Leading trade unionist expresses ‘disgust and dismay’ at misuse of her name by pro-BDS campaigners

From Tulip.

Clayola Brown, the national president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute — a leading organization for Black trade unionists in the United States — has sent this email message to “Labor for Palestine”:

It is with disgust and dismay that I find my name listed as a signer of “Boycott Apartheid Israel: Open Letter from US Trade Unionists.” I demand that my name be removed immediately!

Prior to seeing the letter on the Palestine Chronicle website, I had never seen such a letter or engaged in discussions about its content. I find it disrespectful that someone would attach my name to a document and circulate such a document without contact with me, or consent from me.

Please make every effort to convey my demand to and any other publications that you have used or are likely to use your letter with.

20 Responses to “Leading trade unionist expresses ‘disgust and dismay’ at misuse of her name by pro-BDS campaigners”

  1. Bill Says:

    What did these people expect? a) That she and her colleagues agree (or more to the point, are “expected” to agree) with them so much that they can’t be bothered to run this by them? or b) They didn’t expect Brown and company to care about the statement, and their “misappropriation” of her support (heck, let’s call it for what it is, fraud and forgery).

    Smooth move. I wonder how many other signatories are equally “authentic.”

  2. fred Says:

    Labor for Palestine has posted a response:


    “In fact, Fred Mason and Clayola Brown were among 21 people who signed the letter at a USLAW national meeting held in Chicago on December 5. Their endorsements, written in their own hand (signatures 5 and 6.) can be viewed at: http://www.aaumc.org/drupal/system/files/uslaw-signatures.pdf. Nonetheless, ‘TULIP’ has refused to remove Brown’s defamatory statement from its website.”

    • Bill Says:

      Uh… That signature page doesn’t really help… what’s with the strategically placed blackouts? You’d think column one would be fine if it just said “name” as you’d think. When I start seeing large areas being blacked out and it’s not identity theft fodder, (ironically in an issue that may involve a bit of it), I get a little suspicious.

      • fred Says:

        Bill: I agree a healthy skepticism is warranted. & If there’s some kind of sleight of hand with that document, Brown may have grounds for a suit. This whole business is an odd kettle of fish, not quite sure what to make of it.

        • Jon Says:

          As I noted on their site, there is no indication that the last page (the one containing the signatures) is in any way connected with the first two petition pages. It’s also clear that the last page is just a blowup of a part of a larger page. In addition to the blackouts, it would seem to me that we should take the opinion of the people who allegedly signed at their word, rather than the folks trying to perpetuate what is looking like the latest in a long string of divestment-related frauds (see http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1259243065278&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull).

        • fred Says:

          jon your link doesnt work. also if you left a comment on LfP’s site I dont see it

        • Jon Says:

          It looks like my comment (reproduced below) is “awaiting moderation” (I wont hold my breath). Here’s the J Post link:


          Comment left at Labor for Palestine:

          With all due respect, it’s not entirely clear that the last page in your fax/PDF is in any way connected with the first two. In addition, the first two pages are shown in their entirety, while the last is clearly just of a section of a larger document. Any way we can see the whole thing (without the blackouts) before you demand that someone claiming they do not support your cause (as opposed to you) is not telling the truth?

  3. Eric Lee Says:

    In an email I received several days ago from “Labor for Palestine”, they asserted that Brown “apparently was subject to a campaign of intimidation and pressure” (presumably from the Zionists).

    I replied immediately, asking “Really? By who? Where’s the evidence? This is a very serious allegation that you are making and you’d better be ready to back it up.”

    They never replied.

    It’s hard to take an organization seriously when they do things like that.

    Anyone who knows the history of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (which Clayola Brown heads) and its relationship to the AFL-CIO will have been surprised to see her signature on this open letter.

    The Institute’s founder, Bayard Rustin, was one of Israel’s best friends in the Black community, as well as being an outstanding leader of the civil rights movement.

    It’s not surprising at all that she insists she would not have signed — intentionally — any such letter.

