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Archive for the ‘Simon Wiesenthal Center’ Category

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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Commentary:

“Going forward, he said he  (UTLA President Duffy) would personally review committee requests for meetings at UTLA headquarters. If proposed gatherings are inconsistent with the union’s official political position, Duffy said, he could exercise “emergency powers” and deny usage. ”  

So, only meetings that adhere to the party, er uh, I mean, union line, can be held? So how do positions change if only already approved decisions can be raised?

The role of committees is to raise issues pertinent to of their area of expertice.  (Elementary Education, Budget, Human Rights, Special Education, Bilingual Education etc. )  Much of UTLA policy originates within committees.  Reactionary responses to the BDS meeting have called for centralized control over committees, which in essence totally nullifies their purpose.

What is especially distressing is that this defeat to labor democracy occurs under the leadership of a progressive slate of activists, who in the past would have stood up to this type of top down tyranny, and the redefining and limiting of standing committees.  Many of these leaders spent years demanding greater union democracy.   For example, Joel Jordan,  Solidarity member, Duffy’s right hand man, and  the  newly hired director of Special Projects, (after the victory of the slate, and upon the dismissal of two other staff members due to budgetary limitations!)  pointed out  in discussions on the left and democratic practices, that Trotsky had been so supportive of democracy that he argued for the forming of factions even under military conditions.  Now that his position is attached to the election results of this slate, democracy takes a back seat to prestige and position.  Joshua Peschtalt, UTLA AFT Vice President, in a personal email to Cafe Intifada Board Member, Andy Griggs, expressed outrage that the Committee might take up an issue that could be divisive and could threaten the future of the slate. Other slate members remained silent or only voiced dissent with President Duffy, in the safest, least controversial manner.  

Cafe Intifada

The Jewish Journal
October 19, 2006     

Anti-Israel UTLA committee gets sent to the corner for a time out

 

http://www.jewishjournal.com/ community_briefs/article/antiisrael_utla_committee_gets_sent_to_the_corner_for_a_time_out_20061020/

The United Teachers Los Angeles committee that came under intense criticism for planning to host a gathering calling for economic sanctions against Israel, including a boycott and divestment, has shut down its Web site and agreed to undertake a monthlong “self-evaluation.” The move came after a meeting on Friday, Oct. 13, with UTLA President A.J. Duffy.      

Duffy said he hopes the self-examination will lead the 25-member UTLA Human Rights Committee to focus its attention on “issues that touch on the classroom and the school site that really have to do with education, rather than far-reaching issues, such as whether to boycott Israel.”

The event was to have been sponsored by the Los Angeles chapter of Movement for a Democratic Society Inc., an 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, and revisionist historian Howard Zinn.

Duffy said the majority of the UTLA Human Rights Committee now realizes that their actions have damaged the union’s reputation and diverted union members’ attention from salary negotiations for a new teachers contract. UTLA has 48,000 members. 

Duffy said he has received more than 300 phone calls and e-mails, some from as far away as Russia, Israel and Great Britain, lambasting the Human Rights Committee for agreeing to host an anti-Israel meeting at the union’s headquarters. Some angry callers, Duffy said, accused the union of supporting terrorists. A few UTLA members threatened to quit the union. 

After the outcry from UTLA members and others, including pressure from a united front of local Jewish organizations, Duffy denied the committee use of UTLA facilities. 

Going forward, he said he would personally review committee requests for meetings at UTLA headquarters. If proposed gatherings are inconsistent with the union’s official political position, Duffy said, he could exercise “emergency powers” and deny usage. 

Although the UTLA Human Rights Committee rescinded its offer to host the meeting that triggered the controversy, the Movement for a Democratic Society gathering took place at a different, unnamed site on Oct. 12, with some of the Human Rights Committee members in attendance, according to committee member Emma Rosenthal. The society is allied with Students for a Democratic Society, a student-activist movement that peaked in the 1960s. Cafe Intifada, which Rosenthal heads, and the Los Angeles Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee officially endorsed the gathering.

Rosenthal declined to reveal any details about the Oct. 12 event, except to say that the outcry by pro-Israel groups “created a whole lot of interest. We had a lot more involvement than we otherwise would have had.”

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 become voting members of the Human Rights Committee by attending its first meeting of the year or two consecutive gatherings.

The original release put out by the local chapter of the Movement for a Democratic Society said the anti-Israel 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, has 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.”

© Copyright 2009 The Jewish Journal and JewishJournal.com
All rights reserved. 

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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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“Not at this time.  Not in this place.”  AJ Duffy, regarding the discussion of Palestinian Human Rights.  10/13/06

 

Duffy called an emergency Human Rights Committee meeting, for October 13.  Before the meeting,  several activists, including Human Rights Committee member, David Rapkin, and founding Committee member and UTLA Charter member, Don White, were turned away and told that they were not qualified to be in attendance.  Other UTLA members who were not Committee members, were allowed into the meeting, under the pretext of leadership roles within the Union, or because they had relevant information, or were personally affected by the decision.  At the meeting, it was asserted that MDS/SDS had betrayed the Committee by circulating a leaflet calling for a rally, and for obscuring the intention of the meeting http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2006/10/12/three-letters-steve-seal-public-and-private/.  It was further asserted that Café Intifada founder, Emma Rosenthal, had obstructed democratic process by posting information to the listserve  that provided members with information related to decisions, and Committee housekeeping, for not editing post content of members, and for posting more than anyone else.  (No guidelines for moderation, had ever been established, except that the list was for discussing HRC business, and not for posting articles or events, except as they informed HRC decisions.) Newly named, Director of Communications, Dan Barnhart,  in stark contrast to his previously stated positions in support of the meeting, list and web page, as well as the HRC’s support of Palestinian solidarity, presented a detailed graph of the  number of posts by members of the Committee.  He was critical of the use of the rise-up listserve because of its radical affiliations. It should be noted that the listserve had three moderators: Emma Rosenthal, who, under the direction of the Committee, founded the list,  Steve Seal, Committee Chair, and Andy Griggs, past Chair.  Nonetheless, the list itself,  was blamed for the decision taken, and Emma was blamed for the list. All posts by list moderators were attributed to her, and not to either of the two men, who were also moderators. 

One of the issues raised by the Zionist organizations was a link to “extremist groups” on the Human Rights Committee web page.  Rosenthal had recently updated the web page, including links to human rights organizations, particularly those who had worked with the Human Rights Committee, including Cafe Intifada, which had been repeatedly targeted during this campaign.  Upon updating the webpage, she had posted the link to the listserve for group input and approval.  Suggestions for additional material and links were made, as were some orthographic improvements, including linking to sister organizations, such as Cafe Intifada and CAMS.  

It was decided at the meeting, to destroy the list, along with the public announcement list, and the web page;  all of which were associated with Rosenthal’s  initiative and based in Committee approval.   The Committee did agree to the following statement, to be posted on the webpage.

The Human Rights Committee of UTLA is in the process of reviewing our structure and function to better implement our mission statement. The website is temporarily unavailable. Your understanding is appreciated.”

 It is quite clear to Cafe Intifada, that in addition to providing President Duffy with the face saving statement (above), the purpose of the meeting was the destruction of any of the contribution over the years of Emma Rosenthal,  and to assure that she would have no place in the leadership of the Committee in the future. (Despite Rosenthal’s activism within the Committee, she was one of the few members of the Committee NOT contacted by Duffy prior to his decision to cancel the meeting.)     As activist, Linda Baughn, stated afterward, “the unifying principle at work was opportunism.”  Activists within the Committee who had initially voted to hold the BDS meeting, vying for power within the Committee, having waged a brutal campaign against Emma on the issue of disability rights,  opportunistically sided with the UTLA “progressive” leadership,  who, in a desperate attempt to save their popularity within the Union, under pressure from a well orchestrated and well funded campaign by the Jewish Zionist establishment,  joined ranks,  in shutting down the meeting, dismantling the Committee infrastructure and blacklisting Rosenthal.   Had this been simply the matter of an ill advised meeting, then simple cancelation would have been sufficient, not the destruction of the entire infrastructure of the committee, including the archive of communication on the listserves.  Of important note, prior to the cancelation of the meeting by Duffy, efforts were being made to have the meeting canceled by MDS and Cafe Intifada for security reasons.  This would have allowed for the cancelation of the meeting without casting any slanderous attacks on individuals or groups, without blacklisting, without character assassination, without shutting down an entire committee, without destroying union democracy, without throwing around terms like “extremist” or “fringe”.  When Board Member Andy Griggs alerted Duffy to this development Duffy’s response was that he wasn’t willing to wait.  Before Rosenthal could contact MDS and get confirmation (a process that took less than an hour) the decision had been made and accusatory press releases had been issued.  

