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¡Don White Presenté!

We were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Don White, revolutionary dreamer and activist. He seemed imortal. What a hole he has left in the Los Angeles Peace and Justice movement. Don was a tireless activist and advocate, an internationalist who understood the connections between racism, imperialism, sexism, and militarism. He was courageous, fearless, and willing to take on all just cause, regardless of the controversy.

So many people love Don, who was admired and adored for his integrity, passion and grace. So often those who are so popular gain favor through people pleasing and "chosing one's battles." Not Don. He was unwavering in his understanding of solidarity and alliance, speaking truth to power regardless of who might not approve. His was a rare grace.

Personally, we are forever in his debt for defending activists who support Palestinian human rights, and Cafe Intifada when we came under attack from the Zionist establishment in collusion with some of the more "progessive" members of United Teachers' Los Angeles, of which he was a charter member. Don's most recent work has been in the most controversial area of boycott, sanctions and divestiture of Israeli Apartheid, an issue many activists have shied away from, and others have been destroyed over. (But not Don!)

He also became an ally in the struggle for disability rights, setting a policy of only allowing meetings on the first floor of the Peace Center, so that all activists could be included in all events.

Don's tireless work on behalf of CISPES is his most powerful legacy; an organization (and whose activists) were subject to death threats from death squads, and surveilance by the FBI and the ADL (liberal dollars at work!)

Don was always available, in solidarity, in support. He was the pitch guy at almost every fundraiser or event. When Don White got to the podium, checkbooks came out.

Today is the last day of the KPFK fund drive. Sherna Berger Gluck of Radio Intifada (no relation to Cafe Intifada) suggests making a donation in Don's name.

We will. We hope you will too!

Emma Rosenthal
Andy Griggs

Cafe Intifada
The WE Project
The Los Angeles Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee

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Well it’s been an amazing and overwhelming ride, forcing me into deep reflection and personal reorganization. There’s so much to write about, and I hope, now that the dust has cleared a bit in my own mind and my own home, that I will have the time to start blogging again.

I have had to struggle with how to post to a blog while threats on my life are being made, aware that any hint of my plans could provide a deadly indication of where I might be at any given time.

Andy and I have rearranged our lives, though a series of events, finally provided with the opportunity to combine our households, and my son is away at an excellent educational program that I hope will be able to meet his needs.

The last few months have been wrenching and I have struggled with issues of safety, isolation, ostracism and depression. The path is wide open, and I am not sure what my next step will be, though I am grateful that today I have begun to write again, inspired by attempts at censorship at SJSU, similar to the efforts that have brought down the UTLA Human Rights Committee. (I will be posting that letter to the Café Intifada blog, shortly!)

I have had to ask difficult questions, both deeply interpersonal and of the larger body politic. Certainly at the top of the list, is how to live an open, honest life while in hiding!!?? Strange, how I have been forced into hiding by the criminal, illegal and terrorist acts of my opponents. I have never been a bomb thrower or a guns runner, that’s not how I take to battle, (though I have had close friends who had gone down that road in their youth, in groups like the Weather Underground or the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee and their more secret spin offs. In the seventies and early eighties, there were many such groups in the U.S. I remember when I decided not to take that path.

So it seemed strange that I needed to hide where I was staying; to cloak my plans.

Andy and I have moved to Los Angeles. We are renting, so finding us is not as easy as it would be if we were homeowners. Our home phone is unlisted. We have installed a security system in the new place. Which is small, but meets our needs. We still need to install a ramp so that I can use my scooter. Bob McKloskey, ace carpinter and human rights activist, will be building it.

We live in a dynamic part of the city, near EVERYTHING; a relief from the bitter isolation of the suburbs. I have been consumed with the requisites of moving, as we leave two homes. What an ordeal. My health has been challenged, to say the least. The advocacy work on my son’s behalf has been no less overwhelming or demanding. It is very difficult to be the single mother of a child with a disability. Every agency, every program provides its own hurdles and humiliations, as if, in the pursuit of one’s child’s rights, one were trying to feed off of the system. –the welfare queen image, which seems to apply doubly to those of us with disabilities. – how amazing that even within my union, among human rights activists I have been accused of “not really being disabled!!” or that such discourse can go unexamined and unchallenged by other activists.

As I write I find myself leaving out tidbits to protect others and to hide our plans. If I were to write that I was anticipating going to a demonstration this weekend, a film tomorrow or a meeting next week, it would put everyone at those events in danger. If I describe a weekend alone while Andy is away at a conference, I alert those who would do me harm, that I am alone. I wanted to write about the process of finding and establishing a home but didn’t, at least until I could honestly say that we had a security system installed. I am committed to telling the truth in these pages. I am also committed to protecting, to the extent possible, the safety of myself and those around me. How do I live an honest and open life without providing information to those that would do me harm?

But these are the essential questions: How to be the change we want to see? How to live in the darkness as if the light were brightly lit? How to fight with a broken heart and open fist? How to love those who would do us harm? How to be strong and gentle? How to make peace in the midst of immense brutality? How to know who we really are, in a hall of mirrors?

Well, this is what I get to explore over the next days, weeks, months and years in both the In Bed with Frida Kahlo and the Café Intifada blogs.

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This image comes from Jewish World Review, along with the article. Had Cafe Intifada published or developed the image, it would be attacked for being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

“Should Rosenthal and her ilk be treated as legitimate Jewish voices?”

“As Union rolls here in the United States swell with members of minority communities, anti-Israel forces waste no time forging alliances with those groups. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, self-appointed visionary of a new socialist Latin America and bosom buddy of Iran’s Ahmadinejad, blatantly tries to drive a wedge between working-class Americans and others by offering Citgo heating oil at reduced prices in Boston and the Bronx. When the Latino Congresso — a national umbrella for Latino organizations — met in Los Angeles, Chavez’ representatives were highly visible on the program and in the crowd. We know that part of the declared strategy of anti-Israel groups is to infiltrate labor unions across America in an attempt to target Israeli goods.”

The quotes above, come from the following article, published months after a Zionist victory against union democracy at UTLA.  Cafe Intifada and Emma Rosenthal were specifically targeted during that campaign, resulting in shutting down the web page and the list serve of the Human Rights Committee, erasing the entire archive, and silencing dissent and discourse within the Committee.  Rosenthal had developed both the web page and the list serve, constantly seeking out guidance and input from the Committee, careful to make sure that the public image of the Committee, the public statements of the Committee represented the Committee as a whole, and not her particular point of view.  Even during the contentious period leading up to the decision to destroy anything affiliated with her or moderated with her (the listserve was also moderated by Committee Chair, Steve Seal, and former Chair Andy Griggs,) She was careful to make sure that public comments of hers not be attributed to the group as a whole, clarifying to the press and in her own statements that she spoke only for herself as a committee member, not for the group.

The article that follows is an outstanding example of the dual role that Zionist “human rights” organizations play in promoting Israeli hegemony in historic Palestine, and U.S. empire around the globe.

By manipulating the fears of the Jewish public (exploiting the trauma of the Shoah for the purpose of empire,) groups such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the ADL perpetuate the collective trauma of the Jewish community, and the collective guilt (at the expense of the Palestinian community) of the West.  Doomsday scenarios and constant reminders of what may happen, suggestions that former allies are no longer friends, constant linking critique of Israel, Zionism and U.S. policy to the memory of the shoah mobilize fear and hysteria, not dialogue and discourse.  Case in point was the modest meeting that the Wiesenthal Center, the ADL etc.  effectively shut down, arguing that such a meeting would be biased and unbalanced.  Had they simply ATTENDED the meeting, they would have been free to inject their own bigotry into the discourse.  It was their insistence that the meeting not be held, that the union determine the scope and nature of discourse of union members and their associated organizations.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center constantly baits progressive international leaders, such as Hugo Chavez, with anti-Semitism, and distorts the statements of others.

For example, they  state:   Rosenthal also believes that antisemitism “is not much more than a century old, in reaction to the imperialist intentions of Zionists such as Herzl and Jabotinsky, and the terrorist activities of Jewish groups.”

