JCRC Statement on MCEA Proposed Ceasefire Resolution

JCRC Statement

The following is a statement from Ron Halber (executive director) and Guila Franklin Siegel (associate director) of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, in response to the Montgomery County Education Association’s upcoming vote this week on endorsing a ceasefire resolution in Gaza.

It is deeply alarming that MCEA is wasting its time and resources voting on a resolution that is biased against Israel, puts Jewish students and educators in Montgomery County at greater risk of anti-semitic attacks, violates the standards of its own constitution, and will do absolutely nothing to advance the cause of peace abroad or support the academic success or safety of our children at home. We urge MCEA to drop this charade and keep its focus on properly educating our children.

If MCEA is looking to insert itself into a crisis, we recommend the union concentrate on the one in its own backyard. More than half of MCPS students are affected by poverty. Tens of thousands of MCPS students, disproportionately black and brown children, are not reading on grade level. Special education positions across the district remain vacant. Critical academic and mental health programs are facing budget cuts or outright elimination. It is these areas — not foreign affairs — that demand MCEA’s attention.

Instead, MCEA is considering signing onto a resolution that includes no condemnation of Hamas for its horrific terrorist attack that killed 1,200 Israelis on October 7; no mention of Hamas raping and sexually mutilating more than 200 girls and young women; and no call for Hamas to surrender. Under its terms, Hamas would be free to remain in power and carry out additional attacks on innocent civilians. How can MCEA possibly consider sending such a message to its members or the students in its care? We question how anyone of good conscience — let alone a teachers’ union with multiple members currently under suspension and investigation for promoting anti-semitic rallying cries — could even think about putting its name on this deeply flawed statement.    

For far too long, Jewish children and educators in Montgomery County have been forced to look over their shoulders as they walk into school each day — and they will have even more reason to do so if MCEA abandons them by signing on to this resolution. There is still time for MCEA to do the right thing. We urge them in the strongest possible terms to use that time wisely.