I said that J Street will have to come ’round to boycott inevitably, and yesterday one of J Street’s guiding spirits, Daniel Levy, came pretty close at the Middle East Institute. I just caught some of the panel on C-Span. [Update: here is the link.]
Angered by the failure of Obama to insist on a settlement freeze, Levy said, "Let’s draw a red line at the Green Line." The European Union should look at its trade agreements with Israel and refuse to trade goods that are produced in the Occupied West Bank. Sounds like a boycott to me! And Levy condemned the Mets for allowing the Hebron Fund to have a tax-deductible fundraiser at Citi Field. Good for him.
The picture of Hebron at left is by Stephen Lassiter. Another below. What follows is Lassiter’s letter to the Mets. Great letter.
To: The New York Mets
Attn: Paul Asencio, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales and Partnerships; Jay Horwitz, Vice President for Media Relations; Heather Collamore, Director of Hospitality and Catering Events
Re: The Hebron Fund Dinner
November 11, 2009
Mr. Asencio, Mr. Horwitz, and Ms. Collamore:
I write with grave concerns regarding the Hebron Fund dinner planned for Nov. 21 at Citi Field.
For two years I taught at a private Palestinian high school in the West Bank city of Ramallah, just an hour’s drive north of Hebron. During my time in the West Bank I visited Hebron no fewer than four times and regularly took other Americans on tours of the city — including the Israeli settlements there. These are the settlements the Hebron Fund — and by extension, the Mets — supports.
While all Israeli settlements are illegal under internationally law, the ones in Hebron are the most disgraceful. The Israeli army has evicted dozens of Palestinian families from their long-owned homes in Hebron so that Israeli settlers can move in and control parts of the city — they believe God told them to. The settlers’ self-proclaimed goal is to take and control as much Palestinian land as possible.
As harsh as it may sound, this is the modern-day colonization of the Palestinian Territories — and it is incredible that the Mets are aiding the Hebron Fund in this endeavor. I don’t need to remind you that it is also diametrically opposed to current U.S. policy in the Middle East.
I want to show you exactly what you’re supporting. Attached are pictures I took in Hebron. They depict a Palestinian market at the street level, and homes above formerly owned by Palestinian families but now occupied by the Israeli settlers that the Hebron Fund supports. Above the Palestinian market you’ll see an Israeli army tower and steel grates with debris on top of them. This is the debris — stones, bricks and human waste — that Israeli settlers regularly throw down at the Palestinian shoppers beneath them.
This is what you will be supporting if you do not cancel the Hebron Fund dinner on Nov. 21.
I implore you to cancel the dinner. Please do not taint the Mets’ good name by facilitating the Hebron Fund’s efforts.