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Teacher’s Union Head Under Fire for “Jewish Ownership Class” Remarks

Teacher’s Union Head Under Fire for “Jewish Ownership Class” Remarks

Randi Weingarten: “American Jews are now part of the ownership class [who] …. now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.” Unsurprisingly, she also has a longstanding association with activists Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and who is Jewish, faced accusations exploiting anti-Jewish sentiment when an interview she had given to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency emerged.

“American Jews are now part of the ownership class. What I hear when I hear that question is that those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.”

On April 7th, Fox News reported,

The controversy came in response to an interview published in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week, in which Weingarten was quoted as describing “American Jews” as “now part of the ownership class” in response to a question about Jewish critics of the teachers’ union’s power and influence amid a coronavirus school reopening fight.

“Jews were immigrants from somewhere else, and they needed the right to have public education,” she said. “And they needed power to have enough income and wealth for their families that they could put their kids through college and their kids could do better than they have done. Both economic opportunity through the labor movement and an educational opportunity through public education were key for Jews to go from the working class to the ownership class.”

She continued, “What I hear when I hear that question is that those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.”

Weingarten’s comments sparked outrage, with some also criticizing JTA for seemingly excusing Weingarten’s remarks by mentioning the fact that she and her longtime partner are Jewish.

In a scathing article, David Harsanyi of National Review wrote,

Weingarten’s rhetoric immediately reminded me of Karl Marx’s anti-Semitic diatribe, “On the Jewish Question,” where the infamous crackpot argued that the “secret” of the Jew is to accumulate wealth for “practical need,” “self-interest,” and “huckstering.”

Weingarten combines two contemporary progressive doctrines, class and race struggle, to level her smear. There is not a single person who has even a mild acquaintance with American Jewry that would believe they are trying to take away “the ladder of opportunity” from others.

…It’s one thing to regurgitate Marx’s theories on Jews, but unbelievably, she tries to create the impression that her ancient smear is actually a “Jewish value” itself.

Here, JTA gives Weingarten, who is Jewish, cover:

Weingarten, 63, knows to whom she speaks. She’s been married since 2018 to Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, a Manhattan synagogue serving the LGBTQ community, and grounds her advocacy in Jewish values.

Readers of Legal Insurrection will be familiar with this kind of identity-based, neo-Marxist justification for anti-Jewish sentiments; one need look no further than the so-called “Jewish” group Jewish Voice for Peace—which we’ve covered here more times than we can count—for clear evidence that a person’s own Jewishness does not necessarily preclude her from harboring and spreading anti-Semitic ideas. Nor is it particularly rare for Jewish far leftists and anti-Zionists to dismiss their own use of anti-Semitic stereotypes as an expression of a courageous quest for “social justice”, “equity” or “tikkun olam“—Hebrew for “repairing the world”.Weingarten appears to be no exception to this rule. In fact, she has previously shown support for virulent (non-Jewish) anti-Israel activists, justifying her association with them by referring to them as “warriors for justice”. In 2018, she posted a photo of herself and her wife standing alongside Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory—both of whom had just been exposed for the naked anti-Semitism with which they treated Jewish former colleagues at the Women’s March.

And, as Michael Watson of the Capital Research Center found in 2018,

According to the [American Federation of Teachers] AFT’s 2018 federal annual report (known as an LM-2), the AFT paid Women’s March, Inc. a “contribution, gift, [or] grant” of $25,000 for “event sponsorship.”

For good measure, the AFT’s financial association with Mallory goes back before the founding of the Women’s March after the election of President Donald Trump. From 2009 through 2013, Mallory was executive director of the non-profit wing of controversial MSNBC commentator Al Sharpton’s Left-wing advocacy machine, the National Action Network (NAN). From 2009 to 2013, AFT (and its New York City local, the United Federation of Teachers) chipped in $673,000 to NAN.

Judging by Weingarten’s behavior, her position at the helm of an enormous teacher’s union will likely bring more Marxist (which, as the California Ethnic Studies Curriculum debacle shows, often means anti-Jewish) programming—including the controversial Critical (Race) Theory—to our nation’s schools.

Samantha Mandeles is Senior Researcher and Outreach Director at the Legal Insurrection Foundation. You can reach her on Twitter at @SRMandeles.


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Samantha, you should post something about “self-hating Jews” – what it means and what might cause it. I don’t think enough people understand why American Jews (and Reform Jews in particular) are (or act) Jewish by blood/birthright only, are mostly non-practicing, and want to be identified as anything but. I have my theories and it is based IMO on anti-Semitism and how young Jews find it easier to pretend they are something else than to stand up for their heritage and take the crap and, sometimes, fight (physically) back when attacked.

I think it (the notion of self-hating Jews) casts a better light on why “Jews” seem to throw Judaism and Israel to the wolves. I’m curious to see what you think.

