Why not use taxpayer money to celebrate terrorism

The San Francisco Unified School District will host an event tomorrow (Saturday, October 2) in support of overseas terrorist groups given by the International Solidarity Movement and its affiliate, International ANSWER. Taking place at Horace Mann Middle School in San Francisco’s Mission District, the event is titled “The Struggle for Palestine: 4th Anniversary of the Intifada.” The Intifada means the violent insurrection started by the PLO in September, 2000 that has resulted in over 25,000 terror attacks and more than 1,000 innocent people deliberately murdered in cold blood.

For the radical Left, this event is especially timely, since it follows the beheadings of two American citizens in Iraq last week, a crime and tragedy that undoubtedly will not be condemned during the proceedings at the Horace Mann Middle School this weekend.

Overall, this event is only one example of the support for terrorism (euphemistically called “resistance”). The fourth purpose listed for holding the event on some of the organizers’ websites is especially intriguing. It is to garner:

Support for resistance in Palestine, and to make links with others who are fighting against the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and against U.S. imperialism around the world.

Can you guess what the organizers of this event mean by “fighting against the U.S. occupation in Iraq?” They mean killing of our sons and daughters in Iraq who are in the U.S. military. And can you guess who’s fighting against them? The terrorists from al-Qaeda, the Ba’ath Party, Ansar Al-Islam and any other members of the terrorist network.

The organizers of this event misrepresented themselves to the San Francisco Unified School District by claiming their event would be an impartial meeting of progressives to discuss the Middle East. If that were really so, it should certainly fall under the parameters of free speech. However, internal emails broadcasted by the organizers to their email lists and on their websites tell another story of supporting terrorism — an illegal activity not covered by free speech provisions.

Simply put, this event is being staged in San Francisco with workshops designed to train “activists” to undermine anti-terrorism efforts abroad and to help devise ways to aid the “resistance” in Iraq that is killing American soldiers and other Coalition forces. Some of the groups participating also actively fundraise fungible assets that, once they arrive overseas, can go toward financing more terrorism.

One can’t really blame the Palestine Solidarity Movement (an affiliate of the International Solidarity Movement, or ISM), and the alphabet soup of names its proxy groups go under, for utilizing a publicly funded junior high school to hold another series of workshops and training sessions. After all, radicals bent on destroying Israel and attacking U.S. forces in Iraq need a place to practice “direct action,” plot strategy and plan fundraising. The public officials who rented the school to them for 12 hours on October 2nd, meanwhile, bear more blame for their lack of scrutiny.

The application form, filled out in the name of International ANSWER, a group that supports North Korean communism, states the event is merely an “Educational Forum on the Middle East.” There is no mention of celebrating the Intifada or supporting the Iraqi Insurgency.

International ANSWER and its affiliate, the International Action Center (IAC), advocate a communist revolution. The IAC is led by Ramsey Clark, Saddam Hussein’s defense attorney.

When the deception was pointed out to Phillip Smith, the head of the Real Estate Department for the San Francisco Unified School District, he claimed by email he was unable to say no to the organizers, citing California Education Code 38130 which allows use of school facilities for political groups.

This is erroneous, as I explained to the school district’s attorney, Miguel Marquez. California Education Code 38130 also states, “The school district may grant the use of the school facilities and grounds upon certain terms and conditions deemed proper by the governing board, subject to specified limitations, requirements, and restrictions set forth within the law.” (Emphasis added.)

If that’s the case, the event should come under Title 18 Section 2339A of the Federal Criminal Code and Rules and amended Sections 702 and 703 regarding aid to terrorism that extends criminal penalties to those who engage in aiding terrorism overseas from within the United States.

Marquez claims the rights of freedom of speech are broad and that this event in San Francisco is an “educational” event, like the organizers claimed it is. However, he had no reply for me when I told him the event at Horace Mann Middle School will contain workshops to deal with damaging the Caterpillar Corporation’s business in the U.S. (placing the school district at liability also from Caterpillar), as well as other ways to aid terrorist movements overseas as outlined for the event on multiple websites. The Israeli army uses Caterpillar tractors to demolish the homes of suicide bombers because those homes are used as bomb factories or to house terrorist cells. And any other aid to those “fighting against the US occupation in Iraq” would also fall into the category of aiding terrorism overseas, whether by financial or material support as well as through propaganda.

The copy of the rental agreement, filled out by a Saul Kanowitz of International ANSWER, had no clauses in the event of misrepresentation of events to be held on school property. Certainly, the San Francisco Unified School District would not permit a similar event by the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Party on school grounds if such organizations said they were holding educational discussions on American race in their applications. In any case, the federal statues related to aiding terrorists overseas gives the school district the right to act in a case of clear misrepresentation by the organizers.

