Archive for April, 2007

Support the Rights of People With Disabilities!

<> While over 80 countries are now signatories of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified on March 30, 2007, the U.S, as it has with so many international treaties, refused to sign.  I have signed this petition, and encourage others to do so, but feel it is necessary to state, lest I contribute to the myth that the U.S. is some great world leader in all that is just and good; that of all the human rights legislation in this country, the ADA is by far the weakest, with the most wiggle room and no enforcement except via lawsuits by those who have been discriminated against.  While it may have been a landmark decision when it was enacted, as it pertains to the rights of PWD (people with disabilities) in that prior to its passage, there were NO rights; it is hardly sufficient.  It is a weak law with huge loopholes, no enforcement and grave omissions.   Furthermore, if in fact the U.S. is a leader in human rights, it is due to the blood, sweat and tears and the insistence of the people of the US, that human rights are essential fabrics of the body politic.  Every human rights battle waged in this country has banged up against the brutality and the resistance of the American ruling class and contended with bitter divisions within the working class as we all struggled for crumbs in this land of wealth and plenty.   The truth is that the US government, industry and military are hardly the arbiters of human rights, but rather the violators of human rights both nationally and internationally; leading the path of resistance to any significant change, any movement for social justice, and hope for a better life for millions of people worldwide who are simply the cannon fodder, the cogs in the machine of American expansion and corporate greed.

I encourage you all to read the text of the declaration; it is quite significant.   (See link below.)  Also, scroll down and read how you can join grassroots efforts to support this treaty.  Provided below is the text of a resolution passed by the city of Santa Cruz, that can be adjusted for any local government, chamber of commerce (if you can GET your chamber of commerce to support disability rights!)  union, political party, church, synagogue, mosque and temple, and stand (or sit) with your brothers, sisters, friends, coworkers and neighbors who have disabilities and support our rights.

Emma Rosenthal
Cafe Intifada

AAPD logo

Dear President Bush,

History was made on March 30, 2007 when over eighty countries signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN signing ceremony. The fastest negotiated international human rights treaty ever, the Convention has enjoyed unprecedented international support and record-setting numbers of signatures. The Convention not only articulates basic rights of persons with disabilities but focuses on the actions necessary to ensure that these basic rights are more than hollow declarations.

When President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990, he established the U.S. as a world leader in the global fight for the rights of people with disabilities. When he signed the ADA, your father declared, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

As a result of leadership with the ADA, that wall has been crumbling… bit by bit, and the landscape for people with disabilities has experienced radical transformation here in America. Yet, for most of the more than 650 million people with disabilities worldwide, that wall is as strong as ever. Eighty percent of the world’s disabled live in developing countries, many in destitute circumstances, and they demand the liberation of a transformative law that can point the way toward true equality and full participation in society. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity for those tides of change.

At this most crucial moment, we call upon you to continue the legacy your father began. We call upon you to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to allow the United States to continue its leadership role as a global champion for the human rights of people with disabilities.

The Undersigned

To sign the petition, click here

Background Information:

* Text of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
* Disabled Peoples’ International Online Ratification Toolkit

Action Alerts:

* Generate local support for the U.S. to sign the Convention

Action Alert: Help Induce US to Sign UN Convention
Date Mailed: Monday, April 2nd 2007 04:45 PM

Action Alert: Help Induce US to Sign UN Convention

Help build bottom-up support for the UN Convention on Human Rights
for Persons with Disabilities

Friday, March 30 was the first day countries around the world had
an opportunity to sign the UN Convention on Human Rights for
Persons with Disabilities – the first international convention
EVER to comprehensively address the rights of people with
disabilities. And while 81 countries did proudly sign at the
signing ceremony in New York City, the United States was not
amongst them  despite the U.S.’s historic role as a leader in the
field of disability and human rights!

Let’s get to work to change this!!

You can help generate bottom-up support to help make the case to
the President and the Administration that signing this core
international human rights convention is a must! You can do this
by working right where you are by encouraging your local and state
governmental bodies and organizations to pass supporting
resolutions endorsing the UN Convention on Human Rights for
Persons with Disabilities.

