The Simon Wiesenthal Center strongly condemns the anti-Semitic outburst by 40 pro-Palestinian activists that erupted in the New York City Council Chambers yesterday just as the City Council began discussing and voting on a resolution to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The outburst, which was exactly timed to coincide with the Council’s discussion of the Holocaust, was offensive not only to the memory of the Jews who perished during the Holocaust, but also the memory of the 5 million non-Jews who were murdered.
“Make no mistake. This outburst was not just an anti-Israel outburst. This was in no uncertain terms a strong show of anti-Semitism,” said Rabbi Steven Burg, Simon Wiesenthal Center Eastern Director. “On Wednesday my colleague, Dina Muskin Goldberg, testified in front of the Cultural Affairs committee. During her remarks she said ‘The horrors that happened 70 years ago may feel like they are other worldly. But history has shown that the world has a very short term memory and anti-Semitism and the persecution of innocent people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds is now at an all-time high across the globe.’ Yesterday’s outburst reinforces her very point.
“I want to applaud the City Council for how each one of them responded to the situation. In particular, I want to commend Councilmember David Greenfield for his leadership on this matter. His words were particularly meaningful and powerful: ‘Shame on them for hating Jews. But I’m pleased, because we can stop pretending that this is about Israel. What we saw here was blatant anti-Semitism, good old fashioned anti-Semitism. They were angry, you know why? because Hitler did not finish the job.’
“The Councilmembers brought honor to the memory of those who perished and are standing on the right side of history by supporting the State of Israel and denouncing anti-Semitism. They showed that they are not blinded by anti-Israel rhetoric, but rather they see it for what it really is,” Burg continued. “However, the lack of media attention to this incident is shocking and disturbing. The silence coming from the press sends a strong message.”
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)