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Kimberly P. Yow

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Jewish father wants Minnesota teachers unions to stick to teaching after ‘divisive’ stance on Hamas-Israel war

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A parent of a child in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) on Wednesday blasted a Minnesota teachers union for passing a resolution that called for the state legislature to repeal anti-BDS legislation.

Jeremy Cohen, a Jewish father of one child in MPS, told Fox News Digital the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers’ Local 59 (MFT) resolution on the Hamas-Israel war was an inappropriate move.

“So like many Jewish people, the last six weeks have been incredibly hard. And most Americans, I think, are having a really hard time right now grappling with what’s going on halfway around the world. And as a parent, you just want your kids to go to school, and you want your kids to feel safe, and you want them to be educated,” Cohen told Fox News Digital.

“There’s certain things that complicate a parent’s level of comfort with that,” Cohen added. 

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Cohen continued by saying that the resolution drafted by the MFT, which represents his child’s teachers, is “dangerous” as a parent.

“And that’s the heartbreaking part of this,” Cohen said.

He went on to say, “To be clear, I think I would feel the same way. I know I would feel the same way. Had the resolution been drafted in any other way? Because I just don’t think global politics has a place in the teachers union.”

Cohen’s comments came after he joined over 800 parents in the MPS community to sign a letter condemning the MFT’s stance on the Hamas-Israel war.

They wrote a letter to interim Superintendent Rochelle Cox and the MPS school board to condemn the MFT’s resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Hamas-Israel conflict, saying it is “antisemitic and hostile.”

Mark Glotter, another one of the signatories of the letter, told the Twin Cities Jewfolk, a local online Jewish media hub, that the MFT “should be teaching the kids.”

“It’s not something that the teacher’s federation should be involved with,” he said. 

The letter, organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), was signed by over 800 stakeholders. It begins by describing the difficult current political climate for Jewish people.

MFT’s resolution is antisemitic and hostile to our children, MPS staff, and puts our larger community at further risk because of their Jewish identity,” the letter continued. 

The MFT passed a resolution earlier this month to “condemn the role our [America] government plays in supporting the system of Israeli occupation and apartheid, which lies at the root of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

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The resolution stated, “MFT mourns the loss of innocent life in Israel and occupied Palestine. We categorically reject violence against all civilians whether Israeli or Palestinian. We therefore call for an immediate ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and to de-escalate the conflict.”

Furthermore, the MFT called on the Minnesota State Legislature to repeal anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) legislation saying it suppresses Palestinians’ free speech and discriminates against them.

“The BDS movement is a peaceful and powerful way to affect lasting, positive change in the region,” the resolution concluded.

Cohen said the resolution is a disservice to the teachers–their primary constituents–because it forces them to take a stance on a divisive issue.

“I think at a very basic level, it adds fuel to the fire of a situation that’s not needed in public schools at a more complicated level,” Cohen said.

“I think they really did their union a disservice because every teacher is now forced to take a position on this statement and put their own personal perspectives in the public domain–Because parents are asking the question: Does my teacher support this? Which is an unfair question that parents need to be asked,” he said.

He continued, “Because if a teacher does support this, then as parents, we have to ask, what does that mean for where we send our kids to school in the classroom they’re in? And I just think from a union leadership perspective, they’ve really failed their own union from that standpoint. And they put everyone in the local schools in an impossible position.”

The teachers union and the MPS superintendent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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MPS did send the Twin Cities Jewfolk a statement about respecting the union’s right to express their views. 

“We respect their right to express their views on any topic,” the statement read. “As a diverse community, we work to create a safe and welcoming learning environment for all of our students and families and in light of what we are all witnessing at the moment, we are thinking deeply about supporting both our Jewish and Palestinian families and staff during this difficult time.”

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