The Los Angeles Teachers’ Union Should Stay Out of Middle East Politics

Aug. 11 2021

With current controversies raging over school reopenings, mask requirements, and vaccination mandates for teachers, United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) will consider a resolution calling on the U.S. to end military aid to Israel, and supporting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS). The editors of the Los Angeles Times urge the union’s leaders to reject it:

One thing is for sure: . . . the world is hardly waiting to hear what a California teachers’ union thinks of the [Israel-Palestinian conflict].

Many Jewish parents and students—though not all by any means—see BDS support as inherently anti-Semitic. . . . They question why a movement targeting Israel receives [union] support when other nations have less religious tolerance and worse human-rights records. A vote to support BDS would be seen as hostile and undermine these families’ confidence in their teachers. Favoring BDS also would probably erode public support for the union in a metropolitan area with the second-biggest Jewish population in the U.S.

[Moreover], support for BDS wouldn’t accomplish a thing. The union would be better off keeping its nose out of Middle Eastern affairs that don’t affect its members or the schools, and in which it has no expertise.

Read more at Los Angeles Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Education

Strengthening the Abraham Accords at Sea

In an age of jet planes, high-speed trains, electric cars, and instant communication, it’s easy to forget that maritime trade is, according to Yuval Eylon, more important than ever. As a result, maritime security is also more important than ever. Eylon examines the threats, and opportunities, these realities present to Israel:

Freedom of navigation in the Middle East is challenged by Iran and its proxies, which operate in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and recently in the Mediterranean Sea as well. . . . A bill submitted to the U.S. Congress calls for the formulation of a naval strategy that includes an alliance to combat naval terrorism in the Middle East. This proposal suggests the formation of a regional alliance in the Middle East in which the member states will support the realization of U.S. interests—even while the United States focuses its attention on other regions of the world, mainly the Far East.

Israel could play a significant role in the execution of this strategy. The Abraham Accords, along with the transition of U.S.-Israeli military cooperation from the European Command (EUCOM) to Central Command (CENTCOM), position Israel to be a key player in the establishment of a naval alliance, led by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain.

Collaborative maritime diplomacy and coalition building will convey a message of unity among the members of the alliance, while strengthening state commitments. The advantage of naval operations is that they enable collaboration without actually threatening the territory of any sovereign state, but rather using international waters, enhancing trust among all members.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy