To reach the Human Rights Committee, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact President Duffy, call: 213-368-6245 Email: email@example.com
Below is an email sent out by Andy Griggs, along with much of the documentation of the decision to host and then cancel a meeting. In addition to what Andy says below, I would like to add that President Duffy has curtailed the Committee’s right to hold meetings in the future and to host a web page. He met with the same group of censors and political hacks that recently lost their attack on Maher Hathout and MPAC. They have made it quite clear that their next issue is an upcoming class to be held at the UTLA office, taught by the AFSC, which they characterize as anti-Israel.
It is also important to note that while none of the organizations that met with Duffy (the World Zionist Organization, the American Jewish Congress (purchaser of massive Caterpillar stock and with very close ties to Stand with Us) the (let’s spy for the FBI on human rights groups– including groups opposed to apartheid in South Africa) ADL, the Simon Weisenthal Center, ( host of the Museum of (IN) tolerance) never hold “balanced” programs on the Middle East, they have demanded that UTLA design such a program.
Originally President Duffy was merely pressuring the Human Rights Committee to hold a forum that would provide all points of view, but he caved and succumbed to outside zionist pressure. (Had he met with a group of concerned teachers, opposed to the meeting that would be a different story.)
It should be noted that the original meeting involved a request for a room for 30 people. (Where the L.A. Times got the idea that it was a rally is beyond me!!! Who has a rally inside in a small meeting room?) The purpose of the meeting was to discuss divestiture, sanctions and boycotts. It would have allowed full and open discussion, so any one in attendance could certainly have voiced an opinion one way or the other.
Duffy made no attempt to meet with any other community organizations or individuals, including the conveners of the meeting. He simply took the word of the Zionist organizations at face value that any criticism of Israeli brutality is anti-Semitic, that any support of non-violent resistance is terrorist.
Not only does this show poor political judgment, but following so closely on the heels of the recent battle over the human rights award by the L.A. Human Rights Commission, shows a lack of concern for or clarity of central issues in Los Angeles politics and the issues of dialogue and discourse.
How can the teachers of Los Angeles be expected to teacher accurately and responsibly on the issues of the Middle East if they are not allowed to explore those issues in their own union hall and are dictated what to say by the perpetrators of brutality and censorship?
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: UTLA Human Rights Committee Under Attack
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 12:22:51 EDT
Some of you, particularly in California, may have hear about the controversy surrounding the UTLA Human Rights Committee hosting a meeting of Movement for a Democratic Society in the UTLA Building. The meeting was promoted as one to discuss possible boycotts divestiture and sanctions re: Israel and its treatment of Palestine. Needless to say, this blew up both witnin the union and outside it. Below is bit of summary and some of the key documents and arguments going on.
UTLA Human Rights Committee agreed to host (not endorse or support or sponsor) a meeting of Movement for a Democratic Society at the UTLA Building. In its promotion, it was stated that the purpose of the meeting was to organize a boycott, divestiture, and sanctions against Israel.
Needless to say, a firestorm of protest and vitriole was unleashed by the Zionists. Ultimately our president pulled the meeting, supposedly after consulting with the HRC membership (10 out of 26 members). Below is the
1) meeting announcement –
2) the original post by UTLA after the initial attacks
3) something sent out by a local activist to counter the attacks
4) the final cancellation press release.
MDS/SDS Announcement of Event
1) Please join the Los Angeles Chapter of Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) in launching a local boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign in support of the Palestinian people.
WHEN Saturday, October 14 , 2006 1 PM to 3 PM
WHERE United Teachers of Los Angeles Headquarters 3303 Wilshire Blvd ( 2 blocks west of Vermont )
Los Angeles, CA 90010
To support the Palestinian people in their decades long struggle against Israeli aggression, dispossession and oppression . The Israeli government has systematically and continuously violated UN resolutions and international law in its treatment of the Palestinian people. When Israel was created in 1948, 75% of the Palestinians were forcibly dispossessed of their lands and forced into exile. Then in 1967, Israel illegally occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank, Jordan Valley and Gaza. Palestinians within Israel are forced to live as third class citizens without civil rights and face legal, economic and social discrimination. Palestinians in the Occupied Territories fare even worse since Israel illegally subjects them to demolitions, closures, curfews and checkpoints ; extra-judicial detentions, kidnappings and assassinations ; military attacks against towns and camps ; racist , apartheid policies and programs. In addition, Israel continues to illegally seize Palestinian land and annex it to Israel and currently is constructing an immense concrete wall to protect illegal Israeli settlements and to isolate and divide Palestinian towns.
Israel’s apartheid and racist system of oppression closely resembles that which South Africa once had but which was eventually abolished in large part due to an international grassroots, activist movement to stop financial support of the regime.
A similar campaign to support the Palestinian people has been endorsed by over 150 organizations world-wide. We in Los Angeles can join this world-wide effort to bring justice to the Palestinian people through :
Boycott ( not buying Israeli products/services and boycotting companies that are invested in Israel or Israeli owned companies with a presence in Los Angeles )
Divestment ( stopping capital investment by companies doing business in Israel and by stopping trade unions , local / state governments ,churches and universities from investing their pension / endowment funds in Israeli companies , US companies invested in Israel or companies supplying Israel with military weapons )
Sanctions ( working to end US government foreign and military aid to Israel and impose a trade embargo )
Meeting Sponsored by : Los Angeles Chapter of MDS
Meeting Endorsed by : Los Angeles Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee
Meeting Hosted by : UTLA Human Rights Committee
2) UTLA President DuffY’s Letter:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org>
(Emphasis; Cafe Intifada)
I ENCOURAGE YOU TO RESPOND TO THIS REQUEST! An important controversy has erupted at UnitedTeachers Los Angeles
<>around the activities of the<> Human Rights Committee. As a charter member of the union, now retired, I continue to be interested in the developments of this wonderful union. On October 14, 2006, the Human Rights Committee is
hosting, as it has done for many community groups, a meeting of SDS/MDS to discuss the issue of divestiture and boycott of Israel for human rights abuses.
It should be clarified that this is not a sponsored event of the Human Rights Committee. The Committee is simply providing a room so that the group can meet.
The Human Rights Committee has taken on many controversial issues over the years and needs our support.
Currently the president of UTLA; A.J. Duffy is only hearing from Zionist groups such as the American Jewish Congress and Stand With Us, as well as from community members and teachers, who have launched a massive phone campaign, complaining about the upcoming meeting and demanding that the meeting be canceled and accusing the Human Rights Committee of being
anti-Semitic, supporting terrorism and being unbalanced.
It is the intent of groups like the American Jewish Congress and Stand With Us, while insisting that the Human Rights Committee be “balanced” in their presentation, that no dialogue on this issue bepermitted at all.
President Duffy has issued the following letter in response to these complaints. (See below) and to date, much to his credit, has not canceled the
meeting, though immense pressure is being brought to bear on the Committee to do so. He has cut the link from the UTLA website to the Human Rights Committee
web site http://home.earthlink.net/~utlahrc/ and has instructed them not to link to ANY outside groups. (Which could greatly impair their ability to
collaborate with many of the members and organizationsof our community.)
President Duffy, in response to complaints he has received, has indicated in his letter that Jewish organizations should contact the Human Rights
Committee and voice their concerns. It is important that the Human Rights Committee and President Duffy hear from the entire human rights community as well, including the numerous Jewish activists and organizations who stand in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters.
Key talking points:
1. Support the courageous work of the UTLA Human
Rights Committee in addressing the issue of
Palestinian human rights and encourage the Committee
and UTLA not to back down due to pressure from people
who do not want these important issues addressed.
2. The Human Rights Committee is well recognized for
its work towards universal human rights and social
justice for all, even when a specific population is
unpopular within a segment of the American public;
that supporting Palestinian rights is no different
than supporting the rights of any other population,
and that to do so does not diminish any other group or
their rights, nor does the
3. Condemn anti-Jewish racism, but assert that holding
Israel up to the Geneva Convention, and the United
Nations Declaration of Human Rights is not
anti-Semitic, but consistent with the other issues
addressed by the Human Rights Committee. That within
the scope of the issues addressed by this committee,
to NOT address the issue of Palestinian human rights
would single out Israel for lack of scrutiny.
4. Maintain that supporting the rights of Palestinians
to organize labor unions, go to school and work, buy
and build homes, move freely, have access to safe
water, to live with their families and to due legal
process and to defend their rights is not the same as
supporting terrorism. Many Palestinian labor unions
are joining in this call.
5. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have
both condemned Israel for gross human rights
violations and crimes against humanity. Bishop
Desmond Tutu has compared Israeli apartheid with South
African Apartheid and has called for boycotts and
6. If you or your organization is Jewish, please
emphasize your concern as a Jewish activist or
organization for universal human rights, that
organizations such as the American Jewish Congress
(which holds Caterpillar stock) and Stand With Us, do
not speak for all Jews and are not monolithic
representatives of the breadth of Jewish thought.
To reach the Human Rights Committee, please write to
email@example.com To contact President Duffy,
Don White, Charter Member, UTLA, retired
4) For immediate release
Media Contact: Marla Eby
UTLA Communications Director
213-368-6247 / 213-305-9310 (cell)
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.
(Emphasis: Cafe Intifada: note that the decision to cancel stands in stark contrast to Duffy’s original assertion of a democratic union and a rejection of censorship!)