LAUSD teachers’ union members expected to vote indefinitely on Israeli-Palestinian resolution – Daily News
A vote on a controversial resolution expressing support for Palestine and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel will likely be suspended at a meeting this week of union members representing teachers at Los Angeles Unified.
A substitution motion is expected to be presented at Thursday’s meeting, which calls for the original motion to be postponed indefinitely and for voluntary forums on the Middle East conflict to be held instead. According to the wording of the proposed replacement motion, the forums will be “a space where issues will be discussed and debated in an atmosphere of tolerance and intellectual rigor and will include classroom teaching practices.”
Both supporters of the substitution motion as well as those who put forward the original proposal said they expected the substitution motion to pass.
“It was the best compromise we could find to maintain the unity of UTLA among all of its members,” said Scott Mandel, zone president for United Teachers Los Angeles who helped draft the replacement motion.
“Everyone realizes how divisive this (original) motion was,” he said.
The initial proposal was presented in May by some UTLA members amid 11 days of deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory.
Supporters of the original resolution accused the Israeli government of committing apartheid and genocide against the Palestinians.
Critics, meanwhile, called the resolution anti-Semitic and one-sided, saying Hamas also fired thousands of rockets at Israel during the May fighting and noting allegations the group used civilians as human shields.
Some also wondered why a local teachers’ union would take a stand on a conflict emerging across the world when they believed the goal should be to help students closer to home recover from the pandemic of coronavirus.
Los Angeles teachers are not the first to suggest taking a stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, the teachers’ unions in San Francisco and Seattle have passed resolutions supporting the BDS movement.
It doesn’t look like UTLA will join this list just yet.
In July – following a campaign coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, in which parents and educators at LAUSD signed letters opposing the proposed motion, and some UTLA members have threatened to leave the union if he took a pro-BDS stance – UTLA board directors voted to recommend that the union’s 250-member House of Representatives postpone action on motion indefinitely original and organizes educational forums.
If the replacement motion that will be voted on this week is adopted, the original motion cannot be voted on in its present form. If the replacement motion is not adopted, then the original motion will be voted on by the members of the House.
But the substitution motion is generally expected to be approved.
Teacher Soni Lloyd, among the most vocal of those who brought forward the original motion, said last month that he had no plans to campaign against the substitution motion and that he and others wanted now focus their energy on educational forums.
“It is a victory for the people who pushed the (original) motion because the (Israeli-Palestinian) issue is receiving more attention,” he said of the proposed forums.
Maya Suzuki Daniels, who also presented a pro-BDS resolution at her regional meeting, said the timing of this week’s vote, with educators still focused on the start of the school year, contributed to a lack of energy among members to campaign against the substitution motion.
But like Lloyd, Suzuki Daniels believes that even if the pro-BDS motion does not move forward, the debate over the past few months has brought to light an issue that she believes deserves more attention, and that it forces prosecution. local conversations about what’s happening in the Middle East.
“It’s not going to go away,” she said.