SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Can Jewish Educators Have Faith in UFT Solidarity?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Can Jewish Educators Have Faith in UFT Solidarity?

In 2008, a month before my son was to start first grade, I brought him with me to the Westchester County Center where old time Yankee Ron Blomberg was doing a signing show. I told Ron that my son was also going to be starting Hebrew school in September and he looked directly in my son's eyes and said, "Always be a proud Jew."

I have always been a proud Jew, but never a blind Jew, especially when it comes to Israel.

There are lots of things that Israel has done over the years which have really pissed me off. The settlements, the wall, bulldozing houses, the Occupied Territories, the kowtowing to the  religious right, Netanyahu, the hysterical talk about Iran, and so much more.

But, I will say this point blank. There must be a solution soon and it is as much up to Israel as it is with the Palestinians to come to an agreement. The only solution is a two separate states with Israel continuing to be, and always will be, a Jewish state. Jews need and must always have a homeland, a place where they are the majority, a place where they can go if there is ever another Holocaust.

So what is one to think when the UFT Solidarity Facebook page shows up on my feed this comes along (Click to enlarge)?

 Click here to read the article. But before we get to the allegedly anti-Israel, anti-Zionist article, a few words about Randi and her trip.

The author, and by posting and sharing this, UFT Solidarity, seem to imply that not only did Randi and several other AFT upper echelon  travel to Israel on the AFT's dime, but Randi and the AFT are owned by Israel and J-Street.

But one of the free thinkers of UFT Solidarity left a comment;
I liked this page to support teachers even if their union doesn't support them.

If instead this page is to promote Islamic terrorists and lie about Israel, it behooves you to be honest and change the page name.

For the record, in Israel, government members are women, Arab, Druze.
Arabs and women vote.
Arabs and women in the army.

So, what apartheid, exactly?

The Crack Team will soon send her a gift basket from Hickory Farms, of course no pork products, to say thank you.

I have no proof, nor does anyone, that Randi went there on the AFT dime. Nor, do we have proof that Randi is a shill, owned, has her bread or Matzoh buttered, by Israel or J-Street.

Want to whine about J-Street? Better to deal with them than with AIPAC.

Watch the video. So Randi speaks in favor of a two state solution. So what if Randi talks about peace? HEre are some of her words at the conference that she attended.
“This is a difficult moment for those of us who believe in the ideal of Jews and Palestinians living side by side, in two states, with real rights, and with security,” Weingarten lamented.

She lambasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “last-ditch effort to retain power.” It was, she said, “both painful and pitiful – just days after thousands of us went to Selma to honor those brutally beaten fighting to exercise the right to vote – to watch Netanyahu renounce the two-state solution and demonize Israel’s Arab citizens for exercising their basic democratic rights.”

Weingarten fretted about a status quo that “threatens the future of the State of Israel.” She posited herself as a representative of the reasonable middle in a “vast chasm between those who believe: Israel, right or wrong, and never mind the occupation or democracy; and those who believe: Israel is evil and doesn’t have a right to exist, which then justifies BDS, or worse, violence or terrorism.”

This is a proud Jew speaking, not a a blind Jew. But Randi brings up a great point and the point the author takes umbrage with. The call for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until as the author wants, to make the Israel withdraw from the West Bank and/or make one state is wrong, just plain wrong.

But yet no one wants to BDS Russia, China, (Look at Tibet), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Venezuela, or any other totalitarian country. Why? 

Let's not forget that in Israel, Muslims, Christians, and Druze can practice their religion. Serve in government, serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, leave free. What other Mid-East can say the same?

As I had written at beginning, and as Randi as agreed, Israel has a responsibility in this mess. But it takes two to tango. Even without the issue of the Occupied Territories, the right of return is a non-starter. If this happens Israel will not be a Jewish state in 50 years.

I have disagreed with Randi on many things. I have not been shy about it. However, if she does something I agree with I won't be shy about sharing that as well. And if it is something I agree with and she is being attacked I will defend her. And if any Jew anywhere or Israel is being attacked I will without a doubt have their backs in my own way.

People don't realize that in 1948 most if the Arabs and Palestinians fled not because of the Israeli (Yes, this happened) Army, but because the government of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan encouraged their people to leave telling  them they will soon be victorious and they will be able to come back.

 Israel would not be occupying the West Bank if Jordan never had entered the war. Remember this. Jordan from the time of the partition to 1967 allowed ZERO Jews and Israelis into the Holy Land. Since 1967 Israel has allowed full access into Jerusalem.

Between 1948 and 1967 Jordan had done nothing to promote or turn over the West Bank for Palestinians. In fact, what is now Jordan was part of the Province of Palestine during the Ottoman Empire. Why not pressure Jordan to turn over their land as well?