    Ben Kent in reply to WestRock. | April 18, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    This is not limited to Jews. There are plenty of self-hating Americans who want to do all they can to destroy what is good about this country. They look for every American act that was not perfect – even going back 100 or 200 years and highlight it as a reason to destroy America today. What country has a perfect history – NONE. Hating your race, religion or country is a type of insecurity or malice that is corrosive.

    America, for all its imperfections, is a place that constantly strives to do better and that provides the greatest opportunity for individual that has ever existed on this planet.

      MattMusson in reply to Ben Kent. | April 19, 2021 at 9:53 am

      Notice that the ‘Victim’ groups do not want to share the power or the spotlight. Previously victimized peoples like Jews, Women or Cubans are being slighted by the ‘New’ victims. Jews are ‘Owners’. Women, especially white, are ‘Karens’. And, I am not going to post what they are calling Cubans.

    jakebizlaw in reply to WestRock. | April 19, 2021 at 12:04 am

    I’ve long believed that the phrase “self-hating” Jews misses the mark in describing prog-lefties who justify their political beliefs as an expression of Judaism. Self-abasing is more accurate and is now the m.o. of white “anti-racism” as well.

LukeHandCool | April 18, 2021 at 6:30 pm

This is why when I was a little boy I never played the children’s board game “Chutes and Ladders” with my Jewish friends.

I knew they would take away the ladders.

You’re doing great, Randi!

I wouldn’t call it exactly “antisemitism” as such, but it’s something like a second cousin of that. Weingarten’s attitude is not directed specifically at Jews; it’s directed at the whole “ownership class”, which is a classical Marxist target, and all she’s saying is that many or most Jews have joined that class.

She doesn’t condemn Jewish members of that class more than non-Jewish members; they’re all equally enemies of the proletariat. She’s just saying that more Jews ought to be on her side, on the proletariat’s side, and she’s disappointed that they’re not.

That’s not antisemitism; an antisemite would blame it all on the Jews, rather than on all the “owners”.

A large part of what lies behind this is that the Jewish left, of which Weingarten’s “wife”, “Rabbi” Sharon Kleinbaum is a prime example, really really hate the idea of Jews as a nationality, let alone as the Chosen People. To the point where they have changed the prayer book to replace mentions of “Israel” with “all the world’s inhabitants”. And thus they end up siding with the supposed interests of humanity and against the “particularist” interests of Jews. As in, for instance, supporting BDS. Because those horrible Jewish nationalists in Israel are no more their people than some kid in Nicaragua or in Gaza.

And it’s all supported in the name of “tikun olam”, which, in the form it takes in their circles, is a made-up concept with no basis in genuine Judaism.

From someone who is reported to have made $407K last year.

American Jews greatest enemy is often secular Jews, including the Anti-Defamation League.

Ah, the narrative of the never-ending class struggle, taken from Marx and Engels who firmly believed that a rising tide only lifts the boats owned by rich people and that if the poor people ever want to have anything, they should shoot the rich people and take their boats.

Or something like that. My explanation may be more coherent than standard Marxist thinking.

On second thoughts, part of what’s going on is a weird sort of variation on Replacement Theory. The classical Replacement Theory is that the Jews are no longer the Jews, because the Christians are the “new Jews”. God’s new covenant is with them, so wherever the Bible says “Israel” it should now be read as referring to Christians. This new Marxist version says “Jews” really means “oppressed people”. Until recently the Jews were oppressed, so they were Jews; now that they’ve stopped being oppressed and have successfully joined the oppressor class, they’re no longer Jews in the Biblical sense, and the “new Jews” are the BIPOC/LGBTQWERTY/ASDFGHJKL/whatever is the abbreviation of the week. Old-style “Jews” who want to remain Jews can only do so by allying themselves to the new “Jews” and supporting their interests, even — or especially — when they go against the narrow parochial interests of the “former Jews”-turned-oppressors.

    randian in reply to Milhouse. | April 19, 2021 at 5:13 am

    That’s odd, because the evidence I see is that Jewish Marxists are just as happy throwing Christians under the bus as any other enemy of the proletariat. What’s most disturbing is Jewish Marxists allying themselves with Muslims, whose religion explicitly commands the extermination of Jews. Perhaps they think that once the proletariat is victorious their Muslim allies will have forgotten that prime directive.

She and her union are guilty of taking away the ladder of educational opportunity from today’s children. Anyone who would do so is a piece of crap. No surprise she attacks Jews.

LukeHandCool | April 18, 2021 at 8:08 pm

Our daughter is marrying a Jewish boy next month, and she has decided to convert to Judaism.

I can’t wait to hear the lowdown from her on stealing ladders and world domination …

… but most of all, I want to know how to control the weather. As I get older, even L.A. is too cold for me.

