Thursday, July 7, 2016

His rightful place in that chain gang

GUEST: Jay Wenk, local World War II veteran, and author of Study War No More: A Jewish Kid from Brooklyn Fights the Nazis, talks about his work on the Woodstock Town Board defending freedom of speech from Governor Cuomo's executive order outlawing boycotts of Israeli occupation.

Both Eli and I know Jay well. I filmed him getting arrested at the White House. So it was no surprise that Jay enthusiastically endorsed the idea of challenging Governor's executive order against the boycott of Israel. And since Jay is on the Woodstock Town Board, that is where we decided to start with the Woodstock Free Speech Campaign.

For the next several months, we will be holding movies, panels, and community meetings on Cuomo's challenge to our First Amendment rights. The plus side is that through our meetings and letters to the editor, most people in Woodstock will learn about Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, the non-violent response to Israel's illegal and immoral occupation of Palestinian lands.

Vassar College went through a similar battle last year. The student union passed a resolution supporting BDS on the Vassar College campus. Then came the phone calls to the president from wealth alums threatening to withhold donations. There were some strong Zionists on the Vassar Board of Directors as well, and the president of the college did what many college presidents do these days, she chose money over freedom of speech on campus. She threatened to defund any campus activity that tried to boycott Israeli products, producing a strong backlash among students. She also attacked some professors that came to speak on campus, insinuating that they were antiSemitic. Thankfully, the president resigned this year.

Cuomo's executive order is all about money as well. Rather than fulfilling his duties to the citizens of NY State, he has climbed aboard the Israeli gravy train. He is more than willing to sell out our First Amendment to make points with rich, Zionist donors. 

How is this not treason? At some point, US politicians will go to jail for betraying their country for money. We fervently hope that Governor Cuomo takes his rightful place in that chain gang. 

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