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Muslim, Jewish, LGBT, Arab, Iranian, South Asian Letter to NYC Electeds

Muslim, Jewish, LGBT, Arab, Iranian, South Asian Letter to NYC Electeds

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Published by mameloshn
Letter to NYC elected officials from Adalah-NY, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee New York, the Center for Constitutional Rights, FIERCE!, Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC, Jews Say No!, The Muslim Defense Project of the NYC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Park Slope Food Coop Members for BDS, QUEEROCRACY, Raha Iranian Feminist Collective, SEVA NY, and Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College, Columbia University, Hunter College and NYU.
Letter to NYC elected officials from Adalah-NY, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee New York, the Center for Constitutional Rights, FIERCE!, Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC, Jews Say No!, The Muslim Defense Project of the NYC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Park Slope Food Coop Members for BDS, QUEEROCRACY, Raha Iranian Feminist Collective, SEVA NY, and Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College, Columbia University, Hunter College and NYU.

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Published by: mameloshn on Mar 12, 2013
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03/12/2013

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OPENLETTERTONEWYORKCITYELECTEDOFFICIALS
March12,2012Dearelectedofficials,WeareNewYorkCityorganizationswhoareJewish,Muslim,Arab,Iranian,SouthAsian,lesbian,gay,bisexual,transandqueer,andstudentsandfacultyinthecity’spublicuniversities.OurmembersliveineveryneighborhoodofNYCandareyourconstituents.NewYorkCityelectedofficialshaverecentlyjoinedwithpowerfulpoliticalforcestobecomeamajorplayerinsilencingcriticsofIsraelandadvocatesofPalestinianhumanrights.Electedofficialshaveaddedtheirnamestocallsforcensorshipgeneratedbyanti-Arabandanti-Muslimextremists-highlyinappropriatebedfellowsforrepresentativesofourcommunities.Inatleastthreemajorinstancesoverthelastyear–theParkSlopeFoodCo-op’sdiscussionaboutholdingavoteonBoycott,DivestmentandSanctions(BDS),apresentationatBrooklynCollegeonBDS,andmostrecentlytheLGBTCenter’stwo-yearbanondiscussionofPalestine–ourelectedofficialshavewieldedtheirinfluencetotrytoquashdiscussionwithwhichtheydidn’tagree.Theyhavewrittenpubliclettersoutliningtheirownpoliticalpositions,ridiculingordefamingthosewhodisagree,anddirectlyorimplicitlythreateningtopullpublicfundingfromcommunityspacesusedasforumsforopendiscussion.Mediainvestigationoftheseeventsmakesitincreasinglyclearthatelecteds’responsestosuchcallshavebeencoordinatedwithpromotersoftheIsraelistate,notwithoronbehalfofthecommunitiestheyrepresent.Inadditiontochillingpoliticalspeechandforcingtheircommunitiestodefendfreespeechrightsagainsttheirassaults,ourelectedofficials’actionsdirectlycontributetotheenvironmentoffearandviolenceagainstArabs,Muslims,immigrantsandpeopleofcolorperceivedasnon-Jewishandnon-Christian.Thisisanunacceptablesituation.
WecallonourelectedofficialstostopattemptingtostiflepoliticalspeechonIsrael/Palestine,andinstead,tovigorouslydefendit.
Letusbeclear:IsraelisastateandZionismanideology.Jewsareadiverseandwidespreadgroupofpeople.CriticizingIsraelorZionismisnotanti-Jewish;itispoliticalspeech,whichiselementaltodemocracyanddeservingofthehighestlevelofprotectionundertheFirstAmendment.AttemptsbypublicelectedofficialsactingintheirofficialcapacitiestocoercepublicandprivateinstitutionsintorestrictingspeechthattheydisfavorarepotentialviolationsoftheFirstAmendment.
Wecallonourelectedofficialstotransparentlyidentifytheirinteractionswithlobbygroupsandotherforcesbehindtheirrecenteffortstochillsuchfreespeech.
Letusnotpretendthatalloftheelectedofficialswhospokeoutas“supportersofIsrael”tolimitthecontentofourcommunities’speecharrivedattheirpositionsontheirown.Theperceptionofamonolithic“Jewishvote”alignedwithIsrael,andthepresenceofwell-fundedpro-Israelorganizationsthatfundelectoralcampaigns,areclearfactorsinourelectedofficials’calculations.ItispublicknowledgethattheJewishCommunityRelationsCouncil(JCRC)hasbeencultivatingNewYork’scity,stateandfederalrepresentativesassupportersoftheIsraelistateandthepoliticalaimsoftheAmerica-IsraelPoliticalAffairsCommittee(AIPAC).WeinsistonknowingthefullextenttowhichtheJCRCandotherforcesfarbeyondourcommunitieshaveguidedourelectedofficialstochillfreespeechinalocalco-op,apublicuniversity,andanLGBTcommunitycenter.

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