The views and opinions expressed in our letters section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hudson Valley One. You can submit a letter to the editor here.
As the head of the United Way of Ulster County (for the past 27 years), I have been shocked and dismayed by the inaccurate and misleading portrayal of the NoVo Foundation and in particular, its co-president, Peter Buffett, as some kind of dictator coming to Kingston to remake it in his own image. In my experience over the past three years, that portrayal couldn’t be further from the truth.
Having worked with a myriad of foundations during my 40+-year tenure in the human service field, I have never come across a more accessible, open, creative and genuinely interested foundation head. In the dozens of NoVo Foundation meetings I have participated in, Peter has, at every turn, not only welcomed input, but sought it out from those in attendance. He has repeatedly emphasized the great importance he places on feedback from those “on the ground,” nearer to the needs of local residents than he is. He has repeatedly made investments in critical high-quality services, not just in Kingston, but throughout the county – services that have clearly benefited the most vulnerable and marginalized among us.
To turn such a blessing into something malevolent or shady is the true offense. Rather than disparaging the NoVo Foundation for trying to do some good, I will offer the gratitude and thanks they so rightly deserve.
Cyclists, pedestrians at risk
There have been two bicyclists killed by vehicles in the City of Kingston in the past two years. Yet the mayor and the City Council insist on going forward with the ridiculously dangerous bike lane on Broadway from People’s Place to the YMCA. This lane will definitely hurt Broadway businesses, who need safe curbside parking for their customers. But more importantly, it will put the lives of bicyclists and pedestrians at risk.
I call on Mayor Noble and the Common Council to cancel this dangerous Broadway bike lane, which will take away the ability of shoppers to park in front of these businesses and put Kingstonians at risk for lawsuits and for our lives.
How many philosophers also work at a salad bar?
The fact of the matter
I stand by my facts: More Republican lawmakers have been arrested for bathroom misconduct than trans people.
Keep digging, John!
Social Security follow-up
Opinion: I don’t believe that the Republicans, if they have their way, would outright eliminate Social Security – although if both chambers of Congress go Republican in the midterm elections of 2022, Trump will most assuredly run again in 2024, and if reelected, anything is possible with this tap-dancer in office.
The Republicans, ever since the New Deal, would dearly love to get the federal government out of the lives of the people. Therefore, one of the main proposals talked about is the concept of “privatization.” Privatization means the federal government backs out of its responsibility of Social Security as we know it now. Instead, the funds previously collected will no longer be the procedure where one can collect benefits paid into most of one’s working life; this occurs at age 62 or 65 (I believe there is talk about raising the age to 67).
Instead, those funds are yours to invest accordingly. This might appeal to many of you reading this, but it does not appeal to this writer. I don’t believe two out of ten people will invest accordingly. Human nature being what it is, there is always a new chair, new car, new roof to save for, college expenses, medical bills to be paid. (Medicare, by the way, which all persons 65 and older have, will also go under the knife in revision forms and throw Yours Truly and many others in dire straits if we have to afford our own medical bills, what with the cost of cancer operations and a host of other maladies that arise in the Golden Years.)
And in addition, even if one does take this money previously withdrawn and invests accordingly, what happens when the system goes under, as it will, as it has gone down through the years with recessions, depressions, downfalls? So, someone who has invested diligently wakes up one morning to see his investment of the past 20 years cut in half, quartered or gone! The purpose of Social Security, as we know it now, is to protect the common man from such calamities as our forebears experienced in the Great Depression.
There are other forms of redress to the Social Security paycheck withdrawals, which I am not qualified to discuss intelligently, but the bottom line is the Republicans want out, no matter which program is instituted in its stead. The program, as it stands now, works well; the big problem is there are people and corporations not paying their fair share into this program. The cutoff limit for paying into this program is $145,000 or abouts. In other words, one is taxed on that amount earned, but not above. What about a millionaire? Should he pay, say, up to $500,000? Or how about a billionaire, paying up to his first million? But even worse, how about those companies who have moved overseas and pay no taxes or very little taxes?
There are various solutions, but unfortunately too much money involved in the political process. But public involvement is key: The more people aware of the situation, the more they complain, the better the chances are of preventing hasty actions, like the “rescue committees” mentioned previously and their fast-tracking bills through without proper dialogue and debate.
I will shortly give you the names of two organizations and their addresses and telephone numbers. All seniors should belong to these organizations, regardless of your political affiliations.
Toward a caring society?
(The below is reprinted from a Facebook post. The author is anonymous.)
I may have inadvertently started a revolution in the convenience store today. I stopped to grab a water, and on the way in, I saw a homeless man I know, sitting in the shade with his bike beside him. He was red-faced and looking very shaky. I asked him if he was okay, and he said he was just resting. This guy’s got the mind of a child, and I’m afraid he doesn’t know he needs to stay extra-hydrated when it’s super-hot outside.
There were a bunch of people in line in front of me and only one cashier. So, I grabbed two waters and yelled to the cashier that I was taking one to the guy outside and that I’d be right back.
When I came back in, the lady in front of me turned around, hands on hips, and told me that I was just enabling that homeless person (said with a sneer) and that I shouldn’t be wasting my money on him.
It’s hot as hell in Florida right now: mid-90s with 80 percent humidity. It’s a good day for heat stroke and I told her so. I said I’d rather give him a water than call an ambulance.
I was going to shrug it off, let it go, chalk it up to ignorance and the heat making everybody cranky. And then she told me I should be ashamed of myself. That someone should call the police on him, and that it should be illegal for people to beg for money. That people who give the homeless money just encourage them to stay homeless, and that should be illegal, too.
Ashamed? I should be ashamed for giving some poor old guy a water it cost a whole dollar for? And I should get in trouble for making sure he didn’t stroke out in this heat?
I guess I look nice, approachable, like I wouldn’t rip your head off. I am nice most of the time. But not always. And I lost my temper. I told her to call a cop for buying stuff at a convenience store. I told her that I wasn’t in the damn mood for crazy right now. That it’s a hundred degrees outside and I’m hot and tired and sick to death of stupid people. That if she had an ounce of compassion in her whole body, she’d buy him a cold drink, too. That, and maybe she should figure out why she needs to accost complete strangers. After that, she backed out of my face and turned back around and did not say one damn more word to me.
I was angry and it got pretty loud there at the end. There was dead silence in the store for a few seconds, and then someone said loudly, “For real!” And the guy at the front of the line told the cashier to add a sandwich to his purchases for the guy outside. The guy behind him bought an extra ice cream. The girl behind him got change for a twenty, because that guy could probably use some cash. Every single person in line got him something – every one, except the now very embarrassed lady in front of me, who slipped out of the store without saying another word.
When I got to the cashier, she didn’t charge me for either of the waters because she was going to take him one anyway.
When I went outside, the guy was eating his ice cream and drinking his water, with a pile of food all around him, a big old grin on his face. He didn’t look shaky anymore. And there is the story of why I hate people and I love people, all in the same damn minute.
What’s beautiful about this story? But where do you think we still miss the mark in the story, as we work toward developing a more caring society?
A proposal has come before the Woodstock Planning Board for the reopening of the abandoned gas station diagonally across from the Stewart’s on Route 28 at Zena Road. The plan is to open another gas station. The Planning Board, having clear and highly reasonable reservations about how the fuel can be safely delivered to that location without causing major traffic hazards, returned the proposal for revision.
I suggest that the developer of that property should consider putting in an EV charging station with some sort of convenience store or café and reading room for customers to wait in. This would eliminate the fossil fuel delivery problem and encourage climate-friendly investment and preparation for a better future. It looks like there may even be funding if the federal infrastructure bill gets passed.
Just an effort at forward thinking.
CCA and your electrical bill
There have been many numbers bandied about costs of being part of the new Community Choice Aggregation program being offered by the Town of Saugerties. There are many ways to compare and contrast figures, but what seems most important is what you will end up paying on your Central Hudson bill. Here are the factors that will determine nature of your electricity source and your “bottom line”:
Your Central Hudson bill is a combination of several charges: a fixed monthly connection fee (currently $19.50), a delivery fee (currently $.095/kwh) and a power supply fee (which is determined by your choice of source). The first two are applied the same no matter what choice you make and constitute well over 50% of your final bill.
Central Hudson’s default rates for the supply (they choose if you don’t) are variable and change each month. In the past year, they have gone from just over $.04/kwh to over $.09/kwh. with their published average for the year at $.058/kwh. The July rate was $.069/kwh. And there is no cap or guarantee for where they may go.
CCA rates are guaranteed at $.072/kwh, and will not change for the next 34 months.
The source of Central Hudson’s supply is more than 90% non-renewable, mostly fossil fuel derived. The source of CCA’s supply is 100% renewable produced in New York State.
The CCA rate for 100% renewable sourced energy supply @$.072 is significantly lower than any others currently available (others run from $.086-$.11/kwh.) That’s a big savings for those who have or want fossil free energy.
If one considers all the factors above that contribute to your final cost, based on an average 500kwh monthly usage, analysis shows the cost for Central Hudson’s default, using the 12-month average price for supply, including connection and delivery fees is ~$96.00. The final cost for the CCA choice is ~$103…that’s a $7 or about 7.2% difference. If the Central Hudson’s July price figure is used, the final cost goes to $101.50, thus only a $1.50 or about a 1.5% difference.
If you are concerned about the use of fossil fuels and how we can reduce them to help curb their effect on our environment, it a small price to pay to stay in the CCA program. Remember if you change your mind you can opt-out(or opt-in) any time in the future.
What a dream he had
After seeing another of his anti-Republican rants prominently featured in Hudson Valley One (a rant in which he deftly managed to avoid mentioning Donald Trump while falsely ascribing to Republicans all the actions and qualities of the Democrat Party), “Trump Hater” (T. H.) needed to unwind and relax. Thinking of his options in this regard, he noticed a few beers in his fridge left over from his “Although I didn’t mention him in my rant, I still hate Trump” pity party held the previous night.
A big fan of CNN and MSNBC, T. H. popped open a can and decided to watch his favorite streaming movie, The legend of Ron Burgundy. Feeling a bit drowsy as he watched, happy visions of Joe Biden driving an 18-wheeler down the highway filled his head. As T. H. drifted off to sleep, the soothing sound of Ron Burgundy’s voice from the TV suddenly began to attack Donald Trump and the Republican Party, and T. H. had the following dream, in which he sang the song “For Ron Burgundy, wherever I may find him” (to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her”).
What a dream I had
Of Ron Burgundy
He was with Chuck Todd
His guest on NBC
They were bashing Trump
I changed the channel fast
And heard Wolf Blitzer say
Trump’s no longer president
But his party’s here to stay
They’ll just go on
I turned on Morning Joe
And saw dear Mika there
The Scarboroughs and their guests
Think bashing Trumps is always fair
Joe’s hair’s sure high
(short musical interlude leading to a dramatic ending)
And when I awoke
My TV was still on
My feelings that were good
Suddenly were gone
Oh, I hate you, Trump
Oh, how I hate you, Trump!
No bucks, no Buck Rogers
Selfish undertaxed “thrillionaires” lauded for racing to leave the planet: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the billionaire boys’ club, and to boldly seek another way of making a dollar.” Is space travel considered a tax deduction? Oh, wait; they don’t pay taxes.
Geez, congrats for doing something that NASA managed to do, 60 years ago, with barely the technology. It is a flying penis. Considering how Bezos screws over his workers, a giant dick-shaped rocket seems appropriate. You can’t put lipstick on a pig; it is what it is. You would have thought, with all those billions, other design options were available. The vibrations on liftoff must have been otherworldly; that’s a lot of D batteries.
This is what I find most fascinating about humans. First, we launch a Virgin craft towards inky space (Branson’s Galactic Unity rocketplane). It’s both very cool that he did this, and also seems so pointless. Most experiments you’re doing in two minutes of weightlessness can be done riding the vomit comet rollercoaster, and it’s so much cheaper. The notion that this is for research is such a laughable concept. By the way, and I’ve read elsewhere, its weightlessness experience was because of falling and not because of “space.”
And then a week later, Bezos’ giant dick-shaped rocket blasted off: up and down in eight minutes. We applaud wildly and extol, “That was a quickie!” A quarter-of-a-million bucks for a 15-minute flight that includes four minutes of weightlessness: God’s way of letting us know that these people are making far too much money. But these guys need to throw their money around and proclaim, “My rocket is bigger than yours.”
Didn’t go over the Kármán line? Gee-a, that’s a shame. Going to the edge of space is not outer space; IMHO, a total waste of time and resources to feed a billionaire’s ego. I don’t get this, do you? Nevertheless, what a great step for humanity, right? One step closer to developing another stellar “destination vacation” package. True progress by any measure for space tourism.
With billionaires determined to make their way into outer space and UFOs apparently confirmed within our space, I am now in the mood for less reality: too much money in the hands of people who are overindulging themselves. The last thing we need is to privatize space and make billionaires trillionaires. Workers are all in the gutter, but the owners are looking at the stars. They will do for space and other worlds what they have done to Earth: turn it into a smoking ball of shit.
Sure, I’m all for science and scientific discoveries, but…the rich are at play while they could feed the world, build housing for the homeless, clean up the oceans. One mo’ thought just occurred to me: What if UFOs are just billionaires from other planets?
Not a fan of HV1
I will not be renewing my subscription to Hudson Valley One for several reasons. The primary one is that I don’t want to support the opportunity that HV1 gives to some of our readers to write long letters that have contained misinformation, unchecked, about the COVID pandemic (Habersberger) and some which contain right-wing, Trumpian vituperations that are printed weekly. George Civile states that President Biden has “obvious cognitive decline,” but provides no evidence of this. Is he referring to a lifelong speech impediment that POTUS Biden has endured his entire life? Is he, like his idol Trump, ridiculing a disability?
Any reading of our newspapers will inform us that POTUS Biden is operating most professionally and effectively in the face of obstinate Republican opposition. If there is evidence of cognitive decline, it can be found in Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Green or Paul Gosar, the latter seeing the January 6 attempted insurrection as a “typical tourist visit” to the Capitol.
Will HV1 print anything that readers send in?
US foreign aid should not support abuse of children
It is unacceptable that our government has two primary constructs for justice when it comes to Israel/Palestine: one where Israel is reflexively supported to deny human rights and justice for Palestinians in the name of “security,” and an equally false construct where Palestinian resistance to ongoing occupation and denial of their basic human rights is delegitimized as “terrorist.”
As someone who has worked for decades to end the illegal occupation of Palestine, I am often asked, “Where are the Palestinian organizations who seek justice through peaceful democratic means?”
My answer: “They are routinely silenced by the Israeli government and the US media, or harassed and even killed by the Israeli military.”
Here are examples from just this week alone:
On July 29, Israel’s paramilitary raided the headquarters in Ramallah of a nonprofit children’s rights organization without any warrant or explanation. This organization, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), is an independent, is a local Palestinian child rights organization dedicated to promoting the rights of children living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Computers and client files were seized with no warrant, no reason and no receipt for the materials confiscated.
On July 28, an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed in Hebron in his father’s car at a checkpoint.
On July 24, a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed when his village was overtaken by Israeli forces.
Palestinian children are routinely arrested and imprisoned without trial for throwing stones or for other forms of protest. The Israeli military intentionally uses lethal force, which cannot be justified by international law, while our government defends Israeli “security.” Security can never be secured when an entire population is denied basic human rights.
Sadly, our own representative, Antonio Delgado, is complicit in this denial of justice. I urge others to sign this open letter: http://chng.it/vtSpBJnz6h in support of HR 2407. And call Representative Delgado’s office to co-sponsor this bill which prohibits US foreign aid to go towards the abuse of children.
Three cheers for Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling its ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was courageous and definitely not anti-Zionist. I am an American Jew who supports Israel’s right of existence and ability to flourish. However, I do not support its apartheid actions. I do not hate Israel and I am definitely not an anti-Semite. But I do hate its human rights abuses, especially against children and the people of Gaza.
Fifteen years ago, I did human rights work in the West Bank/occupied Palestinian territories with International Women’s Peace Service and was shocked to see how many apartheid rules are in place. Today restrictions and abuse are even more rampant. Let’s hope that other companies will follow Ben & Jerry’s courageous example.
19th annual Gardiner 5K Classic
Thanks to the many sponsors, runners/walkers and volunteers who gave of their time parking cars, working the registration desk, giving water to participants running/walking the course, setting up, cleaning up and just being there to help on the day of the race to make the Gardiner 5K Classic, held on July 15 at Majestic Park, another successful event. As you know, because of COVID, the run last year was canceled. This year we had the run (following all CDC guidelines) without the barbecue and Kids’ Run. Hopefully, we can bring back the barbecue and Kids’ Run next year. This year, the 5K Classic was dedicated to all the lives lost due to COVID. The proceeds from this race will be used to make improvements to the inside of the Gardiner firehouse.
A special thanks goes to the members of the Gardiner 5K Classic Committee: Barbara Clinton, John and Landon Fracasse, Bernadette Koonz, Terri Colucci, Luke Lyons and Charlie Eidel, for all of the help and advice given to the Gardiner Fire Department in order to make this race such a huge success. We couldn’t have done it without them. Also, we would like to thank the many sponsors of the race – our Platinum sponsors: Rick Hanheide, the Gardiner Gazette, New Paltz Rescue Squad, Joseph E. O’Connor, Personal Injury Law, Garnet Health, Gillette Creamery and Scott Barclay Trucking; our Gold sponsors: Mobile Life Support Services, the Law Offices of Robert F. Rich, Jr., PLLC, Foster and Schmalkuche, PC, P. E. Colucci Excavating, Inc., Ultimate Homes, Amthor Welding Service. Inc., Garvan’s, Affordable Housing Concept, Kellie James Salon, Upstate Energy, Inc., Orange Bank and Trust Company, NYCOMCO, Skydive the Ranch, Mixture, Inc., Masseo Landscaping, Inc., Walden Savings Bank, Jellystone Lazy River Resort, Haight Fire Equipment Supply, Lightning Express Delivery Service, Inc., the Natural Pet Center at Ireland Corners, Main Course, Kimlin Propane Co., Inc., and our Silver sponsors: Whispers Cocktail Lounge, React Emergency Training, the Rothman Family, Dawe’s Septic and Repair, Kornfeld, Rew, Newman and Simeone, John B. Ingenio, CPA, Riverside Bank, Freer Therapeutics, Jim DeMaio – State Farm Insurance, Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant, Dedrick’s Pharmacy of New Paltz, Royal King Cleaners, Tom’s Auto Repair Shop, Empire Tag and Title, Gordon Fire Equipment, LLC, Peter A. Rubin Insurance Agency, Yard Owl, Meadowscent, Ireland Corners General Store, K & E Beverages, C2G Environmental Consultants, LLC, Main Street Bistro, Apuzzo Kitchens, Marshall & Sterling Inc., Dr. Scott I. Morrison, Optometry, PC, Friedle Construction, Inc., the Devine Agency Inc.; and those businesses that either provided the gifts used as prizes for the various winners or gave a donation: Gardiner Animal Hospital, Goodnow Family Farm, Jim Wild Well-Drilling, LLC, Doc Schwarz Wine Jelly, LLC, James Suto, Leonie Time Clocks, Lucky C Stables, Beek’s Auto, Hopewell Fire Apparatus Service Co., Inc., Ridgeline Realty, Mosher Family, the Inn @ Kettleboro, Wiedenkeller Insurance, New Paltz Equipment Rental, Patrick J. Ford CFP ® ChFC®, Tantillo’s Farm Market, Fighting Spirits Karate Studio, Glenn & Breheney, PLLC, Attorneys, Central Hudson, Key Bank, Saturn Software Systems, Inc., Taylor’s Greenhouse, Maggie Mae’s, LLC, New Paltz Karate Academy, Hudson Valley Drones, Ulster Savings Bank, RBT CPAs, LLP, Orange Bank and Trust Co., Renegades, True Value, Studio 77, Mavis Tires of Gardiner, John Fazio BBQ, Hudson Valley Winery, Wallkill View Farms, Café Mio, Pasquale’s, Town Cutters, Lightsey Cycles, Uptown Attic, Stewart’s, Liquid Mercantile, Cuts by Dawn, Shapers of New Paltz, ShopRite and Hannaford’s.
The support given to the Gardiner Fire Department, a volunteer organization made up of firefighters and EMTs, was overwhelming and greatly appreciated. If you would like to join the Gardiner Fire Department, please visit our website at www.gardinerfireandrescue.org and complete an application. We are always looking for volunteers. Next year’s 20th annual Gardiner 5K Classic is scheduled for July 21, 2022. See you there.
Donna M. Lyons
On behalf of the Gardiner 5K Classic Committee
and the Gardiner Fire Department
The tide turns?
When I heard that a resolution to hire Andrew Campanelli, a leading expert on Telecom law, to assist in writing the proposed changes to our wireless law passed by a vote of 4 to 1, I guessed that Hudson Valley One must have misprinted the actual vote: “Councilwoman Ricci and councilmen Reggie Earls, Richard Heppner and Lorin Rose voted in favor of the resolution, while supervisor Bill McKenna voiced the lone dissenting vote.” I thought that, after all these years, how could that be? Yet it was a fact. Finally, diverseness?
Property covenants in the Pit?
The Village of New Paltz Planning Board’s 8/3/21 meeting agenda includes a review of Lalo Group’s proposed site plan to develop the 2.4 acre Pit property at Plattekill and Hasbrouck Avenues.
