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Archive for May, 2009

For those following;  Anatomy of a Blacklisting, a thread in two blogs,  return to my other blog, In Bed With Frida Kahlo, and follow the thread, starting where you left off.  It’s not perfect chronological order, though if you wanted to you could take the time to follow both blogs that way.  I think you’ll get more than the gist of what transpired though, just by following this link:  

http://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/category/utla-human-rights-committee/page/2/  . Read the posts in reverse chronological order, starting with the post:  Diary Post: Carry lots of water, and watch out for rattlesnakes.

For the introduction to this thread, go to: : https://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/anatomy-of-a-b…d-in-two-blogs/

Emma 

June 2009

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Please note the similarity of tactics and parties, here as with the situation within UTLA, the methodologies employed, rhetoric etc. to stifle debate, intimidate, limit academic (and union) freedom and free speech, to isolate dissident Jewish voices, and control the narrative in respect to Israeli policies, actions and history. When a concession is made in one instance, it empowers them the next time around.  While the impact of the decisions at UTLA impacted me, most directly, the repercussions for educators, activists and academics are extensive.  The opportunism that lead to the decision within UTLA,  to capitulate to Zionist pressure in October of 2006, resonates with the events transpiring at UCSB today.  -Cafe Intifada

 

“There’s growing division among Jews about how the U.S. should relate to Israel, and that’s intensified this ultra-Zionist campaign to discredit people critical of Israel precisely because Israel’s positions have become much more contested”   -Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights

 

Israel advocacy group “Stand With Us” pushes university administrators to investigate sociology professor

May 13, 2009
Contacts:      Daniel Olmos, (818) 468-8894, olmos@umail.ucsb.edu.
Alba Peña-Leon, (626) 665-9212, alba@umail.ucsb.edu.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.  The international pro-Israel organization “Stand With Us” is spearheading an aggressive public campaign to push administrators and faculty at the University of California at Santa Barbara to investigate sociology professor William I. Robinson for “anti-Semitism.”

The organization has set up a Web site to rally other pro-Israel organizations and individuals to pressure UCSB officials through public statements and letters to the chancellor and the Academic Senate. The group has recruited UCSB donors to write letters, some of which threaten to withdraw support for the university.

The Web site and letter campaign comes on top of direct pressure from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), whose national director, Abraham Foxman, met in March with university officials and faculty to demand that administrators censor Robinson for introducing materials critical of state Israeli policies in a course on global affairs in January.

The materials included a photo essay that Robinson forwarded to students from the Internet juxtaposing images of Israeli abuse against Palestinians with Nazi abuses during the holocaust. Two students took offense at the images and withdrew from the course, prompting the ADL to pressure the university to investigate Robinson for “anti-Semitism.”

Given the pressures from Stand With Us and ADL, scholars say the pro-Israel lobby appears to be using the Robinson case to intimidate critics in general and stem rising debate on campuses about Israeli policies in the Middle East.

Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories and a visiting scholar on global studies at UCSB, said it’s part of an emerging pattern by the Israeli lobby nationwide.

“There’s growing division among Jews about how the U.S. should relate to Israel, and that’s intensified this ultra-Zionist campaign to discredit people critical of Israel precisely because Israel’s positions have become much more contested,” Falk said.

“The pressures at UCSB have the appearance of a campaign generated and orchestrated from outside the campus.”

It’s unclear what effect the pressures may have, but one Stand With Us letter — dated March 16 and posted on the organization’s Web site — suggests that Chancellor Henry Yang may have made biased comments against Robinson under pressure.

The letter is directed to Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas and was written by Stand With Us International Director Roz Rothstein, board member Howard Waldow, and sociology student Leah Yadegar. It states that Waldow, a UCSB donor, had presented a letter of concern about Robinson to Yang at a reception, and in response, the chancellor suggested that the group write to Lucas.

“Chancellor Yang directed us to you, and raised the issue of possible violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct,” reads the letter to the vice chancellor.

About a week later, the Academic Senate opened a formal investigation of Robinson.

Although the letter has been posted for weeks on the Stand With Us blog, the university has made no official statement about the chancellor’s alleged suggestion that Robinson violated the Faculty Code of Conduct.

