Monday October 9th, 2006
Mr. Patrick Duffy, President
United Teachers Los Angeles
3303 Wilshire Blvd., 10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Dear Mr. Duffy,
The American Jewish Committee wishes to thank you for prohibiting the Human Rights Committee (HRC) of the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) from meeting on October 14th at UTLA headquarters to discuss divestment and boycott of Israel. We further appreciate your clear statement that there is no divestment campaign being launched by UTLA or any of its committees.
The campaign by the UTLA Human Rights Committee to collaborate with the Movement for a Democratic Society and Cafe Intifada, two fringe political groups with no connection to the Los Angeles public schools, in order to stir up anti-Israel ideology is abhorrent.
The UTLA should review and reform its constitutional foundations which enabled the HRC to stray from its stated mission to â€œpromote . . . the peaceful resolution of conflict.”
The AJC is gravely concerned about the persistent problems that challenge the public schools’ ability to fulfill the vital roles of educating and acculturating our children. Parents must be assured that their childrenâ€™s teachers are not being misinformed by UTLA and bringing unexamined propaganda into the classroom.
HRC Chairman Stephen Seal deserves a failing grade for not effectively educating UTLA members in a balanced manner. Divestment is not a constructive criticism of Israel; it is an attack meant to weaken a democratic, American ally. The American Jewish Committee has a long history of opposing divestment campaigns against Israel, including the recently resolved attempt by the Presbyterian Church (USA). Our experience informs us that the strategy of divestment will not lead to a peaceful solution in the Middle East â€“ an outcome that we fervently desire for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
The AJC recently launched an Invest in Peace campaign to promote a just and lasting peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. We call on the UTLA Human Rights Committee to give consideration to this effort and invest its resources in this or other projects that work toward peace, reconciliation and economic/community development in the Middle East.
The AJC has compiled a list of prospective NGOs that fulfill these goals. They include Neve Shalom (www.nswas.com), On the Way to Sulha(www.sulha.org) and Face to Face, Faith to Faith (www.auburnsem.org/multifaith/faithtofaith.asp).
We would welcome the opportunity to further share our work with you on this project.
Sherry A. Weinman
President, Los Angeles Chapter
American Jewish Committee
Cc: Stephen Seal, Human Rights Committee Chair