Labor for Palestine Opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s Anti-BDS Blacklist, NY MTA Board Meeting

  • Marty Goodman (TWU Local 100) at 5:48 min.
  • Suzanne Adely (Labor for Palestine) at 8:10 min.
  • David Letwin (Jews for Palestinian Right of Return at 10:46 min.
  • John Mooney (TWU Local 100) at 13:22 min.(Written text of some statements, below video)

Marty Goodman (TWU 100)

My name is Marty Goodman. I am a retired Station Agent and a former TWU Local 100 Executive Board member.

I am here to oppose Governor Cuomo’s undemocratic gag act on State funding to supporters of the worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against apartheid Israel.

I, like many Jews, fervently support BDS. Israeli Occupation, terror and racism must go.

In 2003, I used vacation time to go to Nablus in the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank of Israel. I stayed with a Palestinian family. I protested occupation every day and roamed its’ bullet ridden streets, learning of outrage after outrage. When I left Nablus, the Palestinian father said, “Marty, you’re family now.”

I’ve learned that yet another illegal Israeli settlement is being built in Nablus, defying international law.

I’m angry as hell. I demand that the MTA reject and repudiate Cuomo’s gag order and the creation of a black list of BDS supporters!

Free speech is a first amendment right!

I also demand that this Board vote down purchases of IBM technology (p213) and Goldman Sachs services as underwriter for the Hudson Rail Yard’s “Trust Obligation” (p33).

Both IBM and Goldman are heavily involved in the Israeli garrison state.

MTA, DIVEST NOW!!!

Spend money on a decent contract for TWU Local 100. Transit workers need wage hikes above inflation to keep up with rising costs, extend maternity leave for women, improve medical care, and remove second class pay for new hires.

I say, Equality for all in Palestine!

End U.S. aid to apartheid Israel!

No to Cuomo’s McCarthyite gag act!

Long live BDS!

Suzanne Adely (Labor for Palestine)

Labor for Palestine, a national workers network, joins members of Transit Workers Union Local 100 who are here today calling on the MTA Board to reject compliance with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order #157, an unconstitutional blacklist against those who support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

BDS is a global human rights movement which demands an end to the brutal Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

It has gained growing momentum in recent years, particularly the wake of Israel’s massacre of 2200 Palestinians — including 500 children — in Gaza in 2014, and a 10-year high in Palestinian casualties in the West Bank in 2015.

These crimes reflect a system that veteran South African freedom fighters call “worse than apartheid.” That is why BDS is closely aligned to Black Lives Matter and other racial justice movements, and many of its supporters are Jews of conscience.

In the past two years alone, the BDS picket line has been embraced by West Coast longshore workers of the ILWU; thousands of academic workers in the United Auto Workers and American Federation of Teachers; the United Electrical Workers; and Connecticut AFL-CIO.

Such boycotts are protected First Amendment speech, and have been used to remedy injustice, from the segregated buses of Montgomery, Alabama, to the California grape fields, to apartheid South Africa. Today’s BDS movement is similarly unstoppable, for as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In the judgment of history, the MTA Board will find no refuge in siding with apartheid Israel, or in the excuse that it was “just following orders.” The only legal and moral choice is to refuse complicity with Governor Cuomo’s new McCarthyism.

David Letwin (Jews for Palestinian Right of Return)

I’m speaking today on behalf of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return. We call on the MTA to refuse to cooperate with Governor Cuomo’s unconstitutional executive order 157 directing the state to blacklist any institution or organization that respects the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions picket line against apartheid Israel.

This illegal order is a disturbing assault on the right of free speech and expression. But it is also part of a broader campaign by authorities to intimidate into silence those who stand up for Palestinian human rights and who refuse to accept the legitimacy of a racist regime sustained though ethnic cleansing and dispossession.

The BDS call, which demands the end of the 1967 occupation, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and right of return for Palestinian refugees, follows in the footsteps of earlier boycott campaigns against Jim Crow and apartheid South Africa. It marches hand in hand today with liberation movements like Black Lives Matter. In the spirit of those movements, we say to the members of the MTA Board of Directors: don’t do business with IBM and Goldman Sachs, both of which are deeply complicit with the apartheid Israeli regime, and don’t collude with Governor Cuomo’s witch-hunt against the growing worldwide BDS movement for justice and equality.

And the next time you see the governor, please tell him for us that his desperate attempt to muzzle BDS will only make it louder.

Thank you.

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