Monthly Archives: January 2009

Stop Israel’s Massacre in Gaza and End the Siege Now

By 44 Union Members at the Legal Aid Society in New York City*
December 31, 2008

martin Luther King 2.jpg

“For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”
–Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam (April 4, 1967)

The undersigned members of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 and 1199SEIU join millions around the world — many of whom are Jewish — to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, Israel’s ongoing massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza.

Already, the Palestinian death toll is nearly 1000; thousands more have been injured. Under international law, the vast majority are civilians.

Israel’s massacres are carried out with F-16s, Apache helicopters and other advanced U.S. weapons — part of $30 billion in military funding for Israel that will be paid for by our tax dollars over the next ten years.

We cannot turn a blind eye.

We ask all who agree with this statement to participate in upcoming protests.

*Signers (list in formation; affiliations listed for identification only)
Noha Arafa (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Alt. Vice-President)
Julie Fry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Vice-President)
Michael Letwin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; former ALAA Pres.)
Azalia Torres (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
Bahar Mirhosseini (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Mimi Rosenberg (Civil-Brooklyn)
Patrick Langhenry (Civil-Brooklyn)
Antonia Codling (Criminal Defense-Bronx; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
Lucy Herschel (Criminal Defense-Queens; 1199 delegate)
Steve Terry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Rebecca Kurti (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; 1199 delegate)
Kate Fitzer (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Andrea Ibrahim (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Roslyn Morrison (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Jamie Kauget (Juvenile Rights-Queens)
Daniella Korotzer (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
Bharati Narumanchi (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Tajuana B. Johnson (Juvenile Rights-Bronx)
Steven Wasserman (Criminal Defense-Special Litigation; ALAA Executive Bd.)
Richard Blum (Civil-ELU)
Laurie Dick (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Sigmund Israel (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Clarissa M. Gomez (Harlem Community Law Office)
Mia Eisner-Grynberg (Criminal Defense-Bronx)
Reda Woodcock (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Jessica Goldthwaite (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Ellen S. Sacks (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Joseph Lavine (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Teresa Engst (Civil-HLU)
Hollis Pfitsch (Civil-ELU)
Warren Deans (Criminal Defense-Central Admin.)
Susan Olivia Morris (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Executive Bd.)
Janet Forrester (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Aida Ferrer Leisenring (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Claire Nicolay (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Marisa Benton (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Helene Busby (Harlem Community Law Office; former ALAA Vice-President)
Eric Meggett (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Ivan Pantoja (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Executive Bd.)
Aisha Mohamedi Richard (Criminal Defense-Queens; ALAA Alt. Vice-President)
Lisa Pitts (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Magda Rosa-Rios (Harlem Community Law Office; Attorneys of Color Rep. to ALAA Executive Bd.)
Lisa Edwards (Harlem Community Law Office; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
Florence Morgan (Criminal Defense-Queens)

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Upcoming NYC Gaza Protests

Friday, Jan. 9, 1 p.m.
March from Al-Farouq Mosque (Atlantic & 4 Ave.) to Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, Boro Hall
N/R/2/3/4/5 to Atlantic/Pacific
www.bsg-ny.org

Saturday, Jan. 10, D.C.
NYC Buses for Let Gaza Live! National March in DC to Stop the U.S./Israeli War Against the Palestinian People
Sponsoring organizations and endorsers: ANSWER Coalition, Muslim American Society Freedom, Free Palestine Alliance, American Muslim Task Force, National Council of Arab Americans, Al-Awda – International Palestine Right to Return Coalition, International Action Center, Troops Out Now Coalition, CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), American Muslims for Palestine, American Muslim Alliance, U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Ramsey Clark, Cynthia McKinney, Howard Zinn, Muslimah Writers’ Alliance, The National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations, Voters for Peace, Code Pink, Action Center for Justice, International Socialist Organization, Iranian-American Friendship Committee, Philippine Peasant Support Network (Pesante)-USA, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and hundreds of others.
www.masnet.org
http://answer.pephost.org/site/News2?abbr=ANS_&page=NewsArticle&id=8927

Sunday Jan. 11, 1 p.m. Times Square
Mass Rally: Stop Massacres in Gaza and Break the Siege

Endorsers include: Al-Awda: Palestine Right to Return Coalition-NY, Arab Muslim American Federation, MAS-NY (Youth Center), National, Queens, NJ, Yonkers, The General Union of Palestine Students, Bayan-USA, Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, Salam Church, International Action Center, Brooklyn Cultural Center, Hudson Valley Islamic Center, December 12 Movement, New York City Labor Against the War, DRUM, Troops Out Now Coalition, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum, International League of Peoples Struggle, Dawoud Mosque, Muslim Alliance in New America, Masjid Al-Taqwa, Islamic Circle of North America, F.I.S.T., Jericho Amnesty Movement, International Association Against Torture, Palestine American Congress, Green Party NYC
http://www.bsg-ny.org/

info@bsg-ny.org

Coverage of January 7 NYC Shoe-In Against Mayor Bloomberg

Coverage of January 7 NYC Shoe-In Against Mayor Bloomberg

http://wcbstv.com/national/israel.hamas.conflict.2.902722.html
http://www.nypost.com/seven/01082009/news/regionalnews/critics_lace_into_bloomy_149215.htm
http://gothamist.com/2009/01/08/protesters_decry_bloombergs_support.php
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/viewmedia/68157
http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=96641&feedType=VideoRSS&feedName=TopNews&videoChannel=1
http://rtv.rtrlondon.co.uk/2009-01-08/2601804.html

Report on January 5, 2009 NYC Jewish Press Conference Against Israeli Massacres

Report on January 5, 2009 NYC Jewish Press Conference Against Israeli Massacres

On Monday, January 5, about 30 Jewish activists participated in a 1 p.m. press conference at Union Square to condemn the Israeli massacres in Gaza. They called for an immediate end to all U.S. aid to Israel, and expressed support for the overall campaign to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel.

Speakers

On behalf of the protesters, Marty Goodman, AdalahNY; former Executive Board member of Transit Workers Union Local 100, read the statement below.*

Other speakers included:

–Michael Kramer, an Israeli army veteran and member of Veterans for Peace.

–Michael Letwin, Co-Convener of New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW); Labor for Palestine; and former President of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325.

Aaron Levitt of Jews Against the Occupation.

–Michael Gimbel, Local 375, DC 37 AFSCME and Delegate to the New York City Central Labor Council.

Media Coverage

The press conference received coverage, all of it favorable, from:

–Channel 4 TV News

–NY1
http://www.ny1.com/content/news_beats/politics/91746/protests-held-across-city-as-gaza-violence-continues/Default.aspx

–Metro New York
http://ny.metro.us/metro/local/article/Jewish_voices_differ_over_Israel/14691.html

–WBAI Radio

———————————————

*JEWS SPEAK OUT AGAINST GAZA MASSACRE!
ISRAEL DOES NOT SPEAK FOR US!

January 4, 2009

“For the sake of the hundreds of thousan
ds trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Riverside Church, 1967

As Jews, we join millions around the world in condemning Israel’s ongoing murder and maiming of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza. Israel does not speak for us!

The dead in Gaza represent a greater portion of Gaza’s population than the percentage of New Yorkers who died on 9/11.

This is the “bigger Shoah” against Gaza threatened by Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Matan Valnai on Feb. 29, 2008. The U.S. stands behind Israel’s war on Gaza, providing weapons and political support.

By carrying out indiscriminate bombing that targets civilians, Israel is practicing collective punishment on the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. This war crime violates the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is part of a US-Israeli campaign to punish Gazans for democratically electing Hamas.

Long before these attacks, Israel had turned Gaza into the world’s largest open-air prison and shooting gallery, assassinating activists, and cutting-off essential goods, jobs and services. Conditions have brought Gaza to the brink of mass starvation.

Only as a result did Hamas abandon a unilateral two-year ceasefire and subsequent truce. Since that time, it has repeatedly offered to cease all rocket fire in exchange for an end to U.S.-Israel blockade and other military attacks.

In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is U.S. aircraft, cluster bombs and bullets that kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers.

As a result, violence is overwhelmingly one-sided against the Palestinians, who — as an occupied people — have no aircraft, artillery, tanks or ships. While rockets launched from Gaza since 2000 have killed 17 Israelis, Israel’s modern arsenal has killed more than 400 Palestinians — including many children — since December 27 alone.

We are against Israeli military occupation, for the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and for the elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.

We say: End the massacre in Gaza, end the siege now, and end all U.S. Aid to Israel, and support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

Please join us as many Jewish New York City activists gather to speak out against the crimes that are being carried out in our name.

LABOR FOR PALESTINE: STOP ISRAEL’S MASSACRE IN GAZA AND END THE SIEGE NOW!

Please endorse the statement below at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/LaborforPalestine1/

LABOR FOR PALESTINE: STOP ISRAEL’S MASSACRE IN GAZA AND END THE SIEGE NOW!
December 31, 2008

New York City Labor Against the War joins millions around the world in condemning Israel’s ongoing murder and maiming of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza.

WHO ARE THE REAL TERRORISTS?

Israel claims that it is fighting “terrorism” — the same hollow excuse with which the U.S. tries to justify wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the erosion of civil liberties and labor rights at home.

But as South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu points out, Israel’s massacres “bears all the hallmarks of war crimes.”

Long before these attacks, Israel had turned Gaza into the world’s largest open air prison, assassinating activists, and cutting-off essential goods, jobs, and services to 1.5 million people.

Only as a result did Hamas abandon a unilateral two-year ceasefire and subsequent truce. Since that time, it has repeatedly offered to cease all rocket fire in exchange for an end to U.S.-Israel blockade and other military attacks.

Israel responded with escalating pogroms, arrests, home demolitions, settlements and murder in the West Bank and Jerusalem — from which no rockets have been fired.

As a result, violence is overwhelmingly one-sided against the Palestinians, who — as an occupied people — have no aircraft, artillery, tanks or ships. While rockets launched from Gaza since 2000 have killed 17 Israelis, Israel’s modern arsenal has killed more than 400 Palestinians — including many children — since December 27 alone.

The dead represent a greater portion of Gaza’s population than the percentage of New Yorkers who died on 9/11. And Israel warns that these attacks are “only the beginning.”

Indeed, this is the “bigger Shoah” against Gaza threatened by Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Matan Valnai on February 29, 2008.

Even the Israeli press admits that this brutality is a way for politicians to prove their “prowess” in contentious upcoming Israeli elections.

It is also part of an ongoing U.S.-Israeli campaign to collectively punish Palestinians for democratically electing Hamas.

And it is an attempt to stamp out all resistance — including nonviolent protest — to Israel’s ongoing dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since before the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948.

U.S. GUNS AND MONEY

The U.S. stands behind Israel’s war on Gaza.

The White House, President-elect Barack Obama, and leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties have — actively or tacitly — condoned the massacres.

In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid to Israel was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is U.S. aircraft, cluster bombs and bullets that kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers.

Such support bolsters Israel’s longstanding role as watchdog and junior partner for U.S. domination over the oil-rich Middle East — and beyond. In that capacity, Israel was apartheid South Africa’s closest ally.

LABOR’S ROLE

On December 27, Cosatu, the South African trade union federation, specifically condemned the current Gaza massacres and reaffirmed its support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, a campaign that has been endorsed by labor bodies and trade unionists — many of them Jewish — in Britain, Canada and other countries.

On December 29, in response to the Gaza massacres, the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees urgently called for intensification of this campaign.

But much of labor officialdom in this country — often without the knowledge or consent of union members — has a longstanding complicity with Israeli Apartheid that dates to before 1948.

Some 1,500 labor bodies have plowed at least $5 billion of union pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds.

In April 2002, while Israel butchered Palestinian refugees at Jenin in the West Bank, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney was a featured speaker at a belligerent “National Solidarity Rally for Israel.”

In July 2007, top officials of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win signed a statement that condemned British unions for even considering the nonviolent campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Virtually no labor bodies have opposed the Gaza massacres.

As Jewish Labor Committee President Stuart Appelbaum recently boasted, “American leadership is fundamental to challenging Israel bashing within the labor movement globally.”

This complicity parallels infamous “AFL-CIA” support for U.S. war and dictatorship in Vietnam, Latin America, Gulf War I, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

It strengthens the U.S.-Israel war machine and labor’s corporate enemies, reinforces racism and Islamophobia, and makes a mockery of international solidarity.

And as with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, workers in the United States pay a staggering human and financial price, including deepening economic crisis, for U.S.-Israeli war and occupation.

FREE PALESTINE — A NECESSARY STAND FOR LABOR

More than forty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came under intense public attack for opposing the Vietnam war. Even within the Civil Rights Movement, some dismissed his position too “divisive” and “unpopular.”

In his famous speech at the Riverside Church in April 1967, Dr. King replied, “For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

This principle is no less relevant for today’s labor and antiwar movements.

Yes, the Israel lobby seeks to silence opponents of Israeli Apartheid. All the more need for trade unionists to break that silence by speaking out against Israeli military occupation, for the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and for the elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.

Therefore, we reaffirm our support for the international Boycotts, Sanctions and Divestment campaign, including an immediate end to all support for Israel — including that provided by U.S. labor leaders.

———–
Issued by NYCLAW Co-Conveners
(Other affiliations listed for identification only):

Larry Adams
Former President, NPMHU Local 300

Michael Letwin
Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys

Brenda Stokely
Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-Chair, Million Worker March

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