Movement Building :

Occupy may day

WESPAC connects organizations, people and issues across all divisions, recognizing that we cannot win a better world if we stay divided. WESPAC promotes movement building through regular potlucks that bring people together to share food, knowledge and build relationships. WESPAC has developed a Speakers Bureau that can provide effective speakers on a variety of current social justice issues. WESPAC is an active member of a number of local coalitions including: the Hudson Valley Fair Economy Coalition, the Hudson Valley Community Coalition and the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform.

No Apartheid in Our Name: LGBT Jewish Groups Block “Celebrate Israel” Parade

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40870-no-apartheid-in-our-name-lgbt-jewish-groups-block-celebrate-israel-parade

Posted in Communities & Focus Areas, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Movement Building, Racial Justice

JVP Westchester Letter to the Board of Legislators

Dear Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators:

On June 12 at 10 a.m. the Legislation Committee is scheduled to discuss an anti-BDS resolution referred to on your website as ID # 10140  Resolution – LEGISLATORS KAPLOWITZ AND MAISANO: Proposed Reso – Anti BDS Movement.

On behalf of the members of Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester, I urge you to withdraw, or vote against, this resolution. 

Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester is a national membership organization, with over 60 chapters and more than 200,000 online supporters, that seeks to promote a peace in Israel/Palestine based on international law, human rights, equality, justice, and security for all the peoples of the region. Our Westchester chapter is one of five in New York State.  As an organization and as individuals, we support Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).   

Like many JVP members, I have been to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In fact, I just returned from two weeks there.  I found the racial segregation and domination of Palestinians to be arbitrary and cruel.  Since the illegal 1967 annexation of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and the land of 28 Palestinian communities deprived those residents of the protections of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the land expropriation, forced transfer of Palestinians and establishment of settlements has been systematic and premeditated. 

There is no public housing for Palestinians, and they are prevented from building homes by the requirement of a permit, which is routinely and arbitrarily withheld from Palestinians, and in the very few cases in which permits are granted, they are very expensive.  The 20,000 homes built without permits containing more than 85,000 Palestinians are all subject to demolition, with the cost of demolition imposed on their owners. 

There are virtually no parks or swimming pools in East Jerusalem, except in Jewish settlements.   “Greater Jerusalem” – the Jewish-Israeli metropolitan area, now extends from Ramallah in the North, to the Dead Sea in the East, and Hebron to the South, facilitated by the Wall and a network of highways that tie the settlements into West Jerusalem and Israel.  By building and locating the Wall where it did, Israel effectively confiscated 9-11% of the West Bank and put the water acquifer inside it.  Israel now controls 85% of the water in the West Bank.  While water is plentiful enough in Jewish West Bank settlements to keep the swimming pools overflowing, Palestinian West Bank residents are often deprived of running water for many hours a day. 

In the West Bank, I saw up close how ugly, brutal and implacable the occupation is, enforced by overwhelming force and intimidation of the local population.  Many Palestinian families have endured raids of their homes without warning by Israeli soldiers.  Children as young as 12 years old have been taken from homes or streets and jailed without charges for weeks or months.  Two out of five Palestinian men have been held at one time or another in Israeli prisons, often without charge or trial.  Release is often conditioned on agreement to collaborate with authorities, making those released suspect in the eyes of their Palestinian brothers and sisters even if they have not agreed to collaborate.  Israeli soldiers, border police and settlers routinely walk around with guns, the latter too-often assaulting or taunting Palestinians children going to or from school. 

Tens of thousands of homes have been demolished, olive orchards have been destroyed, much of Palestinian agricultural land has been taken or threatened, while military checkpoints routinely make travel from one Palestinian town to another close by away take hours.  The United States has manufactured and delivered much of the military hardware and software used to enforce the occupation, to our shame and in violation of UN Security Council resolutions which call upon all UN member states to refrain from assisting or facilitating these violations of international law.

