L.A. teachers union to vote on urging U.S. to cut aid to Israel, sparking controversy

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A rally organizer, center, separates a Palestinian supporter, left, and an Israeli supporter, right, at a rally in Los Angeles in May 2021.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A rally organizer, center, separates a Palestinian supporter, left, and an Israeli supporter, right, at a rally in Los Angeles in May 2021.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The leadership body of the Los Angeles teachers union is expected to vote in September on a resolution that would urge the U.S. government to end all aid to Israel — a move that has sparked internal debate, drawn praise and scorn from the outside, and diverted some of the union’s focus from post-pandemic education issues.

The declaration, which was brought forward during the recent deadly conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants, urges United Teachers Los Angeles to “express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and call for Israel to end bombardment of Gaza and stop displacement at Sheikh Jarrah” — a site where Palestinian residents face forced removal. In addition to the cutoff in aid, the resolution asks members to endorse “the international campaign for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against apartheid in Israel.”

Some critics of Israel welcomed the looming vote as an opportunity for the union to take an important stand on an issue of life and death as well as the right of self-determination for Palestinians. Those in opposing camps criticized the resolution as one-sided, insensitive to Jewish students and school employees, and inappropriate for a teachers union — especially as educators confront the challenges of student learning loss and social isolation caused by the pandemic.

The San Francisco teachers union has moved on a faster track, adopting a pro-Palestinian position in May, calling essentially for the same actions.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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