The LAUSD frontrunner apologizes for liking anti-Semitic, pornographic posts on social media

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

The LAUSD frontrunner apologizes for liking anti-Semitic, pornographic posts on social media

Education, LA Politics

Howard Blume

February 21, 2024

Los Angeles school board frontrunner Kahllid Al-Alim, backed by the influential teachers union, has come under fire for social media activity that has sparked accusations that he endorsed anti-Semitic content, glamorous weapons and celebrated pornographic images.

One post on X (formerly Twitter) that attracted particular criticism was Al-Alim


praise for an anti-Semitic publication by the Nation of Islam organization entitled, “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews: How Jews Gained Control of America’s Black Economy.” The book accuses Jews of stealing wealth from black people, their “40 acres and a mule,” and accuses Jews of “collaborating with and even financing racial terrorists like the Ku Klux Klan,” according to a blurb about the book about the Nation or Islam. Online Store.

In an October 2022 post, Al-Alim said he was running for a seat representing much of south and southwest Los Angeles and said the book should be required reading in LA schools: “We not Burning or Banning Our Future! We Not Playing,” he tweeted.

In a statement on Tuesday, Al-Alim appeared to acknowledge all or most of the posts and likes on social media, for which he expressed regret. He didn’t say they came from fake accounts or that his account had been hacked.

“I have fought against anti-Semitism, anti-Arab hatred, Islamophobia and all forms of oppression all my life,” Al-Alim said. “I have fought all my life for the equality of all people. There is a very long history of Jewish and Black people supporting each other and working in solidarity for justice. I want to continue that important work.”

He also appeared to acknowledge the pornographic and gun-related likes, adding: “I also apologize for my social media likes of graphic content. It was inappropriate. I will never do that again.”

Al-Alim is one of seven candidates running to replace George McKenna, who is retiring from the Board of Education. District 1 includes the core of historically black Los Angeles and the largest concentration of black students, and all candidates are black. The district


includes significant numbers of white voters and Jewish voters; a majority of students attending schools in the district are Latino.

The rise of Al-Alim’s social media activities

to threaten


to derail the campaign of a parent and longtime community activist who has received support from the influential United Teachers Los Angeles and the LA County Federation of Labor.

Figures reported through Tuesday show that the teachers union has spent nearly $650,000 on an independent campaign in support of Al-Alim and is organizing field workers on his behalf. Al-Alim’s own campaign had raised $24,302 in the last reporting period.

The second largest independent funding effort is $280,515 on behalf of Didi Watts, by a Sacramento-based political action committee called Kids First. The actual contributors to this campaign are protected from immediate disclosure because they did not contribute directly to the campaign on behalf of Watts.

One of the early online amplifiers of Al-Alim’s social media activity has been political operative Mike Trujillo, who is working on behalf of an independent campaign to elect both Watts and candidates in the three other board races.

But the criticism doesn’t just come from people with political motivations to oppose Al-Alim in the District 1 contest.

United Teachers Los Angeles reacted sharply to his actions online on Tuesday.

Kahllid Al-Alim’s reported social media activities are offensive and unacceptable,” the union said. “They are inconsistent with what we have seen from Kahllid as a decades-long educational justice organizer. Elected leaders must exemplify professionalism and set a positive example for those they represent. His reported behavior on social media does not meet these fundamental ideals.”

The union left open the possibility of withdrawing its approval: “We have contacted Kahllid Al-Alim to clarify our position on both the content and nature of his messages. We have demanded a public response from him today. UTLA is considering our next steps.

UTLA sent its statement to The Times at 12:32 p.m. Al-Alim’s sweeping apology arrived eight minutes later.

In an advertisement in the locally published Jewish Journal on February 16, the group Democrats for Israel Los Angeles identified Al-Alim as a candidate to oppose, a negative assessment that was applied to


another candidate in a long list of endorsements. Within the teachers union, the Educators Caucus for Israel, which goes by the name @JewTLA, has also spoken out strongly against Al-Alim, because in this reference the post that Al-Alim renounced on Tuesday.

“Here’s just a taste of the anti-Semitic Jew-hating nonsense @KahllidA posts crazy conspiracy theories on his personal account about Jews running and ruining the world.

Apart from his general apology, Al-Alim specifically withdrew his promotion of the book Nation of Islam.

“I would like to apologize for my posts about the Farrakhan book,” Al-Alim said, referring to that group’s leader, Louis Farrakhan. “I was wrong. I have contacted teachers and community members and have since learned about the issues. I am retracting that post completely. It should have no place in our schools.”

Al-Alim appears to have made a personal account on X private. A “like” on his campaign account for a tweet depicting the October event. 7 Hamas’s attack on Israel, while Palestinians are rising up against the occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, cannot be done on that basis at this time.

The original post was from J-Town Action & Solidarity, which described itself as a “grassroots collective dedicated to revolutionary organizing and building community power in Little Tokyo.” Al-Alim’s image was captured by several critics before apparently being removed recently.

Except for the one example he cited, Al-Alim was not specific about any other report the critics found.

According to an internationally accepted definition, it is not necessarily anti-Semitic to express support for the Palestinians or to criticize Israel or Zionism, the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish homeland in Israel. However, such views can cross the line into anti-Semitism.

The unrelated, sexually oriented likes contained at least one explicit image of sex and many suggestive photos. In one, a woman in a see-through halter top holds a machine gun. The images began to surface over the weekend, coming from political opponents as well as Jewish critics and union members concerned about the union’s support for Al-Alim.

Al-Alim has a long history as a community activist, including as a founding member of Reclaim Our Schools LA, a coalition of parents, students, educators, labor and community organizations closely affiliated with the LA teachers union.

He was also a longtime member of the school district’s task force on African American Achievement and Advanced Placement and a leader on the Hyde Park Neighborhood Council. Currently, Al-Alim is a janitor for the city of Los Angeles and has also worked as an army medic for sixteen years.

At a recent campaign forum for District 1, Al-Alim was the candidate who spoke most critically of the performance of Supt. Alberto Carvalho, saying the district leader deserved an F grade for his work to date.


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