Kanowitz, who is gay, came to media attention when he sponsored a float in the San Francisco Gay Pride parade equating the gay rights movement with the Palestinian struggle to dismantle Israel. Jewish gay rights activists in San Francisco were infuriated. Kanowitz was also active in supporting Saddam Hussein’s Iraq against the United States. Kanowitz is hardly someone who was seeking to organize an objective educational forum on the Middle East at Horace Mann Middle School.

Most agreements of other school districts in California regarding the renting of school property for events all contain provisions such as this:

Persons or organizations applying for the use of school facilities shall submit a statement of information indicating that the organization upholds the state and federal constitutions and does not intend to use school premises to commit unlawful acts.

The San Francisco Unified School District might consider adding such a clause to its own rental applications.

To verify some information, I called one of the organizers of this event listed on the Al Awda website who answered the phone saying, “ADC” (the acronym for the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee). The ADC claims to be an Arab civil rights group fighting discrimination against Arabs and Muslims since 9/11. So why is it conducting events designed to aid terrorist movements overseas, especially in Iraq?

Rayan Elamine, who identified himself as an employee of the ADC during my telephone interview, told me the San Francisco event was organized for people who could not make it to the bigger national conference being held at Duke University, October 15th-17th, which will also host workshops on how to aid the “resistance” in Iraq against U.S. soldiers and damage the Caterpillar Corporation’s business . He also spoke of “neo-conservatives” (Jews) in the U.S. government that are “running things.” When I asked him to specifically condemn attacks by al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups in Iraq, he refused to condemn such activities even after I gave him several opportunities to do so. “We don’t make statements about occupations first and foremost,” he said, refusing even to condemn suicide bombings that kill both U.S. soldiers and Israelis. However, all media about this event on the websites run by the organizers list “fighting against the occupation” as the event’s goal. Jess Ghannam, who is also on the Board of the ADC, is listed as another contact for the event on the Al-Awda website.

The Duke Conference will be mimicked in San Francisco by other local sponsors besides International ANSWER. These include the ADC, the ISM, Al-Awda, SUSTAIN (Stop U.S. Taxpayer Support Against Israel Now), Jews for a Free Palestine (a group that includes Jamie Spector, who was exposed and deported from Israel due to another Front Page Magazine article), as well as a new group called QUIT (Queers Undermining the Occupation), no doubt led by Kanowitz. The Stalinist National Lawyers Guild and even a current attorney from the ACLU will round out the program.

I also asked the school district’s attorney, Marquez, if the district would require that people with dissenting views be admitted to this “educational event” or would they be forced to sign statements supporting the dismantling of Israel or against U.S. forces in Iraq in order to get in. Again, he had no reply, claiming state law tied his hands.

Apparently, “freedom of speech” isn’t as broad a topic as Marquez says it is.

On many occasions, FrontPage Magazine has exposed how our colleges, high schools and now even junior high schools are being used by terrorist-supporting groups.

This support of terrorism has to stop.

The San Francisco Unified School District administrators refuse to stop their complicity with terror — even after they learned they are giving support to murder overseas. No doubt, the administrators were duped by the organizers of this event. However, instead of acknowledging their error, they claim they are preserving the very freedoms that the organizers of this event are working to destroy.

Let San Francisco Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman know how you feel: ackermana@sfusd.edu . So far her office has stonewalled any common sense solution to not letting this event go forward. While you’re at it, contact Governor Schwarzenegger as well: http://www.govmail.ca.gov/.

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  1. Jack's Shack October 3, 2004 at 6:21 am

    I am not against groups like this meeting. I like to have them assemble in public. Makes it easier to see who does what.

    I am a huge proponent of free speech, even that which I wish was not said.

    What bothers me about it is that I might be supporting it with my tax dollars. And that just irks me. It is bad enough that these loons think that terrorism is ok, but to give them financial support, oy.

  2. mquest October 3, 2004 at 12:54 am

    I am not an expert on legal law. But, once the contract is signed even if there is a lie. The event can not be canceled. This same thing happened about two years ago at a California fair ground. The KKK had a concert. After all the legal people had thought about it- It was decided that canceling the event would cause a lawsuit of epic proportions. It was also cited that in other events city’s had lost tons of money and judges had refused to stop other events like this from happing. Even NAMBLA
    has won the right to meet in public library. (I do not think it has been overturned)
    I know you consider this event to be a bad idea, hate speech and terrorism. But, do you think the FBI and NSA will not be their taking notes and pictures? Let them meet in public that way any illegal activity can be traced. I am not surprised the event has not been canceled.

    Perhaps there is a clause in the patriot act to stop an event like this from happening. It would not be used on such a week case. As you might know a provision of the patriot act is tossed out every time it makes it to a judge

  3. Stacey October 2, 2004 at 7:44 pm

    This is so disappointing and upsetting. Even though I am not a CA or San Francisco resident, I have contacted both. And I will launch off an email to the Pres. of Duke Univ. as well.

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