SEIU 1021

Labor for peace in Palestine: SEIU 1021 member leaders hold teach-in

SEIU 1021 President Theresa Rutherford emphasizing the need for a ceasefire during the "Labor for Peace in Palestine" online teach-in

Thursday, December 7, SEIU 1021 and Jobs With Justice SF came together to host an online teach-in titled “Labor for Peace in Palestine.” This teach-in occurred almost exactly a month after the SEIU 1021 Executive Board issued a statement endorsing the “Ceasefire Now” movement — a statement calling for all armed conflict to cease in Israel and Palestine.

The SEIU 1021 Executive Board’s statement began, “For the past few weeks, we have heard many voices about the situation in Israel-Palestine. We are shocked and horrified at the violent events that took place on October 7 targeting Israeli civilians. We are also shocked and horrified at the Israeli military response that is killing thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza  — an area where almost half of the population are children. We do not condone military and violent action that kills or leads to the suffering and death of innocent civilians. Our unionist and humanitarian sides are being called into action today!”

SEIU 1021 President Theresa Rutherford kicked off the online teach-in. She emphasized the gravity of the conflict, sharing how she has personal and cultural ties to both Israel and Palestine. She remarked, “First and foremost, our commitment must be to a ceasefire in the region. This is a humanitarian crisis.”

SEIU 1021 member leader and Palestinian American Linda Khoury-Umili, who works at Tides Foundation, explained the history of the Zionist movement. She said, “I believe whole-heartedly that Jewish safety and Palestinian freedom go hand-in-hand. In order to genuinely move towards security and freedom for all, we must understand how we got here today.”  

North Bay Jobs With Justice Executive Director Max Bell Alper introduced himself as an anti-Zionist Jew who grew up in Israel. He described his experiences observing anti-Palestinian racism. He explained his view that criticizing the government of Israel is not antisemitic. He emphasized the need for a cease-fire.

Middle East Children’s Alliance Executive Director Zeiad Abbas Shamrouch went into detail about the devastation happening in Gaza and Palestine. 

The teach-in concluded with a question-and-answer session.