Controversy is growing over a November 21st fundraiser at the New York Mets’ new stadium Citi Field for the Brooklyn-based Israeli settlement group the Hebron Fund. Settlement supporters have called for letters praising the Mets for standing with the Hebron Fund, while justice and human rights groups issued an alert demanding cancellation of the dinner.
This video from Adalah-NY, opposing the dinner, shows why the protests are growing so feverish.
The Mets have responded by saying that “Citi Field hosts a wide range of events that reflect the diversity of our hometown and the differing views and opinions of New Yorkers,” and noting that “the beliefs of organizations holding events at Citi Field do not necessarily reflect those of the New York Mets.”
Abed Ayoub from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) countered: “Tolerance for diverse beliefs should not include facilitating events for groups that break laws, and support racism and violence. Surely the Mets would not do business with white supremacists or anti-immigrant vigilantes. The Mets should follow those same standards in dealing with the Hebron Fund, and cancel this event.”
Meanwhile, Shlomo Mostofsky, president of the Orthodox synagogue network National Council of Young Israel, hailed what he saw as the Mets’ “refusal to be intimidated by abhorrent acts of coercion by the groups calling for the cancellation of the Hebron Fund event is extremely noteworthy.”
The situation in Hebron is pretty desperate, as a recent Washington Post article made clear. Seven hundred Israeli settlers, living amidst 150,000 Palestinians are expanding their hold on the historic old city by driving out the Palestinian residents with the complicity of the Israeli army. It’s so bad, in fact, that Israeli vets who’d served in Hebron and were disgusted by what they’d seen and done there started the group Breaking the Silence.
In a November 3rd letter to the Mets, eleven organizations underscored this reality and pointed out that the Hebron Fund violated international law and the Obama administration’s call for a freeze in settlement construction while supporting racist and violent Israeli settlers. (The Hebron Fund webpage asks donors to give money to help “keep Hebron Jewish for the Jewish people.”)
Moreover, as the MondoWeiss blog recently noted, the “Hebron Fund has been the subject of complaints to the I.R.S. regarding its tax-exempt status. The complaints request investigations of allegations that it raises funds for the development of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.”
You can join the call against the settlements by sending a letter to the Mets imploring the organization to cancel the dinner.
PS: If you have extra time on your hands and want to follow me on Twitter — a micro-blog — click here. You’ll find (slightly) more personal posts, breaking news, basketball and lots of links.