On Dec. 4th, 2003 the “Wheels of Justice Tour” appeared during school hours on the grounds of Ukiah High School in Northern California. What was this tour? It was the PLO, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and other leftist groups such as International Answer packaged to teach your 15 year-old child that the Israel must be dismantled and the US must get out of Iraq to aid the comeback of Saddam Hussein. Passing themselves off as objective “peace” advocates, the tour group spoke at Ukiah High to three class sessions during school hours and had their bus, as a sort of rolling museum, on school grounds all day for the students to look at.
“The bus is really a mobile classroom”, says Ceylon Mooney, the tour’s national coordinator. “It comes complete with teachers (italics mine) and a wide range of instructional materials: videos, photographs, essays, fact sheets, etc”.
Teachers? Fact sheets? When I first learned of this event I contacted Ukiah High School Principal Phil Gary to ask him if he knew just what he was exposing his students to during school hours. On the school’s website Gary lists as the “greatest single asset” of Ukiah High being its “quality teachers”. Yet Principal Gary expressed total ignorance of the groups sponsoring the tour. When I asked him if he knew the ISM is led by the PLO and openly supports armed resistance and works to aid terrorists in the Middle East, he professed ignorance of his visiting lecturers. After I gave him a synopsis of just who was appearing and the usual content of their presentation, the principal called it “freedom of speech”.
Freedom of speech is fine, but not freedom to libel and lie with the intent of spreading sedition among US high school children against the US and its democratic allies. Nor to indoctrinate them with those lies on the taxpayer’s dime.
Voices In The Wilderness, which runs the tour, is yet another leftist front group created by the militant Islamists of the PLO allied with anti-globalists who seek the overthrow of the US government and capitalism. The group really represents the goals of and even accepts donations by checks made out to Al Awda , a.k.a. The Palestine Right To Return Committee (PRRC) and allies itself with International Answer and the International Action Center, Ramsey Clark’s outfits. Al Awda means “the Return” in Arabic and is really a front for the PLO that advocates unconditionally that 5 million Palestinians be allowed to move inside Israel displacing the Jewish population and dismantling the Jewish state. The Texas chapter used to have a website extolling the glory of suicide bombers. The other groups just want the US out of Iraq to enable the comeback of Saddam Hussein. (Happily, that won’t happen with the announcement of Hussein’s capture as this article went to press). Ramsey Clark was Saddam Hussein’s personal attorney and represented Iraq prior to the war. The PLO has always been the dictator
Hussein’s closest ally in the Middle East.
Rounding out this tour’s sponsors is the Middle East Children’s Alliance in Berkeley, run by Barbara Lubin. Her group has yet to provide any aid to Middle East Israeli children maimed for life by suicide bombers and terrorist attacks. She plies her “charity” mainly in Gaza, Hamas country. It never ceases to amaze me how many Arab “charities” have been closed down to date when it was learned they really are fronts for funding terrorism.
Her group advocates the dismantling of Israel also and opposes US forces in Iraq.
Half the presentation was given over to Lauren Anzaldo of the International Solidarity Movement which is “Palestinian-led” per its own admission and whose leadership, despite claiming to be nonviolent, endorses violence as acceptable to destroy Israel “by any means necessary” on its website.
Which is exactly what this tour did. Ms. Anzaldo, speaking as an experienced ISM volunteer, told various classes of 12th graders that Israeli soldiers shoot into schools of children like themselves as normal procedure. “Soldiers come in the middle of the night and shoot at schools—during the day too”. On earlier occasions she has told stories that the Israeli army sprays DDT into Palestinian homes as part of a deliberate Israeli plan to promote Palestinian birth defects. Of course, Ms. Anzaldo, who calls herself an “anarcha-feminist” and has no teaching degree or educational qualifications but was allowed to address students as if she was speaking facts, described atrocities that always began with “Somebody told me”… despite her appearing as someone who was relating real experiences as an ISM volunteer in the West Bank. This is usually how the ISM and their affiliates tell stories of made up Israeli and American “abuses” of civilian populations.
Her co-speaker was John Farrell, affiliated with International Answer, who told of how American troops routinely commit atrocities on Iraqi civilians. He also related the canard that Iraqi children are experiencing birth defects due to the uranium tipped shells used by the US in the 1991 Gulf War. That propaganda story was put out by Hussein’s propaganda ministries before the current war began, and the real truth is Iraqi children with birth defects are the result of Saddam Hussein gassing their villages.
I interviewed the bus tour on their cellphone where Ms. Anzaldo, who also bills herself as a nonviolent “peace” advocate, told me how she considered suicide bombers as “martyrs”. “This is an armed struggle situation when someone seeks to colonize another country, armed resistance is acceptable”. She continued, “I support the people’s right to armed struggle”. When I asked her if Israelis have a legitimate fear of being murdered she forgot herself for a moment and said, “the Jews have no rights…Oops, I mean the Zionists”.
Despite the tour’s claim that they represent all points of view on any type of agreement to seek “peace” in the region, she stated she supports only a one state solution, that pushed by Al Awda, (The Return in Arabic) the front group for the PLO. In other words, the dismantling of Israel to create an Arab-Muslim majority dictatorship by flooding Israel’s 1948 borders with Arabs to displace the Jewish majority demographically is the aim, and packaging it as a “peace” group seeking to promote human rights is just a ploy. Al Awda offers no compromises on its website and clearly is behind the tour.
Ms. Anzaldo, also calls herself an “anarcha-feminist”, which she defines as an “objection to the oppression of women” but doesn’t mind running around lying for the Palestinian Authority where over 40 “honor killings” of women occurred this past year. That’s when a male family member murders a female member for losing her virginity, even if she was raped . She explained it wasn’t her “business to interfere with their religion or culture”.
But interfering with Israelis besieged by suicide bombers or smearing American soldiers in Iraq are another story. She explained, “we should focus on things the American military does such as experiments with poisons on our own people (sic)”.
This is a guest teacher or even a lecturer in the view of Ukiah High School?
She did admit that Yasser Arafat steals from of his own people but hedged her comment by continuing, “ Just like George Bush is an ***hole”. She crowed that the Ukiah High Students “were really taken with what we told them, really shocked with what we said”.
They told her they “never hear such things when they get the mainstream point of view”. Could that be because much of what she “teaches” is not true and professional news sources verify their stories with sources, dates and facts whenever possible?
Social Studies teacher Miles Gordon arranged to bring the bus tour to campus during school hours, supposedly as a presentation to educate the student Progressives Club on campus. When I interviewed him the first time he claimed ignorance about the ISM and the real movements behind this “peace” tour during public school hours. When I asked if the students had requested this tour, he replied that it had been arranged because someone “from the local community” had approached him about it. That someone was a David Smith-Ferri, an active participant in International Answer events. Ferri who claims to support himself as a “poet”, works with a local leftist group in Ukiah called Parents For Peace. He called Gordon and sent him brochures and “fact sheets” about what Voices In The Wilderness and the “Wheels Of Justice” tour were about. A quick trip to the sponsors’ websites can probably tell someone what this tour is really all about and that it certainly wasn’t going to be objective for a high school class. I asked Miles Gordon why he would allow such groups to mount anti-Israel as well as anti-US presentations during school hours without at least procuring people from the other side to dispute what was said. He replied that he provides the counterbalance to his class. When I next asked him if he believed Israel had a right to exist, he refused to answer. “I am just against violence”, he said. “But not against those who preach it then present his students a different face to get their support?”, I asked him. Apparently “violence” does not include the suicide bombers and terrorists of the PLO and their closest ally Saddam Hussein and his fedayeen Saddam.
Admittedly, the speakers cleverly bill themselves as “peace” advocates to adolescents which might take people in who are not “in-the-know”. Someone could be fooled. But when I asked Gordon if he was affiliated with any anti-Israel or anti-US groups personally he refused to answer. Just how objectively his presentation of the “other side” really would be is questionable.
The Superintendent of the Ukiah Unified School District, James Brawley, also defended the presentation as “freedom of speech”. However, after I supplied him with some information on the ISM’s links to terrorism, as well as the other affiliates of Voices In The Wilderness he stonewalled any further contact and refused to be interviewed.
Principal Gary to his credit offered to allow a visit from representatives from the other side and the Israel Center of San Francisco sent a 25 year-old intern to speak on Israel’s behalf. Although Miles Gordon was supposedly to handle his coming, the event was passed to Dan Stearns, an English teacher on campus who supervises the Conservatives Club. Apparently Mr. Gordon found dealing with the other side objectionable even though he was the point of contact assigned by Principal Gary. Stearns commented after the presentation that the students had been “completely turned around” from what they thought was going on in the Middle East due to the previous week’s presentation. But what if Principal Gary had not been contacted by people who objected to the bus tour’s indoctrination attempt of high school students?
I asked Social Studies instructor Miles Gordon if he regretted inviting Voice In The Wilderness to campus, given their portrayal as peace advocates yet their connections to groups that engage in terrorism and desire to overthrow the US government, as well as their lying about atrocities being committed by US soldiers and the Israeli army in the War On Terror. He replied no. “There’s always a different perspective on the same truth”, he said. In other words, if someone wants to believe something, it is as valid as if it were true. The idea that education is a means to indoctrinate the citizenry regardless of facts to achieve political ends is something standard in the Arab educational world where people are still taught that Jews use children’s blood to make matzoh or that America is responsible for all the world’s ills.
Allowing the Wheels Of Justice tour to indoctrinate high school kids during school hours because the speakers perceive what they say to be truth when there is evidence there are no facts to back it up, or when such people say the opposite in private yet deliberately lie to indoctrinate or trick vulnerable high school students into pushing their agenda, certainly doesn’t speak much for the quality of instruction at Ukiah High School. And the parents of those students most likely knew nothing about it. Look for the bus tour to come to your local high school in the near future.