ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

January 2, 2009

2009.01.02: LAS Union Members Statement on Gaza and Gaza Protest Tomorrow in Times Square

From: Arafa, Noha
Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 12:21 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: LAS Union Members Statement on Gaza and Gaza Protest Tomorrow in Times Square

Union Free Speech Notice
Like thousands of other messages to the ALAA, 1199 and LAS e-lists, concerning the presidential elections and other political issues, this message is protected speech*

–To add your name to the statement below, please reply to this message by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 6.
–Please join our contingent to protest this Saturday, January 3, 1 p.m., at Times Square (see attached).

Stop Israel’s Massacre in Gaza and End the Siege Now
By Union Members at the Legal Aid Society in New York City*
December 31, 2008

“For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”
–Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam (April 4, 1967)

The undersigned members of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 and 1199SEIU join millions around the world — many of whom are Jewish — to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, Israel’s ongoing massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza.

As South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu points out, Israel’s massacres “bears all the hallmarks of war crimes.”

No less than in Iraq and Afghanistan, occupation and aggressive war are immoral and illegal.

Under international law, nearly all the victims — many of whom are children — are civilians. The dead represent a greater portion of Gaza’s population than the percentage of New Yorkers who died on 9/11.

Like the U.S. invasion of Iraq to find “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Israel’s massacres are being carried out on false pretext of “self-defense.”

In reality, primitive Palestinian rockets have been sporadic, relatively ineffectual, and a desperate response to Israel’s illegal occupation, blockade and military assaults that have killed hundreds of Palestinians prior to the current attacks.

In sharp contrast, Israel’s massacres are carried out with F-16s, Apache helicopters and other advanced U.S. weapons — part of $30 billion in military funding for Israel that will be paid for by our tax dollars over the next ten years.

These brutal attacks are part of an ongoing U.S.-Israeli campaign to collectively punish Palestinians for democratically electing Hamas, a way for politicians to prove their “prowess” in the upcoming Israeli elections, and a reflection of Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing policies.

We cannot turn a blind eye.

We call on the U.S. government and President-elect Barack Obama to end all military, political and financial support for Israel.

We call on the leadership of our parent unions, the UAW and SEIU, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, to end their own extensive financial and political complicity with Israel.

We affirm that justice demands an immediate end to the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and equal rights for all throughout historic Palestine.

We ask all who agree with this statement to participate in upcoming protests.

*Signers (list in formation; affiliations listed for identification only)
Noha Arafa (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Julie Fry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Michael Letwin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Azalia Torres (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Bahar Mirhosseini (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Mimi Rosenberg (Civil-Brooklyn Neighborhood Office)
Patrick Langhenry (Civil-Brooklyn Neighborhood Office)
Antonia Codling (Criminal Defense-Bronx)
Lucy Herschel (Criminal Defense-Queens)
Steve Terry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Rebecca Kurti (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Kate Fitzer (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Andrea Ibrahim (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
Roslyn Morrison (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)

*Collective Bargaining Agreement, §§ 3.5 (“The expression of personal religious, political, social or economic beliefs of each and every attorney is fully guaranteed and will never constitute grounds for discharge or relief from an individual assignment unless, in either instance, it can be demonstrated that such expression has, or will, directly interfere(d) with, and detract from, representation of a Society client so as to render said representation less than at the highest level of competence and effectiveness.”) and 1.5 (“The Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.”).

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