During the meeting, President Duffy, repeatedly referenced emails and letters from hundreds of teachers, and offered to allow any of the Committee members access to the letters. 

The following chronology, taken from the dialogue on the listserve, was presented by Emma Rosenthal,  at the meeting, where she specifically asked if there were any differences of opinion to that  account of the chronology and there was none. The original chronology included the first name, of all committee members.  Café Intifada has replaced some of the names with initials. Names of people who have provided consent, as well as Committee Chair, Steve Seal, UTLA Board Members, and UTLA Officers, remain, as identified.  

During the meeting, Rosenthal also provided the Committee with information regarding some of the Zionist groups who had waged this campaign of letters, meetings and emails, including Stand With Us, and their black list, secret dossier on individual activist.  Presenting Rosenthal’s  Stand With Us dossier,  which prints out to 62 pages,  she demonstrated the degree of privatized espionage that these groups carry out in singling out activists critical of Israeli policy.  (Stand With Us’ blacklist is not available to the public.  One must apply for a special password to gain access.  It was a rare opportunity that allowed Rosenthal to get ahold of the materials  about her, The dossier is available to select student groups, and the press,)   http://www.stand4facts.org/

For information on the campaign within the Committee, against Rosenthal,  due to her assertion of disability rights, go to: http://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/category/utla-human-rights-committee/

  When activists turn on each other, especially in the face of death threats and blacklisting, the results can be devastating.  This lack of discipline (revolutionary discipline- the discipline necessary to really confront the vast machine that leftist activists claim they want to disassemble,) can have horrible results.  These actions put people in real danger.  These are not simply school yard pranks, which, though considered innocent, have other devastating consequences.  These are real purges in a very real world, that leave real people in very real danger.

Especially distressing is the deafening silence.  The acts of voiceless complicity, the attempts to protect one’s own program, agenda, image, at all cost.  So many activists quietly voiced support, in private, but made no public statements of support or principle. 

The brutal campaign launched by a mighty, external establishment, wrapped in the language of human rights, but brazenly out to control the narrative on the Middle East, limit academic freedom and free speech, and isolate activists, is part of a larger political agenda, reaching well beyond the walls of UTLA. It isn’t as simple as Steve Seal might suggest: that we pick our battles.  This battle picked us.  And we responded terribly.

No doubt, Cafe Intifada will need to find other venues to fight for justice, and in the present climate, between the attacks on Emma Rosenthal on this issue and the issue of disability rights, there  may require time for reflection and retreat.  There is much work to do;  if nothing else, at the very least, there is study; an important activity; study, gaining new insights or new skills.  Let’s see where we go from here.

Café Intifada

____________________________

Chronology to a Decision:
  1. Sept 14, Steve posts to the list, Larry Lambert’s request for a meeting room.*   Steve asks the members: Is this something we  want to do?

                Andy posts:  I support this.

                Emma posts:  yes

               R.L. writes: I think so

                Linda Baughn writes: Does anybody know these people?

                Andy posts: Yes–I have worked with many of the members of SDS-MDS over the years–the only reason I am not involved now is the lack of  time.

                Emma Writes:  yes, i plan to be involved in this, as part of the l.a. palestine labor solidarity committee.  i referred them to steve.

                Linda writes : cool

                Emma writes: Wow, I always wanted to be cool.

                A. I.  posts:  Yes, however one reality is that UTLA is pretty booked up in October.  I know that Sat. Oct. 7th is booked, and  Evy said October is very  full.

                   Emma posts: good point.  they only need one room, and they’re pretty flexible about the time.  there’s a room near L.T.’s office that isn’t used much. i don’t know the room number, but she does.


Sept 15    Steve posts in an email on the agenda for the upcoming meeting:

                I will be out of town next week for a few days so if anyone can work on the room for SDS It would be appreciated by them and me.


                Emma Posts: I can take care of the  room for SDS. 

Sept 16

                M. R.  posts: I vote yes


There is no further discussion on list about this meeting, though during this entire period several people post on other issues and no dissenting positions are expressed at the meeting on Sept. 27.  Andy and I work on getting a room.  There is some discussion between me, Andy and Larry regarding the wording of UTLA HRC’s role in the meeting.  Based on past precedent when hosting a meeting that we are not producing (see below!) we decide to state that the meeting is hosted by the HRC.


Sept 29   Steve posts, including the email announcement of the meeting, ** which clearly states that HRC is hosting the meeting:

I hope people in our committee are planning on being there for this to assist in logistics and to make sure it runs smoothly since we are listed as a “meeting host”  I will not be there due to prior commitments.


Emma posts   i’m on it!  i encouraged others to attend as well.


Oct 1: The announcement is made on several progressive  listserves.


Oct 3: Duffy cuts the link from the UTLA page to the HRC page and posts a public letter stating that he will not censor a committee.  Carolina from communications contacts me telling me to post it to the HRC page and that I am to remove all links to other organizations.  I tell her that I can’t do anything without the direction of the Committee.  I forward her email to the committee and ask for suggestions.


Oct. 4

          Steve posts:  Hello all,  <>Just wanted to let you know that there is some controversy brewing around our “hosting” of the meeting on the MDS/SDS thing on the 14th of this month.  There has been pressure on the union to not have the meeting at UTLA and to not have the HRC host it.  Since this is not being run by our committee directly I feel it is probably in our interests to pick our battles and possibly pull our hosting.  This has turned into more work for us than it should be.  Duffy wants to have a meeting to discuss this issue soon.<> I will keep you informed.


Over the next few days the following people weigh in (some of the responses are quite lengthy and are available on our archive.)


Agree to cancel:  R. L. R. U.

Don’t agree: Emma, Andy, Michael, Dan (Barnhart), Linda,  M.R.


A.I. writes “I’d like to do that.”  Which I think means she wanted to cancel the meeting.


In a conversation with Andy, on  October 5, the day he decided to cancel the meeting, Duffy reports that he spoke with 10 members of the Committee and that not all agreed with him.  There are 26 members on the Committee.


And here we are!

 ________________________________

*

—– Original Message —–

  From: steve seal

  To: hrc-disc

  Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 9:03 PM

  Subject: [utla-hrc-discussion] Fw: [Al-Awda-Los-Angeles] Fw: BDS CAMPAIGN IN LOS ANGELES AREA

  Hello all,

  Does this look like something we should do for the group?  Let me know what you think.

  Steve

  —– Original Message —–

  From: larrylambert

 To: larry lambert

  Cc: Steve Seal

  Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 8:24 PM

  Subject: Re: [Al-Awda-Los-Angeles] Fw: BDS CAMPAIGN IN LOS ANGELES AREA

  Hi, Steve —–

  I’m  a member of the Los Angeles chapter of Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) , the non-student affiliate of Students for a Democratic Society  We are looking for a venue for a meeting we are having to plan a Boycott, Divestment , Sanctions campaign against Israel anytime  between Oct 2- 6th or Oct 9-13th( in the evening from 8 -9:30 PM ) or at 1 or 2 PM to 4 PM on Saturday, Oct 7th or Saturday, Oct 14th. Please let me know if you could donate the use of a meeting room at UTLA headquarters to accommodate 20-30 persons on one of the above dates. Of course, should you be willing to donate meeting space to us, we will specify in our publicity and announcements  that our meeting is not endorsed or sponsored by your organization

  Thanks in advance for any help you can provide —

  Larry Lambert

  SoCal MDS

__________________________

**http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2006/10/01/mds-israeli-bo…coming-meeting/

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Why would organizations like the ADL or the Simon Wiesenthal Center  (SWC) who at least claim to be human rights organizations, campaign to limit union democracy and non violent protest by demanding that UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles)  cancel a class for teachers  sponsored by the AFSC and a meeting to discuss nonviolent resistance to Israeli brutality such as boycotts,  sanctions and divestiture?  I mean, maybe concern for the actions of RADICAL  groups (can you say, red baiting?) like the SDS or Cafe Intifada, but who can have a qualm with the Quakers?  they’re like the teddy bears of the human rights world.  

