LAWRENCE (KSNT) – The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), alongside its Kansas branch, have issued a statement following the controversial stance taken by a local labor union at the University of Kansas on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Ron Hobert, president of AFT Kansas, said the views of the Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition (GTAC) at KU differs greatly from the AFT and AFT Kansas in a press release distributed Thursday, Oct. 26. The GTAC issued a letter earlier this month announcing that it stood in solidarity with Palestine shortly after hostilities were renewed between Israel and Hamas militants in the Middle East.
The letter was not well received by every graduate teaching assistant at the university, stirring controversy among some of its members.
“In addition, AFT members have worked hard with Palestinians and Israelis for years, reaffirming its belief in a 2-state solution in a convention resolution passed in 2016. All unions under AFT Kansas jurisdiction practice independeny and antinomy. Like all Americans, GTAC has the right to free speech. Currently, GTAC has chosen to exercise this right and their opinions publicly on this tragedy and now on-going conflict. The GTAC Executive Board is solely responsible for their actions, words, and deeds.
AFT along with our fellow union brothers and sisters across the country, we sympathize and pray for all of those who are suffering and caught in this terrible situation occurring on the other side of the world. We are hopeful and praying for a quick resolution to this conflict.”AFT Kansas press release excerpt
Hostilities between Israel and Palestinians erupted in the early morning hours of Oct. 7 when militants belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas launched an attack on Israel. The attack was condemned by world leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, with both Israel and Hamas under close scrutiny for alleged war crimes committed during the conflict. Several U.S. citizens have been reported dead or missing since the initial attack on Israel.
College campuses across the U.S. are weighing in on the conflict with students picking sides as the conflict continues. Protests regarding the conflict are not unique to the U.S. with thousands of people making their voices heard around the world on where they stand on the issue.