The president of Germany’s teachers’ union, Marlis Tepe, apologised in a letter to her Israeli counterpart Yossi Wassermann for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions initiative against the Jewish state that was spearheaded by German teachers in the northwest city of Oldenburg.
“I want to inform you, that GEW [Education and Science Workers’ Union] is being publicly confronted with allegations of supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel,” wrote Tepe in a late September letter obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. She added, ”I would like to apologize for the irritation and uncertainty caused by this incident which is also disturbing for GEW members and damages the reputation of our union.”
The letter from the president of the nearly 281,000 member Education and Science Workers’ Union to Wassermann, the secretary-general of Histadrut Hamorim (teachers’ union), was a clear rebuke of the anti-Israel leadership of the local GEW in Oldenburg.
“As president of the GEW I would like to expressly emphasize that our union does not support any kind of BDS or anti-Israeli initiatives. On the contrary: For many years we have been supporting the cooperation between Israel and Germany, particularly youth exchanges, and we are committed to Holocaust education,” wrote Tepe.
In an email response, the Histadrut Hamorim’s Tzipi Dvir, a high-level union official dealing with international affairs, wrote to Tepe, “I deeply appreciate your taking the time and effort to write your important letter sent to me. We highly value the long, close, respectful relations between GEW and ITU, both professionally and personally. The joint seminars and Holocaust commemoration ceremonies are amongst the most praised activities we’re greatly proud of. There is no doubt in our minds as for the GEW standing with us against the vicious, despicable acts of Antisemitism and BDS.”
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