Narrative!!!


Narrative!!

Narrative!!


It’s the battle for narrative, Shut down the Quakers, and it all shuts down.  


Then the Zionist shrills, the bull dogs for U.S. imperialism and Israeli colonialism, wrapped in the garb of human rights, can justify the continued oppression of the Palestinian people by maintaining a narrative that denies their existence in the first place.  A class like the AFSC class provides essential information to teachers about all the varied cultures of the Middle East, including Palestine, and this is something the Museum of Tolerance’s  (MOT) SWC, just can’t tolerate!  Imagine if classrooms of school children, a fraction of those paraded through the MOT every year, indoctrinated in the Israeli narrative, might consider the humanity of the people on whose bones Israeli society is built?  Imagine if classrooms of school children considered the humanity of the millions of people in the Middle East, including those dying under bombs built with tax payers money at the expense of education, health care, housing and other social programs in the U.S.  Imagine  the Israeli narrative, a mirrored version of the U.S. narrative of an empty land of savages/terrorists, settled by determined brave pioneers, venturing into the wilderness, in a territory of manifest destiny and divine ordination, having left oppression and persecution; challenged by the very real, very visible humanity of the Palestinians.  Imagine if the lack of real democracy, the Jim Crow type separation, (housing, education, roads, neighborhoods) along with the apartheid/ reservation system of isolation, control and dependency masked as sovereignty, became apparent as part of a real pedagogy?  

Imagine.  

NO!  don’t imagine! Defend the right to at the very least, present an alternative narrative to the narrow and obscure myths of Israeli divine providence. Demand the continued presentation of the historical record, of the diversity of culture, religion, values, beliefs of the peoples of a vast region, without needing the stamp of approval of an establishment of  the ADL or the Simon Wiesenthal Center, those corporate funded neo-liberal bastions of censorship and hegemony who manipulate a history of suffering and the rhetoric of human rights in the service of empire!  

-Cafe Intifada

_____________________________________________________________

 

AFSC Urges Wiesenthal Center to Show Tolerance

AFSC Urges Wiesenthal Center to Show Tolerance

Press Release – October 11, 2006

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is deeply disturbed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s October 4th letter to United Teachers Los Angeles President A. J. Duffy and its press release of the same day entitled “Wiesenthal Center Urges UTLA President To Act Against Extremists’ Anti-Israel Campaign.” The Wiesenthal Center is urging UTLA to drop an AFSC-sponsored teacher workshop without reviewing the course content and without having expressed concerns to us or the faculty. Bringing unfounded accusations of bias and extremism against AFSC because we work with both Israeli and Palestinian groups seems inconsistent with the Wiesenthal Center’s commitment to tolerance, dignity and human rights.

AFSC, a Quaker organization, was a co-recipient of the 1947 Nobel Peace Price. In his presentation speech Gunnar Jahn, chair of the Nobel Committee, noted: “The Quakers have shown us that it is possible to carry into action … sympathy with others; the desire to help others.without regard to nationality or race; feelings which, when carried into deeds, must provide the foundations of a lasting peace.” We bring this same spirit to our Middle East Peace work today. Our staff embraces many different faith traditions, including Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Our staff in Jerusalem, Ramallah and throughout the US are dedicated to finding a peaceful, just resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The LAUSD-approved professional development course has been offered twice now as part of our effort to promote understanding and to challenge anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish attitudes by providing balanced, factual information about the history, economics, politics and culture of the Middle East. Oversight of the course rests with our Middle East Peace Education Program Committee which currently includes three Jewish members. At our invitation, a reporter from the The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and an observer from the Anti-Defamation League attended the course, sitting in on several sessions. We have received no complaints of bias from those who have first-hand experience with the course.

