PORTLAND, Oregon (Jul. 4)
The powerful delegation of New York State teachers to the National Education Association 94th annual convention opened fire yesterday on the NEA’s sponsorship of travel tours to Arab countries in the Middle East from which American Jewish teachers are barred.
The New York delegation, headed by Bernard Donovan, administrative assistant in the New York City high school division, demanded that the NEA call off its tours to Near East countries that discriminate against teachers because of race, color or religion. Other delegations, notably the Detroit Educational Association, have indicated support of the stand taken by New York State. The opposition to the tours for non-Jews only had been building up for several days behind the scenes at the convention which is being attended by 10,000 educators from every part of the country.
NEA sponsorship of the discriminatory tours was revealed several weeks ago and brought prompt protests from national Jewish organizations, teachers groups and others. The defense of the NEA officers was that they did not discriminate but had to abide by regulations established by the host countries. The discrimination was uncovered when teachers signing up for tours were asked to provide statements by Christian clergymen as to their religious affiliation.