3/12/13: A historic coalition of LGBT, Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Iranian, South Asian and university groups today delivered a letter to New York City elected officials, calling on them to stop impeding their constituents’ free speech on Israel’s apartheid policies, the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) movement and the movement against Israeli government “pinkwashing.” The letter is available online here:
OPEN LETTER TO NEW YORK CITY ELECTED OFFICIALS
This speech below was written & delivered by Park Slope Food Coop BDS member Phan Nguyen at 3/12/13 press conference on the steps of NYC’s City Hall. He called on elected officials to account for their statements and letters about the Brooklyn College BDS event last month. Phan was representing the Park Slope Food Coop BDS group.
Last November, during the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stood in front of the Israeli Consulate and declared, “New York is Israel, and Israel is New York.”
Last year, Quinn and several elected officials spoke out against an Israel boycott proposal at the Park Slope Food Coop.
They didn’t just tell Coop members to vote “no” on a boycott; they were actively trying to prevent a member-wide vote on the boycott proposal.
Now, keep in mind that these electeds were NOT EVEN members of the Coop and did not shop at the Coop. No, our elected officials were operating under the direct coordination of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
This is the same JCRC that defended Ray Kelly when he was being justifiably criticized for his program of spying on Muslim Americans.
And this is the same JCRC that also organized against the Brooklyn College BDS event.
This is the same JCRC that consulted with Christine Quinn just before Quinn delivered an open letter to the LGBT Center attacking queer activists for Palestine.
And this is the same JCRC that has given several New York elected officials, such as Christine Quinn, repeatedly, free trips to Israel—and not only to meet with Israeli gov’t officials, but to illegal settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
Our electeds claim that they are only concerned about balance. Well let me ask:
Did Congressmembers Jerry Nadler, or Hakeem Jeffries, or Yvette Clarke, call for balance when they attended the AIPAC conference last week?
Did former City Comptroller Bill Thompson call for balance when he attended the quote-unquote “Iron Dome Tribute Luncheon” the week before that?
Did current City Comptroller John Liu call for balance when he invested NY pension funds in Israeli bonds because it would, quote, “reaffirm our commitment to the Israeli people”?
Was Bill de Blasio seeking balance when he teamed up with JCRC astroturf organization Iran180, which has employed homophobic rape imagery to promote divestment and sanctions against Iran?
When it comes to Israel, our electeds are so unbalanced, and so imbalanced, that I don’t know how they can say what they say and stay standing.
They say they want balance? Well here we are. We’re the side they’re not listening to.
Our officials are so gung ho about telling academics how to teach, telling food cooperatives what to stock, and telling the LGBT Center who to host, yet most of them are too afraid to stand up to tell the police commisioner how to police, to take a strong stance against stop-and-frisk.
I want to tell Michael Miller, the CEO of the JCRC, that he can run for office too. And if he gets elected, he can push his Israel agenda to his heart’s content.
But until then, despite what our elected officials claim, New York is not Israel. New York is bigger than the JCRC. And the JCRC does not represent New York.
It’s time our electeds start listening to what we think instead of telling us what to think.
*****************listen to other speakers ********************
*****************also read ********************
NYC coalition calls on elected officials to stop fueling Islamophobia and suppressing criticism of Israel
by Adam Horowitz
****** watch NYC Elected Officials support Israel’s Human Rights Abuses*****