Tolerance surely begins with respectful dialogue and a commitment to be fair and accurate in representing those with whom we disagree. We ask the Wiesenthal Center to show tolerance for those who have come to a different conclusion about some of the thorny problems facing the region and to refrain from using lies, inaccuracies and innuendo to discredit an organization that has been actively working for peace in the Middle East since 1949. We ask the Wiesenthal Center to cease its efforts at censorship of this carefully reviewed and accredited course and to retract the misleading statement currently on its web site.

The American Friends Service Committee is an international peace and justice organization with a regional office in the downtown Los Angeles area. Founded in 1917 and governed by the Society of Friends (Quakers), its programs of peace, relief, reconciliation and development are based on non-violence and belief in the inherent goodness of all persons. In 1947, AFSC accepted the Noble Peace Prize on behalf of all Quakers worldwide.

View the Wiesenthal Center’s letter to UTLA President A. J. Duffy:

 http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=fwLYKnN8LzH&b=245494&ct=3003869

View the Wiesenthal Center’s statement:

http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nl/content.asp?c=fwLYKnN8LzH&b=312458&content_id={36B759DA-C09B-4DCB-A0BE-FE753F4FB59C}&notoc=1

Learn more about the AFSC’s Middle East Teacher Resource Project:

http://www.afsc.org/pacificsw/teachers.htm

American Friends Service Committee

Pacific Southwest Regional Office
___________________________________________________

634 S. Spring Street, 3rd Floor | Los Angeles, CA 90014
Office: 213.489.1900 | Fax: 213.489.1910
losangeles@afsc.org | www.afsc.org/losangeles

Please visit our national website to learn more about the AFSC:
www.afsc.org

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“By perpetrating the insidious lie that Israel, where all citizens have equal rights, is no different from the former apartheid regime in South Africa, these activists seek to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish State. In fact, Israel is a democracy that encourages vibrant debate, has a flourishing free press, and is one of the United States’ closest allies.”
-ADL Statement (see below) 

The ADL: Privatized Espionage: 
What cynical words, given the ADL’s history of espionage of organizations fighting South African Apartheid and U.S. intervention in Central America, along with the San Francisco Labor Council, ILWU Local 10, and the Oakland Educational Association,  NAACP, Irish Northern Aid, International Indian Treaty Council and the Asian Law Caucus.  Yet another example of the ADL as a tool of imperialism and oppression, wrapped up in the garment of human rights.  
see:

Anti-Defamation League Accused of Spying, New York Times, October 24, 1993

The ADL Spying Case is Over.  The Struggle Continues.  Counterpunch, February 25, 2002.  http://www.counterpunch.org/adlspying2.html
Attacking the mission statement of the Human Rights Committee:
In the statement that follows, which was posted to the web page of the ADL, the HRC is accused of straying from its mission:

“The mission statement of the UTLA Human Rights Committee, as posted on its Web site, promotes “social justice and the peaceful resolution of conflict for its members, other office staff, students, parents, the community, the nation, and the global community.””
The full UNEDITED mission statement of the Human Rights Committee reads as follows: 

The Human Rights Committee of United Teachers Los Angeles promotes social justice and the peaceful resolution of conflict for its members, other office staff, students, parents, the community, the nation, and the global community. It advocates that UTLA and its state and national affiliates work for public policies that reduce violence, promote diversity, increase awareness of basic human and civil rights, support the rights of all workers, protect the environment, oppose the privatization and militarization of schools and society, reduce the military budget, and increase funding for education and other social programs.

All of the typical rhetoric: “Israel is a democracy”….”All citizens have equal rights”…”the HRC is singling out Israel”…etc. 

But the Human Rights Committee hasn’t singled out Israel.  Over the years the Committee has addressed human rights issues on every continent on the earth where there is a human population.  To not include Israel in raising issues of militarism or privitization, the environment, workers rights or basic human and civil rights would be SINGLING OUT ISRAEL. 

