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London Jewish schoolteachers quit union over call to join pro-Palestinian rally

25 teachers leave UK’s National Education Union; separately, Jewish teacher quits non-Jewish school after apparent anti-Israel harassment

Protesters hold placards and banners in London, May 22, 2021, as they take part in a rally supporting Palestinians. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Protesters hold placards and banners in London, May 22, 2021, as they take part in a rally supporting Palestinians. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

JTA — At least 25 teachers from a Jewish school in London have quit their trade union to protest its call for participation in pro-Palestinian rallies.

Last week’s walkout by JFS teachers was connected to calls by the National Education Union’s staff for educators to join pro-Palestinian rallies following the recent fighting between Israel and the Hamas terror group.

Kevin Courtney, the union’s joint general secretary, spoke at several protest rallies organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

“I felt I had no choice but to leave the union, which isolated me as a Jewish, pro-Israel teacher,” John Lopez, a JFS teacher, told the Jewish News.

Lopez added that part of the reason he quit was the union’s failure to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, which lists some forms of anti-Israel vitriol as antisemitic. The United Kingdom’s government has adopted the definition.

The entrance to the JFS school in London (Courtesy of JFS via JTA)

Separately, a Jewish teacher quit a non-Jewish school following alleged harassment by students, the Jewish News of London reported Tuesday.

“They were trying to stick Free Palestine stickers in my hair, I broke into tears, I couldn’t take my class that morning,” said the teacher, who wasn’t named.

The teacher said the school, which the Jewish News report also did not name, was indifferent to the circumstances that led to the resignation.

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