hope you can join us!

In Solidarity,
Jim Mahler, President
AFT Guild, Local 1931

Statement of Support for All Innocent People Suffering in Gaza and Israel

We stand alongside fellow educators and human rights organizations around the world in calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to violence against innocent civilians in the Gaza strip.

We note that intellectual discomfort is necessary and vital in an open democratic society, and we are responsible to foster it as educators. The current institutional policing and silencing of dissenting voices in our country, and at our campuses, is alarming and frightening, for it means a deep fracturing of our democratic rights and intellectual freedoms to speech. We vehemently reject that our support of Palestinian right to life is anti-Semitic or that support of Israeli victims and Jewish allies is pro-Zionist. We stand with both suffering peoples, especially when both disagree with the continuation of military assault and warfare.

In light of the increasing number of deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza since October 7, 2023, which is over 14,000 as of November 26, 2023 according to The New York Times,  and the 1,200 innocent Israeli’s who were murdered by Hamas on October 7, 2023 attack according to Reuters,  and the current genocide in Gaza we are bearing witness to, we express our sincere support to all members of our college community and their families who are affected. We also express deep sympathy for the loss of innocent lives of Israeli citizens as well as those who are still held hostage by Hamas.

        It is our duty to consistently foster understanding and inclusion, now, more than ever. Simultaneously, we emphasize the significance of embracing empathy and reconciliation to foster peace and reclaim humanity. We are committed to standing in peace and love, while rejecting harassment or intimidation within our communities, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism

As members of the AFT Social Justice Committee, and as educators, we find it our duty to not only talk to our students about the horrific attacks that happened to Israeli civilians on October 7, 2023, the horrific history of the Holocaust that took the lives of more than six million innocent Jewish people, but also the long history of the occupation of the Palestinian lands, and Israel’s apartheid and ethnocentric state against the Palestinian people.

We decry all forms of prejudice, ethnocentrism, and racial injustice, including Islamophobia, anti-Arab racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Palestinian sentiments, and stand in love with all communities impacted.

Our AFT Social Justice Committee hopes to continue to take action by educating our campus communities. We hope to organize a list of resources to help our students and members to learn more about the Palestinian and Jewish plights. In the meantime, we offer the following resources: