A Coffee Conspiracy?
Thank you for your informative article entitled “Starbucks and Stewart” (August 29) by Ben Packer. I read the announcement that was issued by Starbucks, which was far more biased against Israel.
I believe the article should have been given more prominence in your newspaper. Furthermore, there is a local kosher restaurant that prominently displays a sign that it proudly serves Starbucks coffee. In addition, there is a Starbucks coffee shop in the area. Perhaps the community should stop patronizing these establishments and boycott Starbucks coffee.
Avi Fertig Corrects The Record
I really appreciated last week’s editorial, “The Races Are On,” for the generous attention devoted to my race for assemblyman of the 20th Assembly District. The race is already shaping up to be one of this election cycle’s most exciting, and I especially appreciate your highlighting my credentials and the number of elected officials and community leaders who support and endorse my campaign, most recently, Republican State Senator Dean Skelos.
But please allow me to clarify several points. First, I’m flattered to be seen as a youthful, carefree 38-year-old, but the truth is, I’m 42. I mention this only to avoid having to give back four of the years I’ve spent working for residents on the South Shore; specifically the past nearly two years that I devoted to helping countless people throughout the 20th Assembly District recover and rebuild following Superstorm Sandy.
Also, your suggestion that I believe my Orthodox bona fides will yield “natural, if not automatic support” in the Five Towns is way off the mark. You can be certain I do not take the support of any segment of voters for granted, regardless of how familiar or similar our backgrounds may be.
While I’m proud to have had a yeshiva education (G‑d knows, it cost my parents a fortune), I doubt that Five Towns voters would choose a candidate solely on the merit of having attended yeshiva, or not. Such a suggestion also dilutes the value of credentials earned in the school of life, namely dedicated service to local government on behalf of those I’ve been fortunate to assist.
What I do believe is this will be a hard-fought race, but one in which I’m already working to earn every vote I’ll be honored to receive. There are always candidates who run on a sense of entitlement, rather than a record of achievement in constituent service. I value every interaction I have with every voter, and work very hard to create those relationships. Their support, encouragement, well wishes, and constructive advice, though never automatic, are always gratifying and encouraging.
That’s why I’ve spent the spring and summer walking every corner of the 20th Assembly District, speaking with every voter I meet, loving every minute, and committing to continue doing so until after the voters have spoken on Tuesday, November 4.
Mr. Fertig is the Republican and Conservative candidate for the NYS Assembly District that includes the Five Towns, Island Park, Bay Park, parts of East Rockaway, Oceanside, Point Lookout, Lido Beach, Long Beach, and Atlantic Beach.
Seeking Justice: An Open Letter To NYU’s President
Note: Last week, the Lawfare Project and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law sent a second letter urging New York University administrators to effectively address the campus atmosphere of intimidation and harassment relating to the April 2014 distribution of mock eviction notices to private student dorm rooms.
Dear President Sexton,
Thank you for your e‑mail in response to our letter sent to you on May 2, 2014. As you are aware, we are concerned about an atmosphere of intimidation and harassment in which mock eviction notices were pushed under the dormitory room doors and into the dormitory rooms of Jewish and non-Jewish students. While your e‑mail addresses the mock eviction notices, we are worried that it is a very general statement that does not address our specific concerns.
In your e‑mail you state, “But I have to take issue with one of the points you make in the letter: that dormitory where the leafleting was targeted because it is home to an especially large number of Jewish students. That claim is not supported by the facts. First you should be aware that Palladium was not the only residence in which the leafleting took place; it also occurred in our Lafayette St. residence hall. Moreover, we tested the claim that Palladium has a reputation of having an especially large Jewish presence with both our Residence Life and Housing Office and our Jewish chaplain; neither believe that Palladium or Lafayette St. have such a reputation.” This e‑mail misses our points of concern.
Whether or not the Residence Life and Housing Office or the Jewish chaplain believes that the Palladium dormitory has a Jewish reputation, Palladium is the only dormitory building at New York University that has a Shabbat elevator. Moreover, your students have made clear to us that the existence of a Shabbat elevator is one of the reasons that so many prominent Jewish students are known to live there. If Palladium was targeted in any part because of its concentration of Jewish students, then this factor must be considered in determining the nature and severity of the infraction. Either way, however, the perpetrators’ choice of this particular building has aggravated the impact of the infractions despite also targeting the additional Lafayette dormitory.
It is also important to recognize that these mock eviction notices perpetuate stereotypes and defamations that are harmful to Jewish students and persons of Israeli national origin. The university should not overlook the extent to which such conduct undermines its efforts to foster civil discourse and ensure that all students will feel safe, welcome, and included.
You also indicated in your e‑mail that the Office of Residence Life is looking into this as a judicial matter. We urge you to act firmly and forcefully to discipline the individual perpetrators and any organization that facilitated their actions. According to some reports, the perpetrators are affiliated with an organization that has recently engaged in similar infractions at other institutions, leading to their recent suspension and subsequent probation at one university. In the event that the organization has been involved in multiple infractions at New York University, we urge you to consider this as well in the course of administering firm disciplinary action. We advise that you begin taking these steps during the summer before the Fall Semester begins.
Please let us know the current status on your university’s action on these matters and whether the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and the Lawfare Project may assist you in moving forward.
We thank you in advance for your serious consideration of this matter.
Kenneth L. Marcus
Danit L. Sibovits