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California School Board Candidate’s Campaign Suspended Over Anti-Jewish Social Media Posts

The Los Angeles teachers union and another influential labor group have ceased campaigning for a school board candidate who promoted an antisemitic book.

United Teachers Los Angeles and the L.A. County Federation of Labor both announced Friday that they were suspending campaign activities for Kahllid Al-Alim, days after a 2022 social media post surfaced in which he praised “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” an infamous antisemitic volume published by the Nation of Islam.

Both groups had endorsed Al-Alim ahead of California’s March 5 school board election, as had a prominent Jewish teachers union leader. Al-Alim, a parent and community activist, is running for a seat in a historically Black area that also has a large Jewish population. The city’s school district is the second-largest in the country.

But those endorsements were thrown into question last week when a review of Al-Alim’s social media history turned up the “Secret Relationship” post as well as others celebrating gun violence and pornography. Al-Alim apologized for the posts on Feb. 20.

But days later, the 30,000-member teachers union said that it would “immediately suspend” efforts on his behalf and vote on whether to keep the endorsement next week.

“Kahllid Al-Alim’s social media activities were offensive, antisemitic, and unacceptable,” UTLA said in its statement. “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.”

The L.A. County Federation of Labor, Los Angeles’ local AFL-CIO affiliate, said in its own statement announcing its suspension of campaign activities that “we expect our endorsed candidates to embody values that promote equity and diversity.” It will also reconsider its endorsement.

In a 2022 post on X, formerly Twitter, Al-Alim had praised “The Secret Relationship,” which falsely asserts that Jews orchestrated the slave trade and collaborated with the Ku Klux Klan, a racist and antisemitic hate group. According to the Los Angeles Times, Al-Alim, whose personal X account is no longer active, had tweeted that the book should be required reading in Los Angeles schools.

The L.A. Times reported that Al-Alim had also allegedly liked a post characterizing Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel as an act of Palestinian resistance, as well as posts that defended the antisemitic rhetoric of NBA star Kyrie Irving and rapper Kanye West.

The teachers union, which did not respond to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency request for comment, had mounted an active push for Al-Alim, spending more than $650,000, according to the L.A. Times, and bringing American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten earlier this month to campaign on his behalf.

On Friday, Weingarten, who is Jewish and a prominent liberal pro-Israel activist, posted online that she was “stunned and deeply disappointed” by his posts.

“While we appreciate his apology, we hope to see him continue to do the repair work necessary in partnership with the local Jewish community,” she wrote on X. (Reached by JTA for comment, an AFT spokesperson pointed to Weingarten’s post on social media.)

Al-Alim released a statement on Tuesday apologizing for his past behavior.

“I have spent my life fighting against antisemitism, anti-Arab hate, Islamophobia, and all forms of oppression,” Al-Alim said. “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.”

Al-Alim also specifically retracted his endorsement of the Nation of Islam book, adding, “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.”

In a statement Friday, Los Angeles’ Jewish federation condemned Al-Alim for promoting “antisemitic, conspiratorial and hateful content.”

“Our children deserve leaders who uplift the voices of all Los Angeles students,” the statement said. “At a time when communities should be coming together, it is imperative that leaders boldly call out hate and not stand with those who espouse antisemitic rhetoric and conspiracy theories.”

Source: https://www.jta.org/2024/02/26/politics/teachers-union-halts-campaign-for-la-school-board-candidate-who-promoted-antisemitic-book