The statement comes from a response to hate mail in which a Jewish man addresses  Rosenthal as “Jew Bitch.”  The accurate quote is:

…it was in Europe where our people met the greatest persecution; it was in Europe where we were subjected to crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, humiliation, ghettos, discrimination, rape, slave labor and genocide. It was in the United States, an extension of European hegemony, and now, the empirical force in the world, where we were subjected to immigration restrictions, discrimination, witch hunts, red scares, executions, klan violence and false imprisonment. In this country, Jews fleeing Nazi persecution were turned back to Germany, to face certain death, while British children, and even British dogs (yes, some British sent their dogs) were given safe harbor to escape the bombings imposed on them during the war. During times of great repression in Europe, many Jews found it safer to escape to the Middle East where we never suffered in the way that we suffered in Europe, where we lived, for the most part in peaceful co-existence with Christians and Moslems. Animosity against the Jews in whole or in part, coming from the Middle East is not much more than a century old, in reaction to the imperialist intentions of Zionists such as Hertzl and Jabotinsky and the terrorist activities of Jewish groups such as the Urgun and the Stern Gang, who made clear their desire, not to simply resettle as immigrants or refugees, but to conquer. Opposition to Zionist hegemony, is not genocidal, it is reasonable. (emphasis, cafe itifada)  (http://emmarosenthal.wordpress.com/category/jew-bitch/)”

So, where she clearly state that animosity to the Jews, in the Middle East is not much more than a century old, they quote her as saying that anti-semitism (anywhere) is not much more than a century old.  Why the need for such brazen dishonesty? If their arguments are just and found, why do they have to resort to distortions and lies to attack her?”

Additionally, they ask the question:  “Should Rosenthal and her ilk be treated as legitimate Jewish voices?” Is it their $36 million a year budget, their self appointed role of spokes organization for the shoah, that gives them the hubris to determine who is a legitimate Jewish voice.  They state:

Every Palestinian agitprop presentation trots out a Jewish activist who hates Israel. The message they wish to convey is clear: American Jews are divided about Israel…We must let America know that this is not true. Jewish Israel-haters are entitled to speak, but not for us. We should not let America think that they are anything but a small minority, swimming against the current of the overwhelming majority of American Jews. They must be moved to where they belong — at the margins and fringes of the community, but not within our mainstream.

And here it is!!!  The absolute and total control of the narrative in the hands of those who have wealthy donors and important  connections to the seats of power.  This is the Jewish establishment, not to be confused with  the rest of the Jewish people.  Of course Rosenthal is a legitimate Jewish voice, She’s Jewish. Jews are an astoundingly diverse population, so much so, that they defy definition. No one can claim, including the Wiesenthal Center, to speak for all Jews, or even most Jews.  On the other hand, can the Wiesenthal Center be considered, as they claim, to be a human rights organization, when they attempt to marginalize and silence those with whom they don’t agree, while all the time, demanding “balance” of  those who would criticize Israeli brutality and hegemony?  Israel claims to be a nation for all the Jews of the world.  As such, how can the voice of any Jew, not be legitimate?  These are their definitions, and their contradictions, bound in their privilege and the hegemonies and empires they defend.  While most Jews don’t have the same nuanced understanding of zionism, Rosenthal possesses, most disagree with and are silenced, intimidated and ignored by the Jewish establishment whose real purpose is to support the power elites, either regionally in Israel, or globally in defense of  U.S. empire.

-Cafe Intifada

___________________________

Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2007 / 14 Teves, 5767

Israel’s Next Battle: Labor unions

By Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Life-saving medical equipment, standing in crates in Galveston, undelivered to waiting hospitals, because truckers refuse to handle Israeli cargo. Tons of Jaffa oranges, dumped into the waters off Long Beach, California, as a labor action against the Israeli ‘occupation’ gets out of hand.

 

These events have not occurred yet, but they are not merely part of a speculative doomsday scenario either. There are groups committed to make them happen, as a new front opens up in the war against the Jewish state. The shock troops have already taken their positions, in unions overseas and across America.