We oppose the Kaplowitz-Maisano resolution for the following reasons:

Legislative measures that demonize BDS and level false accusations against it and its supporters, even resolutions without the binding force of law, have a chilling effect on dissent. They are a form of indirect government censorship that undermines First Amendment protections. Further, they stifle the open exchange of ideas that could help resolve the tragic conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Boycott, divestment, and sanctions are nonviolent approaches to ending injustice. These tactics are protected under the Constitution and have a long and honorable history protesting segregation (the Montgomery bus boycott), unfair working conditions (the farmworkers’ grape boycott), an apartheid regime (the boycott of South Africa), and LGBT discrimination (boycotts of Arizona and North Carolina). 

 The BDS movement on behalf of Palestinian rights, which is supported by a growing number of us in the Jewish community, is directed against the discriminatory and oppressive policies that the government of Israel employs against Palestinians. Contrary to misinformation and the assertion in the Kaplowitz-Maisano resolution that  BDS as “a movement that seeks to undermine Israel and malign the Jewish people,” BDS is not anti-Semitic. It does not promote hatred or discriminate against Jews as a people but rather protests the policies of a state. Many Westchester Jews have written you protesting this misrepresentation. To misuse the term anti-Semitism in this way is to trivialize an odious phenomenon. As an organization guided by Jewish ethics and tradition, JVP supports BDS because we believe that enduring Jewish (as well as democratic) values require Israeli Jews to respect the humanity, dignity, and equal legal rights of their Palestinian neighbors.

 Under international law, the Israeli annexation and occupation of Palestinian lands is considered illegal and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians an abuse of human rights.  For decades, the stated policy of the United States Government has been that settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. Americans who support BDS are therefore adhering to the principles to which their government pays lip service.

The anti-BDS initiative before you is wrong-headed. It discourages thinking and action that is humanitarian in outlook by seeking to end grave harm and suffering. It distracts attention from pressing local issues, serves no discernible local interest, and alienates politically active sectors of Westchester’s residents who believe that the freedom to hold dissenting views without government pressure is a foundation of American democracy. It encourages Israel to persist in policies toward the Palestinians that undermine its Jewish values and its claim to democracy, damage its standing in international public opinion and contravene international law and human rights.

For all these reasons, I and my JVP-Westchester colleagues urge you to vote against this anti-BDS resolution.

 Very truly yours,

 

Robert L. Herbst

Chapter Coordinator

Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester

Larchmont, New York 10538

 

 

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Movement Building, Racial Justice

Help Us Defeat Kaplowitz and Maisano Anti-BDS Resolution

Help Us Defeat Kaplowitz and Maisano Anti-BDS Resolution

On Monday, June 12 at 10 a.m. the Legislation Committee of the Westchester County Board of Legislators is scheduled to discuss an anti-BDS resolution referred to on their website as ID # 10140  Resolution – LEGISLATORS KAPLOWITZ AND MAISANO: Proposed Reso – Anti BDS Movement.  We are asking for people to attend this public hearing and contact your legislator (contact information can be found here  http://westchesterlegislators.com/contact-us.html ) with the following points:

1.Boycott, divestment, and sanctions are nonviolent approaches to ending injustice. These tactics are protected under the U.S. Constitution and have a long and honorable history protesting segregation (the Montgomery bus boycott), unfair working conditions (the farmworkers’ grape boycott), an apartheid regime (the boycott of South Africa), and LGBT discrimination (boycotts of Arizona and North Carolina). 

 2. Legislative measures that demonize BDS and level false accusations against it and its supporters, even resolutions without the binding force of law, have a chilling effect on dissent. Their indirect effect is to exercise government censorship, undermining First Amendment protections. Further, they stifle the open exchange of ideas that could help resolve the tragic conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

3. The BDS movement on behalf of Palestinian rights, which is supported by many in the Jewish community, is directed against the discriminatory policies the government of Israel employs against Palestinians. It is not anti-Semitic. It does not promote hatred or discriminate against Jews as a people but rather protests the policies of a state.

4. Under international law recognized by the vast majority of nations of the globe, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is considered illegal and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians an abuse of human rights.  Supporters of BDS are thus acting in concert with international law and standards of justice.

5. For decades the stated policy of the United States Government has been that settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel are illegal under International law and an obstacle to peace. Americans who support BDS are giving substance to the principles to which their government pays lip service.