    If someone at Labor for Palestine thought they’d scored a coup by getting someone from a well known pro-Israel organization who is part of the AFL-CIO mainstream to both attack the AFL-CIO leadership and Israel — if they thought no one would notice this was a bit odd — they were mistaken.

  4. Absolute Observer Says:

    I am not surpised at the fallback position of LfP, nor their inability to supply evidence for the allegation/slur/smear.

  5. fred Says:

    Eric Lee:

    “It’s not surprising at all that she insists she would not have signed — intentionally — any such letter.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “intentionally?”

    • Eric Lee Says:

      What I mean by “intentionally” is — this is clearly not her position. No one is claiming, as far as I know, that this is the view of Brown or the Randolph Institute, which has a long history of promoting the kind of pro-Israel position Labor for Palestine opposes.

      It is possible — I actually don’t know — that Brown signed that odd handwritten sheet we saw, and she is not alone in saying that she did not endorse the open letter.

      It looks like someone at Labor for Palestine thought they’d scored a PR victory getting someone who is not normally identified with their cause to sign up.

      To then blame unnamed people (presumably Jews) for intimidating and bullying Brown into recanting is my real problem with all this — where’s the evidence of all this terrible pressure she faced?

      • Bill Says:

        “It is possible — I actually don’t know — that Brown signed that odd handwritten sheet we saw, and she is not alone in saying that she did not endorse the open letter.”

        Hey, for all we know she and the others were thinking they were signing a nap-time… uh.. seminar… attendance sheet. 😛

  6. Lynne T Says:

    Of course the pro-boycotters never exert pressure on anyone to get them on side or otherwise stiffle dissent.

  7. Muskens Says:

    These two. Fred Mason and Clayola Brown. Withdrawing their underwritten commitmnet. Disgusting people. I wonder who payed them off to retrieve their support. Histadrut???

  8. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Is Muskens serious? Because I fail to direct any irony. The comments before that one say it all: the evidence that they actually signed the letter in question is thin, to say the least.

  9. Gwunderi Says:

    It’s very strange and – of course – a pure conincidence that nearly all of the signers on the third page of the above fax (http://www.aaumc.org/drupal/system/files/uslaw-signatures.pdf) are or were engaged against the war in Iraq, most of them in “U.S. Labor against the War”, Clayola Brown and Fred Mason included:

    I first searched in Google “Chicago Labor Against War” (on the signatory list next Lee Sustar) and found this:

    Click to access Affiliations.082508.pdf

    (with these strange signs “AFT local 2121” ecc. like on the list)

    Than I starded a new search “against war” with each name of the list I could read – and here is the very surprising result:

    Monadel Herzallah:

    Click to access HerzallahLCPresentation.pdf

    Andy Griggs:

    Emma Rosenthal (Los Angeles – U.S. Labor against the War):

    Clayola Brown:

    Fred Mason:

    Allan Fisher:

    Alan Benjamin:

    Sharon Black (Troops out now):

    Louis LaFortune:

    Frank Rosen:

    Click to access ae1022nu.pdf

    Joan Sekler (Americans for Peace and Justice):

    Lee Sustar:

    Sarah Ringler:

    Frank Pinto:

    Click to access 2008LCParticipants.pdf

    Rubina Jamil:

    Tony Leon (“US War on Iraq a one-sided affair”):

    Really very strange, isn’t it?

    Do you think the BDS people are so bad to present a forgery with the above fax, adding a signatory list of another event? Or aren’t they capable of such a wicked and dishonest fraud?
    I think the answer is quite simple …

  10. Victoria Says:

    “one of those things is not like the others”……the third page is clearly part of another petition. I thinks Gwunderi cracked the case.

  11. Gwunderi Says:

    Maybe, very probable. All here suspected something like that, and I had a little time left to play detective … In what we all agree I think is that it is “clearly part of another petition”; operating with falsehood and distortions in best BDS manner.

  12. Poumerang « Poumista Says:

    […] *Clayola Brown of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (which was started by Bayard Rustin) has her name …. […]

  13. Werbemittel Says:

    I was als odisgusted and dismayed! Great post!

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