Labor unions were once among Israel’s most important allies. In the spring of 1948, President Truman sustained intense pressure to vote against the United Nations partition plan that ultimately created the State of Israel. Having originally voted for partition in November 1947, Truman reversed US policy in March of 1948, after intense lobbying by British and Arab interests, and announced to the UN that it supported a trusteeship instead. On April 14th, fifty thousand garment workers packed Yankee Stadium to rally against the shift. Clark Clifford, Truman’s advisor, produced a list of interest groups whose support was crucial to his presidential campaign. Jews ranked eighth, but labor placed second. Labor’s support for the Jewish state was a force that Truman could not and did not ignore, turning a deaf ear to the entreaties of the Arabists in the State Department.

Labor’s partnership with Israel began much earlier, with the American labor movement purchasing land in Palestine for Jewish workers, building trade schools, and lobbying the British to lift barriers against the emerging Jewish State through its clout with the British Labor Party. Jews at the helm of unions – Max Zaritsky, David Dubinsky, Sidney Hillman – agitated on behalf of the Jewish homeland succeeding in bringing non-Jewish colleagues on board, all the way to the top echelons of the AFL and CIO. In 1944, the CIO convention passed a resolution endorsing “the ultimate establishment of a Palestinian Jewish Commonwealth.” The contribution of Organized Labor continued after the establishment of the State in May 1948, with the construction of housing and cultural centers in Israel funded by the AFL and CIO. United Auto Workers founder Walter Reuther was close with Golda Meir; at one point, the UAW may have been the largest institutional purchaser of Israel Bonds.

Naturally, the face of the Unions changed over the next decades, as the social and economic makeup of the labor force changed. To be sure, there is strong and steady support for Israel in many unions today, and the Jewish Labor Committee works to maintain that support. The makeup of both the rank and file as well as the politics of the unions has shifted, however. Other minorities have taken the places of Jewish laborers. Union political orientations always had progressive and socialist leanings, which today are bolstered by alliances with left-leaning and third world groups around the globe, many of whom regularly demonize Israel and the United States. Indeed, unions played a prominent role in the single largest hate-fest against Israel at the United Nations’ World Conference Against Racism at Durban in August 2001.

The anti-Israel chants hardly stopped with Durban. Recently, the Ontario division of Canada’s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, voted overwhelmingly to support an international campaign boycotting Israel. After the Danish General Workers Union (SiD) voted for a boycott of Israeli goods, Norway’s largest labor organization, the Federation of Trade Unions (LO), called for a boycott of all Israeli products, despite the fact that LO has been a long-time supporter of Israel, and has ties with Israel’s Labor Party. Calling Israel an “apartheid state” the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) demanded in July that the South African government drop diplomatic ties with Israel, and participate in a program of boycott and sanctions.

Here in the United States, union leadership has shifted its focus. Where they previously took an internationalist stance – and valued ties with union-friendly countries like Israel – they now often hunker down against the threat of globalism, and worry about basic survival on the local level. Today, individual union members are often disconnected from political posturing of their organizations about non-economic issues, half way around the world. These changes have left room for highly motivated, agendized extremists to fill the vacuum in committee positions, and assume disproportionate prominence. For many years, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party helped keep anti-Israel union extremists in check, but in recent years they have shown an unwillingness or inability to take a stand-up position.

We therefore shouldn’t be surprised or view as an isolated incident when the Human Rights Committee of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) agreed to host the launch of a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions directed against Israel. The goal of this agenda – known as BDS, and the kingpin of the enunciated strategy of dozens of pro-Palestinian groups working in concert – is to cripple Israel’s economy while propagandizing people to treat Israel as a racist, colonialist, apartheid state. The Los Angeles program was sponsored by the Movement for a Democratic Society (where former SDS members go when they are too old to be students any longer) and Caf� Intifada. Only the public outcry from Jewish organizations in Los Angeles forced the union to move the meeting off-site from its headquarters.