WESPAC is fully in support of the Jewish Voice for Peace – Westchester Chapter Statement below in strongly opposing this proposed resolution and we urge supporters of the United States Constitution and supporters of justice to stand up to the Westchester County Board of Legislators and urge them not to support this proposed resolution:

I write on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester, the local chapter of an influential national organization that seeks to promote a peace in Palestine/ Israel based on international law, human rights, equality, justice, and security for all the peoples of the region. As an organization and as individuals, we support Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).   

Like many JVP members, I have been to the West Bank and East Jersualem. In November 2012 I saw up close what the occupation looks like. It is unspeakably ugly – physically brutal and psychologically Kafka-esque. It operates through an arbitrary and cruel imposition of unpredictable rules and regulations enforced through overwhelming force against a subject people that make their daily life an unrelenting grind. Some 40% of Palestinian men have been held in Israeli prisons, many of them without charge or trial.  

Children as young as five and six have been detained not only without lawyers but also without the comfort of their parents. Youths throwing stones confront soldiers carrying heavy arms and driving tanks, radically upending the David-Goliath motif. Houses are demolished, orchards uprooted, access to property and livelihood made difficult if not impossible. Military checkpoints at shifting points and schedules make movement from one village or town to another endlessly time-consuming.

The Occupation amounts to ethnic-cleansing: it makes life so intolerable that people who can leave are tempted to do so, and some others drift into hopelessness and despair.  That the vast majority of Palestinians resist this abusive regime nonviolently day in and day out is testimony to their courage, their humanity, and their steadfastness in the face of injustice. I was deeply ashamed to see the Israeli policies abetted by U.S. connivance. Much of the equipment and weaponry used to enforce the occupation is stamped “Made in America.”  This poisonous fact does not escape the notice of the peoples of surrounding lands for whom American involvement is synonymous with repression and violence.

We oppose the Kaplowitz-Maisano resolution for many reasons. Among them are the following.

Legislative measures that demonize BDS and level false accusations against it and its supporters, even resolutions without the binding force of law, have a chilling effect on dissent. They are a form of indirect government censorship that undermines First Amendment protections. Further, they stifle the open exchange of ideas that could help resolve the tragic conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Boycott, divestment, and sanctions are nonviolent approaches to ending injustice. These tactics are protected under the Constitution and have a long and honorable history protesting segregation (the Montgomery bus boycott), unfair working conditions (the farmworkers’ grape boycott), an apartheid regime (the boycott of South Africa), and LGBT discrimination (boycotts of Arizona and North Carolina). 

 The BDS movement on behalf of Palestinian rights, which is supported by many in the Jewish community, is directed against the discriminatory policies that the government of Israel employs against Palestinians. Contrary to misinformation and the assertion in the Kaplowitz-Maisano resolution that  BDS as “a movement that seeks to undermine Israel and malign the Jewish people,” BDS is not anti-Semitic. It does not promote hatred or discriminate against Jews as a people but rather protests the policies of a state. Many Westcheter Jews have written you protesting this misrepresentation. To misuse the term Anti-Semitism in this way is to trivialize an odious phenomenon.

Under international law recognized by the vast majority of nations of the globe, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is considered illegal and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians an abuse of human rights.  Supporters of BDS are thus acting in concert with international law and standards of justice.

For decades the stated policy of the United States Government has been that settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel are illegal under International law and an obstacle to peace. Americans who support BDS are giving substance to the principles to which their government pays lip service.

The anti-BDS initiative before you is wrong-headed. It discriminates against thinking and action that are humanitarian in outlook. It distracts attention from pressing local issues, serves no discernible local interest, and alienates politically active sectors of Westchester’s residents who believe that the freedom to hold dissenting views without government pressure is a foundation of American democracy. It encourages Israel to persist in policies toward the Palestinians that undermine its claim to democracy and its standing in international public opinion and contravene international law and human rights.

Below please find the text of a thoughtful resolution adopted recently by the California Democratic Party. It addresses many of the issues relevant to discussions of Palestine/Israel and BDS. You can consult it on the CA Democratic Party website at

http://cadem.org/sidebar/Convention-2017-Floor-Report-FINAL.pdf . See page 4.

