For KPFK listeners, interested in more information:
To buy the book:
Information on the upcoming readings:
for information on the blacklisting:
In Bed With Frida Kahlo:
Cindy Sheehan on line:
Posted in Anatomy of a Blacklisting, Art and Activism, Calling out neo-liberalism, Calling out the liberal left!, Cross Referencing Emmalandia, Disability Rights, Dissident Jewish Voices, Emma's Room, Human Rights, Human rights rhetoric in the service of empire!, Immigrant Rights, In Bed With Frida Kahlo, Indigenous Rights, International Solidarity, Israeli Apartheid, Palestine, Racism, Shifting Sands: Jewish American Women Confront the Israeli Occupation, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Stand With Us, This is what genocide looks like, U.S. empire, UTLA, Women's Lives, Zionist Campaign Against Free Speech on June 3, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
For KPFK listeners, interested in more information:
To buy the book:
Information on the upcoming readings:
for information on the blacklisting:
In Bed With Frida Kahlo:
Cindy Sheehan on line:
Posted in ADL, Anatomy of a Blacklisting, Calling out the liberal left!, Dissident Jewish Voices, Education, Human Rights, Human rights rhetoric in the service of empire!, Indigenous Rights, Israeli Apartheid, Palestine, Stand With Us, U.S. empire, Zionist Campaign Against Free Speech on April 30, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
when the zionist jewish establishment descended on the teachers union in los angeles, after years of monitoring our activities, attacking a class taught at the union hall by the afsc, and attacking a meeting hosted by the human rights committee of the union (utla) to discuss bds, and specifically calling on utla to disassociate from (union members) associated with “extreme fringe groups” (aka–cafe intifada’s emma rosenthal), the union president (with the complicit support of many leftists–iso, solidarity, etc within the union leadership) shut down the meeting, shut down the human rights committee and stated, in reference to the fact that l.a. is the city with the second largest jewish population in the u..s, “not in this time, not in this place.”
kudos to colombia university, in the heart of nyc, with a large (several members of my own family included) jewish endowment pool, for standing down these campaigns. and maintaining a commitment to academic freedom and integrity!
thanks to e.i. for covering this story, and the ongoing attacks on public discourse.
also important is the use of privatized espionage against dissident voices– groups such as: stand with us, campus watch, camera, adl, etc all maintain dossiers and campaigns of documentation against those who dare to speak out in academia, against israeli hegemony and brutality.
Pro-Israel group monitoring, intimidating Columbia faculty
Jared Malsin, The Electronic Intifada, 30 April 2010
Posted in Calling out neo-liberalism, Calling out the liberal left!, Disability Rights, Full Inclusion, Human Rights, Immigrant Rights, Indigenous Rights, Israeli Apartheid, Israeli Offense Forces, Palestine, Racism, Shoah, U.S. empire on March 9, 2010 | 13 Comments »
Roberts is a right wing white supremacist who has written repeatedly anti-disability, anti-jewish, anti-gay, anti-immigrant anti- people of color, rants for years. (and while attempting to be “pro-Islam, pro-Arab”, his assertions are rife with orientalist assumptions of Amerikan/western superiority.) His critique of U.S./Israeli policy is not part of a human rights, social justice, anti-imperialist movement for self-determination or liberation, but rather is simply an extension of his white supremacist fear that white people and Amerika are losing ground.
Roberts has written for years for VDARE (a racist publication, named for Virginia Dare, the first “white” baby to be born in the “New World”), but recently he has been published, without criticism or reference to his racist, ableist, sexist anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-Jewish, anti-Arab trajectory by Counterpunch, ifamericansknew, antiwar.com, Democracy Now, Information Clearing House, Alternet and other “progressive” media.
In his article “Why Does Israel Want to Initiate War Between theU.S. and Iran?” (1) Roberts repeats what we’ve been hearing for years: that the U.S. government is a puppet regime of Israel. immediately contradicting himself with the refrain we’ve heard for 10 years, that Israel is trying to drag the U.S. into war with IRan, or that Israel will bomb Iran on its own. We’ve heard this from the left, the right, and from two U.S. Vice Presidents. (Cheney and Biden) and yet– no war. (Sanctions, defamations, pressure, but no war!) Does this mean that the tail doesn’t wag the dog, as has been suggested? After all, if Israel has really wanted the U.S. to go to war, or if Israel really wants to bomb Iran, if Israel really did run the show, wouldn’t this have happened years ago?
On the other hand, is it possible that Israel is less influential than we’ve been led to believe and that the threat of an Israeli caused war, is part of the illusion the U.S. and Israel have been manufacturing for some time– the idea that Israel is responsible for U.S. foreign policy– taking the focus off of the U.S. and its global empire, while simultaneously making Israel seem much more powerful than it really is. – a mutually beneficial illusion.
In his article “The End of Free Speech? Criminalizing Criticism of Israel”, (2) Roberts attacks a hate crimes bill that extends violent hate crimes protection to LGBT people and people with dis-abilities. He asserts that this new bill would make any criticism of Israel and the Holocaust, illegal, contrary to ANY reading of the bill, which says absolutely nothing about Israel and has no impact at all on speech.
In his article ” Muslims Are Their Own Worst Enemy” (3) he repeats tired orientalist stereotypes, blames the victims of U.S. (and British and Russian Imperialism) for their own condition “Muslim disunity has made it possible for Israel to dispossess the Palestinians, for the U.S. to invade Iraq, and for the U.S. to rule much of the region…”
In his memoriam to Milton Friedman, (4) the architect of some of the most deadly economic policies of the Twentieth Century, he calls Friedman the “great economist of our times.”