As Union rolls here in the United States swell with members of minority communities, anti-Israel forces waste no time forging alliances with those groups. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, self-appointed visionary of a new socialist Latin America and bosom buddy of Iran’s Ahmadinejad, blatantly tries to drive a wedge between working-class Americans and others by offering Citgo heating oil at reduced prices in Boston and the Bronx. When the Latino Congresso — a national umbrella for Latino organizations — met in Los Angeles, Chavez’ representatives were highly visible on the program and in the crowd. We know that part of the declared strategy of anti-Israel groups is to infiltrate labor unions across America in an attempt to target Israeli goods.

All of these developments should serve as a wakeup call for supporters of Israel.

  • First, if you are a member of any union, be informed about its human rights agenda. Find out what positions they take at the bully pulpit that your dues are funding. Don’t allow well-organized extremists to speak in your union’s name. When the UTLA story broke, union members sent a tidal wave of email — overwhelmingly critical of the union hosting an anti-Israel event. Only active participation in the Union can prevent extremists from acting in stealth.
  • Take union leaders to Israel. A well-planned trip to Israel – one in which visitors meet ordinary, dues-paying working Israelis- continues to be the single most effective way to get people to understand Israel’s predicament and value her democracy.
  • Communicate. So many Americans have simply never heard Israel’s take on the events in the news. Nor do they understand the scope and depth of American Jewish commitment to Israel. We can’t expect them to respect Israel’s integrity and interests if we do not let them know how important they are to us.
  • Not in our name. Every Palestinian agitprop presentation trots out a Jewish activist who hates Israel. The message they wish to convey is clear: American Jews are divided about Israel; taking a stance against her will not lead to undesirable consequences from the Jewish community. We must let America know that this is not true. Jewish Israel-haters are entitled to speak, but not for us. We should not let America think that they are anything but a small minority, swimming against the current of the overwhelming majority of American Jews. They must be moved to where they belong — at the margins and fringes of the community, but not within our mainstream.
  • As a case in point, consider Caf� Intifada, one of the sponsors of the event hosted by the UTLA Human Rights Committee. It is headed by Emma Rosenthal who is also a member of that committee. Rosenthal endorses the infamous International Solidarity Movement – which has refused to condemn “armed struggle” against Israel, and has aided terrorists on the group. Rosenthal also believes that antisemitism “is not much more than a century old, in reaction to the imperialist intentions of Zionists such as Herzl and Jabotinsky, and the terrorist activities of Jewish groups.” Should Rosenthal and her ilk be treated as legitimate Jewish voices?


We must never concede that this piece’s opening scenario as inevitable. We need not give up on the historic alliance between Unions and the Middle East’s only democracy. Ultimately, however, which way the Unions go will depend on how well advocates for Israel connect her core values with those of Organized Labors’ card-carrying constituency.


Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein serves as its Director of Interfaith Affairs.

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December 25 2006 (10:35:00) US/Pacific

Blogs:
I maintain a few blogs; the baggage of enforced respite.  I literally have lots of time on my hands, the consequence of a disability that leaves me physically limited but usually intellectually quite limber, and while there are days when I lack the strength to sit up in bed or raise my hands to access the keyboard, most of the time I am able to click away.
The first blog I started is called In Bed With Frida Kahlo. It is named after disabled activist and artist, Frida Kahlo, whose life story, including her strengths and weaknesses; gives me fortitude and insight.   This is a very personal blog about my struggles with disability and the massive discrimination that accompanies it.  It includes diary posts, recipes, poems, art work, photographs, daily indignities and other musings. 

The second blog I started was the Café Intifada blog, which is a bulletin board of events and articles of interest to artivists and other activists.  I also include poetry, art, commentary, photos etc. It is the official web page of Cafe Intifada, the organization I head up.  

The next blog I developed is Emma’s Room, and it simply publishes my completed, more formal writings; mostly essays. 

