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LAUSD School Board Frontrunner Apologizes for Liking Antisemitic Social Media Posts

Kahllid Al-Alim’s personal account included posts calling a Nation of Islam book “mandatory reading.”
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February 23, 2024
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Kahllid Al-Alim, who is considered to be the frontrunner for in a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board race, issued an apology on Tuesday for calling a Nation of Islam (NOI) book “mandatory reading.”

Al-Alim is running for Board District 1 to replace board member George McKenna, who is retiring; the district includes Castle Heights, Crenshaw and Mid City. Al-Alim has racked up endorsements from United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the Democratic Socialists of America-Los Angeles and the L.A. County Federation of Labor. Educators for Israel, under the X handle “@JewTLA,” posted a series of screenshots that they claimed showed “dozens of #antisemitic, anti-Israel posts” from Al-Alim’s personal X account, which appears to no longer exist. One such screenshot showed Al-Alim calling the NOI book “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” “mandatory reading in community schools.” The book, according to the Anti-Defamation League, “blames Jews for promoting a myth of black racial inferiority and makes conspiratorial accusations about Jewish involvement in slave trade and the cotton, textiles, and banking industries.”

“I want to apologize for my posts about the [Louis] Farrakhan book,” Al-Alim said in a statement posted to his campaign website. “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.”

“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.” – Kahllid Al-Alim

Erica Huerta, Al-Alim’s campaign manager, told LAist regarding the NOI book post, “Before the campaign even officially started, that was one of the tweets that we recognized. We tried to delete it.”

Al-Alim also apologized in his statement “for my likes on social media of graphic content. It was inappropriate. I will never do that again.”  The Los Angeles Times reported that Al-Alim appeared to like “sexually oriented” posts, which included “a woman in a see-through halter top is holding a machine gun.”

The Educators for Israel’s X account also highlighted purported likes from Al-Alim on social media posts that included  a post from October 2022 that read, “Jeffrey Epstein was Jewish. The bank did not cancel him. And the Jewish community did not condemn him for his criminality” and an Dec. 2022 post that said, “Go talk to a white Jew. Most don’t consider Beta Israelites to be ‘real Jews’ just like they don’t consider blacks to be real Jews.”

More recently, Al-Alim liked a post from December 2023 stating that “it’s fascist-nating [sic] how Israel manages to rationalize anything it does in Gaza and any number of innocents killed as self-defense.”

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

Huerta, who told LAist she is one of many Jews who are on Al-Alim’s campaign, told LAist, “His goal was never to run for office. Any missteps in the past, I think, should be taken, you know, with that understanding that Kahllid is truly a community member and a grassroots activist … We’ll definitely learn from his mistakes ongoing.”

UTLA said in a statement to the Times, “Kahllid Al-Alim’s reported social media activities are offensive and unacceptable. 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 reported social media conduct falls short of these fundamental ideals.” The teachers’ union added that they “have contacted Kahllid Al-Alim to make clear our position on both the content and nature of his posts. We have demanded a public response from him today. UTLA is considering our next steps.” UTLA’s statement was issued just before Al-Alim’s, according to the Times.

UTLA announced on Friday that their board of directors “voted to immediately suspend any campaign activities in Board District 1,” per the Times. However, the union did not officially revoke their endorsement of Al-Alim, as that requires “a formal multi-step process,” the Times reported.

Also on Friday, the Westside Current reported that Al-Alim allegedly shared a Facebook post in 2015 referring to the Sandy Hook families as “actors.” The Current cited a post on X from Siamak Kordestani, which included a screenshot of the alleged post from Al-Alim.

Community leaders have condemned Al-Alim’s social media activity. Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Hollywood), the California Assembly’s Democratic Caucus chair, posted on X, “Antisemitic hate has no place in our schools. We need leaders and educators who value and affirm every student, not those who use tropes to divide our communities. I strongly oppose Kahllid Al-Alim’s campaign for LAUSD Board of Education.”

Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfeld posted on X, “Anti-Semitism and hate in all forms should not be tolerated or enabled in our schools. Children need to know they can walk and learn in peace at school regardless of their background or identity.”

California Senate candidate Christina Pascucci (D), a former KTLA journalist, also posted on X, “A leading candidate for LAUSD school board, Kahllid Al-Alim, who is endorsed by the teachers’ union and backed by the DSA, has spread hateful messages against Jews, wants to abolish police, and liked sexually explicit images online. If you live in West LA, or anywhere in district 1, please pay attention when you vote for school board. This is unacceptable behavior for anyone leading our children. As someone who’s passionate about bringing quality education back to California, I cannot stand for this.”

The Journal’s requests for comment to Al-Alim’s campaign through the campaign website were not immediately returned.

UPDATE: Al-Alim addressed the recent reports of his social media activity in a Sunday Instagram video.

“I posted and liked items that do not reflect what I believe,” Al-Alim said. “One of these posts also lifted up antisemitic content, including the book ‘The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.’ This book depicts Jewish people incorrectly and reinforces dangerous views of Jewish communities. I have worked with Jewish parents, teachers and community members for many years and I’m sorry for amplifying these ideas.” He added that he understands that “amplifying these dangerous ideas” has “harmed people and undermined the vital collective work we are doing to advance justice for all people.”

Al-Alim also said that he stands “firmly against the oppression of Jewish people” and that “many groups of people have harmed or oppressed other people and Jews should not be singled out and blamed for causing harm that is systemic.” “I know that Jewish people have been historically blamed and targeted. I also know that Jewish people are currently blamed and targeted,” he continued. “This behavior is serious, real and dangerous for Jews and for all mankind.”

Al-Alim added that “there’s a long history of both collaboration and conflict between Black and Jewish communities that we must learn from so we can respect each other and create a more just world together.”

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