New Yorkers urge city council to cancel Israel trip

Community groups protest New York City Council members' all-expenses-paid trip to Israel holding banners that read, "Don't Tour Apartheid Israel"

New Yorkers urge city council to cancel Israel trip
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
Dozens of New York community groups rallied Thursday to protest the City Council’s acceptance of an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel.

Gathering at City Hall and holding banners that read "Don't Tour Apartheid Israel," representatives from a coalition of more than 40 groups across the city urged the council to cancel the trip scheduled for February and sponsored by pro-Israeli PR groups including the Jewish Community Relations Council and the United Jewish Appeal.

"I think it’s outrageous that they are leaving the city for 10 days when the communities need them here to do their work as elected officials," Nastaran Mohit from the Newspaper Guild of New York said.

The protesters criticized the 15-member delegation to Israel included members from the Council's Progressive caucus.

"We are noticing that they are completely silent on the issue of the occupation of Palestine, and we know that they will be given a white-washed version of what is happening in the Occupied Territories," Mohit said.

In an open letter, the coalition urged progressive members to withdraw from the delegation "in the spirit of the progressive values you espouse."

The coalition comprises a wide range of community groups including the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Direct Action Front for Palestine and the Jews Against Islamophobia.

Mary Alford, one of the protesters, said the council acted like "willfully ignorant hypocrites by supporting Israel and by accepting this free trip as though it were a lovely vacation."

"They will not be exposed to the horrors perpetrated by Israel," she said.

Voicing solidarity with the Palestinians, the protesters said the delegation would see a one-sided picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as they would not tour places like a separation wall in the occupied West Bank, which isolates large swathes of Palestinian territory, or Israel's illegal settlement building sites.

 

Last Mod: 23 Ocak 2015, 08:42
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