The Frida blog includes the entire history of the conflict in the Human Rights Committee and UTLA as it pertains to disability, so for those Café Intifada readers who are following the issue of death threats and hate speech, the Frida blog provides some of the back drop as well as the more personal contemplations on both that situation and the current challenge of personal security, anonymous threats and political and social isolation.

emma’s blogs:
In Bed With Frida Kahlo:_Daily indignities, small insurrections and honest musings from a life of_infirmity and rebellion_http://inbedwithfridakahlo.blogsource.com
Emma Rosenthal: A blog of political essays, letters and news._http://emmarosenthal.blogsource.com

Café Intifada: Uniting Art with Critical Consciousness:_http://cafeintifada.blogsource.com/

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Letters to UTLA Re the BDS Meeting

After the death threats, Andy and I decided to take Duffy up on his offer to view the letters received.  We went  to the Communications Office and requested the file.  After a short wait, while staff got permission from Duffy to let us see the documents he had publicly said could be seen, we were handed a 3 inch three ring binder full of letters.  Having second thoughts Duffy, came down and insisted that we hold in confidence the content of the letters.  Of course, if I were really the extremist, fringe radical supporter of terrorists as he and the other detractors had asserted, by what right was he showing us the letters at all?

And more to his quandary, who is UTLA (the recent campaign, included buttons that every member could wear, stating “I AM UTLA.”)  When one send a letter to a Union, who has the right to see that letter?  Who holds that confidence?

But I’m actually much better about confidences than Duffy is.  So it isn’t too hard to honor his request, to a degree.  I won’t mention any of the names  (with one exception) associated with the letters, but the contents of the letters, as reported by Duffy, and the communications department, informed some rather drastic decisions and put my own health and safety at risk.  Some accountability is called for. 

The most glaring observation was that the letters were separated into pro and con sections.  Most disappointing was the absolute lack of attention to detail on the part of UTLA staff who divided the letters into these categories.  While many Jews, supportive of Palestinian rights had written,  to support the meeting and  to express their opposition to the campaign being waged to silence the discussion, “As a Jewish person I support the right and efforts of the Human Rights Committee to host this meeting ….”  all such letters were included in the pile of letters asking for the cancelation of the meeting;  the apparent assumption that anyone who identified as Jewish must be supportive of the brutality of the Israeli regime and Israeli apartheid.  Was this laziness, political opportunism, or was the head of the Communications department so uninformed about current events that she couldn’t understand what was truly being communicated?  All that effort people made in writing letters, to be lumped in with a world view so diametrically opposed to  their own because of the simplistic and incompetent oversight in dealing with a complex situation.

The week that the meeting was to be held at UTLA we did hold a rescheduled BDS meeting, and for security reasons, had decided that it would be by invitation only, in an undisclosed place.  Nonetheless, two informants from Stand with Us found a way to attend, claiming to be “from UTLA”, and claiming to support BDS. One of them, (and I will mention this name) , a leader within Stand With Us, Aggie Hoffman,  also had sent letter to UTLA, which was in the binder, condemning the meeting, using the same name she used when she attended the meeting.  So prominent an activists, a simple google image search confirmed that she was infact the infiltrator of the same name.  Since the meeting was opened to a small group of activists, the list of people who informed this Zionist group, is also a short list.  Taking notes the entire time, including names, one wonders what will come of this report.  Stand with Us already maintains a detailed list of enemies,  (My dossier is over 60 pages long) , and is in close communication and collaboration with the Israeli Consulate. 

Another letter, from a member of the Human Rights Committee  supported Duffy’s decision,  attacked me, personally, accused me of going by several names, listed those names, including Emma Goldman, and explained that Andy was a great activist, who had been led astray since involving himself with me. 

Letter after letter, in rote use of the same words,  condemned me, and Café Intifada as extremists who support terrorism, and from whom UTLA should disassociate.  It was with this deluge of letters calling specifically for my marginalization, along with that strange alliance within the HRC that had fueled the outcome of the meeting, where all others who had been party to the decision were spared, including Andy, but where it was made abundantly clear that any activism on my part within the union would be extremely minimal.  They couldn’t stop me from attending meetings and events, but they could (as they had already demonstrated on disability rights, ) limit my participation and assure me heaps of humiliation. 

Also attacked in the letters, was SDS/MDS who had initially requested a space for what would have been a modest meeting;  also characterized as a fringe, extremist group, referencing not only the SDS of the Sixties (which Andy had actually been a member of) and the Weather Underground which grew out of SDS, but also such “fringe” extremists” as current advisory board members, Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky.

In addition to the statements condemning SDS/MDS, Café Intifada and myself, were the following  illustrious comments.  The person whose name was signatory to the death threat was not among the letter writers.

“My grandfather would have shown up with a baseball bat and straightened you Jew haters right out.” 

 

“Allowing open support for Hamas and Hezbollah under a union banner.”

 

“UTLA should not affiliate with MDS, Café Intifada or any other extremist organization.”

“The intifada means kill Jews where ever they are.” 

(Intifada means to shake off, and refers to shaking off oppression, specifically a brutal occupation.  In Arabic, Warsaw Ghetto uprising, would be “Intifada Warsaw.”  Holocaust studies would not be possible in Arabic, without the word, intifada. –Emma)

 “As a member of UTLA I find UTLA’s action to have a meeting to boycott divestment and other sanctions against Isreal for defending herself from the outrageous (sic) terrierorist (sic) that call them seifs (sic) Palestinines (sic). “

 

“Use your influence to stop this abominable hate-filled campaign that can only lead to incitement to violence against Jews, Isreal and all those who understand the true character of the conflict.“

“…and turned the corner of the massive corruption in the schools, allowing social promotion, out of control gang violence and intimidation of teachers students, abysmally low academic performance, a policy of catering to illegal aliens who are effectively lowing (sic) the academic bar and causing a new attitude of “reconquista” to be acceptable and of course the intolerable political correctness which takes priority over academic rigor and honesty.”

“You eloquently advocated for the rights of blacks latinos gays lesbians trans-dressers—what about advocating for American god justice civic responsibility and academic excellence. “

 

“Your decision to start an anti-Israel (read genocide of the Jewish state) is outrageous! Instead of fostering a climate of learning you show that you don’t give a damn about education of the children in Los Angeles. If Hitler were alive today you would, no doubt, support him as well!”

Several letters included the following statement, verbatim:

“The campaign by the UTLA  Human Rights Committee to collaborate with the Movement for a Democratic Society and Cafe Intifada, two fringe political groups with no connection to the Los Angeles public schools, in order to stir up anti-Israel ideology  is abhorrent.

The UTLA should review and reform its constitutional foundations which enabled the HRC to stray from its stated mission to “promote . . . the peaceful resolution of conflict.”  

The AJC is gravely concerned about the persistent problems that challenge the public schools’ ability to fulfill the vital roles of educating and acculturating our children. Parents must be assured that their children’s teachers are not being misinformed by UTLA and bringing unexamined propaganda into the classroom.  

HRC Chairman Stephen Seal deserves a failing grade for not effectively educating UTLA members in a balanced manner. Divestment is not a constructive criticism of Israel; it is an attack meant to weaken a democratic, American ally.  “

Remarkably identical to a portion of the letter from the American Jewish Congress https://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/letter-from-th…-patrick-duffy/ 

 

 

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Terrorism and the Value of Women’s Lives

The recent threat on my life has caused a flurry of concern. Friends offer safe house. The police have increased patrol. The FBI has is investigating the source of the threat. Andy and I have increased our vigilance and have taken special precaution to protect ourselves.

But truth be told, the chances of any woman being killed by a stranger is pretty remote. Unlike most women whose lives have been threatened, my would be killer lives on the other side of my front door. I can turn the key. I can lock him out.

Not so for many.

Statistically, the most dangerous place for women and children is in our own homes.

Statistically, the most dangerous place for women and children is in our own homes.

Statistically, the most dangerous place for women and children is in our own homes; the bedroom and the kitchen, particularly.

Most homicides against women are perpetrated by the men in our own lives: the ones that Patriarchy insists are assigned to protect us. Most rapes are carried out, not by strangers, but by men who we have trusted or who have, in the case of fathers, step-fathers, uncles, brothers; men who have been entrusted with our care. Women who kill their abuser, even in self defense, during an attack, get much longer prison sentences than men, who, after years of abuse, kill their victims. One very frightening statistic is that the leading cause of death of pregnant women, is in fact, homicide, often by the father of the developing fetus.