IT IS THE ADL THAT WISHES TO SINGLE OUT ISRAEL, TO HOLD IT ABOVE ALL SCRUTINY.

The statement ends with a quote from Amanda Suskind, Regional Director of the Southern California branch of the ADL:

  “While the ADL is a strong supporter of everyone’s right to free speech, we are concerned that hateful rhetoric will not be productive for anyone during these troubled times.”

When is free speech supportable?  When it matches the agenda of the ADL?  Does it have to be productive to be free speech?  As Noam Chomsky asserted; “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

Emma Rosenthal
-Cafe Intifada
________________________________________

ADL Denounces UTLA Human Rights Committee For Hosting Anti-Israel Meeting      

Update:  After hearing from concerned Jewish groups, The United Teachers Los Angeles cancelled plans by one of its committees to host a pro-Palestinian rally at union headquarters.  Union President A.J. Duffy said in a statement: “While as educators and union members we encourage a respectful debate on the important issues of the day, this event has provoked very sharp feelings among our members and concerns that this meeting is inappropriate.”  The new location has not yet been announced.

Los Angeles, CA, October 5, 2006 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today denounced as “deplorable and offensive” a campaign to promote a strategy of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel.  The campaign is the subject of an anti-Israel meeting being hosted by the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) Human Rights Committee and being held at UTLA headquarters on October 14.

According to a flier about the meeting and a posting on the Human Rights Committee Web site, the subject of the meeting is a “local boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign in support of the Palestinian people.”

“This labor union committee is providing a forum to launch a deplorable and offensive campaign to isolate and vilify the State of Israel,” said Amanda Susskind, ADL Los Angeles Regional Director.  “The flier takes a strongly one-sided view of the conflict, is full of anti-Israel propaganda, and makes no effort to reflect the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

According to ADL, the so-called “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” strategy 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.

By perpetrating the insidious lie that Israel, where all citizens have equal rights, is no different from the former apartheid regime in South Africa, these activists seek to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish State. In fact, Israel is a democracy that encourages vibrant debate, has a flourishing free press, and is one of the United States’ closest allies.

“These campaigns are anti-Semitic for two reasons: first, they single out Israel for this treatment, while ignoring human rights abusers from Sudan to North Korea; second, these campaigns seek to deny only the Jewish people the right of national self-determination,” said Susskind.

The mission statement of the UTLA Human Rights Committee, as posted on its Web site, promotes “social justice and the peaceful resolution of conflict for its members, other office staff, students, parents, the community, the nation, and the global community.”

“It is ironic that a committee with such a noble mission, and that represents educators, would use its platform for misguided attempts to condemn the only country in the Middle East where scholarship and debate are permitted to flourish,” said Susskind.  “While the ADL is a strong supporter of everyone’s right to free speech, we are concerned that hateful rhetoric will not be productive for anyone during these troubled times.”

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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   For immediate release

Media Contact:  Marla Eby

      UTLA Communications Director

       213-368-6247                                                                      

Press Statement – UTLA Human Rights Committee Meeting

October 5, 2006 –  United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) has decided to cancel the use of our building for a meeting sponsored by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), scheduled to be held on October 14, 2006 at UTLA Headquarters, calling for a campaign to boycott Israel.

The following statement was made today by UTLA President A.J. Duffy:

“After conferring with the Chair of the Human Rights Committee, a number of its members and others, we have decided to pull the meeting scheduled by the Human Rights Committee.”

“While as educators and union members we encourage a respectful debate on the important issues of the day, this event has provoked very sharp feelings among our members and concerns that this meeting is inappropriate.”

“We believe that to proceed with this meeting will only polarize our union members and members of the community.  No one benefits from further hostility on these issues.  We would hope that people of good will with differing views on the Middle East and other issues will find the appropriate settings for these discussions.”

“The following actions have been taken by UTLA:

1.     We have cancelled the UTLA location for this meeting.

2.     We have deleted the link on the UTLA web site to the Human Rights Committee web site and the information on this event.

3.     We will be reviewing our procedures for the request of use of our facilities by all UTLA Committees.” 

For more information, contact Marla Eby at 213-368-6247.

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