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
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.
- 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.
- 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.)