Dear Council President Mark-Viverito:
We are concerned that you and the City Council Jewish Caucus have joined together to host a panel discussion entitled "Increasing Economic Ties Between New York City and Israel," scheduled for this coming Friday morning at City Hall.
Of course you are aware that Palestinian civil society has called for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it ends its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, recognizes the rights of Palestinians forced from their homes into exile, and accords equal rights to its own Palestinian citizens. This call has gained increasing support from around the world -- particularly from the European Union and its member countries.
And we are sure you know that the Israeli government's policies allow Israeli companies to profit by expropriating land, water and other natural resources from Palestinians, and also by exploiting differentials in wages and workers' rights. This has enabled Israel to become one of the world's largest exporters of military and surveillance equipment (for which Israel also provides training)-- an industry whose products are derived from and tested on a captive Palestinian population.
Israel is hardly the country a progressive New York City government should single out for increased economic ties. And certainly an Israeli institutions' membership in an "innovation hub"--the Cornell-Technion Partnership--which will therefore derive its products from oppression and exploitation is not the starting point for encouraging growth in New York City's technology industry. We urge you to live up to the progressive values upon which you were elected and to dissociate yourself from this panel.
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel