Israel-US Conversation You Haven’t Heard Before

Mar 6 2018


555 New Jersey Ave, NW,
Washington, DC 20001


In a conversation hosted by the Albert Shanker Institute, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Israeli social justice activist and trade unionist Rami Hod will discuss how the citizens of the United States and Israel can work together to help build a broad movement for progressive change.

For generations, most political conversations about Israel have been limited to the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But there is another important conversation to be had: How do we grow a progressive movement of people of all faiths and races who can work together to transform the political landscape inside both Israel and the United States?

Weingarten and Hod will discuss how the far right is working to erode democracy by fomenting racial, ethnic and religious bigotry, and how liberal and progressive forces in both nations can counter this by working to build a renewed worker and social justice movement. Join us for a conversation of ideas to take us forward.

Rami Hod is the executive director of a joint venture of the Berl Katznelson Educational Center and the Social Economic Academy to help elevate both organizations’ impact and build an infrastructure for Israel’s progressive movement. This new venture has created a hub for educating and training the next generation of progressive Israeli organizers, decision-makers, and local and national leaders. Previously, Hod was one of the founders of Koach LaOvdim, a groundbreaking labor union established in 2007 that sparked a revival of labor organizing in Israel and played a pivotal role in the unionization of more than 200,000 workers over the last decade. He also managed a unique community organizing program at Haifa University for Jewish and Arab students working to help people in impoverished communities.

Randi Weingarten is the president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. She is also the president of the Albert Shanker Institute. Prior to her election as AFT president, Weingarten served for 12 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, representing approximately 200,000 educators in the New York City public school system, as well as home child care providers and other workers in health, law and education. In 2012-13, Weingarten served on an education reform commission convened by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which made a series of recommendations to improve teaching and learning. She was appointed to the Equity and Excellence Commission, a federal advisory committee chartered by Congress to examine and make recommendations concerning the disparities in educational opportunities that give rise to the achievement gap. For 10 years, while president of the UFT, Weingarten chaired New York City’s Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella organization for the city’s 100-plus public sector unions, including those representing higher education and other public service employees. As chair of the MLC, she coordinated labor negotiations and bargaining for benefits on behalf of the MLC unions’ 365,000 members. From 1986 to 1998, Weingarten served as counsel to UFT President Sandra Feldman, taking a lead role in contract negotiations and enforcement. A teacher of history at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood from 1991 to 1997, Weingarten helped her students win several state and national awards debating constitutional issues. Weingarten holds degrees from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Cardozo School of Law, and her column “What Matters Most” appears in the New York Times.