We’re seeing this happen in California, and we’d like to see
similar efforts spread across the country. The City Council of
Santa Cruz, California was the first to take action by passing a
resolution in support of the Convention and now the County of
Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, and, not to be outdone, the City
and County of San Francisco are working on resolutions, as well.


WHO: Get your phone books out and flip to the blue pages in the
front, or go to http://www.whitepages.com. Once on whitepages.com, enter
“Government Offices” under the “Business Category” section, and
then simply enter your city and state. You’ll get quite a list of

Here are some examples of who might be appropriate to contact in
your area to help generate bottom-up support for the UN Convention
on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities:

1. Local cities, counties, towns, and other municipalities

2. Local, state, and national organizations that focus on civil
and human rights

3. Local disability boards and commissions


1. Call the offices of these local and state governments,
commissions, boards, and organizations and ask to speak to the
staff person who handles policy matters or public affairs.

2. Tell them:

– You were disappointed that the United States did not sign the
UN Convention on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities
at the signing ceremony on March 30, and you want to ensure
that they U.S. does sign in coming days.

– You believe they can play a leadership role in making the
case to the President and the Administration that signing the
Convention is entirely consistent with American values and
with the Americans with Disabilities Act by passing their own
supporting resolutions endorsing the Convention.

– Other local governments have begun to do this and you’re
happy to offer them what one City Council wrote as a
resolution as an example (see the Santa Cruz resolution below
as a suggested model).

3. If they are interested in seeing the Santa Cruz resolution as
an example, give them the web address where they can view the
resolution online
or offer to email them a copy of the Santa Cruz resolution that
is found below (simply cut and paste that portion of the action
alert into an email).

4. Send Sylvia Caras the information of your successful attempts
to make this happen. Email her at sylvia@peoplewho.org. Sylvia
is a Representative on the International Disability Caucus
Steering Committee for the North America Region, and she will
keep track of these efforts. We’ll use the information to make
our case to the President and his Administration that the
Convention is widely supported across the country and that the
United States should not delay in signing!


To read the text of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities, go to:

For more information on the background of the CRPD, why it is
important, how it was negotiated, and the signature and
ratification process, please see the Disabled Peoples’
International online Ratification Toolkit, available here:




WHEREAS, historically, persons with disabilities have been
marginalized, stigmatized and deprived of opportunities and
freedoms afforded to individual without disabilities; and

WHEREAS, on December 13, 2006, the United Nations General
Assembly adopted by consensus a landmark treaty, the Convention
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to promote and
protect the rights of the world’s 650 million disabled people;

WHEREAS, the Convention was the most rapidly negotiated human
rights treaty in the history of international law; and

WHEREAS, the Convention is the first human rights treaty of the
21st century; and

WHEREAS, the Convention will require ratifying nations “to
promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all
human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with
disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity”
and promote awareness of the capabilities of those who are
disabled; and

WHEREAS, the Convention also requires governments to fight
stereotypes of people with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the Convention also recognizes that attitudes need to
change if disabled people are to achieve equality; and

WHEREAS, the City of Santa Cruz quickly complied with the
regulations for governments when the Americans with Disabilities
Act was enacted in 1990; and

WHEREAS, in the 2000 Census, 7,800 City residents reported a
disability, which is approximately 15 percent of the City’s
total population.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City
of Santa Cruz that it supports this Convention, endorses
equality of opportunity, and will continue to be responsive to
and inclusive of people with disabilities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council does hereby
authorize the Mayor to communicate the City’s support of the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Acting U.S.
Representative to the United Nations, Alejandro D. Wolff and
urge ratification of the Convention by the United States .

PASSED AND ADOPTED this 23rd day of January, 2007.

Source: AAPD
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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Harvard Law Professor Works to Disrupt Tenure Bid of Longtime Nemesis at DePaul U.


