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Archive for the ‘Human rights rhetoric in the service of empire!’ Category

Please note the similarity of tactics and parties, here as with the situation within UTLA, the methodologies employed, rhetoric etc. to stifle debate, intimidate, limit academic (and union) freedom and free speech, to isolate dissident Jewish voices, and control the narrative in respect to Israeli policies, actions and history. When a concession is made in one instance, it empowers them the next time around.  While the impact of the decisions at UTLA impacted me, most directly, the repercussions for educators, activists and academics are extensive.  The opportunism that lead to the decision within UTLA,  to capitulate to Zionist pressure in October of 2006, resonates with the events transpiring at UCSB today.  -Cafe Intifada

 

“There’s growing division among Jews about how the U.S. should relate to Israel, and that’s intensified this ultra-Zionist campaign to discredit people critical of Israel precisely because Israel’s positions have become much more contested”   -Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights

 

Israel advocacy group “Stand With Us” pushes university administrators to investigate sociology professor

May 13, 2009
Contacts:      Daniel Olmos, (818) 468-8894, olmos@umail.ucsb.edu.
Alba Peña-Leon, (626) 665-9212, alba@umail.ucsb.edu.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.  The international pro-Israel organization “Stand With Us” is spearheading an aggressive public campaign to push administrators and faculty at the University of California at Santa Barbara to investigate sociology professor William I. Robinson for “anti-Semitism.”

The organization has set up a Web site to rally other pro-Israel organizations and individuals to pressure UCSB officials through public statements and letters to the chancellor and the Academic Senate. The group has recruited UCSB donors to write letters, some of which threaten to withdraw support for the university.

The Web site and letter campaign comes on top of direct pressure from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), whose national director, Abraham Foxman, met in March with university officials and faculty to demand that administrators censor Robinson for introducing materials critical of state Israeli policies in a course on global affairs in January.

The materials included a photo essay that Robinson forwarded to students from the Internet juxtaposing images of Israeli abuse against Palestinians with Nazi abuses during the holocaust. Two students took offense at the images and withdrew from the course, prompting the ADL to pressure the university to investigate Robinson for “anti-Semitism.”

Given the pressures from Stand With Us and ADL, scholars say the pro-Israel lobby appears to be using the Robinson case to intimidate critics in general and stem rising debate on campuses about Israeli policies in the Middle East.

Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories and a visiting scholar on global studies at UCSB, said it’s part of an emerging pattern by the Israeli lobby nationwide.

“There’s growing division among Jews about how the U.S. should relate to Israel, and that’s intensified this ultra-Zionist campaign to discredit people critical of Israel precisely because Israel’s positions have become much more contested,” Falk said.

“The pressures at UCSB have the appearance of a campaign generated and orchestrated from outside the campus.”

It’s unclear what effect the pressures may have, but one Stand With Us letter — dated March 16 and posted on the organization’s Web site — suggests that Chancellor Henry Yang may have made biased comments against Robinson under pressure.

The letter is directed to Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas and was written by Stand With Us International Director Roz Rothstein, board member Howard Waldow, and sociology student Leah Yadegar. It states that Waldow, a UCSB donor, had presented a letter of concern about Robinson to Yang at a reception, and in response, the chancellor suggested that the group write to Lucas.

“Chancellor Yang directed us to you, and raised the issue of possible violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct,” reads the letter to the vice chancellor.

About a week later, the Academic Senate opened a formal investigation of Robinson.

Although the letter has been posted for weeks on the Stand With Us blog, the university has made no official statement about the chancellor’s alleged suggestion that Robinson violated the Faculty Code of Conduct.

The university’s silence prompted Mark Levine, a Jewish professor of Middle Eastern studies at UC-Irvine and a member of the California Scholars for Academic Freedom, to call for an investigation of the chancellor’s interaction with Stand With Us.
“If the letter hasn’t been refuted, then one assumes the chancellor did say those things,” Levine said. “If so, he should be investigated for violation of university procedure and academic freedom, if not removed from office.”

Others want an investigation of the ADL’s March 9 meeting on campus with UCSB officials and faculty.

The Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) sent a letter on May 8 to Academic Senate Chair Joel Michelson requesting an investigation.

“Discussing the case with ADL representatives in any manner constituted a violation of Robinson’s right to confidentiality, and opened the door to the appearance of outside influence in the adjudicatory process,” MESA wrote.

Falk said the real danger is that, even if the charges against Robinson are dismissed, the pressures by pro-Israel organizations will still have a lasting effect.

“It’s an extremely unhealthy situation for the university, which depends on an atmosphere of academic freedom to perform effectively,” Falk said. “Even if Robinson is exonerated, it will continue to intimidate people against criticizing Israel, because nobody wants to face these kinds of situations.”

The Stand With Us blog can be viewed here.

For detailed information about the Robinson case, visit the Committee to Defend Academic Freedom Web site at http://www.sb4af.wordpress.com.

For media inquiries, call Alba Peña-Leon at (626) 665-9212 or Daniel Olmos at (818) 468-8894.

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Fiesta Shalom, in celebration of Israel’s 61 years of colonialism, will take place on Sunday at the restored Breed Street Shul in East Los Angeles. It promises to be a celebration of Jewish and Latino culture.

This event includes students from LAUSD, involved in LAUSD programs, such as the Roosevelt HS mariachis!!! (With all the insistence that UTLA members exercise “balance” when discussing the issue of Palestinian human rights, one has to ask: what balance is there when school children are encouraged to participate in a propagandistic event as part of a school sanctioned activity!!!!) 

What follows are links for more information.

So far Quetzal has pulled out of the program, citing misinformation when it was first invited. 

here is their letter:

http://www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/?tag=fiesta-shalom

But…..

Richard Montoya from Culture Clash (isn’t THAT ironic!) is master of ceremonies.

Self Help Graphics, Arte Calidad and Plaza de la Raza will be providing a workshop!!!!

Danza Floricanto will be performing

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=51208&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=66057788721&aid=-1&id=1686616023&oid=66057788721

Contact info to encourage them to boycott:

::::::::
Arte Calidad Cultural Institute
519 S. Hewett St.
Los Angeles, Ca. 90013
(213) 617-0696
t.dominguez@artecalidad.org

To Contact Danza Floricanto/USA:

Please send email to: 
floricanto@earthlink.net

Plaza de la Raza:
information@plazadelaraza.org

Self Help Graphics:
info@selfhelpgraphics.com

I could not find contact info for Culture Clash. 

My letter:

I am very disappointed that you will be participating in the upcoming event “Fiesta Shalom” which celebrates Israeli “Independence” and is sponsored by the Israeli Consulate. 

Israel is a colonial settler state, with an apartheid system of segregation, with specific privileges granted on the basis of religious/ethnic identity. Israeli brutality against the indigenous Palestinian population has been well documented. 

Currently Palestinian cultural, community, educational and labor groups have called for a cultural boycott of Israel. 

Joining in this celebration gives legitimacy to Israeli brutality and supremacy. 

Already, Quetzal, who was originally scheduled to perform at this event, has pulled out.

http://www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/?tag=fiesta-shalom

As they state in the letter, improved relations between Jewish and Latino communities is a wonderful idea, but co-opting the Latino community in complicity with Israeli war crimes has little to do with improved community relations.

As a Jewish human rights activist, I encourage you to follow Quetzal’s example and withdraw from this event.

