A teachers' union official affiliated with the National Education Association was arrested in Denver for shutting down a busy intersection outside of a prominent Jewish conference, records reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon show.
Alex Borenstein was among the 15 anti-Israel protesters arrested Sunday in Denver for shutting down Speer Boulevard, a major street located outside of the Colorado Convention Center, which was hosting the Global Conference for Israel. Borenstein—a self-avowed communist—serves as a northeast director for the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, an NEA affiliate that represents more than 4,000 public school teachers in the Colorado city. Borenstein himself serves as a union liaison for educators at more than 30 Denver-area schools, including at least 8 elementary schools.
Borenstein's arrest shows that the proliferation of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric is affecting American K-12 schools, not just college campuses. In one instance, a liberal school board president in upstate New York argued that Jews are to blame for the slave trade, a long-debunked anti-Semitic trope first advanced by Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam. In another, a public school district in Massachusetts sent its teachers a resource that said "Israeli terrorism" has historically been "significantly worse than that of the Palestinians."
Borenstein has a long history of making anti-Israel statements. Just two days after Hamas's terrorist assault on the Jewish state, Borenstein took to social media to express support for the attack, writing, "FREE PALESTINE BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY."
Borenstein also defended Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) from accusations of anti-Semitism after the congresswoman said American support for Israel is "all about the benjamins." The union official wrote that Omar "did something brave, justified, backed by truth, and fucking necessary to challenge the apartheid state of Israel." In 2019, Borenstein accused those who support Israel of "supporting fascism."
Borenstein, who did not return a request for comment, works as a union representative for teachers at 30 public schools throughout Denver through his job as a "UniServ Director." The NEA holds annual academies that train directors such as Borenstein, and the national union in 2019 praised the Denver Classroom Teachers Association for striking over a contract dispute. Borenstein is regularly involved in the union's political advocacy efforts, having been photographed at union events endorsing Democrats for school board positions and calling for "solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community."
Prior to working as a union official, Borenstein served as a social studies teacher at a Denver-area public school. Borenstein during his teaching days bragged of teaching students that America is a "terrorist state" and lamented that he was required to display "the emblem of white supremest imperialist patriarchy, the American flag," in his classroom.
"Welcome to my social studies class where America is a terrorist state and the only alternative to our capitalist hellhole is socialism," Borenstein tweeted in 2019.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association did not return a request for comment.
Borenstein and other anti-Israel protesters shut down the Denver street on Sunday by forming a human chain reinforced with metal wire. Borenstein and his accomplices were targeting the Jewish National Fund-USA's four-day Global Conference for Israel, where prominent Jewish speakers gather to discuss Israel's future.
The protest was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, a radical anti-Israel activist group that has glorified Palestinian terrorism. Hundreds of the group's members on Sunday marched toward the conference as they called for a permanent Israeli ceasefire that would embolden Hamas and leave the terror group's leadership intact.
A group of 15 protesters, including Borenstein, then broke off from the group and parked a car in the middle of Speer Boulevard to block traffic, according to the Denver Post. The protesters chained themselves to each other and the parked car using metal wire and were subsequently charged for obstructing traffic, failing to obey police, and using prohibited equipment.
While Borenstein has not addressed his role in the protest, another Jewish Voice for Peace activist who was arrested alongside Borenstein, Noah Perlmutter, told the Post that he hoped the stunt "pushes our representatives to immediately address the dire humanitarian crisis happening right now in Gaza" and secure a "lasting ceasefire."
Global Conference for Israel attendees dismissed those requests.
"We are all on the front lines … the front lines in the fight against those who seek to justify terror and undermine our right to self-defense as Israelis and as Jews," Israel's U.N. ambassador, Gilad Erdan, said during the conference. "There will be no ceasefire! Never!"