This is the daily terrorism that millions of women, around the world live with every day. And they cannot lock the door.

These are not the first death threats I have received in my life, and my actions and statements against hegemony and patriarchy have frequently brought out the wrath of individual as well as collective groups of men. There is no separation here. These threats are symptomatic of a larger system of domination, control and power that is threatened by empowered women, in our homes or in the larger community.

As a young, dynamic, vibrant and wide-eyed college student, I was very involved in the emerging women’s anti-violence movement that flourished at the end of the seventies. We were the generation that brought voice to a new lexicon; the language of abuse; “domestic violence,” “sexual harassment,” “date rape, ” “hostile working environment.” These were new social concepts that had not been considered before.

At the College I attended for the first two years of my four year undergraduate endeavor, we successfully had a full professor dismissed for sleeping with students; that is, making sex a part of his mandatory curriculum in exchange for the guidance that would have, one might have thought, simply come with admission to the college, for doing the work, for showing an interest in the subject matter, for coming to class.

And while arguments flew back and forth about consent, the point was raised; what about the women that didn’t consent and therefore didn’t get the same attention? –the participants aren’t the only victims.

We also raised the issue of date rape, violence on campus, domestic violence and the generally accepted subjugation of women.

I was (surprise, surprise!) especially outspoken.

And for this, I was pummeled with death threats, and was stalked for the entire five years I lived in that town.

When I attempted to report the threats and the stalking I was told by the campus and the town police that they couldn’t do anything until something actually happened to me, that stalking and threats weren’t a crime.

Again, because of the work of women and other similarly ostracized and disempowered groups, this too has changed. These threats are now considered hate crimes. Stalking is now a felony.

This very domestic terrorism; of race and gender is part of the changing lexicon.

For those of us who have been activists for several decades, who came of age during the sixties and the seventies, surely we had expected the world would look very different than it does now. We would have hoped more might have been achieved, that we would be part of the organization a more just society. Instead we find ourselves up against an enormously dangerous death machine.

But these are among the successes of our generation.

It is not legal to send an email to a woman whose point of view you don’t agree with, and threaten to kill her.

It is a hate crime if it is based on gender, religion or ethnicity.

It is 6 am. Andy is still asleep.

I type.

The day is rushing to greet us.

There is much work to do.

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UPDATE: Now Who’s The Terrorist: Death Wishes and Death Threats
Keeping Safe

I’ve received several emails and phone calls from concerned friends and allies. Your well wishes give me great comfort. Special thanks to those of you who have offered me safe house, should I need it. Also, thanks to the City of Baldwin Park, especially the Mayor and (yes) the Police Department for taking these threats and hate crimes very seriously, for beginning an investigation and for increasing patrol around my home.

I am in the process of also reporting these threats to the FBI, which should be an amusing interview, especially if they ask me questions about my activism, since I’m sure there’s little about me they don’t have in a file somewhere. Special thanks to the Council of American Islamic Relations who is assisting me in making this report to the federal authorities.

Just This Evening….

Andy went out for a bit. His phone rang and I answered it. A man’s voice on the other end asked for “Mr. Andy Griggs.” I told him that he wasn’t in.

“Who’s calling?” I asked.

The caller started to sing “Tin Solders and Nixon…”

The phone went dead.

Aside from lyrics to Neil Young’s song, “Ohio” it is also a refrain in one of my poems.

I called Andy, who rushed home and I called the local police. Andy lives in a different city than I do. The police here, have increased patrol around the house and are now aware of the situation.

Okay, bravado aside: This is scary shit!

I try to live an open, honest life, but it is hard enough waging a war against enemies I cannot see, unarmed, against those who threaten violence. There are aspects of my actions and decisions that, for security reasons, must be secret. I will be posting only events that have already occurred, and not discussing in any detail, plans for the future. Andy reminds me that there are parts of life that must be private, and when it comes to the stories of other people, I hold that information in the strictest of confidence, but I also believe that Silence = Death and that transformation can only occur in the open.

Such complexities.

Such violent times.

Going a bit underground for the time being. But I’ll make sure to let everyone know what I dig
up.

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