In solidarity, 
Emma Rosenthal

the event leaflet:

image001

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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.”

 

Emma Rosenthal

Café Intifada

 

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts05072009.html

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.  

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.  He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

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latimes.com
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-professor30-2009apr30,0,7753995.story

From the Los Angeles Times

Professor’s comparison of Israelis to Nazis stirs furor

The UC Santa Barbara sociologist, who is Jewish, sent images from the Holocaust and from Israel’s Gaza offensive to students in his class. He has drawn denunciation and support.

By Duke Helfand

April 30, 2009

Controversy has erupted at UC Santa Barbara over a professor’s decision to send his students an e-mail in which he compared graphic images of Jews in the Holocaust to pictures of Palestinians caught up in Israel’s recent Gaza offensive.

The e-mail by tenured sociology professor William I. Robinson has triggered a campus investigation and drawn accusations of anti-Semitism from two national Jewish groups, even as many students and faculty members have voiced support for him.

The uproar began in January when Robinson sent his message — titled “parallel images of Nazis and Israelis” — to the 80 students in his sociology of globalization class.

The e-mail contained more than two dozen photographs of Jewish victims of the Nazis, including those of dead children, juxtaposed with nearly identical images from the Gaza Strip. It also included an article critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and a note from Robinson.

“Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw — a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians,” the professor wrote. “We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide.”

Two Jewish students dropped the class, saying they felt intimidated by the professor’s message. They contacted the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which advised them to file formal complaints with the university.

In their letters, senior Rebecca Joseph and junior Tova Hausman accused Robinson of violating the campus’ faculty code of conduct by disseminating personal, political material unrelated to his course.

“I was shocked,” said Joseph, 22. “He overstepped his boundaries as a professor. He has his own freedom of speech, but he doesn’t have the freedom to send his students his own opinion that is so strong.”

Robinson, 50, who is Jewish, called the accusations and the campus investigation an attack on academic freedom. He said his former students, the Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League had all confused his criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism.

“That’s like saying if I condemn the U.S. government for the invasion of Iraq, I’m anti-American,” he said. “It’s the most absurd, baseless argument.”

Robinson said he regularly sends his students voluntary reading material about current events for the global affairs course, and that no one raised questions when he subsequently discussed his e-mail.

“The whole nature of academic freedom is to introduce students to controversial material, to provoke students to think and make students uncomfortable,” said Robinson, a UC Santa Barbara professor for nine years.

As the dispute over his e-mail plays out, UC Santa Barbara has become the most recent U.S. university to confront campus unrest over issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In recent years, Jewish and Muslim groups have quarreled repeatedly at UC Irvine about the Holocaust and Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. Professors and students at Columbia University have also argued over issues of intimidation and academic freedom amid debates on the Mideast.

In Robinson’s case, reaction has been strong — on both sides.

Shortly after hearing from the two students in January, the Wiesenthal Center produced a YouTube video titled “Jewish Students Under Siege from Professor at UC Santa Barbara.” The clip shows one of Robinson’s former students, her face obscured to protect her identity, reading from his e-mail.

The head of the ADL’s Santa Barbara region sent Robinson a letter in February calling on him to repudiate his statements about Israel. Last month, the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, in a meeting with faculty members at the campus, urged the university to conduct an investigation into Robinson. He was told that an inquiry was already underway.

“You can criticize Israel; you can criticize the war in Gaza,” Foxman said. “But to compare what the Israelis are doing in defense of their citizens to what the Nazis did to the Jews is clearly anti-Semitism.”

Robinson’s supporters say the professor is being maligned for exercising his right to challenge his students to think critically about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Students on campus have formed a group, the Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UCSB, which is chronicling the saga on its website.

Letters of support also have arrived from academics across the country, including one from California Scholars for Academic Freedom, which says it represents 100 professors at 20 college campuses. The group argues that the allegations have been raised against Robinson to “silence criticism of Israeli policies and practices.”

Some UC Santa Barbara faculty members also are speaking up for Robinson. History professor Harold Marcuse, who attended the March meeting with the ADL’s Foxman, said the pictures e-mailed by Robinson were “well within the bounds of appropriateness on campus. It’s something I could have used in a course.”

Marcuse, who is Jewish and teaches about the Holocaust in his world history and German history classes, said he would not have injected his own views into such a message to students, but added: “I don’t think Bill Robinson’s e-mail is anti-Semitic in any way. I think criticism of Israel is OK.”

One UC Santa Barbara official has already looked into the allegations against Robinson, and a faculty committee is being formed to decide whether to forward the case to UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang. A university spokesman declined to comment on the case.

Robinson has hired an attorney, and the student committee supporting him has scheduled a May 14 campus forum on the matter. Joseph and Hausman, the students who filed the original complaints, said they plan to attend. So do Hausman’s parents from Los Angeles and Rabbi Aron Hier, director of campus outreach for the Wiesenthal Center.

“I just want to bring awareness,” said Hausman, 20. “I want people to know that educators shouldn’t be sending out something that is so disturbing.”

duke.helfand@latimes.com


 

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives.
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This image comes from Jewish World Review, along with the article. Had Cafe Intifada published or developed the image, it would be attacked for being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

“Should Rosenthal and her ilk be treated as legitimate Jewish voices?”

“As Union rolls here in the United States swell with members of minority communities, anti-Israel forces waste no time forging alliances with those groups. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, self-appointed visionary of a new socialist Latin America and bosom buddy of Iran’s Ahmadinejad, blatantly tries to drive a wedge between working-class Americans and others by offering Citgo heating oil at reduced prices in Boston and the Bronx. When the Latino Congresso — a national umbrella for Latino organizations — met in Los Angeles, Chavez’ representatives were highly visible on the program and in the crowd. We know that part of the declared strategy of anti-Israel groups is to infiltrate labor unions across America in an attempt to target Israeli goods.”

The quotes above, come from the following article, published months after a Zionist victory against union democracy at UTLA.  Cafe Intifada and Emma Rosenthal were specifically targeted during that campaign, resulting in shutting down the web page and the list serve of the Human Rights Committee, erasing the entire archive, and silencing dissent and discourse within the Committee.  Rosenthal had developed both the web page and the list serve, constantly seeking out guidance and input from the Committee, careful to make sure that the public image of the Committee, the public statements of the Committee represented the Committee as a whole, and not her particular point of view.  Even during the contentious period leading up to the decision to destroy anything affiliated with her or moderated with her (the listserve was also moderated by Committee Chair, Steve Seal, and former Chair Andy Griggs,) She was careful to make sure that public comments of hers not be attributed to the group as a whole, clarifying to the press and in her own statements that she spoke only for herself as a committee member, not for the group.

The article that follows is an outstanding example of the dual role that Zionist “human rights” organizations play in promoting Israeli hegemony in historic Palestine, and U.S. empire around the globe.

By manipulating the fears of the Jewish public (exploiting the trauma of the Shoah for the purpose of empire,) groups such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the ADL perpetuate the collective trauma of the Jewish community, and the collective guilt (at the expense of the Palestinian community) of the West.  Doomsday scenarios and constant reminders of what may happen, suggestions that former allies are no longer friends, constant linking critique of Israel, Zionism and U.S. policy to the memory of the shoah mobilize fear and hysteria, not dialogue and discourse.  Case in point was the modest meeting that the Wiesenthal Center, the ADL etc.  effectively shut down, arguing that such a meeting would be biased and unbalanced.  Had they simply ATTENDED the meeting, they would have been free to inject their own bigotry into the discourse.  It was their insistence that the meeting not be held, that the union determine the scope and nature of discourse of union members and their associated organizations.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center constantly baits progressive international leaders, such as Hugo Chavez, with anti-Semitism, and distorts the statements of others.