The university’s silence prompted Mark Levine, a Jewish professor of Middle Eastern studies at UC-Irvine and a member of the California Scholars for Academic Freedom, to call for an investigation of the chancellor’s interaction with Stand With Us.
“If the letter hasn’t been refuted, then one assumes the chancellor did say those things,” Levine said. “If so, he should be investigated for violation of university procedure and academic freedom, if not removed from office.”

Others want an investigation of the ADL’s March 9 meeting on campus with UCSB officials and faculty.

The Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) sent a letter on May 8 to Academic Senate Chair Joel Michelson requesting an investigation.

“Discussing the case with ADL representatives in any manner constituted a violation of Robinson’s right to confidentiality, and opened the door to the appearance of outside influence in the adjudicatory process,” MESA wrote.

Falk said the real danger is that, even if the charges against Robinson are dismissed, the pressures by pro-Israel organizations will still have a lasting effect.

“It’s an extremely unhealthy situation for the university, which depends on an atmosphere of academic freedom to perform effectively,” Falk said. “Even if Robinson is exonerated, it will continue to intimidate people against criticizing Israel, because nobody wants to face these kinds of situations.”

The Stand With Us blog can be viewed here.

For detailed information about the Robinson case, visit the Committee to Defend Academic Freedom Web site at http://www.sb4af.wordpress.com.

For media inquiries, call Alba Peña-Leon at (626) 665-9212 or Daniel Olmos at (818) 468-8894.

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Fiesta Shalom, in celebration of Israel’s 61 years of colonialism, will take place on Sunday at the restored Breed Street Shul in East Los Angeles. It promises to be a celebration of Jewish and Latino culture.

This event includes students from LAUSD, involved in LAUSD programs, such as the Roosevelt HS mariachis!!! (With all the insistence that UTLA members exercise “balance” when discussing the issue of Palestinian human rights, one has to ask: what balance is there when school children are encouraged to participate in a propagandistic event as part of a school sanctioned activity!!!!) 

What follows are links for more information.

So far Quetzal has pulled out of the program, citing misinformation when it was first invited. 

here is their letter:

http://www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/?tag=fiesta-shalom

But…..

Richard Montoya from Culture Clash (isn’t THAT ironic!) is master of ceremonies.

Self Help Graphics, Arte Calidad and Plaza de la Raza will be providing a workshop!!!!

Danza Floricanto will be performing

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=51208&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=66057788721&aid=-1&id=1686616023&oid=66057788721

Contact info to encourage them to boycott:

::::::::
Arte Calidad Cultural Institute
519 S. Hewett St.
Los Angeles, Ca. 90013
(213) 617-0696
t.dominguez@artecalidad.org

To Contact Danza Floricanto/USA:

Please send email to: 
floricanto@earthlink.net

Plaza de la Raza:
information@plazadelaraza.org

Self Help Graphics:
info@selfhelpgraphics.com

I could not find contact info for Culture Clash. 

My letter:

I am very disappointed that you will be participating in the upcoming event “Fiesta Shalom” which celebrates Israeli “Independence” and is sponsored by the Israeli Consulate. 

Israel is a colonial settler state, with an apartheid system of segregation, with specific privileges granted on the basis of religious/ethnic identity. Israeli brutality against the indigenous Palestinian population has been well documented. 

Currently Palestinian cultural, community, educational and labor groups have called for a cultural boycott of Israel. 

Joining in this celebration gives legitimacy to Israeli brutality and supremacy. 

Already, Quetzal, who was originally scheduled to perform at this event, has pulled out.

http://www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/?tag=fiesta-shalom

As they state in the letter, improved relations between Jewish and Latino communities is a wonderful idea, but co-opting the Latino community in complicity with Israeli war crimes has little to do with improved community relations.

As a Jewish human rights activist, I encourage you to follow Quetzal’s example and withdraw from this event.

In solidarity, 
Emma Rosenthal

the event leaflet:

image001

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we received more hate mail– snail mail to our home address – an anonymous letter, to andy, with an ann coulter article on torture. –someone letting us know, they know where we are. let them know, we have surveillance cameras and other security precautions.

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The Counterpunch article below claims that the Hate Crime Bill of 2009 will result in criminalizing speech that is (specifically?) critical of Israel, Jews, Christianity, or that questions the Holocaust. The article follows my commentary.

1. The hate crime legislature is quiet specific.  It limits hate crimes to acts of violence, and simply extends the protections to LGBT people and people with disabilities.

