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(Jeff Haynes / Agence France Presse)

Letter reveals StandWithUs bullying of SoCal Chinese center over Palestine conference

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StandWithUs sign, at 16 November 2012 rally supporting Israel’s bombing of Gaza, purports to support “Free Speech.” (Steve Rhodes/Flickr)

An Israel lobby group attempted to pressure the Southern California Chinese Cultural Association (SCCCA) to cancel today’s American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) conference in Irvine, California.

Roberta Seid, “Education/Research Director” of StandWithUs, an anti-Palestinian group that works closely with the Israeli government, wrote a letter to SCCCA’s management in which she smears organizers and invited speakers, including me, as “extremists” with “terrorist” ties, and threatens a protest outside the event.

“Jewish and non-Jewish Irvine community members contacted us because they were so disturbed that the SCCCA is renting its space for this event. In doing so, you are being drawn into controversy and alienating members of the community,” Seid claims in the letter.

“We have learned that some community members may do a protest demonstration outside your building during the December 7th event,” she adds.

This prompted SCCCA management to advise AMP organizers, in an email obtained by The Electronic Intifada, to “check with local police to see if they know anything about this potential protest.”

Palestine solidarity activists have been victims of violence by a member of StandWithUs, and at a StandWithUs-organized event, on two separate occasions.

In her letter Seid cites the Anti-Defamation League’s McCarthyite blacklist of “anti-Israel groups” including AMP, and slams Jewish Voice for Peace and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, both of which are co-sponsors of the AMP conference.

“These groups employ rhetoric that vilifies Israel and/or Jews, and call for the dismantling of the Jewish state,” Seid writes.

“Extremists”

The letter includes smears against speakers and attempts to associate them with “terrorism”:

The individual speakers are also extremists. One, Ali Abunimah, is founder of Electronic Intifada, a site notorious for its anti-Israel propaganda and calls for dismantling Israel. A liberal writer and frequent critic of Israel denounced the writings of another speaker, Max Blumethal, as “deliberately deceptive,” “a propaganda tract,” and “riddled with factual errors, unsubstantiated claims, and malicious innuendo.” Irvine’s Muslim Student Association [MSA] has agitated the UCI campus and MSA leaders were convicted of criminal misdemeanors by an Orange County jury for their actions when Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren spoke on campus in 2010.

The full letter, available below, also asserts without a shred of truth or evidence that “In addition, some of these groups have been associated with terrorist groups.”

Dinner moved to tent

SCCCA did not back out of renting its venue to the AMP conference, although after receiving the StandWithUs letter, it did deny a request for space for the conference dinner – which was originally to be held at the same venue.

SCCCA management wrote to conference organizers that the hall would have to be vacated so it could be prepared for another event the following day.

The dinner will now be held in a tent in the parking lot of the nearby Islamic Center of Irvine.

Speaking at the conference, AMP chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian thanked SCCCA for “not buckling” to StandWithUs pressure.

StandWithUs Letter

Dear Ms. Huiwen,
I appreciated speaking with you this afternoon, and am sending this email about our concerns regarding the event scheduled at the Chinese Cultural Association on December 7th. I realize that you were unaware of the nature of this event.

I am the Education/Research Director of StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization, and many Jewish and non-Jewish Irvine community members contacted us because they were so disturbed that the SCCCA is renting its space for this event. In doing so, you are being drawn into controversy and alienating members of the community.

We have learned that some community members may do a protest demonstration outside your building during the December 7th event.

You may not have been aware that the sponsoring organizations are not educational groups. They are political groups that advocate extremist views and are the center of anti-Israel and often, anti-Jewish and anti-American agitation and propaganda. The Anti-Defamation League has identified three of the groups, Jewish Voice for Peace [JVP], American Muslims for Palestine [AMP], and the Muslim Public Affairs Council [MPAC]as among the ten most active anti-Israel groups in America. In 2010, the ADL list also included two of the other groups, CAIR and the Muslim American Society (MAS). These groups employ rhetoric that vilifies Israel and/or Jews, and call for the dismantling of the Jewish state.

The individual speakers are also extremists. One, Ali Abunimah, is founder of Electronic Intifada, a site notorious for its anti-Israel propaganda and calls for dismantling Israel. A liberal writer and frequent critic of Israel denounced the writings of another speaker, Max Blumethal, as “deliberately deceptive,” “a propaganda tract,” and “riddled with factual errors, unsubstantiated claims, and malicious innuendo.” Irvine’s Muslim Student Association [MSA] has agitated the UCI campus and MSA leaders were convicted of criminal misdemeanors by an Orange County jury for their actions when Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren spoke on campus in 2010.

In addition, some of these groups have been associated with terrorist groups. There are published reports that MAP has documented ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and that AMP’s organizational roots can be traced to the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), an anti-Semitic group that served as the main propaganda arm for Hamas in the United States until it was dissolved in 2004.

We wanted you to be aware of the nature of these groups and why some community members are so concerned.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

Roberta Seid, PhD
Education/Research Director, StandWithUs