The highly public feud between Norman G. Finkelstein of DePaul University and Harvard Law School’s Alan M. Dershowitz has taken an unusual procedural twist, with Mr. Dershowitz attempting to weigh in on Mr. Finkelstein’s bid for tenure at DePaul.

How Mr. Dershowitz’s move will play out remains to be seen. Mr. Finkelstein’s department supported his tenure bid, but the dean of his college has refused to support him. A final decision is expected next month.

There’s no love lost between Mr. Finkelstein, an assistant professor of political science, and Mr. Dershowitz, a law professor. The two scholars have attacked each other repeatedly in the past few years, hurling accusations of plagiarism and polemicism at one another.

They’ve taken adversarial stances on such issues as the Israel lobby, anti-Semitism, and what Mr. Finkelstein terms “the Holocaust industry.” Mr. Dershowitz threatened to take legal action against the University of California Press if Mr. Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (2005) went to print with allegations that Mr. Dershowitz plagiarized portions of his 2003 book The Case for Israel (The Chronicle, July 22, 2005).

Last fall, with Mr. Finkelstein up for tenure, Mr. Dershowitz sent the DePaul law school faculty and members of the political-science department what he described, in a letter dated October 3, as a “dossier of Norman Finkelstein’s most egregious academic sins, and especially his outright lies, misquotations, and distortions.”

“I hope that this will serve as an introduction and primer to the so-called scholarship that Finkelstein will present this term as he is considered for tenure,” Mr. Dershowitz wrote.

Mr. Finkelstein said in an interview on Monday that Mr. Dershowitz had embarked on “this frenetic and relentless campaign to deny me tenure.”

“He sent to every member of the law school … a dossier which came, I think, to about 50 pages, leveling or, I should say, recycling all of the allegations he’s been putting forth for the past couple of years. And he sent a copy of that dossier to every member of my department.”

The packet included what Mr. Dershowitz’s letter called “some of the lies I am absolutely confident that Finkelstein told” on such points as Israeli torture and whether or not Mr. Dershowitz writes his own books.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday with The Chronicle, Mr. Dershowitz confirmed that he had sent the information to “everybody who would read it.” He said he had compiled the material at the request of some two dozen DePaul students, alumni, and faculty members who were alarmed at the prospect of Mr. Finkelstein’s receiving tenure.

Asked what he hoped to accomplish, he said, “Revealing the truth — all I’m doing is disclosing the truth.”

Mr. Dershowitz continued, “It would be a disgrace to DePaul University if they were to grant tenure. It would make them the laughing stock of American universities. … His scholarship is no more than ad hominem attacks on his ideological enemies.”

He added, “I think, by every standard, he’s worse than Ward Churchill. … He’s a propagandist, not a scholar.”

Given Mr. Dershowitz’s history of clashes with Mr. Finkelstein, some might conclude that the matter had by now become more personal than professional. Mr. Dershowitz denied that. “For me, it’s not personal. It’s institutional.” He said that Mr. Finkelstein sent “a message to other pro-Israel writers: If you dare write anything scholarly in favor of Israel, I will call you names, I will call you a plagiarist.”

Mr. Dershowitz’s involvement has stirred serious concern among the DePaul faculty.

Gil Gott, a professor of international studies at DePaul who is chairman of its Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Faculty Governance Council, said in an e-mail message on Wednesday that the council had taken up the matter at its November 17, 2006, meeting. (Mr. Gott was not then chair of the council.)

According to the minutes of the session, the council voted unanimously to authorize a letter to DePaul’s president, Dennis H. Holtschneider, and the university’s provost, Helmut P. Epp, along with the president of Harvard University and the dean of Harvard Law school. The letter was to express “the council’s dismay at Professor Dershowitz’s interference in Finkelstein’s tenure and promotion case” and also to explain “that the sanctity of the tenure and promotion process is violated by Professor Dershowitz’s emails.”

The minutes add: “A discussion followed in which members expressed their views that this was a very disturbing intrusion which attacked the sovereignty of an academic institution to govern its own affairs.”

Asked whether it was unusual for a scholar to weigh in on tenure deliberations at another university, Mr. Dershowitz responded, “What’s so unusual about a concerned academic’s objecting to his receiving tenure? He would be the first person in history ever to receive tenure based on no scholarship other than personal attacks.”

Mr. Finkelstein contacted The Chronicle last weekend to discuss his concerns about the status of his case. He said that his department had investigated Mr. Dershowitz’s claims and “concluded that none of the scholarly allegations that Dershowitz leveled against me had any merit.”

But he added: “DePaul is in a growth mode, and they see me as an albatross because they’re getting all this negative publicity because of me. And they want to get rid of me. And now the question is, what’s going to prevail? The principles of fairness, the principles of academic freedom, or power and money in the form of a mailed fist?”

According to Mr. Finkelstein and to departmental reports sent to The Chronicle, his department voted 9 to 3 in favor of granting him tenure, with the majority voicing strong support for his scholarship and giving him high marks for his pedagogy. One of the reports described him as “an outstanding teacher whose contributions to student learning and transformation are impressive.” It concluded that “while not all members of the department share a love of polemic and inflammatory rhetoric as practiced by Norman and his adversaries, there is clearly a substantial and serious record of scholarly production and achievement.”

The College Personnel Committee subsequently voted 5 to 0 in favor of tenure for Mr. Finkelstein. But Charles S. Suchar, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, shot down the recommendation in a March 22, 2007, memo, a copy of which was also obtained by The Chronicle.

In language similar to that used by Mr. Dershowitz, the dean wrote, “I find the personal attacks in many of Dr. Finkelstein’s published books to border on character assassination and, in my opinion, they embody a strategy clearly aimed at destroying the reputation of many who oppose his views.”

Because the process is not yet complete, the DePaul administration has not made a public statement about Mr. Finkelstein’s case.

“No comment at this time,” Mr. Suchar wrote in an e-mail message. “The promotion and tenure review process is still under way, and final decisions are not expected until mid- to late May.” The final decision on whether Mr. Finkelstein receives tenure rests with the provost and president of the university.

            We Support A Fair Tenure Process for Dr. Norman Finkelstein

We endorse the We Support A Fair Tenure Process for Dr. Norman Finkelstein Petition to DePaul University.
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KPFK and Radio Intifada are under attack.

Three area supermarkets are being campaigned to stop supporting the radio station for the very same reasons that Cafe Intifada, (no relation to Radio Intifada) SDS and the UTLA Human Rights Committee came under attack: for allegedly supporting terrorism, anti-Semitism and being anti-Israel. Gelson’s supermarket posted an apology to its webpage, for supporting KPFK, claiming that it did not know that KPFK was  “anti-Israel,” and that the employee responsible for the decision to make a food donation during the last fund drive, had been reprimanded!  They have removed the apology from the web page, but I understand that they won’t be making donations to KFPK in the future.    Gelsons and Trader Joes have taken their names off of the list of donors to KPFK.  Whole Foods, which sells Israeli products, may well, also buckle under the pressure.

The campaign to limit speech in the press, the schools, our unions, is  launched by well endowed, corporate funded, right wing non-profit organizations, seeking  to eliminate all discussion on Israeli human rights violations and paint any organization that wishes to humanize the Palestinian people or acknowledged their human rights, as extremist and fringe. Any use of the Arabic word; “intifada”, which simply means “to shake off” and has come to mean “uprising”, which includes all resistance to oppression, including non-violent resistance, is quickly exploited by this campaign, and equated with terrorism.  That so many react so viscerally to this word only highlights the general fear and bigotry against Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular.  One wonders how students in Arab countries would study the Shoah, without this word.  The entire Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (in Arabic: intifada Warsaw) could not be discussed without this word.

This right wing, pro-imperialist campaign exploits and perpetuates the fears of persecution and genocide within the Jewish community, and the fear of being called anti-Semitic in the general public,  in the service of militarism and western imperialism.  Unfortunately the leadership of UTLA (many of whom also hail from similarly “extremist” organizations and tendencies)  and several members of the Human Rights Committee, submitted to this campaign, blocked an open meeting to discuss boycott, sanctions and divestiture and supported calls (and letters)  to distance themselves from Cafe Intifada and other “extremist, fringe” groups, significantly limiting the scope and efficacy of the Human Rights Committee for years to come.   Some of these activists within UTLA were worried about losing votes in upcoming elections, guarding their privileged positions, or protecting their own narrow, and often single issue political agenda, and some were simply unwilling to take on the behemoth of the Simon Weisenthal Center, the ADL or Stand With Us,  or  to begin the task of deconstructing the difference between critiquing Israeli policy or zionism and real instances of racism, against Jews or anyone else.

It is important to see this campaign for what it is: a means by which those in power, manipulate the working class against its own interests, marginalizing  activists who take a stand, convincing others to ally themselves with reactionary forces in the hope of maintaining a donor base, a broad constituency or simply to avoid controversy.

It is very important to RESIST, RESIST, RESIST any and all attempts to thwart community dialogue, free speech and human rights, no matter how inconvenient or controversial.



http://www.pragmaticview.com/?cat=17  (This site also includes the Gelson’s letter.)

Provide your own feedback to Gelsons:


Here’s my message to Gelsons:

Due to your reactionary response to an unethical campaign to thwart free speech at KPFK; a well respected and important community asset and resource, I have decided not to do any of my Passover shopping at your store this year.  Palestinian human rights are essential to any discussion of human rights.  Many members of the Jewish community, myself included, feel very strongly that, especially during the week of Passover; the celebration of freedom and liberation, that supporting and recognizing the important of universal human rights is essential to the freedom and
survival of every and all peoples.

Emma Rosenthal

What follows is an announcement for an upcoming program of KPFK’s Radio Intifada, which has been specifically targeted by this campaign.

Emma Rosenthal
Cafe Intifada

Voices from Kolkata to Casablanca
Voices of struggle, Voices for change

Thursday, April 5,  2007,  3-4pm


In remembrance of Deir Yassin & Land Day,
Celebrating Free Speech Radio
On April 9, 1948, 124 Palestinians in the village of DeirYassin outside Jeruslaem were massacred in a prelude to what Palestinians call the nakba – the catastrophe – that led to the expulsion and flight of 750,000 Palestinians from what became Israel. 28 years later, on March 30th, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed and 100 injured as they went on strike against massive land confiscations in the Galilee,

This week’s program,commemorates those events with a focus on the ongoing struggle for peace and justice waged on the ground by Palestinians, Israelis and internationals – and their refusal to be silenced.

In the face of recent, vicious attacks on Radio Intifada and KPFK – accusing us of being anti-Semitic – RADIO INTIFADA is proud to again present the voices of Palestinians and Israelis not heard in mainstream media. We will not be silenced and we will not participate in the silencing of Palestinians and Israelis who speak out against the Israeli violation of human rights, UN resolutions and international law.

For more information on the attack on Radio Intifada, go to the website of the group that has launched this attack: http://www.geocities.com/truthmasters/jointheboycott.htm
GM Eva Georgia will be airing an editorial at the end of Radio Intifada, and this attack on KPFK will be discussed in the Report to the Listeners, Friday, April 6th, 5pm. Keep up to date on the issue by checking out the KPFK website. In the meantime, speak out/stand up for FREE SPEECH RADIO yourselves – write Gelson’s, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods in support of KPFK and the kind of programming we do here; and send letters of support to the station.

So Emma did not shop for Passover at Gelsons, big deal! I know for fact of many dozens who stopped shopping altogether at Whole Foods and now Wild Oats, some even divested. Am Israel Chai!
Posted by Man deVoshkes on 04/19/2007 03:27:42 PM

gelson’s was right to drop kpfk…. they are anti-Israel extremists…..and anti-semitic too
Posted by eyesopen on 05/15/2007 04:04:57 PM

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