2. The bill creates no new crimes.  It attaches a 10 yr penalty to already existing crimes in which acts of violence are “motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability of the victim” adding sexual orientation, gender and disability to the already protected categories of race, color, national origin and religion.

 

3. The bill says absolutely nothing about speech!!!!! nothing about the Holocaust, nothing about Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Christianity. There is no correlation between the Hate Crimes Bill and the scenarios the author describes.

 

4. The bill is quite simple and straight forward.  for the full bill:  http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.256:

 

5. Counterpunch magazine has been of the opinion that since Zionists condemn all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, nothing is.  I am of the opinion that Counterpunch often promotes positions, attitudes and stereotypes that are anti-Jewish, using the Zionist accusation as a smokescreen for their own bigotry. 

 

6. This bill would simply add as a protected class, LGBT people and people with disabilities, who are often the target of some of the most brutal hate crimes. Incidentally, the bill changes nothing regarding discrimination against or the alleged privilege of Jews and Christians (current law protects people against discrimination based on religion– any religion).  The people most directly hurt by this article and this agenda are not the people this article expects or wants the reader to fear.

 

7. By adding these groups to protected classes, data of incidents can be collected and categorized as hate crimes. 

 

8. The article is written by Paul Craig Roberts whose bio states “was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.”  He is a right wing Republican author of The New Color Line, How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy, has written profusely against affirmative action and other compensations to deter discrimination.

9. Lest anyone think that I excuse or support Israeli brutality or U.S. support thereof, for the record, I am anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist. I support the right of return for all Palestinians and a fully democratic, secular state in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.  I support and am part of the bds movement, have been targeted by Zionists and the Zionist establishment, placed on Zionist blacklists and hit lists and have been blacklisted from my union for expressing such views.  Often when I express concern and opposition to anti-Jewish sentiment within progressive movements I am falsely accused of being a crypto-Zionist, with a Zionist agenda. Those familiar with my writings know that I am highly critical of what I refer to as the Zionist campaign against academic freedom and free speech and that I have criticized the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the ADL of using the rhetoric of human rights to advance U.S. (global) and Israeli (regional) hegemony. I support free speech, which includes my right to counter what I don’t agree with.

 

I do agree with Noam Chomsky when he state:

 

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

 

Emma Rosenthal

Café Intifada

 

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts05072009.html

May 7, 2009

The End of Free Speech?

Criminalizing Criticism of Israel

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

On October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Israel Lobby’s bill, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act.  This legislation requires the US Department of State to monitor anti-semitism world wide.

To monitor anti-semitism, it has to be defined.  What is the definition?  Basically, as defined by the Israel Lobby and Abe Foxman, it boils down to any criticism of Israel or Jews. 

Rahm Israel Emanuel hasn’t been mopping floors at the White House. 
As soon as he gets the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 passed, it will become a crime for any American to tell the truth about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and theft of their lands.  

It will be a crime for Christians to acknowledge the New Testament’s account of Jews demanding the crucifixion of Jesus.

It will be a crime to report the extraordinary influence of the Israel Lobby on the White House and Congress, such as the AIPAC-written resolutions praising Israel for its war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza that were endorsed by 100 per cent  of the US Senate and 99 per cent  of the House of Representatives, while the rest of the world condemned Israel for its barbarity. 

It will be a crime to doubt the Holocaust.  

It will become a crime to note the disproportionate representation of Jews in the media, finance, and foreign policy.

In other words, it means the end of free speech, free inquiry, and the First Amendment to the Constitution. Any facts or truths that cast aspersion upon Israel will simply be banned. 

Given the hubris of the US government, which leads Washington to apply US law to every country and organization, what will happen to the International Red Cross, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the various human rights organizations that have demanded investigations of Israel’s military assault on Gaza’s civilian population?  Will they all be arrested for the hate crime of “excessive” criticism of Israel?

This is a serious question. 

A recent UN report, which is yet to be released in its entirety, blames Israel for the deaths and injuries that occurred within the United Nations premises in Gaza.  The Israeli government has responded by charging that the UN report is “tendentious, patently biased,”  which puts the UN report into the State Department’s category of excessive criticism and strong anti-Israel sentiment.

Israel is getting away with its blatant use of the American government to silence its critics despite the fact that the Israeli press and Israeli soldiers have exposed the Israeli atrocities in Gaza and the premeditated murder of women and children urged upon the Israeli invaders by rabbis.  These acts are clearly war crimes.  

It was the Israeli press that published the pictures of the Israeli soldiers’ T-shirts that  indicate that the willful murder of women and children is now the culture of the Israeli army.  The T-shirts are horrific expressions of barbarity.  For example, one shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a crosshairs over her stomach and the slogan, “One shot, two kills.”  These T-shirts are an indication that Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians is one of extermination.

It has been true for years that the most potent criticism of Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians comes from the Israeli press and Israeli peace groups.  For example, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Jeff Halper of ICAHD have shown a moral conscience that apparently does not exist in the Western democracies where Israel’s crimes are covered up and even praised.

Will the American hate crime bill be applied to Haaretz and Jeff Halper?  Will American commentators who say nothing themselves but simply report what Haaretz and Halper have said be arrested for “spreading hatred of Israel, an anti-semitic act”?

Many Americans have been brainwashed by the propaganda that Palestinians are terrorists who threaten innocent Israel.  These Americans will see the censorship as merely part of the necessary war on terror.  They will accept the demonization of fellow citizens who report unpalatable facts about Israel and agree that such people should be punished for aiding and abetting terrorists.

A massive push is underway to criminalize criticism of Israel.  American university professors have fallen victim to the well organized attempt to eliminate all criticism of Israel.  Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure at a Catholic university because of the power of the Israel Lobby.  Now the Israel Lobby is after University of California  (at Santa Barbara,) professor Wiliam Robinson.  Robinson’s crime:  his course on global affairs included some reading assignments critical of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

The Israel Lobby apparently succeeded in convincing the Obama Justice (sic) Department that it is anti-semitic to accuse two Jewish AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, of spying.  The Israel Lobby succeeded in getting their trial delayed for four years, and now Attorney General Eric Holder has dropped charges.  Yet, Larry Franklin, the DOD official accused of giving secret material to Rosen and Weissman, is serving 12 years and 7 months in prison.

The absurdity is extraordinary.  The two Israeli agents are not guilty of receiving secrets, but the American official is guilty of giving secrets to them!  If there is no spy in the story, how was Franklin convicted of giving secrets to a spy?

Criminalizing criticism of Israel destroys any hope of America having an independent foreign policy in the Middle East that serves American rather than Israeli interests.  It eliminates  any prospect of Americans escaping from their enculturation with Israeli propaganda. 

To keep American minds captive, the Lobby is working to ban as anti-semitic any truth or disagreeable fact that pertains to Israel.  It is permissible to criticize every other country in the world, but it is anti-semitic to criticize Israel, and anti-semitism will soon be a universal hate-crime in the Western world.

Most of Europe has already criminalized doubting the Holocaust.  It is a crime even to confirm that it happened but to conclude that less than 6 million Jews were murdered.  

Why is the Holocaust  a subject that is off limits to examination? How could a case buttressed by hard facts possibly be endangered by kooks and anti-semitics?  Surely the case doesn’t need to be protected by thought control.  

Imprisoning people for doubts is the antithesis of modernity.  

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.  He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

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One of the growing threads of this blog, is the Zionist campaign against free speech, which has targeted academics, educators, students and union members who dare to speak out against Israeli apartheid and the genocide of the Palestinian people.  In many cases people lose their jobs or their status within a community.  In other cases, pressure and clear heads prevail (Columbia and Barnard University for example) and investigations show no wrong doing, but the stress and the chilling effect of these well funded, well orchestrated campaigns can be overwhelming.

 

But by far the most serious of all these campaigns is the one that has been launched against Professor Sami Al-Arian, who was arrested on a plethora of charges related to terrorism, and despite being found not-guilty by jury trial, he remains in prison.

For more information:

http://www.freesamialarian.com/

 

-Cafe Intifada

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latimes.com
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-professor30-2009apr30,0,7753995.story

From the Los Angeles Times

Professor’s comparison of Israelis to Nazis stirs furor

The UC Santa Barbara sociologist, who is Jewish, sent images from the Holocaust and from Israel’s Gaza offensive to students in his class. He has drawn denunciation and support.

By Duke Helfand

April 30, 2009

Controversy has erupted at UC Santa Barbara over a professor’s decision to send his students an e-mail in which he compared graphic images of Jews in the Holocaust to pictures of Palestinians caught up in Israel’s recent Gaza offensive.

The e-mail by tenured sociology professor William I. Robinson has triggered a campus investigation and drawn accusations of anti-Semitism from two national Jewish groups, even as many students and faculty members have voiced support for him.

The uproar began in January when Robinson sent his message — titled “parallel images of Nazis and Israelis” — to the 80 students in his sociology of globalization class.

The e-mail contained more than two dozen photographs of Jewish victims of the Nazis, including those of dead children, juxtaposed with nearly identical images from the Gaza Strip. It also included an article critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and a note from Robinson.

“Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw — a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians,” the professor wrote. “We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide.”

Two Jewish students dropped the class, saying they felt intimidated by the professor’s message. They contacted the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which advised them to file formal complaints with the university.

In their letters, senior Rebecca Joseph and junior Tova Hausman accused Robinson of violating the campus’ faculty code of conduct by disseminating personal, political material unrelated to his course.

“I was shocked,” said Joseph, 22. “He overstepped his boundaries as a professor. He has his own freedom of speech, but he doesn’t have the freedom to send his students his own opinion that is so strong.”

Robinson, 50, who is Jewish, called the accusations and the campus investigation an attack on academic freedom. He said his former students, the Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League had all confused his criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism.

“That’s like saying if I condemn the U.S. government for the invasion of Iraq, I’m anti-American,” he said. “It’s the most absurd, baseless argument.”

Robinson said he regularly sends his students voluntary reading material about current events for the global affairs course, and that no one raised questions when he subsequently discussed his e-mail.

“The whole nature of academic freedom is to introduce students to controversial material, to provoke students to think and make students uncomfortable,” said Robinson, a UC Santa Barbara professor for nine years.

As the dispute over his e-mail plays out, UC Santa Barbara has become the most recent U.S. university to confront campus unrest over issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In recent years, Jewish and Muslim groups have quarreled repeatedly at UC Irvine about the Holocaust and Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. Professors and students at Columbia University have also argued over issues of intimidation and academic freedom amid debates on the Mideast.

In Robinson’s case, reaction has been strong — on both sides.

Shortly after hearing from the two students in January, the Wiesenthal Center produced a YouTube video titled “Jewish Students Under Siege from Professor at UC Santa Barbara.” The clip shows one of Robinson’s former students, her face obscured to protect her identity, reading from his e-mail.

The head of the ADL’s Santa Barbara region sent Robinson a letter in February calling on him to repudiate his statements about Israel. Last month, the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, in a meeting with faculty members at the campus, urged the university to conduct an investigation into Robinson. He was told that an inquiry was already underway.

“You can criticize Israel; you can criticize the war in Gaza,” Foxman said. “But to compare what the Israelis are doing in defense of their citizens to what the Nazis did to the Jews is clearly anti-Semitism.”

Robinson’s supporters say the professor is being maligned for exercising his right to challenge his students to think critically about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Students on campus have formed a group, the Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UCSB, which is chronicling the saga on its website.

Letters of support also have arrived from academics across the country, including one from California Scholars for Academic Freedom, which says it represents 100 professors at 20 college campuses. The group argues that the allegations have been raised against Robinson to “silence criticism of Israeli policies and practices.”

Some UC Santa Barbara faculty members also are speaking up for Robinson. History professor Harold Marcuse, who attended the March meeting with the ADL’s Foxman, said the pictures e-mailed by Robinson were “well within the bounds of appropriateness on campus. It’s something I could have used in a course.”

Marcuse, who is Jewish and teaches about the Holocaust in his world history and German history classes, said he would not have injected his own views into such a message to students, but added: “I don’t think Bill Robinson’s e-mail is anti-Semitic in any way. I think criticism of Israel is OK.”

One UC Santa Barbara official has already looked into the allegations against Robinson, and a faculty committee is being formed to decide whether to forward the case to UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang. A university spokesman declined to comment on the case.

Robinson has hired an attorney, and the student committee supporting him has scheduled a May 14 campus forum on the matter. Joseph and Hausman, the students who filed the original complaints, said they plan to attend. So do Hausman’s parents from Los Angeles and Rabbi Aron Hier, director of campus outreach for the Wiesenthal Center.

“I just want to bring awareness,” said Hausman, 20. “I want people to know that educators shouldn’t be sending out something that is so disturbing.”

duke.helfand@latimes.com


 

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