The Massachusetts Teachers Association’s executive board’s recent statement on the Israel-Hamas War has ignited a storm of controversy. The board’s decision to urge the National Educators Association to pressure President Joe Biden to stop funding Israel, labeling it a “genocidal war on the Palestinian people in Gaza,” has drawn swift backlash.
The Newton Teachers Association has called for a retraction, condemning the statement as “callous” and expressing concerns about potential antisemitic repercussions. The association emphasized the complexity of the Middle East situation, pointing out the failure of the MTA’s statement to consider the atrocities against Israelis on October 7 and the trauma experienced by various communities.
Rabbi Jonah Steinberg, director of the Anti-Defamation League New England, criticized the MTA’s statement as one-sided and biased. He highlighted the necessity for Israel to defend itself against Hamas, which has repeatedly threatened actions similar to those on October 7.
In response to the criticism, MTA President Max Page and Vice President Deb McCarthy released a statement affirming the association’s abhorrence of the atrocities and loss of life in the Israel-Hamas War. They explained that the decisions made by the Executive Committee and Board of Directors were aimed at promoting education about the conflict’s history and advocating for a ceasefire.
The MTA leaders expressed their belief that human suffering in the region must end, emphasizing the importance of working together for lasting solutions that support peaceful co-existence.