UTLA’s racist, anti-Semitic history

Parent watchdogs share damning evidence: anti-Israel stance is nothing new

By Chantal Lovell
June 11, 2021

The United Teachers Los Angeles made international headlines recently for its vote calling on the United States government to immediately cease all aid to Israel, joining the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

While the vote by several chapters (the full union will consider supporting the anti-Israel BDS movement in September) is perplexing given the many challenges the union is ignoring within its own district (chiefly, the lack of learning caused by its refusal to return to class), it’s nothing new. 

In fact, this vote is just the latest in a long series of anti-Semitic and racist behavior by the United Teachers Los Angeles and its leadership.

Parent watchdog group UTLA Uncensored has been compiling evidence – much of it leaked to the parents by union members fed up with the extremist UTLA. This week, the group made it all public, through a series of posts on its Instagram account. 

Some of the evidence the group has shared indicating UTLA is a racist, anti-Semitic organization includes:

  • Images from UTLA’s ethnic studies meeting in April, during which union President Cecily Myart-Cruz said the Museum of Tolerance, a Holocaust museum, is an enemy. The meeting also featured a speaker who screamed “F**k Israel” alongside protestors yelling, “All white people need to die!” during a protest against a pro-Israel film screening.
  • UTLA president accusing Los Angeles Unified School District teachers of being white supremacists and stoking fear among parents of minority kids. “Parents of Black and brown children really need to pay closer attention this week to their kids’ classes. Remember 55% of white women voted for Trump and they are nearly 80% of the teaching profession. Some of them will take their anger out on kids.”
  • A UTLA employee questioning the race of a mother who spoke out against the union, and nonchalantly explaining the union needs the woman’s race to log in its racial profiling database. The union went on to publicly identify the woman, demand her employer fire her, harass her via email, and threaten to come to her home saying, “Be a good Afghani woman … we know where you’re at.” (Most of the sentence is redacted here for including a series of extremely offensive words.)
  • UTLA chapter chair teaching students that life in Palestine is similar to imprisonment in concentration camps during the Holocaust. 
  • UTLA removing Jewish members from online meetings when they question the union’s anti-Semitic stance.
  • A UTLA leader (and candidate for union president) boasting about his “favorite” assignment to students: requiring them to “rewrite the preamble of the slaveowner’s constitution.” The group also shared several extreme social media posts by this teacher’s students to demonstrate the harmful impact. Among them are graduates calling the U.S. Constitution “a load of shit,” post supporting terrorism and rioting, and calls for the downfall of America. 

The evidence compiled and shared by UTLA Uncensored is best summarized in a letter the members of California Students United – a growing parent organization in Los Angeles that has been demanding a full reopening of schools and that parents be given a seat at the bargaining table – sent Myart-Cruz and district and union officials demanding an apology for the ongoing racist and anti-Semitic behavior. 

“Even if UTLA’s vote to defund Israel were not laden with obvious anti-Semitism, it would still be wildly misguided and inappropriate during the biggest inflection point in modern education history,” it read. “In the wake of 14 months of shuttered schools, truncated zooms, and tragic learning loss that continues to this day for hundreds of thousands of LAUSD students – especially low-income children and children of color – it is absurd for the union representing the teachers of our children to take official stands on complex American foreign policy issues before passing resolutions supporting a full fall reopening, embracing parents as equal members at the table, or endorsing quality public education as a right not a privilege.”

Members of the union are taking note of UTLA’s anti-Semitic and extremist stances, and are beginning to challenge it in the most impactful way possible: by leaving the union and taking their membership dues with them. One teacher explained, “I feel unsafe as a Jew in this UTLA.”

A series of letters published by the Los Angeles Times included similar sentiment. “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.”

UTLA members, and members of any other teachers union or union representing government employees, who wish to drop membership from their union may do so quickly and easily by visiting MyPayMySay.com.

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