On behalf of JVP-Westchester, I urge you to vote against the anti-BDS resolution.

Yours sincerely,

Priscilla Read

Tarrytown, New York 

RESOLUTION 17-05.05

Opposing Trump’s Dangerous Provocations; Supporting Peace, Justice and Equality for Israelis and Palestinians — And Robust Discourse in California

WHEREAS for decades some members of both parties and Congress have expressed criticism of Israel’s now nearly 50-year occupation of Palestinian lands, while failing to back up that criticism with actual steps to change the status quo and bring about a real peace process; and

WHEREAS the new administration has indicated that it is likely to adopt an even more one-sided policy, threatening to provoke havoc and further instability by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and appointing an ambassador (opposed for confirmation by all but two Democratic senators) who is an avid supporter of illegal settlements and opponent of Palestinian statehood; and

WHEREAS empowered by the new administration’s policy, the government of Israel has accelerated its construction of illegal settlements in the occupied territories and has adopted new anti-Democratic measures internally, denied entry into the country of representatives of mainstream human rights organizations and passed a law that would bar many visitors with critical views;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party favors a U.S. policy that would work through the United Nations and other international bodies as well as with Israel and the representatives of the Palestinian people for a just peace based on full equality and security for Israeli Jews and Palestinians alike, human rights and international law, in line with the words of Sen. Bernie Sanders in his 2016 message to AIPAC: “Peace also means security for every Palestinian. It means achieving self-determination, civil rights and economic well-being for the Palestinian people”;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CDP rejects any effort to restrict or discourage open public discourse on issues surrounding Israel and Palestine; disavows conflation of criticism of a country’s policies with hatred of its people; but also opposes anti-Semitic or Islamophobic language brought into the debate and also opposes any attempt to restrict or penalize those who exercise their right to express their views through nonviolent action to effect change.

Authors: David L. Mandel, AD 7; Murad Surama, AD 7; Karen Bernal AD 7

Sponsors: CDP Region 3; Norma Alcala, AD 7; Gina Barkalow, AD 9; Peter Brogan, AD 9; Alice Chan, AD 10; et al.

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Movement Building, Racial Justice

Justice Monday continues at 5pm, Monday, June 5th

From Westchester for Change:

June Brings Action and Activity

 
Justice Monday Reboot

On Monday, June 5, the Westchester Social Justice Community will gather at Renaissance Plaza at the corner of Main St. and Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains to support single payer healthcare in New York. The New York State Assembly passed bill A4738 (single- payer healthcare) overwhelmingly. We all must contact members of the New York State Senate to ask them to support bill S4840 and bring it to the floor for a vote. The bills, essentially Medicare for all, will protect New Yorkers from Trumpcare, which will devastate the health and well-being of millions of people. The House of Representatives passed a bill that will throw millions off healthcare, penalize people with preexisting conditions and put a lifetime cap on insurance. Bring signs ( no poles).

When: Monday, June 5, NEW TIME; 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Renaissance Plaza corner of Mamaroneck Avenue and Main Street
White Plains

Note New Time for Justice Monday Rallies

The next Justice Monday rally on June 5th and all rallies in June, July and August will take place at Renaissance Plaza in White Plains at 5 p.m.

Healthcare Call-in Day

Statewide Call in Day for single payer Health Care.To get more information go tohttp://www.nyhcampaign.org/statewide_call_in_day_for_ny_health.

When: June 2nd

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Frontpage, Movement Building

Please sign statement in support of Palestinian Prisoners on the 37th day of their hunger strike

Please sign statement in support of Palestinian Prisoners on the 36th day of their hunger strike:

https://goo.gl/forms/HZmKDfN8zBllRrMO2

 

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Criminal Justice, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Movement Building, Racial Justice

Statement in Support of Paid Sick Leave

Please sign statement in support of paid sick leave for all Westchester County workers: https://goo.gl/QXK2qY

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Movement Building, Racial Justice

Westchester Social Forum!

Building the Movement for Social & Ecological Justice

 

Join community organizations in Westchester for a social forum on May 20 to exchange ideas and information, foster solidarity, and celebrate our work to create a more just and equal society. We live in a time of struggle as we witness growing threats to the well-being of our planet and communities, as profit is placed over people and land, and corporations, not citizens, control our democracy.

