(Washington, D.C., April 8, 2021)—B’nai B’rith President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We vociferously condemn the deeply harmful comments about the Jewish role in school re-openings made by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
In an interview with JTA, Weingarten invoked sinister tropes about Jewish ownership, power and control. Weingarten referred to Jews as “part of the ownership class” who are obstructing pandemic-era school re-opening plans, and therefore, denying the educational opportunities to others that benefited them.
What is Weingarten thinking here? Her comments are dangerous to the Jewish community, setting it up as an obstacle to a fair and equitable public education system. In casting the school re-opening debate as one of “privilege,” Weingarten is feeding into the stereotype of Jews as all-powerful.
As someone who works directly with educators, Weingarten should know that words matter.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.