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Massachusetts Teachers Union Hosts Webinar By Professor Who Praised Hamas, Enraging Membership

via CBS

The Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), a union representing 117,000 teachers and faculty, hosted a webinar featuring professors who praised Hamas terrorists and promoted anti-Israel narratives.

One professor lauded the “courage” of Hamas attackers. The webinar aimed to convince attendees that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitic.

“The courage of those who broke through the barbed wire, sailed by boat to return to their ancestral homes, or flew with their hang-gliders over the wall of the largest open-air prison has shown that Palestinians will continue to defy the gravity of settler colonialism to be free, whatever the cost,” professor Leila Farsakh wrote.

“The facts unfolding on the ground have made it clear who the perpetrator is and who the victim is,” she added.

Jewish organizations like the ADL and JCRC criticized the webinar for spreading anti-Israel falsehoods and dehumanizing tropes.

“How do we counter this unfair and misleading propaganda?” Gender Studies professor Heike Schotten said alongside a slide reading, “One of the biggest, most common, painful, and offensive ways this propaganda works is by attacking anyone who speaks out against Zionism as anti-Semitic.”

“Well, you know, all of us in the Zoom room are educators,” said Schotten. “Education is and has always been central to movements for liberation and justice… and when we do this together, when we learn and teach and know about Zionism, both as settler colonialism and as a very well-funded propaganda effort, we realize that these claims about anti-Semitism are lies.”

MTA members expressed concern the union will promote an anti-Semitic curriculum.

Previously, the MTA accused Israel of genocide and U.S. complicity, against objections.

“By expressly rejecting anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism and invoking frameworks of ‘colonialism and imperialism’ in a discussion regarding Israel/Palestine, this programming reinforces anti-Semitic and anti-Israel falsehoods,” the Anti-Defamation League New England wrote.

“Educational programming on topics such as Zionism and anti-Zionism, particularly where a stated goal is to better prepare educators for discussions in the classroom, must be subject to at least the same rigorous standards we would expect of any curriculum intended to be taught to our children,” the ADL added.

“We have major concerns that the end goal for the MTA is to implement this type of curriculum into classrooms across Massachusetts,” teacher Brigitte Karns stated. “They are looking to train teachers with dangerous material that will indoctrinate our students to be anti-Semitic.”

“The MTA should not be involved in geopolitical issues,” she added. “There have been many in the past with the same groups and they did not get involved. Ukraine/Russia and they did not get involved.”

A counter petition garnered over 57,000 signatures. While the MTA president said the webinar enabled dialogue, it has continued associating with anti-Israel activists and rejected invitations to combat school anti-Semitism.

“I expect that there will be members in attendance who will agree wholeheartedly with what is presented; there will be members in attendance who could not disagree more,” MTA president Max Page said. “The particular viewpoints expressed in these individual workshops do not represent the official views of the MTA.”

“The webinar was biased and contradictory,” occupational therapist Arielle Kingsbury said. “They spoke about the history of the conflict but neglected to mention a lot of historical fact.”

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