 

Yet, we, the people, have the collective power to organize a movement for change. The Westchester Social Forum will provide the space to learn from one another, strengthen our organizing skills, and connect as a community.

The day will include a people’s march, workshops on organizing for social and ecological justice, and a culminating cultural celebration! We hope you can join us!

Construyendo el Movimiento por la Justicia Social y Ecológica

 

Únase a organizaciones comunitarias en Westchester durante un foro social en mayo para intercambiar ideas e información, fomentar solidaridad y celebrar nuestra labor para crear una sociedad más justa e igualitaria. Estamos viviendo tiempos de lucha, mientras presenciamos crecientes amenazas al bienestar de nuestro planeta y nuestras comunidades, que anteponen la ganancia de dinero por sobre el pueblo y la tierra, y donde las corporaciones, no los ciudadanos, son los que controlan nuestra democracia.

 

Sin embargo, nosotros, el pueblo, tenemos el poder colectivo de organizar un movimiento por el cambio. El Foro Social de Westchester proveerá el espacio para aprender de unos y otros, fortalecer nuestras habilidades organizativas y conectarnos como una comunidad.

 

El día incluirá una marcha popular, talleres sobre organización social y justicia ecológica y culminará con una celebración cultural. ¡Esperamos que puedan unirse a nosotros!

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Criminal Justice, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Environmental and Food Justice, Frontpage, Movement Building, Racial Justice

Yemenis are starving

Press Release

For immediate release                

 

Contact:

 

Martha Hennessy – 802-230-6328; [email protected]

Carmen Trotta347-259-8536; [email protected]

Cathy Kelly773-619-2418;

[email protected]


Yemen Is Starving: Peace activists, protesting the mounting humanitarian crisis in Yemen, to begin week-long fast and vigil at the UN.

 

New York, NY — On April 10, 2017, approximately 20 peace activists will begin a week long vigil and fast in front of the United Nations. They are calling for peace and justice in Yemen, and standing in solidarity with its civilian population. They will also be demanding an end to U.S. complicity in a war that is taking a devastating toll on the Yemeni people.

 

Ravaged by war, blockaded by sea, and regularly targeted with Saudi and U.S. airstrikes, Yemen is now on the brink of total famine. 

 

Yemen is currently being ravaged by a brutal conflict, with injustices and atrocities on all sides. More than 10,000 people have been killed, including 1,564 children, and millions have been displaced from their homes. UNICEF estimates that more than 460,000 children in Yemen face severe malnutrition, while 3.3 million children and pregnant or lactating women suffer acute malnutrition. The U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition is also enforcing a sea blockade on rebel-held areas. Yemen imports 90% of its food; because of the blockade, food and fuel prices are rising and scarcity is at crisis levels. While Yemeni children are starving, US weapons makers, including General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, are profiting from weapon sales to Saudi Arabia.

 

At this critical juncture, all member states of the UN must urge an end to the blockade and airstrikes, a silencing of all guns, and a negotiated settlement to the war in Yemen.

 

With their fast and peaceful protest, the activists will urge a radical departure from U.S. policies exacerbating the deadly tragedy facing Yemeni civilians.

 

Participants note their responsibility to ensure that the U.S.:

  1. Stops all drone attacks and military “special operations” within Yemen
  2. Ends all U.S. weapon sales and military aid to Saudi Arabia
  3. Provides compensation to those who suffered losses caused by U.S. attacks.

 

The activists will gather each day from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the United Nations Isaiah Wall, on First Avenue between 42nd and 43rdStreets. They will be joined by activists and supporters from around the U.S. who will share their protest and peaceful witness to the tragedy currently befalling the people of Yemen.