Israel days after the 1967 war offered all the land they took back under the condition of peace and recognition. They were turned down. Israel has shown what they will do when serious peace offerings are undertaken. See The Sinai.

Why should Israel withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank? Have we not seen what has become of Gaza?

Both sides must make efforts. Both sides must tone down the rhetoric. Both leaders must do what is best for their people not for their political lives.

It is amazing that whomever posted this on FB from UFT  Solidarity did not take the time to do research, or even read, the article or find out about the author, Ali Abunimah. Just look at the web address; . Abunimah is a virulent anti-Semite whilst living in the United States breathing the air of freedom he can't enjoy in the Middle East. His statements in the past have been repugnant and has compared Israel to Nazi Germany and has called for a third Intifada.

By sharing this on Facebook, UFT Solidarity either agrees with Ali Abunimah, did not properly vet the article, or there is no organizational controls at UFT Solidarity. We here at SBSB doubt that it is the latter for all decisions in our opinion are made in a vacuum and come down as decrees.

How can a Jewish educator in their right mind now support UFT Solidarity? In the opinion of The Crack Team a Jew should take a long, long look at what they are getting into. If you are a compliant, of course this is just opinion, quiet Jew, you might not worry about support. But what happens if you are not?

If UFT Solidarity wins, will a Jew have to be concerned with any future support of the anti-Israel/anti-Zionist lobby? Would we be seeing Ali Abunimah or his cohorts welcomed at 52 Broadway?

I have finally sat my son down to watch Schindler's List. We have been watching it in bits and pieces. This past Sunday we watched when the ghetto was liquidated. It was a movie, I've seen that scene before and it still disturbed and sickened me.

My great-great uncle, Maurycy Trebacz  was one of the most famed Jewish-Polish artists of his time. He and his family died in the Lødz ghetto in 1941 just because he was a Jew.

Ron Blomberg. He knows.


Anonymous said...

You're completely out of your mind.

Anonymous said...

Peter defending Israel means he is out of his mind.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that must be it. You must be as nuts as he is.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Jew too. You have problem with that?

Anonymous said...

Please don't advertise it, we have enough problems.

Anonymous said...

well I suppose it hit a nerve. I profoundly dislike Randi Weingarten. She cozies up to every politician who is anti-teacher, anti-union. people follow HER blindly. she should be removed from any teacher/union organization. and if her pro-Israeli business as part of the AFT can’t be criticized well there we go again. did we elect to send her there??? is this part of the ‘social justice’ agenda, again??? I don’t live in Israel, I live in America. my husband is Jewish. I’m not an anti-Semite. but let’s see MORE put up any critique of Randi W. about this. ::crickets::

Pete Zucker said...

OK,let's try this again. If anyone wants to criticize Randi for going to Israel for sticking her nose in international affairs fine. But, who paid for it? Did AFT? Then that is a point of contention.

But, when Solidarity types of Randi, "We know which who butters her bread...." what is that supposed to mean?

And worse, to use the words of a extreme ant-Semite, what else is one to think?

And guess what? I don't live in Israel either. I live in America. Israel is important to me and to Randi. I don;t besmirch her at all for going to Israel.

And what will MORE do? No clue. Don't know if they know.

As to the anonymous poster 1st, 3rd, and 5th posts. Same person. From Yonkers. Initials probably MF. Come on. You can do better.

Curious, why would UFT Solidarity suddenly remove that article?

Anonymous said...

Everyone loathes Weingarten, but I wouldn't consider her an anti-Semite. She's anti-teacher, and all about self interest. I don't know MORE's or Solidarity stance.

Pete Zucker said...

How can Randi be an anti-Semite?

Ms. Tsouris said...

I looked at their Facebook page, and sure enough I saw this hate filled anti Semitic post. I made a comment and they answered that Solidarity has a "committee" that dropped the ball apparently. They do vet the postings, but somehow missed this one. Any more of these postings and I'm done with Solidarity. I'm retired and have no other agenda other than calling hate out when I see it.

Anonymous said...

Solidarity should be more diligent when posting material on their site. If they can't even do this correctly how do they expect to have any trust or creditability for anyone. Sorry I am withdrawing my membership from Solidarity tonight!

Francesco Portelos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francesco Portelos said...

Ms. Tsouris is correct.

See comment we screenshot before taking the post down.

In internal discussions I stated we need to stay clear off any Israel Palestine issues as I've seen what it did to internal MORE discussions.

Francesco Portelos said...

No you're not.

Anonymous said...

This stuff is becoming more and more bizarre by the minute! I can't keep up with the shenanigans that are going on back and forth? Did this statement about Israel and Randi really go up on the Solidarity site or the More site? WTH is going on?

Pete Zucker said...

