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.