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Letters to the Editor: Why should UTLA show support for Palestinians? It’s the right thing to do

A neighborhood hit by Israeli bombardment in Gaza City on May 21.
A neighborhood hit by Israeli bombardment in Gaza City on May 21.
(AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: The Times Editorial Board asks why the Los Angeles Unified School District teachers union should express an opinion on the Palestinians’ quest for freedom. The answer is because this is a significant issue in American politics, and it is the right thing to do.

A resolution by United Teachers Los Angeles does nothing by itself, but it along with thousands of similar actions across the country tell our leaders that the American people do not want the U.S. to support Israel’s continued oppression of the Palestinians.

That is the type of broad-based civic movement that ended the Vietnam War and got the U.S. to stand up to South African apartheid.

Jeff Warner, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Having spent 28 years teaching in LAUSD, I have a pretty good idea of what UTLA is and what it stands for.

Its potential engagement in foreign affairs is a brilliant stroke. It takes the focus off of the union’s inability or lack of desire to adequately address such local matters as homelessness and the myriad other challenges facing our city and its schools.

I congratulate union leadership for having expertise on the complex issues of the Middle East and for its ability to see with clarity how to move peace forward in the region.

There’s the saying, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” UTLA is at a fork, and it may be taking the wrong road.

Barbara Roisman Cooper, Encino

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To the editor: The contention that UTLA does not have the “expertise” to take a position on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement reflects willful ignorance about what a public-school teachers union is and what its responsibilities entail.

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The idea that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is too complicated for UTLA to understand merely echoes the standard Israel lobby trope that this is an issue so complex that only it could possibly figure it out.

The in terrorem argument that Jewish families would object to the position and perhaps withdraw their children from LAUSD overlooks the reality that many American Jews, especially younger Jewish students on college campuses, strongly support BDS. (For example, Emily Wilder, a Stanford journalism graduate, was fired by the Associated Press recently for her advocacy.)

You say it’s legitimate for UTLA to take a stand on racism in the United States. But many Black Americans support BDS precisely because they recognize racist apartheid when they see it.

Leigh Clark, Granada Hills


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