Monday, October 09, 2006
Zionists Pressure UTLA to Cancel Discussion on Boycotts
Abed El-Fatah climbed over the Apartheid Wall in order to get to Al-Makkassed Hospital in Jerusalem for his open-heart surgery. The Israelis, who control every aspect of Palestinians’ lives, denied him a permit to go to the hospital.
Similarly, in Los Angeles recently, Israel’s builders of walls on the western front, the World Zionist Organization, the American Jewish Congress, Stand With Us, the ADL, and the Simon Weisenthal Center, denied Los Angeles school teachers an opportunity to discuss boycotts, sanctions, and divestiture from Israel.
The Human Rights Committee, one of 33 committees of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, a local affiliate of California Teachers Association, and part of the National Education Association planned to host a meeting on October 14 for the Movement for a Democratic Society in a room of the UTLA building. According to Emma Rosenthal, Los Angeles schoolteacher, the room holds thirty people. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss boycotts, sanctions, and divestiture from Israel.
The Movement for a Democratic Society issued the following in its announcement:
To support the Palestinian people in their decades long struggle against Israeli aggression, dispossession and oppression. The Israeli government has systematically and continuously violated UN resolutions and international law in its treatment of the Palestinian people. When Israel was created in 1948, 75% of the Palestinians were forcibly dispossessed of their lands and forced into exile. Then in 1967, Israel illegally occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank, Jordan Valley and Gaza. Palestinians within Israel are forced to live as third class citizens without civil rights and face legal, economic and social discrimination. Palestinians in the Occupied Territories fare even worse since Israel illegally subjects them to demolitions, closures, curfews and checkpoints, extra-judicial detentions, kidnappings and assassinations, military attacks against towns and camps, racist, apartheid policies and programs. In addition, Israel continues to illegally seize Palestinian land and annex it to Israel and currently is constructing an immense concrete wall to protect illegal Israeli settlements and to isolate and divide Palestinian towns (Rosenthal, Emma. E-Mail to EFreePalestine, October 9).
UTLA President A.J. Duffy initially didn't give in to pressure from Zionist groups. An excerpt from an earlier post in response to attacks:
"I will not interject my personal feelings into this matter and will simply remind you that this is a democratic union in a democratic nation and I will not sponsor censorship. As incensed as you or I might be, I would hope you would be ten times as incensed if I started to determine who can and who cannot speak on issues in our committees" (Rosenthal).
Retired UTLA member Don White issued a plea for UTLA members to respond to President Duffy to counter the effects of the Zionist organizations.
One of his talking points:
“Condemn anti-Jewish racism, but assert that holdingIsrael up to the Geneva Convention, and the UnitedNations Declaration of Human Rights is not anti-Semitic, but consistent with the other issues addressed by the Human Rights Committee. That within the scope of the issues addressed by this committee, to NOT address the issue of Palestinian human rights would single out Israel for lack of scrutiny” (Rosenthal).
Unfortunately, UTLA President Duffy succumbed to Zionist pressure. An October 5 press release stated:
"The following actions have been taken by UTLA: 1. We have cancelled the UTLA location for this meeting. 2. We have deleted the link on the UTLA web site to the Human Rights Committee web site and the information on this event."
Statements made by Israel’s apologists to the Los Angeles Times, which incorrectly headlined and reported the proposed meeting as an “Anti-Israel Rally,” are indicative of their usual responses not based on any evidence when it comes to concrete actions to inform US citizens about Israel’s violations of international law. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center called the committee’s position “anti-Semitic.”
Amanda Susskind, regional director of the ADL issued a statement claiming, “We are concerned that hateful rhetoric will not be productive for anyone during these troubled times.”
Emma Rosenthal, Los Angeles teacher aptly observes: “How can the teachers of Los Angeles be expected to teach accurately and responsibly on the issues of the Middle East if they are not allowed to explore those issues in their own union hall and are dictated what to say by the perpetrators of brutality and censorship?”
Just as Zionists have erected an Apartheid Wall in Palestine, Zionists erect walls in the United States, which erode our rights to assemble and discuss. Of course, the mere fact that they clamor to stop discussion is evidence that the Zionist enterprise is doomed to failure.