She’s describing herself, privileged and filled with her own guilt. There are too many American Jews like her, that believe JVP is for peace and to support Israel is akin to you know what. It’s a disgrace to falsely claim values for something you don’t even believe in.

That is a pretty spectacular claim from the head of the AFT who’s teacher membership has in many cases openly refused to return to the classroom despite their initial safety demands being met.

If anyone is removing the ladder of opportunity it is the teacher unions. Heck when they do decide to return they will be greasing the rungs with the oily lies of CRT instead of providing an actual education to produce functional adults.

IMO the Rona has allowed the veil to be pulled back exposing what our public schools are up to. Many parents have pulled their kids with no plans to return.

Lets work to allow those education tax dollars into follow the students in K – 12 just as the GI bill and Pell grant does for college.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | April 18, 2021 at 8:49 pm

“Jews were immigrants from somewhere else, and they needed the right to have public education,” she said.

That is absolutely ridiculous. Jews were one of the very first group to come to the Americas and have been an integral (though small) part of the development of the UNited States from the very start, when Haim Solomon was a major financier of the revolution. Further, Jews never looked to “public education” as Jews were historically separate and ran their own schools, by choice if not by necessity.

I can’t stand these self-hating Jewish leftist turds. They are an embarrassment of biblical proportions … though the Bible is rife with stories of idiots of the same sort all through Jewish history, from the morons who built the golden calf at Mt. Sinai and on. BTW, G-d had Moses deal pretty swiftly and mercilessly with those who built the calf … it was an epic bloodbath. Deservedly so.

Anyone who’s interested in how “tikun olam” (aka “social justice”) ate the left’s Judaism, and what’s the real deal with it, should read this excellent book.

    ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to Milhouse. | April 18, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    The left ate their own Judaism. The “tikkun olam” farce they claimed was nothing but the same sort of perversion the left has used on everything. Judaism was never about “fixing the world”. Judaism was about Jews following Jewish law and not assimilating into, or with, other cultures – which is something that many Jews have fought since the very beginning.

    Leftist Jews are the weak, damaged personalities and they end up being self-haters for the same reasons that most weak, damaged personalities in individualistic cultures end up being self-haters. Judaism, being more individualistic than most, generates more of these self-haters than, say, America … though America is not far behind. It is part of the bad with individualistic society that you have accept along with all the good that individualism offers. We have made the fatal mistake of not laughing these weak, damaged idiots out of the public arena and that has let them be taken seriously by many, which makes them dangerous.

    Leftist Jews always hated being Jews and were constantly trying to “escape it”. They glommed onto any ideology that they thought would turn them into nameless, faceless anonymous entities without any Judaism … though that was never how it really turned out.

      Well, improving the world is a genuine value in Judaism; God left the work of creation unfinished so that we can partner with Him in completing it. But that means the very opposite of some core leftist values.

      For instance, a core component of the left from the beginning has been nature-worship, which goes back to paganism; but the Torah says the world was made for humans to use, and we are to fill it and conquer it. Leftists love wilderness; but the Torah says “He did not create it for chaos; He formed it to be settled”.

      They lifted the phrase “tikun olam” from Alenu, but they left out half of it, and the important half at that. The full phrase is “letaken olam bemalchut Shadai”, to fix the world under God’s sovereignty. i.e. to make everyone recognize and worship Him, and abandon all their false religions, which is not only “racist” by their false standards, but has nothing to do with “class struggle” or any of the causes they espouse.

What is lost here is how delusional the answer is given the question. It is nonresponsive, an absolute nonsequitur, and near delusional, signifying mental disease. More recently she stated that 115% of working mothers left there jobs in 2020 because of a need to mind their children. The fabrication (many whose children were left on the streets because of the likes of this addled woman in fact had grandparents, a husband, an older child, a sister or pooled responsibilities with other parents) show a decided inability to grasp basic math. This lesbian, angry, plagiarizing unskilled lawyer needs replacing. Here is her comment:

    Milhouse in reply to puhiawa. | April 19, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    115% was funny, but it turned out that she’s not that dumb. Mendacious yes, but not dumb. 115% was a typo for 11.5%. Which is completely plausible but the conclusions she drew from it are pretty much the opposite of what an educated person would.

This is so despicable. Watching a narcissistic, self-serving, self-aggrandizing American Jew bash her own people, speaking in the idiotic lexicon of the contemporary Dhimmi-crats, which denies historical and contemporary discrimination and persecution against Jews– all in a transparent and self-serving attempt to gain currency and approbation with the Dhimmi-crat powers-that-be.

Weingarten is vile.

One big question.

Where is the left?

This backlash looks like it is almost entirely from the right, looking at Jewish News Syndicate even that looks more right wing than left wing.