In his article “That Buchanan Book” (5) he repeats and embellishes Buchanon’s attacks on immigrants, multiculturalism, people of color people with dis-abilities and the left.
“Buchanan has strong opinions, but his opinions are based in facts, unlike his equally opinionated opponents, who have bought into the multiculturalist dogma of the evils of western civilization or taken refuge in neoconservative wishful thinking.”
He states, “Whites are shrinking into a minority even within their own countries. massive uncontrolled legal and illegal immigration, together with collapsing fertility rates of whites everywhere, foretell a vanishing race.” as if it’s a bad thing.
(Seriously though, the disappearance of any culture or group is NEVER a good thing, but the construct of whiteness –including his unstated inference to race mixing as further diluting this vanishing breed– isn’t about the preservation of a culture, but the total assimilation of several distinct and disparate languages, heritages, histories and legacies which are swallowed up into a homogenized (White) identity in the interest of empire and domination–for those who qualify, whiteness is the price of losing who you are.)
He goes on to assert that the situation may be worse than Buchanan would have us think: “In the U.S., native-born whites already are second-class citizens in their own country. Unconstitutional group privileges have arisen based on race, gender, and disability. White males no longer have equal rights. “
He concludes this article; “Demonization of whites is the weapon used by multiculturalists to breakup western civilization… Demonization has already demoralized some whites, making them ashamed and fearful of their skin color.”
“By the time whites become political minorities, decades of demonization will have prepared the ground for legislation prohibiting their propagation and, perhaps, assigning them to the gulag as a final solution … none of this is ordained. faculties could replace multicultural propagandists with real scholars, and legislation could halt or reduce immigration to assimilable numbers. Is western civilization worth the effort? Does anyone any longer know what western civilization is? “
So how come roberts is getting so much play among progressives, including the progressive press, given his history of bigotry and intolerance, as well as having “served” on Reagan’s cabinet as Treasury Secretary (making his essay “The Rich Have Stolen the Economy”, a bit absurd)?
Could it be that his white supremacist positions, including the assertion of a Zionist occupied Amerikan government, run by foreign Israeli interlopers, tricksters, puppeteers, as well as an entire ethnic group of U.S. citizens with suspicious national allegiance, absolve (Christian) white (and otherwise privileged) Amerikans of their (real and mis-afilliated) guilt, allowing them to address injustices without ever having to examine the root causes, raise their class consciousness, or challenge their own nationalism, Amerikan hubris, entitlement and arrogance.
When I ask why “we” are promoting Roberts, I am told that he has important points to make, that no one is all good or all bad, that his position in the Reagan Administration lends credibility to those more legitimate assertions “we all agree on”. But even though a broken clock is right twice a day, and Mussolini made the trains run on time, do we really want, in giving credence to his “good points” to legitimize his racist, sexist, ableist bigotry and promote Roberts at the expense of other writers who, though lesser known, might better articulate a vision of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, infused justice, inclusion, diversity and self-determination?
Posted in Art and Activism, Calling out the liberal left!, Dissident Jewish Voices, Education, Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, International Solidarity, Israeli Apartheid, Israeli Offense Forces, Palestine, Racism, The war against the children, this is what a police state looks like, This is what genocide looks like, U.S. empire, UTLA, Zionist Campaign Against Free Speech on February 6, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
we wonder if any educators in l.a. would be interested in organizing an exhibit of the art work of the children of gaza? maybe hosted by utla? human rights committee? progressive educators? the iso or solidarity? the jewish labor committee? coalition against (oops, my bad, they changed their name) for alternatives to militarism in the schools?
co sponsored by cafe intifada and the l.a. palestine labor solidarity committee? (of course we would, but who in the hall would associate with us!!!)
yeah, i didn’t think so!
(probably why iso member, and utla board member david rapkin calls me “too extreme”!)
Posted in ADL, Anatomy of a Blacklisting, Art and Activism, Building Community, Calling out neo-liberalism, Calling out the liberal left!, Dissident Jewish Voices, Human Rights, Human rights rhetoric in the service of empire!, Indigenous Rights, International Solidarity, Israeli Apartheid, Palestine, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Stand With Us, U.S. empire, UTLA, Zionist Campaign Against Free Speech on October 20, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
when the human rights committee of united teachers los angeles agreed to host a meeting to discuss bds, we were attacked by the zionist establishment. most activists capitulated, and i was blacklisted when “jewish” organizations met with utla president duffy, demanding that he disassociate himself from my organization cafe intifada and me (a union member in good standing!) that lobby included all the standard bearers of zionist power structure- the simon wiesenthal ctr, the (we spy on u.s. citizens and organizations and turn the info over to the fbi) ADL, stand (we maintain a dossier on activists who are critical of israel, with special attention to jewish activists) with us, and unfortunately, the progressive jewish alliance. so i had very little expectation of j street when it formed. (the stand with us, dossier on me at last report–they secured their site and i can’t get access– is over 60 printed pages) i don’t believe that one can reconcile zionism with human rights. it is by its very nature a political movement that confers entitlement to one group (a settler group) over another (indigenous ) group. two states, or one, a zionist state is by definition an apartheid state, a racist state, a segregated state. the only just solution is a single secular democratic state with full equal human rights for all. the attack and censorship of these two poets was for doing exactly what they were booked to do, and is an outrage. we pick our battles says it all. it seems to me, in the face of red baiting (this IS the new red baiting) and blacklisting, the battle chose jstreet and they chose not to fight, they chose to capitulate. the same argument was made by the chair of the human rights committee when bowing under pressure, capitulated and actually stated that the committee would never take up an issue that had not been cleared by the union leadership. (that’s the role of committees, to bring new issues to the union leadership!!!) how can jstreet claim to be an alternative to the current zionist lobby, if it won’t stand up to the pressures of that lobby, if it too can be lobbied into submission. they might as well cancel the entire conference.!!!