Solidarity FB page. Screen shot is in the post.

Oh, another blast from my past. God forbid, when will I live that post about MORE down? /sarcssm.

He is some more stuff t use. In 2nd grade, my best friend was Michael Dailey. His parents had a crucifix over their bed. I came home and told my dad I believe in JC.

In 3rd grade there was an All in the Family in which a Swastika was painted on Archie's door. Before I went to made I drew on on a piece of paper with a red Crayola.

Please stop being disingenuous. Only one person is allowed to make any decisions at UFT Solidarity. But thanks for trying. I had a good laugh.

I Am Done With Solidarity said...

Peter thank you for the exposing. I Am done with Solidarity as are some others. Portelos is only sorry that he got caught.

Anonymous said...

I am Jewish. I lived in Israel for five years. I speak Hebrew. Randi may go to Israel, or Iran, or anywhere she pleases. From my vantage point, Randi is supposed to be working to improve conditions for public school teachers and students. Making political speeches in foreign countries is not part of her job description. Is she auditioning for Secretary of State for Hillary?

Pete Zucker said...

I should have said I had drawn a Swastika.

But onto bigger and better things. Let's just say for a moment that this was an oversight.

But the committee, er... that wrote the message, "Rahm Emanuel or Bloomberg/Klein #randi knows which side her bread is buttered on."

The last 7 words, "...which side her bread is buttered on" code, a dog whistle.This person knew exactly what he was writing and knew exactly what that article said. I have heard statements like this disguised other ways to actually mean, "THE JEWISH LOBBY/JEWS/ISRAEL/B'NAIL B'RITH/THE INTERNATIONAL BANKING CARTEL(JEWS)/ROTHSTEINS are control everything and all Jews are part of that system.

Freud said there are no mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Reading this information about Portelos and Solidarity is like seeing a "bad" car accident on the road. You just can't help yourself, you have to take a look and stare. Then you wonder how the hell did it happened?
What were they thinking? Someone was texting while driving, had a few too many, smoked a little bit too much or maybe was putting their makeup on (or shinning their head)? Who knows but you still shake your own head and look and say WTF!!!

Anonymous said...

Teachers unions should be focussing on two things, what is best for the teachers and students, nothing else. The more politics involved the more dividing teachers. I am Jewish too and not a supporter of Weingarten/Mulgrew and Unity, but don't know what other caucus I should support. Now, on to Israel, you wrote a lot of good historically factual information, but I must correct you one one part, you wrote:

"Between 1948 and 1967 Jordan had done nothing to promote or turn over the West Bank for Palestinians. In fact, what is now Jordan was part of the Province of Palestine during the Ottoman Empire. Why not pressure Jordan to turn over their land as well?"

Jordan was a part of British Mandate Palestine after the Turks lost WWI in 1917, then it was given to the Arabs in 1922. The people who started calling themselves Palestinians in the 1960s were citizens of Jordan before the 6-day war and Jordan is their home. Yes, the Palestinians already have a state, it is called Jordan. Also, Palestine was not the name of any province of the Ottoman Empire, because Palestine was not a termed used in the middle east, only in the west. During the Ottoman Empire what is now Israel was part of 3 different provinces, the Syria, Beirut, and Jerusalem Province. Now, lets check out some historically accurate quotes from our Arab cousins.

"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. . . . Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it." -- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi-- Local Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937

"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not" -- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian to Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, 1946

King Abdullah in 1948: "Palestine and Jordan are one..."

"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria." -- Ahmed Shukairy, United Nations Security Council, 1956

Zahir Muhsein- executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO, now Palestinian Authority)
March 31, 1977 interview in the Dutch newspaper Trouw:

“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism. For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”

King Hussein in 1981: "The truth is that Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan."

Anonymous said...

Wow we are really diverting from the issue of who posted this in the first place. We all could give excellent insights into history and the why and causes etc... the fact is that someone was dumb enough to post something so bluntly awful on Solidarity that all of us should be questioning if this group should even be in the running for the Mickey Mouse Club much less the UFT. That is just my opinion and many others think like me. Solidarity and Portelos got to go. We need a serious apology.

Anonymous said...

I am part of Solidarity and I did not approve that post. Because one member posted something, must you assume we all agree with it? Solidarity is not Portelos. There are many members, there are committees, there is a council. And many members are Jewish, as am I. So this poster does not speak for Solidarity. Whatever your issues with Portelos, try to remember that he is not Solidarity.

Anonymous said...

Portelos is Solidarity. Portelos allows committees to give the appearance that Solidarity is about teachers. Don't be fooled. Abandon the ship before he takes you down with it. Where is the public apology from Portelos for this post? For agreeing with someone that wants Israel destroyed? His silence=condoning

Anonymous said...

You know why there is NO apology coming from Portelos--- is probably because he posted the piece. Probably under a fake name so he could troll and find out information on his alleged enemies. He is that crazy. That is why no one is coming forward to say they posted it. Cause Portelos did!!! Now if that isn't wack out I don't know what is. Don't let anyone fool you to believe someone else posted the piece it was Portelos with a fake Facebook account. He is just that pathetic.

Francesco Portelos said...

They can't comprehend that UFT Solidarity is a large democratic group. They can't comprehend that we have polls and make decisions and that we have bylaws ( They don't understand that we are a functional group with a reach in many schools. I'm glad I'm not solely Solidarity and look forward to the day when I won't be on Solidarity Council. Our team and members are amazing. I'm just a spoke in a wheel that's moving fast. Again, they can't fathom that.

All this Anyone But Portelos crap is really a "Who the hell do you think you are moving so fast and cutting the line? "

Francesco Portelos said...

Keep posting anonymously coward. When you are ready to play with real activists post your name. But then again, you would never want me to know your name.

Our apology was posted above.

Solidarity Member said...

Peter, I believe you are the only one posting here under the name Anonymous. You keep calling Portelos crazy. There are many members of Solidarity and Portelos does not run it. We vote on things and meet either in person or online. What are you so afraid of? Or is that you love Mulgrew and Unity so much?

Anonymous said...

Strange how "he" responded so quickly to Anonymous 6:11 and 2 minutes later "he" was writing a rebuttal but no apology from himself just the group. There must be some truth in what Anonymous wrote in 6:11. He probably does have many Facebook accounts!

Pete Zucker said...

North Korea is the Democratic Republic of Korea. It has a legislative body that acts as a rubber stamp for one man. East Germany was the Deustchland Democratic Republic it too had a legislative body which was a rubber stamp for one man.

You are the face, the conscious, the voice, the brain, the heartbeat of Solidarity. And what you don't control you come in a like a virus and take over the host.

If it's not all about you then you would have gladly given up your coronation as presumptive UFT president and let a joint committee or whatever decide upon who best to lead a joint slate. This shows that you don't mean what you say.

Pete Zucker said...

But to the other point as apologizing. All anyone has seen has been a screen shot from an unnamed hack which is no longer on FB page. Where is the PUBLIC apology from UFT Solidarity leader? As long as there is silence I and others must agree with anonymous 5:58 that you do condone the rants of an avowed anti-Semite.

Cynthia said...

Peter, you claim not to hate Portelos. Then why do you write such things? You have no idea how we operate. I personally take offense at what you write. We elected Portelos as our representative on the slate for President. He is not a dictator and does not run Solidarity. I have a very good mind and make my own decisions. He does not tell me what to do or what to think. Your one man campaign against him is growing old.

Pete Zucker said...

But I'll repeat again. Even if given the benefit of the doubt no one took the time to read that article answer this: I should have said I had drawn a Swastika.

But onto bigger and better things. Let's just say for a moment that this was an oversight.

"But the committee, er... that wrote the message, "Rahm Emanuel or Bloomberg/Klein #randi knows which side her bread is buttered on.""

Those words are from a UFT Solidarity

The last 7 words, "...which side her bread is buttered on" code, a dog whistle.This person knew exactly what he was writing and knew exactly what he meant. That person was a UFT solidarity member so where is the apology for this?

Pete Zucker said...

Yeah, I'm the anonymous person from Yonkers with the initials MF!! ROTFLMFAO

Cynthia as Jew how can you not be revulsed at that post? How can you not call and lead for a reexamination of UFT Solidarity?

To the person who claims I'm afraid. Nah. Fear is still begging MORE for joint slate. Fear is having to use one's family as a weapon. Fear is threatening an anonymous commenter. Fear is manipulating facts. Fear is repeating unfounded accusations.

And fear is conjuring up bogus lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

Peter you will get no clear answer from them. You have been trying all summer. All they do is whine and complain that you are picking on poor Portelos and his cause. If you think blogging will get you a truthful answer I have bridge to sell you. It wasn't inspected by Portelos either!

Anonymous said...

You are playing right into the DOE's hands. United we Stand - Divided We Fall...and really I am sooo over people with a chip on their shoulder regarding race and or religion. Get over this and move on - I doubt anyone here is anti-sematic. Move on.

Pete Zucker said...

Oh good. Than the Tappam Zee is safe. Sell me that one.

Pete Zucker said...

How come your boy MF doesn't post his name in his anonymous comments?

Cynthia said...

Who is MF? And just because someone posted something I don't agree with, I don't blame Solidarity. How do you even know the person is a member of Solidarity?

Anonymous said...

Cynthia, Don't you know Solidarity=Portelos. Without him gosh people would still be eating in the back of diners for the next 30 years.