 

Partnering in this project are members of the New York Catholic Worker community, Code Pink, Witness Against Torture, the Upstate Coalition to End the Wars and Ground the Drones, Friends of Franz and Ben, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Veterans for Peace NYC Chapter 34, World Beyond War, Kairos Community, Just Foreign Policy, Peaceworkers, Pax Christi Metro New York, Know Drones, World Can’t Wait, Granny Peace Brigade, NY, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, D.C., Benincasa Community, NY (list in formation)

 

Social Media: FB/Twitter @FastingForYemen; Facebook Event: https://goo.gl/REWlb5; HTs: #FastingForYemen #YemenIsStarving #RememberYemen    

 

All information in this Communication, including attachments, is strictly confidential and intended solely for delivery to and authorized use by the addressee(s) identified above. This transmission is sent in trust for the sole purpose or delivery to the intended recipient. It may contain privileged, confidential, proprietary and/or trade secret information entitled to protection and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please take notice that any use, distribution, disclosure or copying of this Communication, is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful and that any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance upon it, is unauthorized. If you have received this Communication in error, please notify the sender and delete this Communication, including any attachments, from your computer. (svr10)

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Movement Building, Racial Justice

WESPAC 2017 Awards Dinner

Please consider making an additional contribution to allow students and fixed income the opportunity to attend.

$

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Movement Building

Open Letter to NYS Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

[email protected]

Dear Senator Stewart-Cousins,

As a constituent I would like to communicate my strongest possible objection to your recent vote in favor of S2492, S2493, and S4837, all springing from a misguided and repressive effort to outlaw Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions – frequently through the camouflage of general penalizing of boycotts – largely on the grounds that BDS is anti-Semitic.

In the first place, as a daughter of the American Civil Rights Movement, how can you forget the role that boycotts – as in the Montgomery Bus Boycott – played in overturning Jim Crow in this country?  Do you recall how international  boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against South Africa helped to overthrow apartheid in that country?  Do you remember that very recently Governor Cuomo backed a boycott against North Carolina because of legislation in that state that discriminated against the LGBT community? 

Boycotts are conscientious, nonviolent approaches to promoting political, economic, and social change against perceived injustices. They are Constitutionally protected under the First Amendment. New York State is opening itself to a barrage of lawsuits that will be costly and time-consuming if it persists in this campaign to demonize and penalize BDS and its supporters because of their opinions.  BDS calls for the protection of fundamental human rights that are civil rights in this country.

Even when such bills speak more generally about boycotts against American allies, they are aimed at BDS and assert, explicitly or implicitly, that BDS is anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism involves the promotion of hatred and discrimination against Jews as a people. BDS seeks to change Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. The former victimizes a people; the latter criticizes a state. BDS is not anti-Semitic. To assert that it is is dangerously to misuse the term “anti-Semitism” and to engage in specious unreason.

Under international law recognized by the vast majority of nations of the globe, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is illegal, and Israeli treatment of Palestinians is an abuse of human rights. Therefore, supporters of BDS act out of respect for international norms. Why would you assist in enacting NY State laws that contradict international law and moral standards?

BDS attempts to pressure Israel to act in accordance with international law. I have been to the West Bank and E. Jerusalem and observed at close hand in November 2012 what the occupation looks like. It is physically brutal and psychologically Kafka-esque  – an arbitrary and cruel imposition of shifting, unpredictable rules and regulations enforced through overwhelming force against a subject people that make their daily life an unrelenting grind. It is a policy of ethnic-cleansing: make life so intolerable that people who can leave do so, and the others drift into hopelessness and despair. That the vast majority of Palestinians resist this abusive regime nonviolently day in and day out  is a testimony to their steadfastness in the face of injustice. I was deeply shamed to see the Israeli policies abetted by U.S. connivance. Much of the equipment and weaponry  used to enforce the occupation is stamped “Made in America.”  This ugly fact does not escape the notice of the peoples of surrounding lands for whom American policy is synonymous with repression and violence.

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester would be only too happy to talk with you about Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and why BDS is probably the best way to bring the change that must come soon, or Israel’s claims to be both Jewish and democratic will be impossible to sustain before the world.

Your record of accomplishments in defending the interests of your constituents is widely recognized.I am deeply disappointed by your votes on S2492, S2493, and S4837 and can only assume that if you had had better information at your disposal, you would have voted against them. I hope that JVP-Westchester can help provide that information and will call your office soon to see about making an appointment for members to meet with you.

 Yours sincerely,

Priscilla Read

Tarrytown, NY

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Movement Building