Aauthor of Everyday People and Slingshots (A Hip-Hop Poetica)
Posted: October 20, 2009 03:57 PM
Searching for a Minyan: Our Response to
Being Censored by J Street
Co-authored by Josh Healey.
This weekend, J Street, a new Jewish “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” PAC and Washington-based organization is holding its first national conference. The two of us, along with another artist, were to perform and read poems at several sessions during the conference. Specifically, we were invited to lead a workshop on how culture and spoken word create democratic spaces that sift through difficult issues and ensure a multiplicity of voices are heard: and how that can be used to open up the Israel/Palestine debate.
Instead, we have been censored and pushed out of that very debate.
This week, some right-wing blogs and pseudo-news organizations latched on to various lines of poems Josh wrote and churned the alarmist rumor mill saying that hateful anti-Israeli poets are keynote speakers at the J Street conference. This is not surprising. The radical right-wing, including the growing Jewish right-wing of this country and abroad, hates complex discourse, especially when it brings to light truths they seek to systematically deny. The Weekly Standard, Commentary, and their AIPAC-influenced
brethren have been attacking J Street for weeks, scared that the conference will bring together the majority of American Jews who do favor a more rigorous peace process. When they found Josh’s poems and took lines out of context, they had the perfect straw man: the Van Jones to J Street’s Obama. Again, this is not surprising.
What is disappointing, and troubling, is J Street’s response in caving to this sort of McCarthyism. The executive director of J Street called us to say “I know what I’m doing is wrong … but there are some battles we choose not to fight,” before canceling our program, and disinviting us from the conference. This accommodates their red-baiting and is the wrong response. Rather than give in, which only emboldens the right and legitimizes their attacks, we need to stand up for our principles and engage on that front.
Van Jones is another perfect example: after the Fox News venom became too much and he resigned last month, the radical right hasn’t stopped attacking Obama, or more accurately, the alternative, progressive voice they fear he represents. The right stands by its politics, and practices solidarity with their allies. Too often the left doesn’t. And that’s why we often lose — on health care, on global warming, and on Israel/Palestine.
For the second time in two months Kevin, who is Jewish, has been told not to come to a Jewish conference because of what he will say about Palestine and Israel. This past August, the evening before the International Hillel Conference, conference planners said if he were to read poems about Palestine, they’d rather not have him. Today, Josh, who is Jewish, has had his name thrown into a mudslide of blogs and hate emails. All this because we are practicing the Jewish maxim of the refusal to be silent in the face
of oppression, anyone’s oppression.
One of the key teachings of Judaism is the insistence on wrestling with and debating ideas. There are a thousand years of codified arguing, recorded in the Talmud and Midrash, over the meaning of the stories in the five books of Torah. Jews debate everything. There is the old adage, “when you have two Jews in the room, you have three opinions”. Our families cannot come to agreement about what constitutes a deli as opposed to a diner. (A deli must have pickles on the table with poppy seed rolls, etc.)
But when you try to talk about Palestine there is silence. When you talk about the role the United States plays in supporting Israel and its military coffers, there is no room for discourse. If you bring up Palestinians’ right to return to land they were forced out of, or mention that this past January over 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilian, were killed in Gaza, there is no room to speak in Jewish-centric spaces in this country.
There are many reasons why this trend of censorship is disturbing. We believe in democracy, in the right to speak and be heard and in the right be disagreed with. We are disheartened and outraged by the lack of democratic discourse in the American Jewish community and within the country as a whole.
Why are we scared of what will come from an honest conversation? What do we have to lose, or discover, or admit to if we question the policies of Israel or America’s support of its government and military? It can be unsettling for one’s worldview to unravel, the intricate web of white lies and half-truths pulled apart. This can be disconcerting for generations of Jews who have accepted the propaganda of a chosen people and the acting out of geostrategic nightmares via military might.
Kevin works at a Hillel for Hashem’s sake! He is charged with the task of addressing why so many young Jews are distancing themselves from the religious and cultural practice of Judaism. This is one of those reasons! American Jews are told at shul to repent for our sins, but silenced if we bring up the sins of the country that acts in our name. We need authentic, honest discourse in the American Jewish community. It must start today and it must be about Palestine and Israel.
So, we are searching for a minyan — a crew of progressives and progressive Jews to build and connect with. We want to have a conversation. Not wait for the conversation to be dictated and have borders and walls built around acceptable topics, but to have a conversation determined by us, Jews That Are Left, that are on the Left. A conversation that is honest and open and genuinely reclaims and considers our progressive past as well as forges the future world. A conversation engaged in the work of tikkun olam for real, the work of repair and healing and wholeness.
Progressive American Jews, where you at? Holla at us! For real: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s reshape the conversation. Let’s build a minyan, a coalition of progressive Jews and gentiles who want what is just and right for all people and all people in Israel and Palestine
THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ACCESS LIES WITH THE EVENT PLANNERS. IT IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL ATTENDING THE EVENT.
The issue of disability rights is often either ignored within the larger human rights dialogue or treated with outright hostility. Too often events are either held in inaccessible locations, or the way space is used, in otherwise accessible locations, rendered inaccessible. Additionally, often individual attempts at participation are greeted with out right hostility and ridicule by many individuals who consider themselves to be advocates of (more worthy?) human rights causes. If we are to build a strong movement that is truly democratic, truly representative and truly uses all the resources, skills and expertise of our community, it must be fully inclusive. if inclusion is not a collective responsibility it is delegated to the individual to assure her own participation, to adjust to the larger constructs, rather than have the community make the adjustments and accommodations. Often participation is totally impossible. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW IF YOUR EVENT IS DIS-ABILITY FRIENDLY AND ACCESSIBLE– IF WE AREN’T THERE, IT ISN’T!!!!
Attached is a guide book, published by the City of Los Angeles, for making events accessible. I would add that
1. Progressive communities need to begin (BEGIN!!!) the dialogue on inclusion.
2.All events have a designated accessibility coordinator to make sure aisles remain clear and unblocked and to support people with dis-abilities, should problems arise.
3. Ridicule and humiliation of people with dis-abilities be treated like all hate speech, and that appropriate action be taken to assure events are not hostile environments.
4. Where “special” entrances are necessary, specific signage and staffing must be provided so that people with dis-abilities have the agency to come and go with the same liberty as all other participants, not having to wait until someone becomes available to assist them.
My biggest pet peeve, are otherwise accessible venues where the stage is not accessible. IT IS A VERY STRONG REMINDER– “YOU ARE WELCOME TO BE HERE, BUT WE DON’T FEEL THAT YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY!”
Posted in ADL, Anatomy of a Blacklisting, Building Community, Calling out neo-liberalism, Calling out the liberal left!, Cross Referencing Emmalandia, Disability Rights, Dissident Jewish Voices, Don White, Education, Human Rights, Human rights rhetoric in the service of empire!, In Bed With Frida Kahlo, Israeli Apartheid, Palestine, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Stand With Us, U.S. empire, UTLA, Zionist Campaign Against Free Speech on June 28, 2009 | 9 Comments »
For the last three years I have been documenting a series of events within United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), around disability rights, Palestinian rights, union democracy and blacklisting, which started as a strange power play within the Human Rights Committee apparently around disability rights, but in my estimation, may have merely been the utilization of (my) disability as the socially acceptable way of attacking when no legitimate means was available.
Just as that controversy seemed to be resolving itself, the Jewish Zionist Establishment (the ADL, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Jewish National Congress, Stand With Us, the Progressive Jewish Alliance–them too!, as well as others) launched a campaign against the Union, the Human Rights Committee, the AFSC, Café Intifada, and….. me, focusing particularly on an upcoming meeting to discuss boycotts, sanctions and divestiture (BDS) from Israel. Thisresulted in an unholy alliance between the Zionist lobby, the “progressive” UTLA leadership, bent on protecting themselves and their positions, and the members of the Committee who now had a (pro-imperialist) arsenal of accusations to use against me, resulting in my removal from any position of leadership within the Committee and the destruction of the Committee infrastructure I had played a large role in creating.
Due to the (ongoing) blacklisting, death threats, personal attacks, humiliations and the limitations of my health, as well as, more recently a “tip” to a hot line, an early morning service of a search warrant of our home, complete with 14 armed police officers, a news camera, the seizure of our property, which included a thorough three month investigation of every computer, hard drive, zip drive, digital camera, thumb drive, back up disc and memory card, the result of which determined NO EVIDENCE OF CRIMINALITY (no arrests, no charges, case closed!. All of this, leaving us with legal bills and other expenses, PTSD (!) and (for all teachers under police investigation) the removal of my partner from the classroom. (More on the police action later. )
Over the course of this time, I retreated into a period of deep self reflection, depression, study and creativity. I sold my house, moved in with my partner and fellow activist, went back to school to learn new skills and with him, bought and restored an old house that promises to be a vehicle for our vision of local and global struggles for social justice. The pressure on our marriage has been considerable as we have both needed to take time to work on our most basic support system: each other. Only now am I attempting to emerge, increasing my personal security, finding out who my real allies are, breaking the silence, speaking out, healing deep wounds, initiating new dialogue with some of those who committed betrayals of silence, and enjoying the emergence of new, younger movements for social justice within Los Angeles.
In the interest of disclosure: During this same span of time the original home of my blogs shut down, so I had to repost each blog entry piece by piece, photo by photo to the new server. Emotionally, there were periods where I couldn’t look at this any more. It just hurt too much. And life had its own demands. Our larger adversaries are paid to bring us down. We must work for justice in our spare time. Emergencies come up, work gets put to the side. So, I have contributed to this thread on and off, and while material is provided in chronological order, some of the entries have recently been updated or contextualized, drafts written at the time may have been recently completed and posted.
And I doubt we have seen the end of this. I invite my detractors to feel free to post comments as they see fit. If their positions have the validity they claim, there should be no reason for their ongoing anonymity and stealth. As long as they don’t obscure their identity, I will approve their posts. And it is quite possible that some events have been misrepresented. I am open to critique and will be issuing corrections in that event.
Finally, a word about my union ( UTLA), and the progressive slate, whose members include activists with whom I have worked for decades. I submit this documentation, in the spirit of critical support. I believe that dissent is essential for the life of this organization that I first joined over 25 years ago. I was involved in the early recruiting campaign that brought UTLA membership from 30% of teachers and support staff, to greater than 90% going into the 89 strike. I was active in the fight for bi-lingual education and against the English only movement. I was a cluster leader during the 1989 strike, rising at 4 am and not getting home until after 9:30, all the time carrying my 2 month old son. (nicknamed “el huelgito)! I have helped plan several conferences, served on the House of Representatives, participated in the School Community Relations Committee, the Human Rights Committee and the Chicano Latino Education Committee. I have been a delegate to the NEA RA, served as a Chapter Chair (shop steward) before I had permanent status, and filed and won over 30 grievances. I chose at several junctures not to file harassment or discrimination lawsuits against the union, though I would have been in very good standing, especially when targeted by a member of the Board of Directors and Vice Presidents. I also chose at the time of the entire controversy regarding BDS, not to present the matter as a an attack on my person, or use the matter to promote my own agenda within the larger community. While the L.A. Times originally accused us of planning for a rally inside (!?) of UTLA , we very well could have, without union permission, held a protest outside the hall on the day of and at the time the canceled meeting was to be held. We did not. We attempted to address these matters internally, except for a call for letters to the broader community when President Duffy made a similar request to only members of the Jewish community. It is only with considered reflection and after years of continued marginalization, harassment, innuendo and humiliation along with increase attacks on other activists by these same forces, that I have decided to fully address myself to this compilation and broadcast these events more publicly.
To follow the complete dialogue on the issue, please start by reading the statement:Enough is Enough- Who’s Who and Why it Matters, where I provide a summary of events and list the real names of the people (formerly given pseudonyms) who have carried out this campaign against me within the Union. As I make changes, adjustments or additions, I will post updates and links. For those who chose to follow this closely, you may subscribe to the blog and will be alerted to newer posts.
The beginning of the thread, regarding disability discrimination is chronicled on my blog: In Bed With Frida Kahlo- daily indignities, small insurrections and honest musings for a life of infirmity and rebellion
The documentation pertaining to the Zionist lobby continues on my other blog: Cafe Intifada which is the web page of the organization of the same name.
1. Go to: Enough is Enough: Who’s Who and Why it Matters: http://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/enough-is-enough-who’s-who-and-why-it-matters/ (If that doesn’t work, try cutting and pasting. I don’t understand it, all the other links i post, seem to work!)
2, Then start the thread at the beginning at: http://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/category/utla-human-rights-committee/page/4/ and read the posts in reverse chronological order, starting with the link at the bottom of each page.
3From there, within the thread, you should be directed back to this blog; Cafe Intifada, but should that link fail, return to this page, and follow this link to the continued thread:
http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/category/anatomy-of-a-blacklisting/page/3/ and read the posts in reverse chronological order, starting with the link at the bottom of each page.)
Peace with Justice,
Posted in ADL, Calling out neo-liberalism, Calling out the liberal left!, Disability Rights, Full Inclusion, Human Rights, Human rights rhetoric in the service of empire!, Israeli Apartheid, Shoah, Simon Wiesenthal Center, U.S. empire, Zionist Campaign Against Free Speech on May 8, 2009 | 11 Comments »
The Counterpunch article below claims that the Hate Crime Bill of 2009 will result in criminalizing speech that is (specifically?) critical of Israel, Jews, Christianity, or that questions the Holocaust. The article follows my commentary.
1. The hate crime legislature is quiet specific. It limits hate crimes to acts of violence, and simply extends the protections to LGBT people and people with disabilities.
2. The bill creates no new crimes. It attaches a 10 yr penalty to already existing crimes in which acts of violence are “motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability of the victim” adding sexual orientation, gender and disability to the already protected categories of race, color, national origin and religion.
3. The bill says absolutely nothing about speech!!!!! nothing about the Holocaust, nothing about Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Christianity. There is no correlation between the Hate Crimes Bill and the scenarios the author describes.
4. The bill is quite simple and straight forward. for the full bill: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.256:
5. Counterpunch magazine has been of the opinion that since Zionists condemn all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, nothing is. I am of the opinion that Counterpunch often promotes positions, attitudes and stereotypes that are anti-Jewish, using the Zionist accusation as a smokescreen for their own bigotry.
6. This bill would simply add as a protected class, LGBT people and people with disabilities, who are often the target of some of the most brutal hate crimes. Incidentally, the bill changes nothing regarding discrimination against or the alleged privilege of Jews and Christians (current law protects people against discrimination based on religion– any religion). The people most directly hurt by this article and this agenda are not the people this article expects or wants the reader to fear.
7. By adding these groups to protected classes, data of incidents can be collected and categorized as hate crimes.
8. The article is written by Paul Craig Roberts whose bio states “was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.” He is a right wing Republican author of The New Color Line, How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy, has written profusely against affirmative action and other compensations to deter discrimination.
9. Lest anyone think that I excuse or support Israeli brutality or U.S. support thereof, for the record, I am anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist. I support the right of return for all Palestinians and a fully democratic, secular state in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea. I support and am part of the bds movement, have been targeted by Zionists and the Zionist establishment, placed on Zionist blacklists and hit lists and have been blacklisted from my union for expressing such views. Often when I express concern and opposition to anti-Jewish sentiment within progressive movements I am falsely accused of being a crypto-Zionist, with a Zionist agenda. Those familiar with my writings know that I am highly critical of what I refer to as the Zionist campaign against academic freedom and free speech and that I have criticized the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the ADL of using the rhetoric of human rights to advance U.S. (global) and Israeli (regional) hegemony. I support free speech, which includes my right to counter what I don’t agree with.
I do agree with Noam Chomsky when he state:
“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”
May 7, 2009
The End of Free Speech?
Criminalizing Criticism of Israel
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
On October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Israel Lobby’s bill, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. This legislation requires the US Department of State to monitor anti-semitism world wide.
To monitor anti-semitism, it has to be defined. What is the definition? Basically, as defined by the Israel Lobby and Abe Foxman, it boils down to any criticism of Israel or Jews.
Rahm Israel Emanuel hasn’t been mopping floors at the White House. As soon as he gets the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 passed, it will become a crime for any American to tell the truth about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and theft of their lands.
It will be a crime for Christians to acknowledge the New Testament’s account of Jews demanding the crucifixion of Jesus.
It will be a crime to report the extraordinary influence of the Israel Lobby on the White House and Congress, such as the AIPAC-written resolutions praising Israel for its war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza that were endorsed by 100 per cent of the US Senate and 99 per cent of the House of Representatives, while the rest of the world condemned Israel for its barbarity.
It will be a crime to doubt the Holocaust.
It will become a crime to note the disproportionate representation of Jews in the media, finance, and foreign policy.
In other words, it means the end of free speech, free inquiry, and the First Amendment to the Constitution. Any facts or truths that cast aspersion upon Israel will simply be banned.
Given the hubris of the US government, which leads Washington to apply US law to every country and organization, what will happen to the International Red Cross, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the various human rights organizations that have demanded investigations of Israel’s military assault on Gaza’s civilian population? Will they all be arrested for the hate crime of “excessive” criticism of Israel?
This is a serious question.
A recent UN report, which is yet to be released in its entirety, blames Israel for the deaths and injuries that occurred within the United Nations premises in Gaza. The Israeli government has responded by charging that the UN report is “tendentious, patently biased,” which puts the UN report into the State Department’s category of excessive criticism and strong anti-Israel sentiment.
Israel is getting away with its blatant use of the American government to silence its critics despite the fact that the Israeli press and Israeli soldiers have exposed the Israeli atrocities in Gaza and the premeditated murder of women and children urged upon the Israeli invaders by rabbis. These acts are clearly war crimes.
It was the Israeli press that published the pictures of the Israeli soldiers’ T-shirts that indicate that the willful murder of women and children is now the culture of the Israeli army. The T-shirts are horrific expressions of barbarity. For example, one shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a crosshairs over her stomach and the slogan, “One shot, two kills.” These T-shirts are an indication that Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians is one of extermination.
It has been true for years that the most potent criticism of Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians comes from the Israeli press and Israeli peace groups. For example, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Jeff Halper of ICAHD have shown a moral conscience that apparently does not exist in the Western democracies where Israel’s crimes are covered up and even praised.
Will the American hate crime bill be applied to Haaretz and Jeff Halper? Will American commentators who say nothing themselves but simply report what Haaretz and Halper have said be arrested for “spreading hatred of Israel, an anti-semitic act”?
Many Americans have been brainwashed by the propaganda that Palestinians are terrorists who threaten innocent Israel. These Americans will see the censorship as merely part of the necessary war on terror. They will accept the demonization of fellow citizens who report unpalatable facts about Israel and agree that such people should be punished for aiding and abetting terrorists.
A massive push is underway to criminalize criticism of Israel. American university professors have fallen victim to the well organized attempt to eliminate all criticism of Israel. Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure at a Catholic university because of the power of the Israel Lobby. Now the Israel Lobby is after University of California (at Santa Barbara,) professor Wiliam Robinson. Robinson’s crime: his course on global affairs included some reading assignments critical of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.
The Israel Lobby apparently succeeded in convincing the Obama Justice (sic) Department that it is anti-semitic to accuse two Jewish AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, of spying. The Israel Lobby succeeded in getting their trial delayed for four years, and now Attorney General Eric Holder has dropped charges. Yet, Larry Franklin, the DOD official accused of giving secret material to Rosen and Weissman, is serving 12 years and 7 months in prison.
The absurdity is extraordinary. The two Israeli agents are not guilty of receiving secrets, but the American official is guilty of giving secrets to them! If there is no spy in the story, how was Franklin convicted of giving secrets to a spy?
Criminalizing criticism of Israel destroys any hope of America having an independent foreign policy in the Middle East that serves American rather than Israeli interests. It eliminates any prospect of Americans escaping from their enculturation with Israeli propaganda.
To keep American minds captive, the Lobby is working to ban as anti-semitic any truth or disagreeable fact that pertains to Israel. It is permissible to criticize every other country in the world, but it is anti-semitic to criticize Israel, and anti-semitism will soon be a universal hate-crime in the Western world.
Most of Europe has already criminalized doubting the Holocaust. It is a crime even to confirm that it happened but to conclude that less than 6 million Jews were murdered.
Why is the Holocaust a subject that is off limits to examination? How could a case buttressed by hard facts possibly be endangered by kooks and anti-semitics? Surely the case doesn’t need to be protected by thought control.
Imprisoning people for doubts is the antithesis of modernity.
Posted in Advisory Board, Afghanistan, Cafe Intifada Advisory Board, Calling out neo-liberalism, Calling out the liberal left!, Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, International Solidarity, U.S. empire on May 2, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
INTERFAITH COMMUNITIES UNITED FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE CALL TO A CONFERENCE
“Afghanistan: Obama’s Iraq?”
Sunday, May 3rd – 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
University of Southern California Mark Taper Hall of Humanities -
3501 Trousdale Parkway
Keynote Speakers: Sonali Kolhatkar & Tom Hayden
Suggested Donation $25 – ($10 Low Income)
Sponsored by ICUJP-Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace USC Center for Religious Life American Friends Service Committee Please contact email@example.com for information about co-sponsorship, endorsement, tabling, and special needs
. As US bombs rained down on Afghanistan in October 2001, interfaith voices called for “justice, not vengeance” and insisted that ‘religious communities must stop blessing war and violence’. Now, with additional US troops on their way to that war-ravaged country, it’s again time to speak out and to act. As we continue to insist on the complete withdrawal of US military forces from Iraq, we must do the same with respect to Afghanistan. We must urgently take action while preparing to carry out a long-term struggle to dismantle the war system. Let us begin to create a culture of peace, based on social and economic justice, that will bring our world at last into one Beloved Community. This important conference will feature keynote speaker Sonali Kolhatkar of KPFK and the Afghan Women’s Mission. It will address multiple dimensions of the expanding war in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, including: How and why the US became involved in Afghanistan: Geopolitics and energy US military and economic policy in Afghanistan: diplomacy as an alternative to war Afghani women in struggle: cultural contexts and fundamental human rights Religion: A force for peace and healing, or oppression and destruction? War and the economic crisis: Impacts from Kabul to LA Joining hearts and hands: How we in LA can help Afghani people Strategies for organizing to stop the US war/occupation of Afghanistan We invite members of faith communities, students, peace activists, veterans and military personnel, and others to join us for a program of speakers, films, workshops, and action plans.
Escalating the occupation of Afghanistan “will bleed us of the resources needed for economic recovery, further destabilize Pakistan, open a rift with our European allies and negate our improved image in the Muslim world prompted by our withdrawal from Iraq. Escalation will not increase US security or secure a better future for the Afghan people – indeed, more troops will certainly mean more dead civilians….Up to this point, the Afghan war belonged to George W. Bush, but Obama’s escalation threatens to make it his own. There’s still time to change direction. President Obama, don’t make this your war!” –Katrina Vanden Heuvel, “Obama’s War?” The Nation, March 9, 2009
Posted in Art and Activism, Building Community, Calling out the liberal left!, Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, International Solidarity, Now who's the terrorist?, Prison Industrial Complex, The Americas, U.S. empire, UTLA on April 18, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Emma’s Notes (Joaquin’s message to follow)
One of the most important lessons of my early activism: when i was 16, working in the dc boycott house, which attracted a number of activists from a variety of tendencies, came from a veteran black panther, named paul (i forget his last name.) he left the house one night when people started passing around a joint. — naive enough (and lucky enough) not to consider the consequences to the entire movement, had we been caught in the boycott house with that material. later he told me he left because it was his policy never to provide a pretext for the police. his advice really stayed with me and i am sure, in my years of activism has kept me out of a lot of trouble, including a recently served search warrant on our home, where no drugs, weapons or other evidence of illegality were found. (these intrusion have the chilling effect on one’s activism that they are intended to have, and at least in our case found a period of private reflection and isolation was necessary. we too have had to hold back from issuing a statement, but expect to very soon, necessitated even more by the gossip and opportunism of alleged progressives, who having found out about this very private experience, took it upon themselves to use our situation to their own small political advantage.) serious activists must practice revolutionary discipline, which i think is what joaquin means when he says he would not have a loaded gun, that that is what he would do differently. these are the small errors that can have huge consequences. not that he did anything ethically wrong, just that as activist, we are under such scrutiny that we have to maintain a level of legality (to the extent possible without compromising real struggle) that other citizens might not. (any difference of opinion i may have with him about the decision to use guns in his battle with the state, are tactical, not ethical. to consider it an ethical decision, is to ignore the immense power of the apparatus we are up against, and its incredible fire power.) we also experienced the betrayal of members of the movement: (an extension of the sell out to zionist pressure within the teachers’ union, several years ago.) to attempt to keep andy from speaking up for human rights, even when it raises issues (such as palestinian human rights) that make people uncomfortable or expose divisions and at the very lease, demand dialogue. it is truly the difference between liberal, feel good, guilt based politics, and movements for real and profound revolutionary change. it is a sad reflection on members of the “left” that they would determine their support of joaquin based on his decision to carry a gun, even more hypocritical since such a decision is also a constitutional right, a legal right. in a city where the police notoriously violate human rights, in a country, the belly of the beast, the most powerful military in the world, a left that repeatedly “honors the troops” finds fault with an activist for possession of one weapon, one legal weapon. it is the romanticization of activism, and an extreme double standard: the romanticization of armed struggle when it is far away, or in the past, or focuses on a cult hero. one wonders, do they forget that nelson mandela, che guevara, fidel castro, malcolm x all used and carried weapons? are malcolm and che more than t-shirt logos? it is a double standard to call for supporting the troops or celebrating and approving obama as commander in chief of the largest imperial military force the world has known, and simultaneously not support our own comrades in the streets of los angeles when targeted by the police state apparatus? if it was wrong for joaquin to carry a gun in his trunk, what about the weapons carried by the agents of repression that searched and seized his car and arrested him? what about the huge arsenals of the u.s. military, or the military power and brutality of israel, the largest client state of the u.s. empire? do these liberals underestimate, fail to understand the attack on our own communities, as well as indigenous communities around the world (including the palestinians, who not the cause du jour, were expendable when personal prestige and power would have been the only casualty to liberal activists?) the daily violence committed by the state against the people, on so many levels: health care, education, social services, incarceration, housing or that these deficiencies kill more than guns? is activism any more than a game of prestige, awards ceremonies and board of directors positions? do they understand that their petty gossip can cost lives, can also kill, their lack of discipline, of personalization becomes a powerful weapon too? -=in service to the state, the apparatus they claim they want to deconstruct? in solidarity,
Emma Rosenthal Cafe Intifada!
I wanted to write this piece to update people on my arrest for the felony “Unlawful Possession of an Assault Riffle” case and to share with people my position on the entire matter. I wanted to send this out sooner but people would like to use this position paper against me, but I feel like the reflection is necessary regardless. I also want to take some time to reflect on other things that I’ve been thinking about regarding the movement as a whole.
I am currently completing 200 hours of community service and one year summary probation (if I complete my community service within one year, otherwise I will do two years summary probation). Part of the deal they gave me was that they kept my legally purchased semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle, and destroy it. They also dropped my felony charge to a misdemeanor: possession of a loaded weapon. I took this deal due to the fact that there was a chance if I lost this case I would do 19 months to 3 years in a state penitentiary. Even though my position has always been that we need to organize where we are at, from the street block to the cell block, I have too many responsibilities in my community, including my priority at this point which is my family responsibilities. Therefore I rather not risk being captured by the state and go behind enemy lines in their prisons. I took this deal and I am continuing to organize with the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities and Cop Watch Los Angeles – Guerrilla Chapter.
I should also start by thanking everyone who supported me in this legal battle, those who helped bail me out, and those who helped raise the money to pay the folks back that lent us money to bail me out. We were able to raise 2,000 dollars, thanks to individual donations from people, events at universities (like Cal State Northridge and Cal State Humboldt). We also thought that we would have to raise most of the money a the 1st Annual Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair, but thankfully the funds were raised before then. The money raised at the bookfair went to the Southern California Library, the Bookfair Collective (for next year’s bookfair), Anarchist People Of Color in L.A., and to start a defense fund. Currently I’m still paying off my lawyer, and hoping we can continue to build on a defense strategy and fund, because we understand this is the nature of the state, and until we get rid of it, those with institutional power will continue to repress the movement. The majority of the support I received came from anarchists internationally, and that I am grateful for. Thank you for the world of support comrades. People of color in the U.S. as well gave a great deal of love, during the time of my arrest and legal battle.
I think that my arrest raised a lot of important questions, and it seemed like the dividing line for some activists was the fact that I had a gun. The question was why did I have a loaded semi-automatic weapon on me. A lot of liberals did not support me because of this reason, but personally my life is more precious than the support of liberals and gun-control leftists. The facts were that the police stopped me because they profiled me, it is legal to carry a weapon in the trunk of your vehicle, I just happened to have it loaded. This is probably the only thing I would have changed, I would have kept the ammunition separate from the rifle. The police searched my car illegally, and try to put a felony charge on me (by saying that this rifle is illegal in California, even though it was legally purchased at a Outdoors’ store). They couldn’t pin this on me so they dropped it to a misdemeanor, “possession of a loaded weapon.” During the investigation they brought a weapons expert who had only looked at pictures and claimed it was an assault rifle and they tried to find out if I had links to any gangs in Los Angeles.
This really made me reflect on many things. I don’t think it matters if you say you’re a leftist, progressive, or whatever, if you intend to side with the state and do the job of the police. When there are people who are coming under attack, not just me, but all the other political prisoners who have done years and decades, and you have these activists siding with the state on whether they might have done something wrong. First of all, this is a settler-colonialist system, and doesn’t have the authority to try us because this system is not legitimate in my opinion. When in Los Angeles last year the law enforcement agencies killed over 40 people, we have to begin to realize that they have waged war on indigenous, people of color/colonized people, and this genocidal war has been going on for 500 years really. So when the police have the right to murder any of us and get away with it, how is it wrong for anyone to carry a registered weapon? So it doesn’t matter if anyone is from the left or from the right, what matters is who gets in the way of the oppressed when fighting for a better world, and in the way of the people taking their lives and communities back. There are many people who are doing the work of the police, snitching, informing, and straight just being busters by siding with the enemies of the people, who rather commit acts of violence against the people than defend them. That is what is now called horizontal violence, and this is something we have to deal with as well.
People should arm themselves legally, politically, and with an understanding that we are trying not to create a culture of the gun, but this is only one tactic in self-defense of our people and our community. Unfortunately, it is a necessary element in the survival of our communities and peoples at this point. I have to agree with Franz Fanon, “Violence, is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect.” Again, to me it self-defense is a necessary tactic in safe guarding our communities and our people from the state. When a community is building anything that poses a real threat to the state and the system, they will try to destroy it. So the communes will need to set up people’s militias and other mechanisms to protect itself from the fascists (learning from the Spanish Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and even just from our own experiences with the Counter Intelligence Program and the Patriot Act).
Also to speak to the fact that maybe we do pose a threat, not only to the state but to some organizations who are in bed with the state. This has become clear to me, on several occassions, which includes May Day 2007. Where some of those organizations came out and blamed Cop Watch L.A., the youth and anarchists, for the police repression, similar to the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886 (the first May Day, where eight anarchist organizers were blamed for police murder and repression). These organizations (mainstream non-profits and non-governmental organizations), play the role of house-slaves in the movement today. Their organizing is done in a way that is suitable for the state and poses no threat to the oppressive system as a whole. To keep their position and be in good with their masters, these organizations side with the state in isolating the more radical youth, anarchists, and “problem activists.” To keep their status as a large non-profits with good funding, they work with the state in keeping tabs on thes radical youth organizations. They speak of immigration reform that leaves out these same youth who are being targeted by the police, and work with the state as well as developers to further gentrify communities of color.
I personally saw how the system works from inside the Los Angeles County Jail, and it was enough time to realize that we have a lot of work to do internally. This is a bigger challenge to me, than convincing people on why I had a rifle inside the trunk of my car. As a revolutionary I do think I have to be more careful, but to paraphrase Ricardo Flores Magon, “We Revolutionary Anarchists have to be Outlaws,” we have fight these injustices at all cause even and that means breaking the laws that are put in place to keep us in control and in check. Their oppressive institutions which have no place in our communities are also legitimate targets in my opinion. > This is a challenge on anyone who wants to create a better world.
Always in Struggle.
Autonomy, Land and Liberty.
All Power Through the People.
*Recently I was stopped by the North East Division of the Los Angeles Police Department for not having a light on the plates of my car, they pulled me out and handcuffed me and asked me if I had any M-16′s in the car. They then searched my car, and did not find any “drugs or weapons,” but told me they could arrest me. They released me then but impounded my car, even though I had an abstract from court saying I can drive. It seems like they ran my plates and saw my previous arrest, so they profiled me based on that. They did search my back pack, and saw fliers for the organizations I am part of. This happened on Wednesday, April 08, 2009