November 18, 2023
From The Militant

OAKLAND, Calif. — Margaret Trowe, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in District 12, and her supporters attended a meeting of the school board here Nov. 8. It was called to discuss a draft resolution the board was putting forward for a cease-fire, for withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and blaming Israel for the danger of a broader war in the Middle East.

Trowe and her supporters were there to join with other opponents of the resolution, to condemn the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom against Jews in Israel, to oppose Jew-hatred and defend Israel’s right to exist as a refuge for Jews.

Two days earlier the Oakland teachers union had passed a resolution condemning Israel as an “apartheid state” with “genocidal rhetoric and policies” against Palestinians.

Trowe and her campaigners talked with people entering the meeting and distributed her campaign statement, “Fight Jew-hatred! Support the right of Israel to exist! Battle against Jew-hatred is a working-class question.”

Many people came to the meeting to insist on support for a Hamas victory. For them, the board’s resolution wasn’t hard enough on Jews and Israel. Several refused to take the SWP statement when they read the headline.

“Margaret Trowe, a candidate from the Socialist Workers Party running for Congress, attended the meeting to speak against the resolution,” reporter Ashley McBride wrote in the online daily The Oaklandside. “I want to oppose the resolution, and I want to support telling children in Oakland about what happened in the 20th century,” including the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust, Trowe said.  Working people should defend Israel’s right to exist, condemn what Hamas did on Oct. 7 and understand the seriousness of Jew-hatred, she said.

Several Jewish people also came to voice opposition to the board resolution.

The meeting was cut short after disruption by pro-Hamas participants. They rose to their feet chanting, “Free, free Palestine!” and shouted the board members down. School board officials then voted to adjourn and exited rapidly out the back door.

On Nov. 10 over 100 people, including teacher-members of the Oakland Education Association, parents of Oakland school children, and leaders of Jewish organizations in the Bay Area, held a rally and press conference opposing the school board resolution.

“We are united to rescind this dangerous resolution,” meeting chairperson Tyler Gregory, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, told the protesters. Marc Levine, Central Pacific director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that attacks on Jews have skyrocketed recently.

The Richmond City Council had recently passed a resolution condemning Israel for “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid.”

SWP campaign supporters have taken their opposition to Jew-hatred and to a cease-fire that just supports Hamas to discussions on the job, at political meetings and at workers’ doorsteps in Oakland, San Leandro, San Francisco and Richmond.

Carole Lesnick contributed to this article.