Israeli teachers’ union denies reports it backed settlement boycott


(JTA) — The Israel Teachers Union denied reports that it signed a document calling for a boycott of West Bank settlements.

The denial, published Friday on the union’s website, was in reaction to a report by Israel’s Channel 10 the previous day that union delegates signed the document in order to prevent the adoption of another text with harsher language targeting Israel at the congress of Education International, which represents teacher associations, in Canada later this year.

According to Channel 10, the union last month joined counterparts in other countries in submitting a draft resolution which, in addition to calling for a boycott, states that “the ongoing Israeli occupation in the West Bank, the existence of illegal Israeli settlements there and their effect on the lives of Palestinians including access to water, along with the siege on Gaza, impose severe limitations on the Palestinian economic and social development.”

The document also calls for the dismantling of Israel’s security fence, which runs through parts of the West Bank, according to the report.

Channel 10 reported that three union officials hoped to thwart the passing of two resolutions “of a very harsh nature” against Israel. Some supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement favor targeting not just Israel’s settlement enterprise but all Israeli products.

The union officials reportedly attended a meeting last month by Education International’s recently established monitor group for the Middle East, which includes delegates from Britain, Norway, South Africa and the American Federation of Teachers.

In its denial, the union said that it “does not agree, nor did it ever agree with the text.”

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