Open letter from NYC Iranians to Mayor de Blasio: When you stand by AIPAC, you do not stand by us

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 7 Comments
Bill de Blasio calling for boycott against Iran when he was NYC Public Advocate. (Photo: Sam Levin)

Bill de Blasio calling for boycott against Iran when he was NYC Public Advocate. (Photo: Sam Levin)

The following letter was shared with Mondoweiss:

Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio,

We are a group of Iranians and Iranian-Americans living in New York City. We are firmly committed to opposing state repression — regardless of the race, ethnicity or nationality of the people suffering, and regardless of whether the oppressive government is Iranian, American or otherwise. Throughout your mayoral campaign, we were encouraged by your call for an end to the NYPD’s systemic racial profiling of Black and Latino men under the “stop and frisk” policy. Many New Yorkers hoped that City Hall, under your leadership, would become a new and loud voice for human and civil rights.

That very same commitment to justice and human rights underscores our opposition to the devastating sanctions against the Iranian people. We were surprised and dismayed to find that the single foreign-policy position that you took as Public Advocate was calling for increasing sanctions on Iran. We were deeply concerned to see you encouraged ordinary New Yorkers to enforce the sanctions regime through your “Iran Watch List” web site, thus promoting the profiling of Iranians and aggravating post-9/11 Islamophobia. Because of sanctions, Iranians in the U.S. were arbitrarily chosen to have their bank accounts closed, and refused service at several retail stores, based on their appearance or names alone. We ask that support for sanctions against Iran be excised from your future political messaging. The Iranian people are not a threat to New Yorkers, or to any Americans, and the Iranian diaspora is a proud and integral part of this city.

We also ask that you reconsider your relationship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Last month you addressed a private meeting with this group and said, “City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I’ll answer it happily ’cause that’s my job.

We disagree. AIPAC has relentlessly pressed for a more adversarial U.S. posture against Iran, explicitly promoting increased sanctions and implicitly pushing the U.S. to the brink of war. In a 2010 letter to members of Congress, AIPAC demanded “crippling” new sanctions on Iran. U.S. sanctions on Iran are a form of collective punishment that hurt the most vulnerable members of Iranian society first and foremost. AIPAC has similarly been a consistent supporter of Israel’s atrocious violations of Palestinian human rights.

As the mayor of NYC – one of  the most diverse cities in the world – you were elected to represent all of us who live here. We stand with those Jewish New Yorkers who have recently said in their open letter to you, “AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us.” We hope that you keep all of us in mind when formulating your foreign policy perspective and withdraw your unqualified loyalty to an organization that promotes policies so destructive to the children, women and men in Iran–and in Palestine–whom so many of your constituents hold dear. When AIPAC promotes collective punishment, neither they, nor the government of Israel, share our values. When you stand by them, you do not stand by us.


  1. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, Zanan TV Executive Director
  2. Ali Abdi, Ph.D. candidate, Yale University
  3. Ervand Abrahamian, Professor of Iranian and Middle Eastern History and Politics, CUNY
  4. Golnar Adili
  5. Milad Afrasiabi
  6. Padide Alizadeh
  7. Yahya Alkhansa, Musician
  8. Sheila Aminmadani
  9. Kamrooz Aram, Artist and Adjunct Faculty, Parsons The New School for Design
  10. Maryam Aryai Rivera, Raha Iranian Feminist Collective
  11. Mohammad Asgari
  12. Farid Ashkan
  13. Pooyan Aslani, New York University
  14. Shoja Azari, Artist
  15. Sepideh Azin, Architect
  16. Shirin Barghi, Freelance Journalist
  17. Golbarg Bashi, Professor of History, Pace University
  18. Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
  19. Samira Darvishi, Ph.D. candidate, Stony Brook University
  20. Saeid Divanbeigi
  21. Bahareh Ebnealian
  22. Kouross Esmaeli, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU
  23. Yasmine Farhang
  24. Ali Fouladi
  25. Gisela Fouladi
  26. Hadi Ghaemi
  27. Setareh Ghandehari, Raha Iranian Feminist Collective
  28. Arya Ghavamian, Filmmaker
  29. Fahimeh Gooran Savadkoohi
  30. Sara Hosseini
  31. Koohyar Hosseini
  32. Shima Houshyar, MA candidate, NYU
  33. Nima Jafari, Architect
  34. Mazdak Jafarian, Architect
  35. Kiana Karimi
  36. Mahdis Keshavarz, The Make Agency
  37. Arang Keshavarzian, Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, NYU
  38. Mina Khanlarzadeh, Ph.D. candidate, Columbia University
  39. Mana Kharrazi
  40. Sina Mesdaghi, Associate at Handel Architects
  41. Kamran Mirfakhraei
  42. Ali Mirsepassi, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Sociology, NYU
  43. Nazgol Moshtaghi
  44. Mani Mostofi
  45. Nahid Mozaffari
  46. Saara Nafici, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  47. Nicky Nodjoumi, Artist
  48. Sara Nodjumi, Filmmaker
  49. Nazanin Norouzi
  50. Naseem Nowruzi
  51. Manijeh Nasrabadi, Ph.D. candidate, NYU
  52. Mehrnoosh Oghbaei
  53. Afshin Parvaresh, Artist
  54. Hamid Rahmanian, Filmmaker/Graphic Artist
  55. Saba Riazi, Filmmaker
  56. Reza Roodsari, MD/MPH
  57. Bahar Sabzevari, Artist
  58. Mehdi Saharkhiz, Art Director
  59. Samin Sajadi
  60. Faride Sakhaei, Artist
  61. Saman Sarraf
  62. Niki Shah Hosseini
  63. Sadra Shahab, City Planner, Pratt Center for Community Development
  64. Narges Shahroudi
  65. Setareh Shohadaei, Ph.D. student New School for Social Research
  66. Amin Torabkhanian
  67. Azin Valy, Architect
  68. Shouleh Vatanabadi
  69. Hanif Yazdi
  70. Rustin Zarkar, Ph.D. student, NYU
  71. Sina Zekavat


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7 Responses

  1. amigo
    March 12, 2014, 3:33 pm

    And Blasio will probably turn to his “donors” and say,
    screw those A-rabs because he is not intelligent enough to know the difference between Persians and Arabs.

    Poor America, being led down the Garden path from sea to shining sea by zombies.

  2. American
    March 12, 2014, 3:40 pm

    Delighted to see them asserting themselves and not afraid to speak up for their rights.
    Very good letter, unlike the Zionist WE DEMAND! this and WE DEMAND! that…language.

  3. Blownaway
    March 12, 2014, 4:30 pm

    Without checks attached this goes in the dustbin

    • broadside
      March 12, 2014, 5:01 pm

      Sad to say, so true.

    • Citizen
      March 13, 2014, 5:08 am

      Yep. Big checks. Bundles of them. Or maybe a Soros, Koch, or Adelson check.
      Maybe that Palestinian singing idol can do a concert in NYC?

  4. bilal a
    March 13, 2014, 5:26 am

    Where are the Students for Justice in Egypt?

    Personal essay: Behind bars in Egypt

  5. Hemlockroid
    March 13, 2014, 11:25 am

    de Blaz is Israel’s b-word.

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