For example, they  state:   Rosenthal also believes that antisemitism “is not much more than a century old, in reaction to the imperialist intentions of Zionists such as Herzl and Jabotinsky, and the terrorist activities of Jewish groups.”

The statement comes from a response to hate mail in which a Jewish man addresses  Rosenthal as “Jew Bitch.”  The accurate quote is:

…it was in Europe where our people met the greatest persecution; it was in Europe where we were subjected to crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, humiliation, ghettos, discrimination, rape, slave labor and genocide. It was in the United States, an extension of European hegemony, and now, the empirical force in the world, where we were subjected to immigration restrictions, discrimination, witch hunts, red scares, executions, klan violence and false imprisonment. In this country, Jews fleeing Nazi persecution were turned back to Germany, to face certain death, while British children, and even British dogs (yes, some British sent their dogs) were given safe harbor to escape the bombings imposed on them during the war. During times of great repression in Europe, many Jews found it safer to escape to the Middle East where we never suffered in the way that we suffered in Europe, where we lived, for the most part in peaceful co-existence with Christians and Moslems. Animosity against the Jews in whole or in part, coming from the Middle East is not much more than a century old, in reaction to the imperialist intentions of Zionists such as Hertzl and Jabotinsky and the terrorist activities of Jewish groups such as the Urgun and the Stern Gang, who made clear their desire, not to simply resettle as immigrants or refugees, but to conquer. Opposition to Zionist hegemony, is not genocidal, it is reasonable. (emphasis, cafe itifada)  (http://emmarosenthal.wordpress.com/category/jew-bitch/)”

So, where she clearly state that animosity to the Jews, in the Middle East is not much more than a century old, they quote her as saying that anti-semitism (anywhere) is not much more than a century old.  Why the need for such brazen dishonesty? If their arguments are just and found, why do they have to resort to distortions and lies to attack her?”

Additionally, they ask the question:  “Should Rosenthal and her ilk be treated as legitimate Jewish voices?” Is it their $36 million a year budget, their self appointed role of spokes organization for the shoah, that gives them the hubris to determine who is a legitimate Jewish voice.  They state:

Every Palestinian agitprop presentation trots out a Jewish activist who hates Israel. The message they wish to convey is clear: American Jews are divided about Israel…We must let America know that this is not true. Jewish Israel-haters are entitled to speak, but not for us. We should not let America think that they are anything but a small minority, swimming against the current of the overwhelming majority of American Jews. They must be moved to where they belong — at the margins and fringes of the community, but not within our mainstream.

And here it is!!!  The absolute and total control of the narrative in the hands of those who have wealthy donors and important  connections to the seats of power.  This is the Jewish establishment, not to be confused with  the rest of the Jewish people.  Of course Rosenthal is a legitimate Jewish voice, She’s Jewish. Jews are an astoundingly diverse population, so much so, that they defy definition. No one can claim, including the Wiesenthal Center, to speak for all Jews, or even most Jews.  On the other hand, can the Wiesenthal Center be considered, as they claim, to be a human rights organization, when they attempt to marginalize and silence those with whom they don’t agree, while all the time, demanding “balance” of  those who would criticize Israeli brutality and hegemony?  Israel claims to be a nation for all the Jews of the world.  As such, how can the voice of any Jew, not be legitimate?  These are their definitions, and their contradictions, bound in their privilege and the hegemonies and empires they defend.  While most Jews don’t have the same nuanced understanding of zionism, Rosenthal possesses, most disagree with and are silenced, intimidated and ignored by the Jewish establishment whose real purpose is to support the power elites, either regionally in Israel, or globally in defense of  U.S. empire.

-Cafe Intifada

___________________________

Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2007 / 14 Teves, 5767

Israel’s Next Battle: Labor unions

By Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Life-saving medical equipment, standing in crates in Galveston, undelivered to waiting hospitals, because truckers refuse to handle Israeli cargo. Tons of Jaffa oranges, dumped into the waters off Long Beach, California, as a labor action against the Israeli ‘occupation’ gets out of hand.

 

These events have not occurred yet, but they are not merely part of a speculative doomsday scenario either. There are groups committed to make them happen, as a new front opens up in the war against the Jewish state. The shock troops have already taken their positions, in unions overseas and across America.

Labor unions were once among Israel’s most important allies. In the spring of 1948, President Truman sustained intense pressure to vote against the United Nations partition plan that ultimately created the State of Israel. Having originally voted for partition in November 1947, Truman reversed US policy in March of 1948, after intense lobbying by British and Arab interests, and announced to the UN that it supported a trusteeship instead. On April 14th, fifty thousand garment workers packed Yankee Stadium to rally against the shift. Clark Clifford, Truman’s advisor, produced a list of interest groups whose support was crucial to his presidential campaign. Jews ranked eighth, but labor placed second. Labor’s support for the Jewish state was a force that Truman could not and did not ignore, turning a deaf ear to the entreaties of the Arabists in the State Department.

Labor’s partnership with Israel began much earlier, with the American labor movement purchasing land in Palestine for Jewish workers, building trade schools, and lobbying the British to lift barriers against the emerging Jewish State through its clout with the British Labor Party. Jews at the helm of unions – Max Zaritsky, David Dubinsky, Sidney Hillman – agitated on behalf of the Jewish homeland succeeding in bringing non-Jewish colleagues on board, all the way to the top echelons of the AFL and CIO. In 1944, the CIO convention passed a resolution endorsing “the ultimate establishment of a Palestinian Jewish Commonwealth.” The contribution of Organized Labor continued after the establishment of the State in May 1948, with the construction of housing and cultural centers in Israel funded by the AFL and CIO. United Auto Workers founder Walter Reuther was close with Golda Meir; at one point, the UAW may have been the largest institutional purchaser of Israel Bonds.

Naturally, the face of the Unions changed over the next decades, as the social and economic makeup of the labor force changed. To be sure, there is strong and steady support for Israel in many unions today, and the Jewish Labor Committee works to maintain that support. The makeup of both the rank and file as well as the politics of the unions has shifted, however. Other minorities have taken the places of Jewish laborers. Union political orientations always had progressive and socialist leanings, which today are bolstered by alliances with left-leaning and third world groups around the globe, many of whom regularly demonize Israel and the United States. Indeed, unions played a prominent role in the single largest hate-fest against Israel at the United Nations’ World Conference Against Racism at Durban in August 2001.

The anti-Israel chants hardly stopped with Durban. Recently, the Ontario division of Canada’s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, voted overwhelmingly to support an international campaign boycotting Israel. After the Danish General Workers Union (SiD) voted for a boycott of Israeli goods, Norway’s largest labor organization, the Federation of Trade Unions (LO), called for a boycott of all Israeli products, despite the fact that LO has been a long-time supporter of Israel, and has ties with Israel’s Labor Party. Calling Israel an “apartheid state” the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) demanded in July that the South African government drop diplomatic ties with Israel, and participate in a program of boycott and sanctions.

Here in the United States, union leadership has shifted its focus. Where they previously took an internationalist stance – and valued ties with union-friendly countries like Israel – they now often hunker down against the threat of globalism, and worry about basic survival on the local level. Today, individual union members are often disconnected from political posturing of their organizations about non-economic issues, half way around the world. These changes have left room for highly motivated, agendized extremists to fill the vacuum in committee positions, and assume disproportionate prominence. For many years, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party helped keep anti-Israel union extremists in check, but in recent years they have shown an unwillingness or inability to take a stand-up position.

We therefore shouldn’t be surprised or view as an isolated incident when the Human Rights Committee of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) agreed to host the launch of a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions directed against Israel. The goal of this agenda – known as BDS, and the kingpin of the enunciated strategy of dozens of pro-Palestinian groups working in concert – is to cripple Israel’s economy while propagandizing people to treat Israel as a racist, colonialist, apartheid state. The Los Angeles program was sponsored by the Movement for a Democratic Society (where former SDS members go when they are too old to be students any longer) and Caf� Intifada. Only the public outcry from Jewish organizations in Los Angeles forced the union to move the meeting off-site from its headquarters.

As Union rolls here in the United States swell with members of minority communities, anti-Israel forces waste no time forging alliances with those groups. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, self-appointed visionary of a new socialist Latin America and bosom buddy of Iran’s Ahmadinejad, blatantly tries to drive a wedge between working-class Americans and others by offering Citgo heating oil at reduced prices in Boston and the Bronx. When the Latino Congresso — a national umbrella for Latino organizations — met in Los Angeles, Chavez’ representatives were highly visible on the program and in the crowd. We know that part of the declared strategy of anti-Israel groups is to infiltrate labor unions across America in an attempt to target Israeli goods.

All of these developments should serve as a wakeup call for supporters of Israel.

  • First, if you are a member of any union, be informed about its human rights agenda. Find out what positions they take at the bully pulpit that your dues are funding. Don’t allow well-organized extremists to speak in your union’s name. When the UTLA story broke, union members sent a tidal wave of email — overwhelmingly critical of the union hosting an anti-Israel event. Only active participation in the Union can prevent extremists from acting in stealth.
  • Take union leaders to Israel. A well-planned trip to Israel – one in which visitors meet ordinary, dues-paying working Israelis- continues to be the single most effective way to get people to understand Israel’s predicament and value her democracy.
  • Communicate. So many Americans have simply never heard Israel’s take on the events in the news. Nor do they understand the scope and depth of American Jewish commitment to Israel. We can’t expect them to respect Israel’s integrity and interests if we do not let them know how important they are to us.
  • Not in our name. Every Palestinian agitprop presentation trots out a Jewish activist who hates Israel. The message they wish to convey is clear: American Jews are divided about Israel; taking a stance against her will not lead to undesirable consequences from the Jewish community. We must let America know that this is not true. Jewish Israel-haters are entitled to speak, but not for us. We should not let America think that they are anything but a small minority, swimming against the current of the overwhelming majority of American Jews. They must be moved to where they belong — at the margins and fringes of the community, but not within our mainstream.
  • As a case in point, consider Caf� Intifada, one of the sponsors of the event hosted by the UTLA Human Rights Committee. It is headed by Emma Rosenthal who is also a member of that committee. Rosenthal endorses the infamous International Solidarity Movement – which has refused to condemn “armed struggle” against Israel, and has aided terrorists on the group. Rosenthal also believes that antisemitism “is not much more than a century old, in reaction to the imperialist intentions of Zionists such as Herzl and Jabotinsky, and the terrorist activities of Jewish groups.” Should Rosenthal and her ilk be treated as legitimate Jewish voices?


We must never concede that this piece’s opening scenario as inevitable. We need not give up on the historic alliance between Unions and the Middle East’s only democracy. Ultimately, however, which way the Unions go will depend on how well advocates for Israel connect her core values with those of Organized Labors’ card-carrying constituency.


Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein serves as its Director of Interfaith Affairs.

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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 “promote . . . 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 children’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.

Sincerely,

Sherry A. Weinman

President, Los Angeles Chapter

American Jewish Committee

 

Cc: Stephen Seal, Human Rights Committee Chair

Enclosure

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Large NGO’s and the Campaign Against Human Rights Activists
What is at stake in UTLA’s capitulation to Zionist pressure to close a meeting and shut down a committee?
(For the full history  of UTLA’s decision, and the events leading up to it go to:  http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/anatomy-of-a-blacklisting-a-thread-in-two-blogs/  )
According to an article printed in the Jewish Journal,*   United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) President, AJ Duffy met for two hours with “leaders of the Jewish community”  including the World Zionist Organization,  the American Jewish congress (whose regional director is a founding member of Stand With Us,) the ADL (which has spied on many progressive groups, handing over their intelligence to the FBI,  including groups such as CISPES and (South African solidarity) anti-apartheid groups,) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a group that  recently accused Hugo Chavez of anti-Semitism, and is notorious for arab bashing.  These groups are all highly corporate funded.  The Wiesenthal Center alone has an annual operating budget of more than 26 million dollars.  The purpose of the meeting: to get the union president to shut down a meeting hosted by a standing committee, where the agenda was the discussion of Israeli Apartheid and the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, and to cancel a class on the Middle East, co-sponsored by the AFSC.

Stand 4 Truth, hosted by Stand With Us, is a black list of groups and some 60 individuals that they feel are “anti-Israel”.  (They have over an eight web page profile  on me alone!– printing out to roughly 61 pages!)

Stand 4 Facts also contains a list of groups targeted including the National Lawyers Guild, the AFSC, ANSWER, Human Rights Watch, Middle East Children’s Alliance, the International Solidarity Movement and others.

These “simple community groups” went into the meeting with Duffy armed with this intelligence, plus the link to Cafe Intifada -one of the groups endorsing the meeting.  (I am the Executive Director of Cafe Intifada which includes in our advisory board Andy Griggs, Linda Tubach, Bob Mccloskey, Sonali Kolhatkar, Hussam Ayloush and many other prominent human rights activists.)

The Groups that met with Duffy also raised concerns regarding the L.A. Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee another endorser, which includes in our leadership myself, Andy Linda T. and Bob (remember, he was UTLA’s endorsed Congressional candidate.) MDS/SDS which initiated the meeting, was, along with Cafe Intifada and the LA Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, were characterized as extremist fringe groups.  (MDS includes in their board, such fringe individuals as leading intellectuals as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and Cornell West!)

If you go to the main link of stand4facts.org, it is impossible to get access to the information unless they know who you are. It is set up so that when groups organize in a community or speak at an events, defenders of all things Israel can have a plethora of ammunition in countering them, or in blocking them, altogether. Students can only log on for a few days and journalists can get more substantial access, but both must provide documentation.  People like me are not supposed to have access!!!

Web page:  http://stand4facts.org/

Real access to bypass the sign in, (which is pretty hard to get by, – one activist found a back door- they really check credentials and limit access to a brief time period):

http://stand4facts.org/bin/access.cgi?Action=Display&user_id=test&AuthCode=20wV/RfE2PP4w&Area=researchers&cs=1&Request=Home

For a list of blacklisted groups:

http://stand4facts.org/bin/access.cgi?Action=Display&user_id=test&AuthCode=20wV/RfE2PP4w&Area=researchers&cs=1&Request=Groups

They have the resources to do extensive research on activists.  The eight web pages (60 + printed pages)  on me include biographical information, point counterpoint to my writings, a suggested letter to the editor when I speak at a local event, questions to “ask the speaker” etc.

http://stand4facts.org/bin/access.cgi?Action=Display&user_id=test&AuthCode=20wV/RfE2PP4w&Area=researchers&cs=1&Request=Speakers&SpeakerID=AIS-20041214-17&SpeakerInfo=Overview

Another important list is the Discover the Network List, which is a blacklist of progressive individuals and causes. Be careful doing searches on this list, not to give the list administrator the names of individuals not yet in their cross hairs.  It is most closely connected to master of censorship; David Horowitz. Many of their dossiers are based on and are abridged versions of the longer stand4facts.org file.

http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/summary.asp?object=Persons&category=

An even more frightening list is the MASADA 2000 list, which is a list of over 7000 dissident Jews who are allegedly “Self Hating Israel Traitors” (aka the SHIT list.)  This is not just a black list, as the other two are.  This is clearly a hit list, which has published the names, addresses and even maps to homes of prominent Jewish dissidents such as Michael Lerner.  The keynote speaker of the Human Rights Committee’s most recent conference; Adam Shapiro, is on this list, along with L.A. activists Yael Korin, Yigal Arens and myself.

http://www.masada2000.org/list-QR.html

And the infamous list for tracking university professors, Campus Watch, can be found at:http://www.campus-watch.org/

These are the tactics, infrastructure and resources we are up against!

While in retrospect, the unanimous decision of the HRC to hold the meeting may or may not have been ill conceived, the decision to cancel the meeting should never have been made.  (Along with Duffy’s decision to cut the link to our web page, telling us what to put on the disconnected page, issuing a press release that implied that the Human Rights Committee agreed to cancel the meeting, and the control of what forums committees will have in the future, or the Committee’s decision to shut down the web page and the listserve, including the archive, of which, HRC member Andy Griggs and I have saved a copy)

At the very least, a face saving option should have been considered, but even though Café Intifada and MDS offered to cancel the meeting themselves, stating security concerns, Duffy refused that option and instead decided to issue a press release that betrayed the principles of the progressive slate that he rode on into office.

This is a huge defeat.  That these groups who have a history of blocking discussion, censorship, intimidation, espionage, etc.  were allowed to have any say in our internal governance is an outrage. That Duffy requested that Jewish groups (and no other groups) contact the chair of the Human Rights Committee, exposing Steve to a barrage of hate mail, that Duffy succumbed to a racist attack on our committee based on this pressure, that he made no attempt to contact any other community groups, including the three that called the meeting, is unacceptable. That the progressive educators’ caucus (PEAC) and its member groups, (the ISO, CEJ, Solidarity) remained silent in the wake of these demands is a further outrage.  Winning the next election is hardly a revolutionary motive.

These rogues that demanded the union shut down the meeting and disassociate with “fringe radicals” are the same ones that just failed to block the L.A. Human Rights Commission from awarding Maher Hathout (of MPAC) a human rights award. These same groups also characterized Hathout, a well respected activist, of supporting terrorism.  Duffy could have, on the heel of that defeat, refused to concede to them.  Instead he gave them a victory after every progressive organization in Los Angeles, along with the Human Rights Commission, had just given them walking papers.

While this has galvanized the BDS (boycotts, divestiture and sanctions) movement, and the meeting has already been rescheduled in an undisclosed location, by invitation only, the damage to this Committee and the future of UTLA among the progressive forces in Los Angeles is greatly impeded.  Death threats to individuals involved and blacklisting put activists in very real danger and have no place in progressive politics.

Emma Rosenthal

*http://www.jewishjournal.com/community_briefs/article/united_teachers_los_angeles_just_says_no_to_israel_divestment_push_by_union/

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What follows are two statements from the General Coordinator (initials A.I.) of CAMS,  sent to two different lists, two days apart.  Please Note the contradictions.  

(CAMS statement in green.  CAFE Intifada commentary in black.)

 

CAMS statement to the CAMS list.

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2006 00:02:15 

Dear CAMS,

Since Michael Novick * posted to our military free schools list serve, making some statements about our position without the context, I feel it necessary to clarify the issues.  

It has been misrepresented in the Los Angeles Times  that the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) agreed to host a meeting at UTLA  sponsored by the Movement for a Democratic Society.  And then the  leadership of United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) has buckled to Zionist  pressure by canceling its Human Rights Committee’s forum in support of  Palestinian rights.  Apparently based on a flier of MDS it further states that UTLA was co-hosting a rally…and supporting a boycott against Israel.” 

This is totally false!

(indeed it is false.  The MDS never circulated a flier and never called for a rally.  Though the leadership of UTLA most clearly DID  capitulate to Zionist pressure of a meeting that the HRC of UTLA did agree to host.  In his first statement, Duffy maintains the autonomy of committees and free speech within the union.  Then in a later communication explains that he canceled the meeting specifically because of the pressure placed on him by those opposing the discussion of BDS.)  

When the request was made for a meeting space for a student group  at  our Human Rights Committee meeting, we thought it was nothing more.  (Why would the Human Rights Committee host a meeting without first acertaining the nature of the event?) This is a common request, and the request was for a meeting space of no more than 30  persons.  Andy Griggs stated that he knew the group and had previously  worked with them.  There was no other discussion and we agreed to this  request.  It was later that we saw the MDS flier which stated that “UTLA  was co-hosting a rally….and in support of a boycott against Israel.” As  you can imagine, we were shocked. (emphasis  Café Intifada.)

(As previously demonstrated on this blog, the matter of the MDS meeting was actually never discussed at a HRC meeting.  It was discussed  and decided on the HRC listserve and the A.I. voted in favor of holding the meeting.  There was NEVER  a flier,  BUT NOTE THAT IN THIS EMAIL, THE A.I. OF CAMS CLAIMS TO HAVE SEEN THIS FLIER!!!!  Both the original inquiry by MDS and the email announcement of the meeting clearly stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss boycott divestiture and sanctions against Israel. **  There was no reason to be shocked and MDS did not misrepresent the nature of the meeting, at any point in time.  There was no flier nor email that called for a rally, though here the A.I. of CAMS claims to have read a flier with that exact information) There is a protocol for UTLA in the case  that they choose to support a boycott and take such action  which includes  a discussion and approval by the membership and leadership body.  (The HRC never made a  decision to support the boycott, only to allow for a room to discuss BDS.  Before the leadership of UTLA can take any position, factions and committees would necessarily need to be able to host such forums and discussions.) As the HRC  chair states, “When the purpose of the meeting came to light, both UTLA and the  Human Rights Committee canceled permission to meet at UTLA.” Duffy (UTLA  President)  began receiving the hate calls and mail, consulted with a  majority of members on the committee including the chair Steven Seal, before  canceling the meeting.  (Duffy, by his own admission, spoke to fewer than half of the members of the Committee.) Unfortunately, a handful of HRC  members have taken the position that Duffy was wrong, and anyone who agrees  with him is equally guilty of being “pro-Israel” and without backbone.   Unfortunately they continue to ask individuals and groups to send Duffy letters  criticizing him, and requesting the MDS meeting to take place (without  telling these people the full context of the controversy).  (What aspect of the controversy has been excluded?  It has been the intention of this blog and Café Intifada to provide information that we feel has NOT been illuminated– under great pressure, we might add!

Café Intifada invites CAMS and anyone else involved in the controversy within the HRC to post any differing point of view.  We have even posted the comments of leaders of the Zionist groups that launched this campaign.  What list serves do we have access to, that CAMS does not?  By putting out a call for letters, we simply hoped to provide a balanced representation of public opinion for the President of UTLA to consider when making his decision.  Why condemn members of the Committee for defending the rights of the Committee and its only democratically determined position on hosting the meeting?)

As you know, CAMS has been supported by the HRC, and have (sic) always had a very  clear mission to demilitarize schools and present alternatives.  We have been working together very closely with many HRC members and the chair on  our co-sponsored  conference EDUCATION NOT MILTARIZATION.  We feel that it is timely and will be a powerful conference, largely because of the  support we have from so many of you, and the incredible work done over the past  years.  Greg and I as teachers and members of the HRC, are united in our  desire to do what is best for CAMS.  We also will not be engaged in a  political discussion that detracts us from our purpose.  (Please note that below, A.I. attacks those who continued to support the BDS meeting as being “single issue”  and forcing that issue on the Committee, yet here she gracefully states her case for imposing CAMS agenda and interests on the HRC and while her decision to stay within her narrow focus is certainly understandable, to insist that it is irresponsible to call for greater debate and dialogue on other issues, within a committee dedicated to global human rights, is not.)  I hope this  clarifies where we are.  It will also be the last posting that I will make,  regardless of further attacks and criticism.  Our energy and work will be  invested in opposing the militarization of our schools, and presenting the  alternatives of working together for peace. 

A.  I. and G.S.  CAMS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Email sent from CAMS General Coordinator A.I.  to the HRC listserve.  CAMS statement in green. Cafe Intifada commentary in black

October 13. 2006

As you can see below, this** is dated AFTER the HRC meeting on Sept 27th, when all we knew was that a meeting room was requested at UTLA (not about the specifics of the meeting)

(Here A.I. refers to the email ** sent out on September 29 and October 1,  to several lists, announcing the meeting.  Information about the specific meeting was contained in the original email submitted to the HRC listserve where A.I. voted along with other members of the Committee, to host the meeting.  The BDS meeting was not discussed at the September 27 HRC meeting because all logistics had already been determined on the list, and unless there was opposition, there was no need to discuss it further..) 

There is further information here that wasn’t stated at the HRC meeting when it was approved.  Here it talks about a boycott and divestment, which would have caused us to find out more, and possibly make another decision.  A rally and boycott is not mentioned here, but was an untruth stated in the LA Times. (Emphasis, Café Intifada.- note that here, one day later, A.I. now states that it was the L.A. Times that first declared the event was to be a rally.  In the previous email she claimed to have read it in the flier.  At the meeting held on the day following this email, she exclaimed “there wasn’t even a flier!”  — Will the real A.I. please stand up?)

What should be of concern here is that Larry Lambert DID NOT honor his word by stating in this flyer/email that this event is NOT sponsored by UTLA, as he originally said in a prior email to us.

(The wording was determined in dialogue with members of the HRC and MDS, that the term “hosted” would be used, to differentiate between a sponsored event and an event in which the HRC simply hosts the space.  This has been the lexicon used for previous events for which the HRC obtained meeting space for other groups’ events. )

Everyone has a right to their own opinion.  (as long as it isn’t stated publicly?) But what should be equally of concern is the undermining of the chair of the HRC and president of UTLA, as they have tried to address this situation and think of the larger context. but I find it troubling when two people who control the list serve, rally individuals and groups to their single issue position, (Emphasis Café Intifada.)  while not giving the facts of the situation and the differing perspectives around it.  It is also interesting that they have chosen to make this a central issue not only of the HRC but of UTLA, when it WAS NOT stated as a priority at our HRC retreat. 

  A. I., HRC member who was at the retreat and last meeting

(This last comment is a rather crude and mean spirited reference to the HRC retreat, which Emma Rosenthal and Andy Griggs attended but were forced to leave early, upon repeated ridicule and refusal to provide the most minimal accommodations for dis-ability inclusion.***    

 Andy Griggs, past chair of the Human Rights Committee, and UTLA Board Member, Emma Rosenthal, both of Cafe Intifada, put out a call along with Don White, Charter member of both UTLA and HRC, put out a call for people supportive of the autonomy of the Committee and  the holding of the BDS meeting, for letters. in response to President Duffy’s call for Jewish organizations to contact him and  Steve Seal. To accuse any of us of being single issue is contemptible .  Our political histories of support of a number of causes, including CAMS, makes this statement so outrageous.  Furthermore,  there were three moderators of the listserve, Emma Rosenthal, who set up the list at the direction of the Committee, Andy Griggs, who had been Chair of the Committee at the time the list was established, and Steve Seal, the Committee Chair , added when he was elected.   At no time were any posts censored or rejected. )

*Michael Novick’s commentary can be found on this blog: http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2006/10/18/cams-capitulation-to-zionist-pressure/

**This email references two emails  re the BDS meeting.

  1. the initial request for a room, which was posted to the listserve for Committee approval which can be found at: http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2006/10/15/emergency-huma…mittee-meeting, at the bottom of the post.

and

  1. the email announcing the meeting, which can be found at: http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2006/10/01//

*** For more information go to Emma’s blog; In Bed with Frida Kahlo,   a blog she maintains, to advocate for disability rights and to  illuminate common indignities and humiliations endured by PWDS.  http://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/category/utla-human-rights-committee/  scroll to last page of the thread, to read in chronological order.)

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While perhaps this was intended as  a “private” communication between  CAMS’  Media Director and the HRC Webmaster, Emma Rosenthal; Emma,  under the strong belief that this decision impacts the group as a whole, and that they should be informed, posts it to the HRC listserve.

The names of individuals have been replaced  with their initials.  In the actual emails, the real names were, of course, used.   For the record, CAMS and Cafe Intifada are both projects of the same non-profit, financial receiver; The International Humanities Center.  During better times, Emma made the introduction and wrote the proposal for CAMS to joint the IHC.  Legally speaking, as two separate projects of the same organization, we are as closely linked as the preschool program and the parenting program at the local YMCA.  One wonders, if CAMS is sincere in its desire to disassociate from all things INTIFADA, if it will leave IHC and seek out other non-profit arrangements, or pull out right away, and give up non-profit status in the name of what ever principle it seems to be acting in accordance with.

Cafe Intifada

 

——– Original Message ——–

Subject:          HRC website

Date:          Mon, 09 Oct 2006 10:26:39 -0700

From:          G. S. (CAMS MEDIA DIRECTOR)

To:          emmarosenthal@earthlink.net

CC:          steveseal@msn.com

Hi Emma,

Given all the controversey lately regarding HRC the Board of CAMS has asked me to have you remove the link to CAMS from the HRC website.

 

CAMS works with people of all races, religions, and political persuasions to protect youth from predatory military recruiters. We do not want to be percieved by any group or person as supporting violence or war.

 

Thank you for your quick attention to this matter.

 

G.S. (Initials placed in lieu of full name. –Café Intifada)

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

From: Daniel Barnhart

Subject: Re: [utla-hrc-discussion] [Fwd: HRC website]

Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 14:22:23 -0700

To: hrc-disc@lists.riseup.net

 

If the Board of CAMS is concerned about being associated with the 

Human Rights Committee, then it would be advisable to also remove 

references to being a part of the Human Rights Committee of UTLA from 

the militaryfreeschools.org website. Currently the 

militaryfreeschools website says “

 

CAMS is part of the Human Rights Committee of UTLA (United Teachers 

of Los Angeles)

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++

 

From: A. I.  (from CAMS)

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 00:24:47 EDT

Subject: Re: [utla-hrc-discussion] [Fwd: HRC website]

To: hrc-disc@lists.riseup.net

 

Dan,

I hope you are aware that it is not the HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE that CAMS is  uncomfortable with, but distortions of fact and manipulations by some  members who are misrepresenting the HRC.  Please see the email sent by the  chair Steve Seal. 

 

A. I., CAMS

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

From: LINDA BAUGHN <lbaughn@sbcglobal.net>

Subject: Re: [utla-hrc-discussion] [Fwd: HRC website]

To: hrc-disc@lists.riseup.net,

 

A. I.,

  What exactly do you mean?  I reread the last email sent by the chair Steve Seal… I am unclear as to what distortions of fact and manipulations by which members who are misrepresenting the HRC you think Steve is referring to. 

  I emphatically disagree with Steve’s decision to support Duffy’s move to cancel the MDS meeting we had agreed to host. Emails both prior and subsequent to that decision make it clear to me that it was a serious mistake to do what I would characterize as folding to pressure from U.S. imperialism, its client state in Israel and its Zionist apologists. However, honest people make mistakes and I continue to respect Steve while I disagree with him, and I don’t find in Steve’s email any reference to distortions, manipulations or misrepresentations.

 

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Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 21:41:40 -0700

To: hrc-disc@lists.riseup.net,Emma Rosenthal <emmarosenthal@earthlink.net>

From: Michael Novick <novickm@utla.net>

Subject: Re: [utla-hrc-discussion] [Fwd: HRC website]

 

As a founding member and on-and-off participant in CAMS (from the Human

Rights Committee and my other affiliation, Anti-Racist Action) I am floored by this response of CAMS to the “controversey” regarding the HRC (as well as a related “explanation” by A.I  that CAMS’s discomfort is with “distortions by some members.” The only “controversy” about HRC is that we agreed to host a meeting at UTLA sponsored by the Movement for a Democratic Society regarding a divestment campaign on Israel because of human rights violations against the Palestinian and Lebanese people — resulting in a heavy-handed campaign of intimidation, complete with death threats by well-organized pro-Zionist (and pro-war) political forces such as the ADL (who incidentally in the process also attacked UTLA for an American Friends Service Committee credit-point in-service on Middle East issue). (There has also been some mostly internal struggle against ‘internalized oppressiveness’ within the HRC around disability rights issues, and some miscommunication and frustration between CAMS and HRC over co-sponsorship of the upcoming Nov. conference at UTLA on counter-recruitment). None of that justifies CAMS attempting to dissociate itself from HRC, particularly when it is under such a concerted and unscrupulous attack by open enemies of the peace movement.

 

Will CAMS now seek to distance itself from the AFSC because its stance on the Middle East is “controversial” — meaning unacceptable to rabidly

pro-Zionist and pro-imperialist forces like the ADL? When did CAMS decide it was working with “people of all political persuasions” only “to protect youth from predatory military recruiters”? I admit I haven’t been to a meeting recently, but CAMS used to oppose the militarization of the schools (hence the acronym) — a much broader mandate that speaks to the militaristic nature of US society under imperialism.

 

What about the privacy rights and academic freedoms of students (and teachers)? What about opposition to JROTC? What about seeking alternatives to a “career track” into McDonalds/WALMART, prisons or the military? What about concerns about the content of education — including pro-military, pro-imperialist and pro-Zionist propaganda in textbooks and course that make new wars and new “predatory recruitment” possible? Don’t you think the example of Israeli military refuseniks outraged by their country’s brutality against the Palestinians might have some instructive and inspiring value to potential young resisters of military recruitment or military aggression in this country?

 

I am sending this to CAMS list as well as HRC, and forgive me if that violates some protocol about forwarding email. If this address is not the one subscribed to the CAMS list, please forward.

—Michael

 

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——– Original Message ——–

Subject Re: [utla-hrc-discussion] [Fwd: HRC website] 2

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 21:50:22 -0700

From: Michael Novick

Immediately after posting the previous message on this topic, I received an email from the AFSC with its counter-recruitment calendar, produced in concert with CAMS. The embedded link within the email takes you to the CAMS list of other counter-recruitment organizations, as follows below. I would suggest that quite a few of these organizations are equally “controversial” as HRC and will get CAMS in just as much trouble with the ADL and its cohort. The NLG, ANSWER, Anti-Racist Action, MEChA, and Cafe Intifida, to name just a few. I urge the CAMS Board to rethink its request to have HRC remove its link to CAMS (just as I urged Duffy to reverse his decision to cancel the MDS meeting). I hope I have more influence on CAMS than I do on Duffy.–Michael

 

UTLA Human Rights Committee

Iraq Veterans Against the War / Western Region Contact

Peace Fresno

Gold Star Families for Peace

Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD)

TeachIn.org

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) National Youth and Militarism Program

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Pasadena

Peace Guides

Veterans for Peace

Veterans For Peace Chapter 112

Veterans for Peace-Bring Them Home Now

National Lawyers Guild

ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union

NION Youth – (Not in Our Name)

International Socialist Organization

CISPES

CARECEN

Central Service Committee

International Black Coalition for Peace and Justice

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Anti-Racist Action

Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)

Office of the Americas

Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO)

Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities (YANO)

TeenPeace

Rethinking Schools- Teachers Against the War

Military Families Speak Out

GI Rights Hotline

Coalition for Educational Justice

Education Not Incarceration

Educators To Stop the War

US Labor Against The War

Code Pink

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Coalition for World Peace

 

The Global Resistance Network

Inner City Struggle

MECHA

Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

Find a Tree

San Pedro Neighborhood Peace and Justice

Topanga Peace Alliance

Central City Lutheran Mission

Palisadians 4 Peace, Silverlake Neighborhood Peace and Justice, Whittier

Area Peace and Justice Coalition, Long Beach Peace Network, No Child Left

Behind Committee- Glendale, Sylmar Familias Por La Paz, Eastside Café,

Carson Peace Coalition, Santa Monica Progressive Student Alliance, San

Gabriel Valley Neighborhood Peace and Justice, Free Pacific Neighborhood

Network

Homies Unidos

Tia Chucha’s

A.N.S.W.E.R.-LA

Coalition for World Peace

Student Peace Action Network (SPAN)

Latinos Against the War

Revolution Out Of Truth and Struggle (ROOTS)

Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz

Teen Peace Project of Port Townsend, Washington

CSUN United for Peace & Justice

Campus Antiwar Network

Student Environmental Action Committee~~Militarism and the Environment

United For Peace And Justice

Left Bank: A Radical Youth Journal based in the US

Warprofiteers.com

Cafe Intifada

Agape International Spiritual Center

This Is Rumor Control: News on the Appalling Mess We’re In

Los Angeles Independent Media Center LA-IMC

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The Jewish Journal
October 12, 2006

 

UTLA quashes Israel divestment push

 

BY MARC BALLON

http://www.jewishjournal.com/ community_briefs/article/utla_quashes_israel_divestment_push_20061013/

UTLA's A. J. Duffy
UTLA’s A. J. Duffy

Under a tidal wave of pressure from the local Jewish community, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) decided to deny use of its headquarters to the UTLA Human Rights Committee. The committee planned to discuss economic sanctions against Israel, including a boycott and divestment.
 
The move by the roughly 25-member group, a small fraction of the 48,000 UTLA members, caught the attention of the Jewish community, which quickly united in opposition. 
 
UTLA President A.J. Duffy said he advocated canceling the planned Oct. 14 pro-Palestinian gathering because it would have served only to “polarize our union members and members of our community.” Instead, he said he supports convening a gathering for a dialogue between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian forces.
 
However, pressure from Duffy and some Jewish organizations has galvanized some UTLA Human Rights Committee members, who now want to proceed with the pro-Palestinian meeting at “an undisclosed location at an undisclosed time,” according to Emma Rosenthal, a committee member and director of Cafe Intifada, which, along with the Los Angeles Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee, officially endorsed the Oct. 14 gathering.
 
“Some of the Jewish establishment is absolutely intolerant of any discussion of any sort that has to do with Palestinian human rights; anything that’s critical of Israel,” said Rosenthal, a poet and political activist, who is Jewish. She added that the organizations planning the meeting probably would have canceled the Oct. 14 gathering anyway because of security concerns.
 
Rosenthal called pro-Israel Jewish organizations hypocritical in calling for “balance” when, she believes, they so rarely offer it at their own meetings and conferences. 
 
The UTLA Human Rights Committee and the Cafe Intifada blog have recently received hate mail and e-mails calling members “terrorists, Nazis and murderers,” Human Rights Committee member Andy Griggs said. He added that the committee originally had expected no more than 30 people to attend the meeting.
 
Founded in the 1980s, the Human Rights Committee has sponsored and hosted a variety of meetings and conferences over the years that have addressed the environment, support for striking Oaxacan teachers in Mexico and immigration rights, among other issues. In April, the group’s two-day “Conference on Human Rights and the Environment” featured workshops on topics ranging from the environmental impact of Israel “occupation” on Palestinian communities, to the Gulf War to climate change. A lunchtime plenary session included a discussion of “definitions of genocide and human rights in the U.S., world history and in the Middle East, specifically in Palestine,” according to the group’s Web site.
 
UTLA members can join the Human Rights Committee by attending its first meeting of the year, or two consecutive gatherings.
 
Teacher Elana Dombrower, who is Jewish, said the committee’s latest stance has angered her. “I am infuriated,” said Dombrower, who teaches fifth-grade at Roscomare Road Elementary School in Bel Air. “How dare this committee try to do something like this that doesn’t reflect the UTLA’s view or the views of its members.”
 
The committee’s planned gathering was to have been sponsored by the Los Angeles chapter of a group called Movement for a Democratic Society Inc., a new organization based in Connecticut that, according to its Web site, includes among its board members author Noam Chomsky, who has been sharply critical of Israel, as well as revisionist historian Howard Zinn. The group has tight links with Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS, a student-activist movement that peaked in the 1960s. 
 
Some Jewish leaders appreciated UTLA Duffy’s efforts to put distance between the union and the Human Rights Committee. 
 
“I’m proud of what the UTLA has done,” said Allyson Rowen Taylor, associate director of the western region of the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress). 
 
Earlier, Rowen Taylor had said that allowing such a meeting to take place on union property would have given the appearance that that UTLA endorsed divestment and a boycott, which it does not. 
 
An Oct. 6 letter to Duffy from several Jewish groups, including The Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Committee, AJCongress, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, among others, thanked him for sending “a clear message that UTLA does not endorse the [Human Rights] Committee’s action.”
 
To try to prevent future attacks on Israel by UTLA committees, the AJC has encouraged its members who belong to the union “to make their feelings known about the indoctrination programming done by the Human Rights Committee and the hijacking of this committee,” said Sherry Weinman, president of the Los Angeles AJC chapter.
 
Leaders from several major local Jewish organizations met for two hours at the L.A. Federation on Oct. 4 to discuss how to respond to the planned event. Several participants said Duffy, who attended the meeting, told the group that he is Jewish, supports Israel and sympathizes with their concerns. He told participants that UTLA’s 30-plus committees enjoy much autonomy, and that their positions don’t necessarily reflect the union as a whole. 
 
Duffy said that he had removed UTLA’s Web link to the Human Rights Committee and that UTLA would review its procedures for granting use of its facilities to union committees. Duffy said that he found the brouhaha a distraction. 
 
“Let me put it this way, I’d rather be focusing 100 percent of my time to the contract negotiations going on, rather than this,” he said in an interview. 
 
A former special education teacher and dean of students at Palms Middle School, Duffy described himself as a cultural Jew. When he grew up in Brooklyn, “we used to say there were more of us here than in Israel, and it was true,” he quipped.
 
The UTLA Human Rights Committee agreed to host the pro-Palestinian meeting at the request of the Movement for a Democratic Society and after canvassing opinions of Human Rights Committee members. Although only six committee members responded to the list-serve e-mail, all said they supported the gathering, the Human Rights Committee’s Griggs said.
 
Marla Eby, UTLA director of communications, said Duffy will meet on Oct. 13 with the members of the Human Rights Committee to strongly urge the committee not to proceed. Duffy said he will “share the sheer preponderance of communications I’ve received that translate into our organization having taken a hit from our members. I’m not talking about The Jewish Federation or other Jewish organizations or Jewish teachers. I’m talking about teachers who are absolutely appalled that they think UTLA would sponsoring such an [anti-Israel] meeting.”  
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) said he believes the committee is “made up of a fringe of anti-Semites.” 
 
The congressman added that perhaps UTLA should create a new committee for teachers supporting Israel. The Human Rights Committee’s mission statement calls for “social justice and the peaceful resolution of conflict for its members and other staff, students, parents, the community, the nation, and the global economy.” 
 
In an Oct. 9 letter, the AJC asks the union to “reform its constitutional foundations which enabled the HRC to stray from its stated mission….”
 
After learning about the planned anti-Israel meeting, local Jewish groups united in their condemnation, characterizing the event as anti-Semitic and criticizing the UTLA for initially allowing its headquarters to be used. 
 
“This is worse than a black eye. This goes to the heart of [UTLA's] credibility,” said Stephen Saltzman, western regional director of the Zionist Organization of America, before the UTLA announced the gathering could not take place on its property. “This is the largest teachers’ union west of the Mississippi allowing itself to be used by extremist radicals who want to launch a campaign to attack the state of Israel and do so with the implied endorsement of the people teaching our children.” 
 
Paul Kujawsky, vice president of the Democrats for Israel, Los Angeles, and a fifth-grade teacher at Germain Street Elementary Street in Chatsworth, said he thought UTLA could make better use of its time grappling with such important local issues as high school drop-out rates. 
 
“As a union member, I’m furious that we are attempting to have our own foreign policy when there are so many important educational issues to be addressed,” Kujawsky said before Duffy’s announcement. 
 
A release put out by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Movement for a Democratic Society said the meeting’s purpose was to support the Palestinian people and call for a boycott, divestment and sanctions. 
 
“When Israel was created in 1948, 75 percent of the Palestinians were forcibly dispossessed of their lands and forced into exile,” the release says, adding that “Israel’s apartheid and racist system of oppression closely resembles that which South Africa once had….” 
 
A Movement for a Democratic Society spokesman could not be reached for comment. 

Amanda Susskind, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the strategy for boycott, divestment and sanctions is really a “campaign for the elimination of the state of Israel, spearheaded by extremist groups who use the same hateful rhetoric as states like Iran and terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.” 
 

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