(KRON) — The Oakland Education Association has deleted an Instagram post pledging “unequivocal support for Palestinian liberation” and blasting Israel as an “apartheid state.”
The union, which represents teachers, counselors, psychologists, social workers, librarians and other Oakland educators, posted the “official statement of solidarity” with Palestine Friday. The post called for an “immediate ceasefire and the end of all U.S. military aid to Israel.”
Megan Bacigalupi is Jewish and has two kids attending school in the district. Shortly after she criticized the post, it was removed.
“For the Oakland Education Association, which again, represents thousands of teachers, many of whom are also Jewish, who are teaching Jewish students, to say something that wasn’t just anti-Israel, it was antisemitic, it worried a lot of parents like myself about how our children are going to be treated and perceived in the classroom,” Bacigalupi said.
The since-deleted post made no mention of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on southern Israel, in which over 1,400 people were killed and over 100 taken hostage.
Screenshots of the post show that it read as follows:
“We, the members of OAE, express our unequivocal support for Palestinian liberation and self-determination. We condemn the genocidal and apartheid state of Israel.
“We call for an immediate ceasefire and the end of all U.S. military aide to Israel. We call upon all of our labor siblings and elected officials to act in unconditional solidarity with the Palestinian people.”
The post “did not represent the spirit” of a resolution passed by the organization’s executive board, according to a statement from the OEA. The full resolution enacted by the board was posted to the group’s Facebook page, the organization said.
“We are learning from this mistake and are implementing a system to ensure all posts represent the decisions by our democratically elected representatives,” the OEA said in a statement.
“There are words in that statement which are charged, which attack the right of Israel to even exist, which use words like ‘genocide’ and ‘apartheid’ and ‘settler state,’ which again, are antisemitic, are saying that Jewish people have no right to be in that place,” said Bacigalupi.
In the Facebook post, which was posted the following day, the OEA said it mourned “the tragic loss of both Palestinian and Israeli lives these past weeks.” The statement went on to say that the “Israeli government had created an apartheid state” and that “Israeli government leaders have espoused genocidal rhetoric and policies against the people of Palestine.”
The post again called for an immediate ceasefire and went on to say, “there is no place in our community for anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.”
“What has helped me is that there are a lot of teachers in this district who have reached out and said they do not support this whether they are Jewish or not,” Bacigalupi said.
The Facebook post again failed to mention the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.
You can read the full statement posted to OEA’s Facebook account here.
The Oakland Unified School District also weighed in on Monday, issuing a statement saying:
“OUSD disavows the various polarizing statements on the conflict issued by organizations in the OUSD community this past weekend.”
The district neglected to mention the teachers’ union by name or state which of its statements it objected to, another failure, said Bacigalupi.
“I think we can utter and say that something is antisemitic. We can say that what Hamas did was a terrorist attack, without having to say, ‘but this.’ And I think right now in the time that Jews are living in America we have to be very clear where we draw the line when something is antisemitic and I wish that the district had done that more profoundly,” Bacigalupi said.