The National Constitutional Law Union sent an open letter to United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz regarding the UTLA resolution to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against the State of Israel.
Full letter below:
Dear Ms. Myart-Cruz:
I write with great concern regarding United Teachers Los Angeles’ (the “UTLA”) recent resolution in support of the anti-Israel “Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment” movement (“BDS”). This resolution seems designed to further your personal political agenda rather than to benefit either the teachers who are members of your union or the hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles-area students they are supposed to serve. An American public teachers’ union should not be attacking one of America’s longest-standing allies that, like the United States, is one of the last beacons of freedom and democracy in the world.
Your resolution states, in the relevant part, as follows:
“Moved, that UTLA express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and call for Israel to end bombardment of Gaza and stop displacement at Sheikh Jarrah.
Further moved that UTLA calls on the administration of US. President Joe Eiden to stop aid to Israel.
Further moved that UTLA endorse the international campaign for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against apartheid in Israel.“
First and foremost, you, in your role as UTLA President and the UTLA, should be focused on educating Los Angeles students, not interfering in American foreign policy. If you wish to engage in left-wing political activism (the NCLU will always fight for your and all other Americans’ Ist Amendment right to do so), it should have nothing to do with Los Angeles students and their teachers. I recommend you focus on getting all students back to class full-time, with all damaging COVID-related measures ending immediately.
Second, this resolution is extremely one-sided. You make no reference to the more than four thousand (4,000) rockets indiscriminately fired at Israel by Hamas and other terrorist groups. Why? Does Israel have no right to defend itself, in your view? Does Israel have a right to exist, in your view? I think your members and the public would be very interested to hear your direct answers to those questions.
Third, your resolution calls to support the BDS movement against Israel, for the United States to end all foreign aid to Israel, and calls for solidarity with the Palestinian people. Again, this is extremely one sided. We all hope and pray fervently for peace in the Middle East. But do you endorse boycotting, sanctioning, and divesting with respect to terrorist groups and the governments that support them? Do you support ending all foreign aid to all nations in the Middle East, or just Israel? Why do you not additionally call for solidarity with the Israeli people, who have been viciously attacked for thousands of years, including especially since the Israeli state was formally created in 1948?
Israel is one of America’s strongest allies. It stands for values like those enshrined in the United States Constitution, such as freedom of the press, capitalism, multi-culturalism, an independent judiciary, and many other rights and values that are at the core of Western Civilization. This cannot be said for the terrorist groups that routinely attempt to exterminate Israel and the government regimes that support them.
Finally, Arabs make up approximately 1/5 of Israel’s population. They enjoy the same fundamental rights as other Israeli citizens. Indeed, Arab-Israeli citizens are freer than Arabs in any other nation in the world (along with Arab-American citizens). Indeed, many Arab-Israelis are members of and represented by the Ra’am political party, which is part of the newly formed Israeli coalition government. The same kind of representative government is not offered to Arabs in Gaza, to say the least. If you truly want to advocate for fair treatment of Arabs around the world, there are many better targets to take aim at rather than the State of Israel.
As UTLA President, the NCLU sincerely hopes you will consider immediately withdrawing this resolution. If not, the NCLU calls on all UTLA members to roundly reject this resolution if it comes to a full vote before the UTLA. The UTLA has more than enough work to do focusing on its actual mission, which (as I understand it from the Preamble to your organization’s constitution) has nothing to do with attacking the State of Israel or engaging in Middle East foreign policy.
Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you wish to have a productive dialogue on this matter. The NCLU wishes the UTLA the very best in its role of representing Los Angeles teachers and working towards improving the educational system for Los Angeles students.
John M. Pierce
National Constitutional Law Union