Archive for October, 2006

Elana Golden serves on the Advisory Board of Cafe Intifada.
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Letter to the Israeli Philharmonic asking to denounce the Occupation Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 16:56:53 -0700 From: Elana Golden To: emmarosenthal@earthlink.net References:
Dear friends against the Israeli Occupation,

Following is a letter to the Israeli Philharmonic, initiated by Women in Black – Los Angeles, asking the orchestra to take a stand denouncing the Occupation on the eve of their US tour. We’d like to gather as many signatures, by individuals or groups, before we send the letter. If you’d like to endorse the letter, please email your name, or the name of your organization, with the country and city where you livea, to womeninblackla@gmail.com Thank you, Elana Golden Women in Black, Los Angeles
October 22, 2006
Los Angeles, California
Dear members of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra,
It is with great respect for classical music in general, and for the music of the Israeli Philharmonic in particular that we, members of Women in Black Los Angeles, are writing you this letter. Some of us are Israelis now living in the US. We grew up attending concerts of the orchestra, and remember the experience with so much joy. We have the deepest appreciation for artists, musicians in this instance, and see you as being on the leading edge of Israeli society and as powerful opinion leaders in your communities.
Learning that the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing next February at the prestigious Disney Hall in Los Angeles, following other concerts in New York and San Francisco, we are inspired to ask you this:
Are you willing to take a public stand to denounce the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza? Will you call for an end to Occupation as a first step toward a viable peace, and for honest negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders?
We are not just speaking from far away. Some of us have been in Israel /Palestine over the past few years. We have witnessed the Apartheid Wall, the checkpoints and the daily humiliation and violence an entire population of Palestinians has endured for nearly forty years. Like many in Israel and the global community, we feel that this Occupation must end. And like many other groups in the United States and in Los Angeles, we hope that, as representatives of the State of Israel, you will take a public stand on this issue.
The Occupation is damaging both Palestinians and Israelis, with so much suffering on both sides. Former US President Jimmy Carter, who brokered peace between Egypt and Israel, has recently written a book “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid” due for release November 14. In his summary Carter writes: “Israel’s current policy in the territories is a system of Apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.”
Imagine that the Israeli Philharmonic’s denouncement of the Occupation and call for peace and justice will have a huge positive ripple effect on Israeli society. Imagine a future where Israelis and Palestinians share the resources of their land with respect and appreciation for each others’ humanity, cultures and needs. Maybe it’s the artists and musicians who will finally bring peace and justice to Israel, Palestine and the region.
We look forward to hearing from you by November 22, 2006 regarding your stand against the Occupation. You can either email us at ________________ or send us a letter to _____________________________.
Thank you,
Peace and blessings,

Women in Black, Los Angeles
Women in Black, Vienna, Austria
Deena Metzger, Topanga CA
Elana Golden teaches writingthrough the use of the-personal-storyfor the sake of peacemaking and beautyhttp://www.thewritingstudio.biz

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Alfred M. Loeb, Presente

December, 10 1926 – October 25, 2006
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Sojourner House in Rochester N.Y.
My father died this morning.  He had been on a respirator for several days and decided to be taken off the machine. He and I had a complicated relationship and hadn’t spoken for several years.  But grief knows it’s own timeline and even the profoundest of separations are widened by death.
Alfred Morton Loeb, my father; was a civil rights activist, a computer scientist, a skier who was involved in alpine sky rescue and back country ski camping into his seventies, an avid cyclist (until a year and a half ago when, at the age of 78, on a 30 mile bike ride, he hit a car that was going through a stop sign.)  He was an amazing photographer, whose work has yet to be catalogued and given its proper due. He could fix anything and everything.  He loved classical music but didn’t understand poetry and hated rock and roll.
He is survived by: his wife of 57 years, my mother and biochemist Marilyn Rosenthal Loeb, my sister, Judith Whitaker and her two children: Caleb and Maya, my brother, Andrew Loeb, my son, Leon and me.
Despite the chasm between my father and me: the bridges burned, the broken spirits, the heartbreaks on both sides of the divide; he gave me who I was. So much of what we receive in life is monetary and material.  When I was five years old He bestowed upon me the most precious of endowments, the most valuable of inheritances: knowledge of my purpose in life.  There are deciding moments in all purpose driven lives.  Here is the telling of that moment in mine when my course was determined for me; when I knew what I would do with my time on this rock.

My Father’s Yellow Feet

By Emma Rosenthal
The year I was conceived, the FBI took out a freshly pressed manila file, put my last name on the file tab, and waited for my birth to fill in the rest of the information.
My father was just another Jewish activist so there was little doubt that this child; his first born, who would be raised in red swaddling cloths, on picket lines, boycotts and demonstrations; would need to be monitored.  That year,  my father, a staunch supporter of gun control, a man who despised gun ownership, placed a loaded shot gun beneath my parents’ bed because of threats on his life, on our lives, because of work he was doing in fair housing.  In that bed, over that loaded gun, I gestated for nine months.
I was five when he went to Selma to march to Montgomery with Dr. King.  By court order only 200 marchers would be allowed to travel the full distance to be met by a larger rally in Montgomery, if and when they finally arrived.  I was unaware of the danger and was only filled in awe.  Jewish freedom riders did not always arrive home safely.    My daddy was going to march for freedom. Freedom; a word that would echo through my home for many years.
This was the second march.  The first one ended in a bloody riot when the police attacked the marchers and they were forced to turn back. My father was gone for the longest time but all I really remember were the calloused deformities he had when he came home.   His feet recovered from that journey but he still bears hard yellow reminders of that long march.  I remember him resting on his bed after he had returned. I looked at those bruised, yellowed feet and said with all the determination my five year old spirit could muster;  “The next freedom march you go on Daddy, I’m going with you.”
The next march I remember was a memorial service in Philadelphia, as with other cities all over the world.  Someone had shot Dr. King.  I remember standing in the line of humanity, I remember the air on my skin, I remember the green, green lawn of the arboretum, I remember the somber spirit of the crowd, I remember the voices echoing through microphones and speakers.  I remember being nine  years old,  and somebody had shot Dr. King.
A year later my father made plans to take a bus to Washington D.C. to march against the war.  These were safer times to march, but the sting of the fifties, the threats against his life, the assassination of the Rosenbergs, the McCarthy witch hunts, Cheney, Shverner and Goodman, four little girls, Malcolm, Evers, King and many others, still were fresh in his mind.  He would not take me.  It wasn’t safe.
I had to go.
This was freedom and I had promised his calloused yellow feet that I would go on the next march. “If a man does not have something he is willing to die for he is not fit to live”  I said as I quoted Dr. King.  It was 1969. I was almost eleven years old.  I’m not sure how much I understood about rice paddies, napalm and imperialism, but my father was going and I had to go with him.
I had to go.
There was no way I could let him go without me.  I argued and polemicized with him for days until he finally conceded that he would take me.   My mother packed us reubens for lunch and he made me wear a dress so that we would look respectable, no torn blue jeans for us.  It was a green sweater and a matching skirt that just reached my knee.  I remember.  I remember because it was a cold day in Washington in 1969, November 15.  I remember the bus and the old woman who gave me brownies to eat and the edges had been burned in the pan.  I remember the rows and rows of yellow busses, I remember the button, long since lost, a white hand forming a peace sign against a black silhouette of the capital building.  I remember seeing the marble buildings of the Capital and L’Enfant Plaza, with its large light bulb street lights, the Washington memorial.  I remember the pro war protesters telling me to go back to Russia, a place my ancestors had lived in and died in and could never return to.  I remember the smell of marijuana, the chanting and the singing, the speakers, the crowds.  I really remember the cold, my stockinged legs, the cold air and no protection from it, but most of all I remember not caring that I had to get up at four in the morning, not caring that the air burned my skin, not caring that I was hungry or thirsty.  I just cared that I was there, that he brought me and that I would do this again many, many times.
I am sure that my initial FBI file has swollen and perhaps fills many boxes. For years my mail has sporadically arrived opened and the clicks on the phone are reminders that very little is truly private. My name appears on hit lists and blacklists. I receive the occasional death threat. I turn away from cameras at demonstrations unless I know the photographer.  And I have photographed them too.  (I have my own files.)  There may yet be a day of reckoning.
I am tired of police officers in uniform holding video cameras.  I am tired of the cops who come right up to me and shoot my picture while I stand under a red banner.  Most of all I am tired of the ones out of uniforms;  the G-men and women who sit in on meetings and pretend to fight for freedom, who feign that longing in their eyes, all the while taking notes and foaming discontent within the group.  I know we have made mistakes, over the years of organizing I have seen movements come and go, groups break and splinter.  I only wish I new which mistakes were ours, which discord was truly part of the movement and which was caused by infiltration, government espionage and counterintelligence programming.
I wish I knew.
I march with my small child and keep my eyes on the baton yielding men with helmets on horseback.  I am ready to grab up my child with the power of motherhood and run if need arises.  I am afraid for him in demonstrations, I am afraid for him as he grows into a man in a society afraid of its youth but I bring him.  He never had to ask.   “No blood for oil” was one of his first sentences and for years he would point to the Federal building and call it “Peace now.”  I carried him on the picket line of the L.A. teachers’ strike and nursed him between picket duty and cluster meetings.  I carry my father with me too.  He doesn’t march with me any more, not in form, but he is there in spirit and I remember his feet, his calloused feet he brought back form Alabama and the promises I made to them.  I will always remember those feet.

Alfred M. Loeb, Presente:    December 10, 1926 – October 25, 2006


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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.


Sherry A. Weinman

President, Los Angeles Chapter

American Jewish Committee


Cc: Stephen Seal, Human Rights Committee Chair


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“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:  https://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):


For a list of blacklisted 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.


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.


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.


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


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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: https://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: https://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2006/10/15/emergency-huma…mittee-meeting, at the bottom of the post.


  1. the email announcing the meeting, which can be found at: https://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



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. 






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.



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.






——– 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)


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



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)


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


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


Homies Unidos

Tia Chucha’s


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


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



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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Dialectics of a change in policy

Progressive Politics and Labor Democracy


Q: When is free speech NOT free speech?

A: When it threatens the leadership of the Union.

Cafe Intifada has place in bold and italics, those portions of Duffy’s statements that CI wishes to highlight.



Letter 1: The HRC web page had been linked to the UTLA web page via a page titled “Human Rights Committee.  This first letter was  posted on October 3, 2006 to the UTLA Web page that had connected to the HRC’s Web page.  UTLA cuts the link to the “outside page” of the HRC, but not to other outside pages, like the LAUSD.  Nonetheless, defending union democracy and refusing to cancel the BDS meeting. 

I have recently become aware of certain activities of concern related to the Human Rights Committee website. Please note that the activities of the Human Rights and other UTLA Committees, while part of UTLA, are not necessarily representative of UTLA policy nor are they sponsored by UTLA.

Therefore, I have decided to eliminate any links from UTLA Committee pages to outside websites. I apologize for any confusion this has created.

I will not interject my personal feelings into this matter and will simply remind you that this is a democratic union in a democratic nation and I will not sponsor censorship. As incensed as you or I might be, I would hope you would be ten times as incensed if I started to determine who can and who cannot speak on issues in our committees. The UTLA Human Rights Committee is one of 33 UTLA standing committees.

I encourage Jewish organizations to contact the Human Rights Committee to express their concerns and arrange for a presentation of their views.

Contact Stephen Seal, Human Rights Committee Chair at srs1984@lausd.k12.ca.us


A.J. Duffy

UTLA president


2. Press Statement; October 5, 2006, Canceling the Meeting in a “Democratic” Union: Open Debate Only On Issues That Are Not Emotional or Divisive.  

                                              For immediate release


Media Contact:  Marla Eby

      UTLA Communications Director


                                                 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.


3.  Letter #2  Posted to the UTLA Web Page, and Sent to LAUSD School Sites, and Every Teacher’s Mailbox on October 16, 2006: Becoming Everything the Progressive Slate Fought Against For Years:  Out of International Affairs and back to Union Basics: Contract Negotiations At All Cost.

Note: to say that Duffy “sat in” on the Human Rights Committee meeting, is an extreme understatement. He called the meeting, strategized before the meeting with key members and other leadership figures in UTLA, and  directed the outcome.   At the very least, the meeting was going to result in disassociation from “fringe” “extremist” groups, such as Cafe Intifada and from CI founder, Emma Rosenthal, and would produce the statement for the web page.  


Duffy on the Human Rights Committee controversy

The recent firestorm surrounding the Human Rights Committee’s decision to host an extremist pro-Palestinian group’s meeting at UTLA headquarters has taken on global proportions.

We have received hundreds of emails and phone calls overwhelmingly opposed to this meeting. It has unfortunately diverted our attention from contract mobilization.

First, let me be perfectly clear: UTLA nor the Human Rights Committee endorses boycotts of or divestment in Israel. However, I am mindful of the fact that perception often becomes reality in the mind’s eye of some.

On a personal note, because as president I have taken the brunt of the anger, I feel I have the right to state my personal view. Many of you know that I am Jewish and a supporter of Israel. I had family who were slaughtered in the Holocaust. But my personal views cannot guide my judgment as president concerning our union. I must be guided by you, and I have never been more mindful of your concerns.

I have dealt with the issue in what I feel is a fair and even-handed way. I have cut the links between the UTLA website and the Human Rights Committee website. I also canceled the meeting in question from our building.

On October 13, I sat in on a meeting of the Human Rights Committee. At that meeting an overwhelming majority of its members indicated that they understood the damage done to our organization and agreed to take steps to make course corrections in the direction the committee is going. In this matter, they showed themselves to be thoughtful and agreed to take steps to heal the wounds that have occurred.

They agreed to shut down their website and send no further messages except to committee members internally. They further agreed to post a message on the website indicating that the Human Rights Committee will go through a month-long (or longer if necessary) process of self-evaluation concerning the committee’s core beliefs and to chart a different course for their work. I will also convene a meeting of all UTLA committee chairs with our lawyers to review current guidelines and possibly suggest changes and/or modifications to our committees’ rules of operation, which would then be presented to our House of Representatives for their review and approval.

Some angry UTLA members have demanded that I shut down the Human Rights Committee. I must point out that I am not an all-powerful potentate. UTLA has a constitution that guides me in determining what I can and can’t do.

I am proud to say that the Human Rights Committee made the decisions it did after thoughtful, calm debate with an understanding that we must keep our eye on the prize: Our contract mobilization. Nothing is more important.

The distractions of the past month only help our nemesis: the bloated LAUSD bureaucracy. We must put our differences aside and unite in order to stop the bureaucrats from nickel and diming us on salary and to implement class-size reduction and achieve genuine administrative support for teachers and health and human services professionals who are making a difference in classrooms and school sites around the District.


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1. Steve Seal’s OFFICIAL public statement, posted to the UTLA web page, regarding the controversy at UTLA- October 11, 2006.

2. Steve Seal’s email to the Human Rights Committee internal list serve, posted on October 6, 2006.

3. The original email Steve Seal sent to the list serve on September 14, 2006, along with SDS/MDS’s request for a meeting space.


Please note, my commentary, in italics, bold and parenthesis.

-Emma Rosenthal Café Intifada


1. Steve’s Public  “Clarification”, posted to the UTLA Web Page.

HRC Clarification

As Chairperson of the UTLA Human Rights Committee, I am writing to clarify the matter of a meeting of the Movement for a Democratic Society. That group placed a request to a member of the committee for a meeting venue. (It has been the custom of committees to request space for student groups who need a meeting place). The HRC did not provide space for a “Rally”, nor take a position on any anti-Israel action.

(By not stating who the” member of the committee” is, he leaves it up to the imagination of the readers. The actual chronology of events is that Larry Lambert of SDS/MDS, contacted Steve Seal with a request for a meeting place, and Steve was the member of the Committee who posted the request to the HRC list. -Cafe Intifada)

  Our secretary has affirmed that there is nothing in the minutes of the Human Rights Committee giving support, endorsement, co-hosting or any other permission to the MDS. The issue is not reflected in any minutes over the past few months. An email was sent to members on our list, asking them if they wished to provide space for that group to meet. Six people responded, three of them requesting more information. On the basis of this slim response, a room seating no more than 30 persons at the UTLA building, was requested for the group.

(The committee has frequently made decision via its listserve, otherwise, why have a listserve? Only two HRC members declined to be on the listserve, while often HRC meetings fail to obtain even 50% attendance. Information provided via listserve makes HRC decisions accessible to a greater number of members. When the original inquiry went out, there were no votes in opposition, and the decision to hold the meeting was affirmed by Steve, as Chair.  -Cafe Intifada)

  The reference in the LA Times that “the Human Rights Committee of UTLA had announced it would be a co-host of the rally (!)….and support a boycott against Israel” is totally false, and apparently based on a flier issued by the MDS.

(The use of the word “apparently” is extremely misleading. While we were all surprised by the L.A. Times headline, there is no evidence that SDS/MDS ever issued any leaflet; the only publicity they circulated was via email, clearly calling for meeting, not a rally, to discuss BDS. Despite repeated assertions by some UTLA activists, to the contrary, no leaflet, was ever produced. The word ‘rally” either came from the imagination of the LA Times or the UTLA leadership. No one holds a rally indoors in a room for 30 people. No one needs permission from UTLA to hold one outside on the sidewalk, where rallies are consistently held. -Cafe Intifada)

When the purpose of the meeting came to light, both UTLA and the Human Rights Committee cancelled permission to meet at UTLA. (The Human Rights Committee NEVER voted to cancel the meeting. The decision to cancel the meeting was made by President Duffy, who consulted with selected HRC members. The purpose of the meeting was never obscured. It was always clearly to discuss BDS.) The Human Rights Committee has never participated in a meeting or action without the approval of a majority of the HRC or on an issue not presented to the House Governing Body of UTLA.

(The role of committees within the union is essentially to bring new ideas to the house governing body. The only way to do that with the support of the majority of a committee is by meeting, either in person or via phone, letter or email. This statement is not only misleading but totally misrepresents the relationship between committees and the UTLA House or Reps.-Cafe Intifada)

The Human Rights Committee is proud of its unblemished record of over 25 years holding conferences and engaging in educational activities that support the human rights of our students and community. It would never be our policy to tackle an issue that has not been previously discussed by the House of UTLA and the membership of the Human Rights Committee, nor would we touch a controversial issue without advance planning and making certain that all sides of the issue are presented in a secure environment.

(This is patently untrue. The HRC does not bring in captains of industry to counter opposition to educational privatization, never invited Coca Cola executives to defend their position in Colombia, to counter the assertion by the committee that the union boycott Coca Cola products. The Human Rights Committee never hosted a speaker from the Salvadoran embassy or the U.S. State Department to counter the work of the Committee against U.S. intervention in Central America, including two conferences, and at least two publications. The Human Rights Committee never invited members of the armed services to argue the merits of militarizing the schools. Nor did the committee ever offer a place at the table for opponents to Fidel Castro or the current Cuban regime. In fact the only area of study in which we have provided broader debate has been the issue of Palestinian human rights, by including a member of the Jewish Labor Committee on a panel at one conference, as well as the showing of the film, Crossing the Line, Voices of Palestinians and Israelis, which provided voices of Israelis and Palestinians, across a spectrum of ideas.-Cafe Intifada)

We will not back away from important issues, but we certainly intend to take control of determining our issues, any support to outside groups, and how this is decided in the future.

Sincerely, Steve Seal,

Chairperson Human Rights Committee


2. Steve’s email to the Committee listserve:

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: [utla-hrc-discussion] re: developments

Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 19:44:30 -0700

From: steve seal

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

“steve seal” To: hrc-disc

Well it has been a busy couple of days! Duffy contacted me this week about the controversies surrounding this meeting and he had also been in contact with others on this committee. On Thursday there was an urgent push to pull the meeting from UTLA grounds and I supported this move. I had already contacted Larry Lambert so that he knew that he might have to start to look for a new venue as a courtesy. The reason that I supported this was stated in my last e-mail about picking our battles. I want to just go over the timeline so all know what occurred regarding this meeting that has caused so much attention and how we got involved. We got an e-mail from the group who wanted to use the building to have a meeting and I sent out a call on our list if this was anything we could get behind. Some members responded that it was and Andy knew some of the members from other organizations we work with so it seemed solid. I made it clear that I would not be able to take part in this due to other constraints and told others to go ahead and look into a room. The committee did so and it was advertised and here we are today. I just wanted to let everyone know how we got involved in the first place. This was not to be something that we were going to be fully involved in from the start. We were just allowing a group with ties to our committee a place–as we have done with many other community groups and will do in the future. I think that it is very unfortunate that this has been blown out of proportion and that there has been undue pressure placed on all involved. I think we need to move beyond this situation and place our energy behind our conference with CAMS in November. This meeting was not going to be a major focus of our work, nor was it being run by anyone in our committee directly–we just got a room. I hope I stop getting the hate mail soon and that we can learn from this that we need to have direct association with groups and our committee for future events.

With great respect for you all,




3. Steve’s email, posted to the listserve, with the SDS/MDS request for a meeting space.

From: “steve seal”

To: “hrc-disc”

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

Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 21:03:16 -0700

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


—– Original Message —–


Cc: Steve Seal Sent:

Thursday, September 14, 2006 8:24 PM Subject: Re: [Al-Awda-Los-Angeles]


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 (SDS). 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

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