NEU speaker posted statement gushing over October 7 as a ‘bright day’

Saed Erziqat addressed a meeting at the annual event on Thursday


'The water of hope has flowed through the body of the Islamic nation': Saed Erziqat posted a statement backing the October 7 attack (Photo: X/Twitter)

A Palestinian activist who spoke at the National Education Union’s conference this week posted a statement praising the October 7 attack as a “bright day” and calling for Arab governments to support the “Palestinian resistance,” the JC can reveal.

Saed Erziqat, who leads the General Union of Palestinian Teachers, addressed a meeting at the annual event on Thursday alongside NEU General Secretary Daniel Kebede and President Emma Rose.

A week after Hamas attacked Israel and slaughtered hundreds of civilians, the Palestinian activist posted a statement praising Hamas for renewing the “Islamic nation” with “the water of hope”.

Erziqat posted a statement on Facebook that said: “After decades of worshipping, and abolished from arrogance, the intrusive Zionist enemy thought that his ability and power, and that his iron dome, his immune fortress and spies, and his advanced technology, prevented him from pursuing blood curses, came the morning of October 7.”

The statement continued: “A bright day written with letters of honour and fatherhood in the record of the Palestinian strong resistance.

“The water of hope has flowed through the body of the Islamic nation with ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’, the veins were moistened with it, consciences were refreshed, and the reward was received for resisting the awakening of concerns, and the satisfaction of our people that the restoration of the occupied lands is possible if there is will and efforts are combined.”

The statement, signed by a string of Mauritanian unions, demanded that, “Arab and Islamic governments… supply the viable Palestinian resistance with money and equipment it needs, to do its duty”.

The General Union of Palestinian Teachers, which has received financial aid from the NEU, posted a separate statement on Facebook that said: “We emphasise the right of the Palestinians to resist the occupation and counter its aggression and violation of Palestinian national rights.”

It added: “We condemn the complicity of some countries and their partnership in aggression against our people, especially America, Germany, France, Britain and Italy, with the occupying entity claiming the right to self-defence.”

Appearing alongside Erziqat, Kebede hailed the NEU’s longstanding ties with the Palestinian teachers union led by him.

“I’m also very pleased to see our friends from the GUPT and [childrens’ rights NGO] DCI Palestine here,” he said.

“The NEU’s relationship with these two organisations is very special to us and we are proud to continue to support your vital work.”

The NEU conference event, hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, was held to discuss Israel’s “genocidal assault on the Palestinian people”.

"With over 32,000 Palestinians killed, including 13,000 children, we need to stop Israel's onslaught on Gaza, and end the Israeli system of apartheid and oppression,” its description read.

The revelation of Erziqat’s remarks comes after former education minister Robert Halfon said the NEU was becoming unwelcoming to Jewish teachers over a motion proposed at its conference that condemned Israel as an apartheid state and labelled it as the “main driver” of the conflict in Gaza.

“Perhaps the NEU should concentrate on teaching and education,” he said. “No wonder some Jewish members have left the NEU. If this motion was passed the NEU would be an uncomfortable place for some Jewish members, especially after the horrific atrocities by Hamas from October 7.”

On Thursday, delegates voted to adopt the text by an overwhelming majority.

In 2021, Kebede urged a rally to “globalise the intifada”.

Erziqat previously compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying: “There are massacres that have happened to the Palestinian people that were worse than the Holocaust itself.”

He has also praised militant network the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which has been designated as a terror group by the European Union and America.

In 2023, he praised Nasser Abu Hamid, a leader of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, who died of lung cancer in an Israeli prison, where he had been serving multiple life sentences for orchestrating shootings and suicide attacks.

Erziqat wrote: “The captive lion hero Nasser Abu Hamid joined the convoy of glory and pride, the list of martyrs for Palestine and was martyred this morning.”

The Palestinian union chief has also met the leaders of another Iranian-backed terror group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — General Command (PFLP-GC), which is outlawed by the UK and US.

NEU members have taken several trips to the West Bank to meet Erziqat and the GUPT.

These cost £2,000 per delegate, of which £1,000 is covered by the body’s international solidarity fund, according to union records.

In 2019, Erziqat spoke at an NEU conference fringe event, while in 2022 he shared a platform with then General Secretary Kevin Courtney.

An NEU spokesman told the JC: “The General Secretary of the GUPT has been invited to the NEU Conference to address the impact of the ongoing conflict in Gaza on children, teachers and education. The NEU campaigns on quality education for children globally, in many countries. That’s why at our annual conference we have heard from a number of speakers from countries around the world on the challenges facing children and teachers. Children in Israel and in Palestine all deserve to be able to play, live and learn safely.

“Education has completely stopped for Gaza’s 625,000 children for almost 6 months now, with over 80 per cent of schools experiencing damage or destruction. This jeopardises children and young people’s futures and risks a generational catastrophe. There is widening humanitarian concern across the UK about the loss of life in the ongoing conflict and overwhelming public calls for an immediate ceasefire, as voted for by the United Nations Security Council. NEU Conference shares the desire, outlined by David Cameron this week, to urgently scale up humanitarian access.

“The NEU has consistently called for an immediate and lasting ceasefire to prevent the further killing of civilians and for unfettered humanitarian access. The NEU has also been unequivocal in its condemnation of the abhorrent attacks and hostage takings carried out by Hamas on 7 October. We continue to call for the immediate, safe and unconditional release of all hostages.

“We think it is legitimate to discuss how to achieve a peace settlement that ensures the safety and security of both Palestinians and Israelis and a peaceful future for all children.’’

The GUPT and Erziqat did not respond to a request for comment.

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