We are aware that the issue of Palestine and Israel is of great concern to NEU members as well as the students and communities we work with. This page is to support members of the NEU address issues in relation to events in the Middle East in schools and colleges.
The NEU has produced this guidance Conflict in the Middle East: Issues for Schools
This extract is from the introduction:
“The NEU believes that education can and does change lives.
The long-standing and many-sided conflict between Israel and Palestine generates a wide variety of deeply-held opinions. People supporting both sides of the conflict often hold strong and passionate views.
The life of a school or college is strongly influenced by outside factors and the conflict can pose difficult challenges for staff. Staff may find that they must deal with the sensitive task of responding to pupils’ reactions to violent events, particularly when there is a flare up in the conflict as in spring 2021. The NEU is confident that its members are skilled professionals who can meet the challenge of educating young people who can develop a firm understanding of human rights and can contribute to a more peaceful future.
This advice aims to support members to do so.
It is important that any discussions within schools and colleges – both those formally arranged as part of classroom teaching and those that may take place informally between students and between staff – are conducted respectfully and calmly.“
Click here to see the full guidance
The NEU agreed policy on Palestine and Israel at its inaugural conference in 2019. The action instructions are as follows:
Conference instructs the Executive to:
i. develop and promote resources and CPD through our International section and International Solidarity Officer fora to ensure our members are fully informed and supported in their work; such resources to include information on the content of the Palestinian and Israeli curricula;
ii. urgently pursue with Education International the commission into examining both curricula as agreed by the General Union of Palestinian Teachers and the Israel Teachers Union at EI Congress in 2015;
iii. continue facilitating delegations to visit Israel and Palestine as long as there is interest from members in taking part;
iv. make challenging the detention, arrest and conviction of Palestinianchildren in Israeli military courts a key campaigning priority in the coming year;
v. affiliate to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and encourage affiliation by districts/branches and individual members of the Union;
vi. support TUC policy, to “boycott the goods of companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall”;
vii. pressure the UK Government to call on the Israeli Government to comply with international law and human rights treaties;
viii. work to win the backing of Education International and the ETUC(E) for these policies and to seek to collaborate with like-minded unions internationally;Annual Conference 2019 –Resolutions (v1)13
ix. express our solidarity with the GUPT for its objectives for education and discuss with them ways to develop this solidarity; and
x. NEU delegations should meet with both Palestinian and Israeli Labour movements that support Palestinian rights.
This policy informs the NEU’s work on Palestine.
The NEU Left organised a webinar for educators on 23rd May: how can educators respond? You can see the recording here:
Links and resources shared in the NEU Left meeting ‘Palestine Matters: how can educators respond?’
A Little Piece of Ground by Elizabeth Laird – KS2 & KS3
Beyond the Wall films made by NUT
EduKid website: https://www.edukid.org.uk/
EduKids Palestine resources: https://www.edukid.org.uk/countries/palestine/
Human rights charity CADFA: cadfa.org
CAFDA made a book based on human rights, children’s rights and Palestinian children’s experiences in 2008, For Hamam: A Handbook for Young People about Human Rights in Palestine’ -I wish it had gone out of date but it hasn’t. It is available at the link below.
Advocacy and Campaign Groups
Support the Nina Franklin Fund
‘Extreme Rambling’ by Mark Thomas
Mark walked the majority of the length of the ‘fence’ and has frank discussions with people on both sides. An entertaining, eye opening and moving book.
‘Sitti’s Secrets’ by Naomi Shihab Nye
‘A Little Piece of Ground’ is an excellent book – have used it in KS2
‘A Little Piece of Ground’ is by Elizabeth Laird
‘For Every Child’ UNICEF the rights of child
‘We Are All Born Free: The universal Declaration Of Human Rights in Pictures’ Amnesty International
‘The Balfour Declaration – Empire, the Mandate and Resistance in Palestine’ by Bernard Regan
Ten Myths about Israel – Free download from Verso books