Los Angeles Teachers Union Unofficially Rescinds Endorsement of Openly Antisemitic School Board Candidate

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United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union representing more than 35,000 members working for the Los Angeles Unified School District, has suspended its support for school board candidate Kahllid Al-Alim following revelations of his social media activity. His now-deleted Twitter account included praise for a publication by Louis Farrakhan‘s Nation of Islam titled “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews: How Jews Gained Control of the Black American Economy.” Prior to its announcement regarding halting efforts on Al-Alim’s behalf, made on February 23, UTLA had spent more than $650,000 on Al-Alim’s behalf.

The union’s statement is as follows:

Kahllid Al-Alim’s social media activities were offensive, anti-Semitic, and unacceptable. They are inconsistent with what we have seen of Kahllid as a decades-long organizer for education justice. Elected leaders should exemplify professionalism and set a positive example for those they represent. His social media conduct fell short of these fundamental ideals. Upon becoming aware of these posts, we contacted him to make clear our position on both their content and nature and demanded a public response from him (he has since responded). We also called an emergency meeting of our Board of Directors, which has since voted to immediately suspend any campaign activities in Board District 1 — pending a final decision — while expediting member discussion over Kahllid Al-Alim’s endorsement in accordance with the union’s internal democratic process. The next steps involve UTLA’s multiple governing bodies that are involved in candidate endorsements, with the final voting body meeting Monday, 3/4.

There are curious elements within the union statement warranting further study. In addition to antisemitic sentiments, Al-Alim’s social media reportedly “glamorized guns and celebrated pornographic images.” Yet the union insists that Al-Alim’s social media content bears no resemblance to the individual with whom UTLA has worked for years. Apparently, Al-Alim is either highly skilled at hiding his character’s content around others or said others were too enamored with him to notice he tweeted some suspicious stuff. Or, they followed him on Twitter and agreed with him until someone pointed out maybe they shouldn’t.

Al-Alim is a founding member of the pro-UTLA Reclaim Our Schools LA, whose website trots out all the usual leftist tropes about underfunded schools and how charter schools are the devil incarnate. No wonder UTLA loves him so. It is worth noting that in June 2023, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) approved a budget of $18.8B for the 2023-2024 school year. If that is underfunded, something is dreadfully out of whack.

The UTLA statement also states without stating that its own rules regarding candidate support are so Byzantine that it cannot officially rescind an endorsement without “multiple governing bodies” getting together first, with a final vote unable to transpire until Monday, March 3. For the calendar-impaired, here’s a quick reminder that the California primary election is on Tuesday, March 4. This provides the amusing portrait of an organization that loves to criticize the LAUSD’s hierarchy yet whose own hierarchy is so hopelessly mired in bureaucracy that it is incapable of making rapid decisions.

For his part, Al-Alim has issued the standard apology,

I want to apologize for my posts about the Farrakhan book. I was wrong. I have connected with educators and community members and have since learned about the issues. I fully rescind that post. It has no place in our schools. (EDITORS NOTE: In a since-deleted tweet published in October 2022, Al-Alim praised the NOI book and stated it should be mandatory reading in Los Angeles public schools, adding, “We not Burning or Banning Our Future! We Not Playing,”

I also apologize for my likes on social media of graphic content. It was inappropriate. I will never do that again.

I have spent my life fighting against antisemitism, anti-arab hate, Islamophobia, and all forms of oppression. I have spent my life fighting for the equality of all people. There is a very long history of Jewish and Black people backing each other and working in solidarity for justice. I want to continue that important work.

The conundrum of how promoting an antisemitic book fights antisemitism cries out for further detailing, but as of this writing, an explanation by Al-Alim regarding the mechanics of same is peculiarly unavailable.

The great man Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “Trust but verify.” This is a mindset noticeably absent in UTLA’s operational procedure. One would think that somewhere along the line, someone would have had the notion to make so little as a cursory examination of a potentially endorsed school board candidate’s social media accounts to ensure it contained no Tag Team moments.

But, if progressives want to beclown themselves and spend large sums of their money while doing so, who am I to suggest they pursue a different path?

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