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Letters to the Editor: UTLA’s anti-Israel resolution is a betrayal of its own teachers

People wave Israeli flags and an American flag at a rally
People celebrate during a United Against Antisemitism rally in Beverly Hills on May 23.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As a 22-year member of United Teachers Los Angeles, and as an Israeli American, I am saddened by the stance my union is poised to take on Israel. As tragic as the images from the Gaza Strip are, they cannot capture the complexity of the conflict.

My family came to Jaffa from the Ottoman Empire more than 120 years ago. Jews have more of a right to live in the Middle East than non-indigenous Americans have to live in the United States.

But forget about DNA or far-back history. Go back just 80 years, when the grand mufti of Jerusalem allied himself with Adolf Hitler. Or go back to 1948, when Israel declared itself a state and the surrounding countries attacked it.

My grandparents lived in peace with Muslims, were native speakers of Arabic and had no hatred toward their neighbors. Before the first intifada began in 1987, my cousin, a mechanic, co-owned a garage with his Palestinian friend.

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Unfortunately, extremists on both sides have kept this conflict going, but a resolution like the one UTLA proposes to express solidarity with the Palestinians and support for a boycott of Israel simplifies a complex situation.

Ronnie Cohen, Los Angeles

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To the editor: If my former union believes passing a resolution expressing solidarity with only one side in the ongoing hostility in the Middle East is evenhanded, fair and just, it is sadly mistaken.

Both sides in a conflict must come to the table in good faith, eschew violence and be willing, above all else, to abandon their deeply entrenched positions in favor of pursuing their common interests. Both sides deserve blame.

One side isn’t right and the other wrong. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Gayle Glazer, Northridge

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To the editor: As a longtime member of UTLA, I have been unhappy with the union taking on political positions in the past.

However, if the anti-Israel motion — which is one-sided, inaccurate and inflammatory — passes in September, I will leave the union. I would expect many to do the same.

The union should strive to represent its members and advocate on our behalf, not get involved in contentious and complicated political issues.

Laurie Bernhard, Valley Village

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To the editor: Since the UTLA leadership is so well versed in the nuances of world conflicts, I presume it will be voting on crackdowns in Hong Kong, plane diversions in Belarus and the persecution of the Uyghurs in China.

There are a few other hot spots and issues in the world that would benefit from UTLA’s attention: Yemen, Central America and racial divisiveness in a country called the United States.

Marty Cooper, Encino


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