A vote on a controversial resolution expressing support for Palestine and the boycott, division and sanctions movement against Israel will likely be postponed during a meeting of union members representing Los Angeles Unified Teachers.
An alternative resolution is expected to be introduced during Thursday’s meeting that calls for an indefinite postponement of the original resolution and instead voluntary forums about conflict in the Middle East. According to the language in the proposed substitute proposal, the forum “will be a place where issues will be discussed and debated in an atmosphere of tolerance and intellectual rigor and will include pedagogical exercises in the classroom.”
Both the proponents of the substitute motion and those who moved the original motion stated that they expect the passage of the substitute motion.
“It was the best agreement we could have to maintain UTLA unity among all our members,” said Scott Mandel, an area president for United Teachers Los Angeles who helped draft the replacement proposal.
“Everyone knows how divisive that (original) proposal was,” he said.
The original proposal was brought in May by some UTLA members in the midst of a deadly 11-day fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory.
Supporters of the original resolution have accused the Israeli government of apartheid and committing genocide against Palestinians.
Meanwhile, critics called that proposal anti-Semitic and one-sided, saying that Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel during the May fighting and alleging that the group used civilians as human shields.
Some also questioned why a local teachers’ union would take a position on the worldwide conflict when, they felt, the focus should be on helping students recover from the coronavirus pandemic closer to home.
Educators in Los Angeles are not the first to suggest taking a position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, the San Francisco and Seattle teacher unions have passed resolutions supporting the BDS movement.
It doesn’t appear that UTLA will be on that list right now.
in July – following a campaign coordinated by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, during which LAUSD parents and teachers signed letters opposing the proposed resolution, and some UTLA members threatened to leave the union if it Takes a pro-BDS stance – UTLA’s board of directors voted to recommend that the union’s 250-member House of Representatives indefinitely postpone action on the original resolution and organize educational forums.
If the replacement motion, which will be voted on this week, is passed, the original motion cannot return to vote in its current form. If the substitute motion is not passed, the original motion shall be voted on by the members of the House.
But it is widely expected that the replacement proposal will be approved.
Educator Sonny Lloyd, the most vocal of those who brought the original proposal, said last month that she did not intend to campaign against the replacement proposal and she and others now want to focus their energies on educational forums.
“It is a victory for those who pushed the (original) resolution because the (Israeli-Palestinian) issue is getting more attention,” he said of the proposed forums.
Maya Suzuki Daniels, who also brought up the pro-BDS resolution at her field meeting, said the timing of this week’s vote, when teachers are still focused on the start of the school year, contributed to the lack of energy among members. . Campaign against substitute offer
But like Lloyd, Suzuki Daniels believes that even if the pro-BDS proposal doesn’t move forward, the debate over the past few months has shed light on an issue he thinks deserves more attention, and This is forcing continued dialogue at the local level about what is happening in the Middle East.
“It’s not going to go away,” she said.