Michael Mittelman, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York: 212-983-4800 firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Kutner, UJA-Federation of New York : 212-836-1800
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK ELECTED OFFICIALS DECLARE “NEW YORK STANDS WITH ISRAEL” AND HER RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE
NEW YORK – At a press conference today organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and UJA-Federation of New York, New York’s elected officials as well as ethnic, faith and community leaders passionately spoke in support of Israel’s right to defend itself from the relentless barrage of rockets being fired at its citizens by Hamas terrorists.
“I condemn the rocket launches from Gaza into Israel, which only exacerbates an already delicate situation,” said Representative Charles Rangel. “Israel’s right to defend itself remains unequivocal. I again ask the Palestinian Authority to cut ties with Hamas, a terrorist organization that has no place in a legitimate coalition government.”
The assembled speakers also clearly delineated the differences between the tactics being used by Israel and Hamas.
“Israel is using missiles to protect its people. Hamas is using people to protect its missiles,” said Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York. “We are extremely appreciative for all the support given to us by the political and the communal leadership as well as the public at large. Once again, this great community has stood by Israel.”
Since June 12th, over 950 rockets have been fired by Hamas terrorists from Gaza at Israeli civilians. It is estimated that Hamas has over 10,000 rockets and missiles in their arsenal, and given Israel’s small size – roughly equivalent to New Jersey – the longer-range missiles put most of Israel’s population at risk. And those Israelis living under the threat of rocket fire only have as little as 15 seconds to seek shelter once they hear the Red Alert siren.
“These are dark and trying times in Israel, said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York. “But these are days that also remind us what it means to be a people. With federations across the country, we last week collectively committed to send $10 million in emergency funding to Israel. And with our unique network of social service and humanitarian agencies in Israel, we are working around-the-clock to address the acute needs of those under attack in Israel.”
“We are here today to stand with Israel,” said Michael Miller, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “Standing with Israel means that we also stand with peace, we stand with freedom, we stand with democracy, but most importantly we stand with life. We are standing here to say that we as New Yorkers stand with Israel’s desire to live in peace within its neighborhood of the Middle East.”
The complete list of speakers at the event outside New York City Hall is as follows:
● Rep. Charles Rangel
● Rep. Eliot Engel, Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee
● Rep. Carolyn Maloney
● Rep. Jerrold Nadler
● Rep. Nita Lowey
● NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
● Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York
● NYC Council Member Mark Levine
● NYS State Senator Brad Hoylman
● Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
● Rev. Que English, Senior Pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship Church
● Gil Galanos, Israeli American Council
● Ari Kagan, Democratic District Leader, 45 A.D.
● Ron Weiner, President, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York
● Michael Miller, EVP and CEO, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York
● Eric Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York
The following participants have also provided statements regarding Israel’s right to self-defense:
Rep. Charles Rangel: “I am deeply saddened by recent events in Israel and the West Bank. I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Mohammed Abu Khder, and to the families of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach. The loss of four children at the hands of their peers is a tragedy that no society should tolerate.
Likewise, I condemn the rocket launches from Gaza into Israel, which only exacerbates an already delicate situation. Israel’s right to defend itself remains unequivocal.
However, the continued circle of violence and retribution only creates further division between these societies at time when a peaceful solution is long overdue.
I again ask the Palestinian Authority to cut ties with Hamas, a terrorist organization that has no place in a legitimate coalition government.”
Rep. Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee: “As Hamas terrorists continue to rain down rockets across Israel, I strongly support Israel’s right to take all necessary actions to defend itself. Ambassador Dermer confirmed for us today that Israel is balancing the need to defend its citizens and prevent casualties during Operation Protective Edge, even as those responsible for this violence are cowering behind human shields. It’s fortunate that the Iron Dome is working so well, and we need to continue supporting this vital system. As the House of Representatives said unanimously this morning, we will stand by our Israeli allies as they meet this challenge.”
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney: “With hundreds of rockets falling on Israel, including areas with large settlements and areas north of Tel Aviv, Israel must defend itself. Every nation has the right to defend itself and its people from deadly attack, and no nation should be asked to exercise restraint while missiles rain down on its cities. Hamas began the current assault by kidnapping children and it has continued its terrorist activities by shelling Israel’s cities. Israel has no choice but to act.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler: “I unequivocally condemn the indiscriminate launching of rockets from Gaza. Especially during this unending barrage of rockets against innocent civilians, we must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel and in support of Israel’s fundamental right to defend itself against these terrorists. As long as these rocket attacks continue, Israel must take necessary steps to protect its population.”
Rep. Nita Lowey: “I join the Administration in condemning the barrage of rockets being fired against Israel from Gaza, which now threaten millions of innocent Israelis. The government of Israel is responding as any responsible country would: protecting its citizens to the best of their ability while going after the terrorists who are responsible for such ruthless aggression. Hamas’ actions only further demonstrate their complete disregard for their own people and their intent to wreak havoc on innocent Israeli citizens.
As I’ve said before, any Palestinian government that includes the terrorist organization Hamas cannot possibly be a viable partner for peace with Israel and is therefore not an entity that will, or should, receive U.S. financial support. I believe President Abbas has a clear understanding of this, as well as his choices going forward. I continue to encourage him to stand against Hamas aggression and do what is best for all Palestinians. I stand ready to implement U.S. law to the maximum extent possible should he continue to choose to partner with terrorists.
U.S. funding for Israel’s weapons defense systems remains absolutely critical, as this latest escalation proves. The Iron Dome has been called upon, and is delivering on, saving the lives of millions of Israeli all over the country. I’m very pleased that the FY15 appropriations bill continues our strong, bipartisan support for the Iron Dome, the Arrow Weapons System, and David’s Sling.”
NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: “Since its birth, the State of Israel has sought nothing more than peaceful coexistence with its neighbors and to be recognized and respected as a contributing member of the civilized nations of the world. Israel has survived and prospered despite relentless threats from forces determined to annihilate the Jewish homeland. Over the years, countless Israeli citizens – innocent men, women and children – have been the victims of terroristic brutality, most recently Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach.
As Hamas rockets continue to rain down on Israel, I stand with Jewish leaders and communities throughout New York and our nation in supporting Israel’s right to defend its citizens with all of the necessary force. I call again upon the leaders of the civilized world to awaken to the reality that savagery cannot be tamed with reason. The remedy to war is unity against terrorism. Until that day comes, we will continue to stand firmly in support of our homeland and we will continue to pray for the safety of the people of Israel.”
NYS Senator Brad Hoylman: “I’m proud to join my colleagues in government who strongly advocate Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of wanton aggression by Hamas. The escalating violence must cease so the U.S. and other mediators can help pursue negotiations towards a two-state solution that achieves peace for the Israeli and Palestinian people.”
About Jewish Community Relations Council of New York
The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY), founded in 1976, serves as the central coordinating and resource body for the Jewish community in the metropolitan New York area in the community relations field and is an active force in New York civic and communal life. The JCRC-NY is a Beneficiary of the UJA-Federation of New York. For more information, please visit our website at www.jcrcny.org.
About UJA-Federation of New York
For more than 95 years, UJA-Federation has been a central force for communal planning and philanthropy in the New York Jewish community. Through UJA-Federation, 50,000 donors pool their resources to help people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen Jewish communities around the world — to address the issues that matter to us most as Jews and as New Yorkers. Working with nearly 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 70 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. Because we do the most good when we do it together. For more information on how to donate or how to volunteer, please visit our website at www.ujafedny.org.