We have asked the developer to address the covenants and restrictions in the property’s deed so it’s concerning that consideration of the covenants still seems absent from the proposed site plan that the Planning Board is being asked to review.
The 2015 deed — CRC to Lalo from book/page: 5923-50 states that it is subject to covenants and restrictions in the 1968 deed with the Village and Mid Paltz.
Village to Mid Paltz from book/page: 1215-1107. This portion of the Pit encompasses 0.9 acres of the 2.4 acre parcel.
a) Building structure must be less than 15% of the parcel’s square footage
b) There must be a 15’ wide walking path through the parcel westerly from Vanderlyn Ave.
c) Not less than 50% of the remainder of the property’s square footage be developed as parking and for it to be adjacent to the Village’s parking lot. And then the balance of the remaining property “be devoted to park purposes.”
In 1972, via indenture (book/page: 1290-612), the Village released its right to seek reverter of the property but the covenants like the building size, path, parking, and park area should all still be binding.
Village to CRC from book/page: 1837-46. This portion of the Pit, aka Vanderlyn Ave., encompasses 0.58 acres of the 2.4 acre parcel.
a) Village reserves the right to discharge stormwater using Vanderyln Ave. into the Pit from nearby Village properties including Hasbrouck Park where the owner of the Pit pays for all costs.
b) Village reserves the right to maintain improvements and encroachments on Vanderlyn Ave. that may include its parking area, guardrail, or sidewalk.
I do not believe the village should give away covenants without a full review or allow anyone to assume they may no longer be applicable.
Mayor Tim Rogers
The danger of mistruths
A letter in last week’s Feedback section entitled “The hidden history of vaccines” (HV1: July 28) is making my head spin. Among the letter’s many dubious assertions, I find one particular unsourced mistruth beyond disturbing:
As of last Friday, the COVID vaccines has [sic] injured almost 500,000 people and suspected of killing 11,000 people [sic].
The writer continues, citing an organization called American Frontline Doctors, to say the number of supposed deaths is actually five-fold that number. As a side note, American Frontline Doctors is a group founded by Dr. Simone Gold, currently awaiting trial for her part in the January 6 insurrection.
But my anger at the writer’s myriad of mistruths is not the point of my letter to you. The purpose of my letter is to express my unmitigated (no, grave) disappointment with Hudson Valley One for publishing that letter in the first place. I know any publication needs to weigh its responsibility to reflect what might be an unpopular opinion while it considers the dangers of anything resembling censorship, but Hudson Valley One has chosen to publish irresponsible, inaccurate, unproven misinformation that could very well endanger the health and even the lives of some of its readership.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s now famous quote: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts” could not ring truer. Certainly if I submit a letter proclaiming that COVID vaccines have also cured cancer and diabetes, that letter would and should be rejected for publication. It cannot be understated that a letter based on non-facts and assertions from the completely discredited American Frontline Doctors poses a direct threat to the health and well-being of the entire community served by HV1 and brings in to question where a newspaper might, on occasion, need to draw the line.
A false and dangerous claim
I’ve been disturbed by recent letters repeating the false and dangerous claim that BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) is anti-Semitic — and that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.
It is all too easy to stifle criticism by smearing it as anti-Semitic. No decent person wants to be labeled an anti-Semite. But, tragically, this smear gives cover to the real anti-Semites by conflating hateful prejudice with legitimate, peacefully expressed concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Israel is impervious to international law, under which it is illegal to colonize occupied territory. It is impervious to moral condemnation for its brutality. When Palestinians fight back, they are crushed by Israel’s massive firepower — lavishly funded by your tax dollars and mine. But when they call for peaceful protest in the form of BDS, Palestinians and their supporters are reviled and suppressed as being anti-Semitic.
Boycotting is a time-honored and effective form of protest. As the National Coalition Against Censorship says, “Boycotts are a form of speech that is protected by the First Amendment.” Pro-Israel lobbying groups don’t care about the First Amendment, instead pressuring state and federal legislators to pass bills penalizing or even outlawing BDS.
Like many who advocate BDS, I myself have a Jewish background. I am fully aware of the horrors of anti-Semitism and I understand the deep fear that the Holocaust could happen again — a fear that is cynically exploited by the Israeli government’s rhetoric. But it is both cruel and irrational to project that fear onto the Palestinians — who had nothing to do with the Holocaust — and use it to fuel appalling injustice.
BDS calls on people of conscience to take a non-violent stand against entrenched oppression. I will continue to support it.