Teachers and staff at the San Diego Community College District are represented by American Federation of Teachers Local 1931. Courtesy of the district

The American Federation of Teachers local representing community college teachers and staff in San Diego County has approved a resolution condemning Israel and questioning the Jewish state’s right to exist.

The resolution criticizes Israel for “its 73-year occupation of this land” and calls for Palestinians to be returned to areas they left after the United Nations’ creation of Israel in 1948.

An email to union members included a “Free Palestine” poster that is often associated with demands to end the existence of Israel.

However, the resolution adopted by AFT Guild Local 1931 claimed that “condemning Israel for its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, occupation, apartheid and war crimes is not anti-Semitism.”

In July, the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, rejected a similar resolution condemning Israel.

Jim Mahler, president of the local representing the San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca community college districts, did not respond to an emailed request for comment, including whether he expected Jewish teachers and students to face discrimination because of the resolution.

A spokesman for the San Diego Community College District said the district had no comment on the resolution “other than to say we stand with all of our students and employees.”

Stand With Us, a Los Angeles-based Israel education organization with a chapter in San Diego, issued a statement that “simply writing ‘we’re not anti-Semites’ does not eliminate the anti-Semitic nature and impact” of the resolution.

Because of resolutions like the one issued by Local 1931, “too many teachers and students now question if they are safe and welcome in the places where they work, study and live,” the organization said.

Many American college campuses are facing calls from the BDS movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, and San Diego State University recently teamed with the Anti-Defamation League to address the growing concerns of Jewish students.

Ironically the union local’s anti-Israel resolution was adopted the day before the annual Jewish High Holy Day period began on Sept. 6.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.