Calling for a Cease-Fire in Gaza and an End to the Weaponization of Hate

News Release Media Contact

SACRAMENTO, CA – The CFT Executive Council voted to release the following statement at their June 8, 2024 meeting:

“The war in Gaza must end. Diplomacy that creates a solution where all people in this war-torn area can live in peace, with all human rights protected, and a voice in their own governance, must start now. Far too many Palestinians and Israelis have perished, and far too many Palestinians and Israelis have had their lives shattered and destroyed. As educators we are sick at heart over the toll this war has taken on thousands of innocent people, particularly innocent children.  

“We recognize the right of Israel to protect its citizens against crimes of war and aggression. We condemn the horrific slaughter of Israeli civilians perpetrated by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others on Oct. 7 that was the largest mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust. To this day, Israeli civilians taken as hostages on Oct. 7 are still in captivity in Gaza.  These hostages must be released.

“We also condemn the ongoing assault in Gaza by the Israeli military that has led to tens of thousands of civilian Palestinian deaths and widespread destruction directed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and right-wing Israeli leaders. This ongoing assault has also created a humanitarian crisis that has been exacerbated by extremists stopping humanitarian aid in both the West Bank and Gaza. This assault and crisis must end.

“Further shedding of blood in Gaza and the infliction of more pain and anguish will not bring peace and security to either Palestinians or Israelis. Cycles of violence and retribution in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the better part of a century cannot be broken with more of the same. Moreover, there is real danger of the expansion of the current war in Gaza to other nations in the Middle East and beyond.

“For all these reasons and more, the CFT calls for a cease-fire, where both sides in this war put down their arms and where the cease-fire is guaranteed by the international community. A cease-fire must include humanitarian aid for the immediate provision of desperately needed food, water, medical care, clothing and emergency shelter to Palestinians and the release of all hostages taken on Oct. 7.

“Both peoples have deep roots in that land and the right to live there in peace and with freedom. A cease-fire is necessary to start the process of negotiating a lasting agreement that ends the decades of conflict and bloodshed by recognizing the rights of both peoples.

“We support those forces in Israel and in Palestine that seek a different future for themselves—a democratic future where Israelis and Palestinians both can live in dignity and with self-determination and security for all.  We support President Biden’s cease-fire plan that he unveiled on May 31, 2024, which calls for a three-phase plan: It would cause an immediate cease-fire, immediate withdrawal from Gaza of Israeli forces and further steps to create lasting peace and a long-term solution. 

“Meanwhile, the war has also unleashed a wave of hate and incitement to violence in the United States, with appalling demonstrations of antisemitism and Islamophobia. The CFT reiterates our opposition to antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of hate and incitement to violence. We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring our work and teaching environments are safe and welcoming for the people we represent and those we serve, and to promoting a democratic education that builds understanding and mutual acceptance across different religions, races and ethnic groups. Whatever one’s view of the war and the issues raised by it, there is no justification for using it to spread hate and intolerance.

“The weaponization of incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia in campaigns to censor dissenting views of the war and the underlying conflict between Israel and Palestine is also deeply disturbing. These campaigns are particularly troubling in education, where they strike at the heart of the freedom to have unfettered, intellectually honest and respectful discussion and to freely debate ideas, even controversial ideas. That is the hallmark of both American education and American democracy. We will defend the rights of educators and their students to participate in intellectually honest discussions, to articulate and rally around their views, including the underlying conflict between Israel and Palestine.

“Moreover, we will not tolerate the weaponization of academic discourse to be used in political attacks on American colleges and universities, and as a pretext for attacks on efforts to increase diversity, promote equity and advance inclusion.

“Our campuses must be places of dialogue for the furtherance of understanding in a pluralistic society. Teachers and students must be free to express different views on the burning issues of the day, without fear of loss of position and retaliation, and without intimidation and threats of violence.

“As a union deeply committed to educating California’s students, and to defending democracy, we pledge to continue our advocacy for democracy at home and abroad, as we support the principles of dignity and freedom for all.”


CFT – A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT.