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Call to Mayor de Blasio from Jewish New Yorkers: NYC needs strong condemnation of Islamophobia

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Dear Mayor de Blasio:

As you know, hateful, bigoted signs that denigrate Muslims will be posted this week in NYC subway stations and on public buses.  The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), the sponsor of this ad, is one of three groups co-founded by Pamela Geller that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as anti-Muslim hate groups.

While a court has ruled that the First Amendment prevents the MTA from rejecting these virulently anti-Muslim ads, NYC has the right—indeed, the obligation—to denounce the message they promote and to ensure that all New Yorkers are treated with dignity and respect.

As members of the Jewish community, we understand from our own history how important it is to speak out and act when individuals promote bigotry and racial discrimination.  That is particularly critical when a community, such as the Muslim community today, faces ongoing discrimination. The danger of individuals spewing hatred cannot be underestimated.  It encourages others to think of Muslims as not deserving even the most basic civil rights and protections.

Mayor de Blasio, you were quoted in the Daily News as saying, “These ads are outrageous, inflammatory and wrong and have no place in NYC, or anywhere.  These hateful messages serve only to divide and stigmatize when we should be coming together as one city.”

We applaud that statement. But we are calling upon you to do more.

We need NYC’s elected officials to denounce such messages in a way that reaches those who cannot avoid seeing them—as they ride the subway or buses to school and or work.

We call upon you to place these sentiments near every American Freedom Defense Initiative/Pamela Geller ad, so that they are visible wherever these ads are posted in the MTA system. These ads are pernicious.   But bigotry will not prevail if our city drowns out the hate with a message of respect and safety for all communities.

We need such prominent public statements from you and other City officials to make clear that we stand together with the Muslim community against these extraordinarily vicious forms of hate speech and that we stand against Islamophobia and racism in every form.

Sincerely yours,

Anita Altman

Karen R. Adler

Peter Beinart

Esther Cohen

Jonathan Cohen

Stosh Cotler

Rabbi Rachel Cowan

Barbara Dobkin

Eve Ensler

Eleanor Friedman

Phyllis Teicher Goldman

Sally Gottesman

Cynthia Greenberg

Colin Greer

Talia Hatzor

Judith Helfand

Barbara S. Kane

Marjorie Dove Kent

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

Victor Kovner

Gil Kulick

Alan Levine

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann

Isaac Luria

Former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger

Susan Miller

Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark

Donna Nevel

Kathleen Peratis

Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Michael Ratner

Corey Robin

Deborah Sagner

James Schamus

Alisa Solomon

Nancy Schwartz Sternoff

Rebecca Vilkomerson

Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky

Peter Weiss

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14 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    September 23, 2014, 10:05 am

    >> We need such prominent public statements from you and other City officials to make clear that we stand together … against Islamophobia and racism in every form.

    And against supremacism in any form.

  2. Kay24
    Kay24
    September 23, 2014, 11:03 am

    In a undisclosed location in NY, here is Geller seen simpering and fawning over Geert Wilders,
    two racists in a pod. She has been nothing but a bigot, trying to spread the hate and ignorance in the US. It would be very interesting to see just who is financially backing this hate monger, and why is Blasio being more forceful in his condemnation of these hate ads.

    If we were able to follow the money, we will find out exactly who supports these Islamaphobes, who obviously have deep seated hatred for all things Islam, and show so much ignorance about Muslims.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      September 23, 2014, 12:59 pm

      • September 23, 2014, 3:00 pm

        That freaky looking Pam Geller isn’t even bothering to listen to Wilders nonsense

      • RockyMissouri
        RockyMissouri
        April 4, 2015, 12:53 pm

        These fools are trying too hard to get people to hate others.!! They are some of the WORST EXAMPLES OF JUST HOW VILE HUMAN BEINGS CAN BE….

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      September 23, 2014, 7:03 pm

      Giles she looks adoringly at him, and agrees with what he says.

    • DavidDaoud
      DavidDaoud
      April 24, 2015, 2:00 am

      “…why is Blasio being more forceful in his condemnation of these hate ads.”
      Kay24, I think you meant to say NOT being more forceful?

  3. just
    just
    September 23, 2014, 12:19 pm

    “ADL Wishes You a World Without Hate”

    (from their website)

    So why aren’t they signing on?

    [“Adl” means justice (arabic)]

    • eljay
      eljay
      September 23, 2014, 1:59 pm

      >> just: “ADL Wishes You a World Without Hate” … So why aren’t they signing on?

      They’re doing their part by loving (not hating) Jewish supremacism in a supremacist “Jewish State”. :-)

  4. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    September 23, 2014, 6:26 pm

    RE: “While a court has ruled that the First Amendment prevents the MTA from rejecting these virulently anti-Muslim ads . . .”

    MY COMMENT: To borrow from Yogi Berra: “It’s deja vu all over again.” Pam Geller so reminds me of Georgia’s infamous J.B. Stoner* (minus the bombs).

    * FROM WIKIPEDIA [J.B. Stoner]:

    (EXCERPTS) Jesse Benjamin “J.B.” Stoner (April 13, 1924 – April 23, 2005) was an American segregationist who was convicted in 1980 of the bombing in 1958 of the Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.[1]
    He was a founder and long-time chairman of the National States’ Rights Party and publisher of its newsletter, “The Thunderbolt”. Stoner unsuccessfully attempted to run as a Democrat for several political offices in order to promote his white supremacist agenda. . .
    . . . Stoner earned a law degree, and served as the attorney for James Earl Ray . . .
    . . . Stoner once said that “being a Jew [should] be a crime punishable by death”.[1] He ran the National States’ Rights Party, which attracted such fringe political figures as A. Roswell Thompson, a perennial Democratic candidate for governor of Louisiana and mayor of New Orleans. . .
    . . . Stoner ran for governor of Georgia in 1970. During this campaign, where he called himself the “candidate of love”, he described Hitler as “too moderate,” black people as an extension of the ape family, and Jews as “vipers of hell.”[1] The primary was won by civil rights supporter and future President Jimmy Carter. Stoner then ran for the United States Senate in 1972, finishing fifth in the Democratic Party primary with just over 40,000 votes. The nomination and election went to Sam Nunn.
    During his Senate campaign, the FCC ruled that television stations had to play his ads due to the fairness doctrine.
    His ads included the word “ni**er.”
    . . .
    Stoner also ran for lieutenant governor in 1974 . . .
    . . . In his 1974 lieutenant governor campaign, Stoner placed signs on the Macon Transit Company buses, which Mayor Thompson ordered removed. Stoner promptly went to federal court to secure the return of his paid signs under his First Amendment protection. . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._B._Stoner

    P.S. PHOTOS OF J.B. STONER:
    • Stoner as chairman of the National States’ Rights Party – http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&sa=N&biw=1722&bih=1081&tbm=isch&tbnid=e5ZavM20JP_JYM:&imgrefurl=http://grumblesfromanoldgrouch.com/under-construction-eta/&docid=3-GnwDPRq_zhDM&imgurl=http://grumblesfromanoldgrouch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/ol-Stoney.jpg&w=349&h=485&ei=DT01UMOiOYb49QT__IDoDA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=400&vpy=103&dur=1537&hovh=265&hovw=189&tx=113&ty=139&sig=108313880650733849730&page=1&tbnh=115&tbnw=81&start=0&ndsp=61&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0,i:80
    • “Don’t Tread on Me”, St. Augustine, FL (1964) – http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&sa=N&biw=1722&bih=1081&tbm=isch&tbnid=JPRmW6WkwPUm_M:&imgrefurl=http://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2011_11_06_archive.html&docid=U7Q9lsMwxABoEM&imgurl=http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SO7jZSI-5Ig/Trx4Bn_wwII/AAAAAAAAA0Q/Hplr3QHGF-k/s1600/2169633.jpg&w=473&h=300&ei=DT01UMOiOYb49QT__IDoDA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=610&vpy=391&dur=5142&hovh=178&hovw=282&tx=142&ty=95&sig=108313880650733849730&page=1&tbnh=108&tbnw=145&start=0&ndsp=61&ved=1t:429,r:29,s:0,i:163
    • “I thank God all the time for AIDS” – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/6804711946/

  5. RoHa
    RoHa
    September 23, 2014, 7:47 pm

    The mayor’s statement astonished me. I never expect to hear decency and good sense from a politician.

    • michelle
      michelle
      September 24, 2014, 5:29 pm

      .
      really i hear it all the time
      (empty words are a dime a dozen-bakers dozen if you’re early)
      they’re even written down you know for the record
      but it only counts if it’s applied/enforced
      (not countered/overshadowed thus rendering it pointless)
      .
      G-d Bless
      .

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