Saturday, September 24, 2016

Woodstock Town Board Adopts Resolution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2016

Contact:
Helaine Meisler
helainemeisler@yahoo.com 845-679-5301 (H); 914-466-0100 (C)


Woodstock Town Board Adopts Resolution Questioning the Constitutionality of New York Governor’s
Executive Order on BDS

Board Votes to Support Free Speech & the Right to Boycott

Yesterday evening, the Woodstock Town Board voted unanimously (4-0) to adopt a first-of- its-kind resolution in New York State that questions the Constitutionality of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 157 (EO 157).
Widely criticized by human rights organizations, civil rights attorneys, and community groups, EO 157 mandates New York State to create a blacklist of institutions abiding by boycott or divestment campaigns related to Israeli human rights abuses, and further requires State agencies to divest themselves from such entities.

The newly passed Town Board resolution requires Governor Cuomo to submit the “legal basis or judicial opinion upon which he finds his action to be constitutional” by December 5, 2016. Further stating that “in the absence of a timely, cogent, and acceptable legal and judicial opinion in support of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 157," the Town Board will "stand in opposition to Executive Order 157 and request that it be rescinded” in addition to encouraging any entity impacted by it to contest in a court of law.

"Boycotts against injustices are deeply rooted in U.S. history and are a form of collective protest that enjoy full protection under the First Amendment. Penalizing advocates of any such boycott – whether of Israel, North Carolina, grapes, or lettuce – is a flat-out violation of the Constitution,” said Alan Levine, a prominent First Amendment attorney who worked closely on drafting the resolution. ”By passing this resolution, Woodstock Town Board has set an admirable example to other communities, and a clear message to the Governor that we not stay silent when we are being denied our rights.”

“The Woodstock Town Board has taken a commendable stance on free speech and boycott rights with this resolution,” said Alan Sussman, a Woodstock resident and First Amendment rights attorney. “As Americans we have an obligation, in part stemming from our fierce tradition of freedom, and in greater part by our love of democracy and fairness, to object to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order.”

Woodstock Free Speech is a group of concerned citizens in the Town of Woodstock, NY who are working to educate others about their inalienable right to self-determination and all of the freedoms, liberties, rights and responsibilities that are espoused in the Bill of Rights and successive amendments to the Constitution.
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Woodstock Reformed Church hosts young Palestinian



Salam Qumsiyeh at the Woodstock Reformed Church

-Thu, Sep 8 at the Woodstock Town Library. Salam Qumsiyeh will come to the first part of theMiddle East Crisis meeting to get to know local activists working for human rights in Palestine. Meeting starts at 7 pm and is open to the public.

-Sun, Sep 11 starting at 11:30 am after Woodstock Reformed Church services: A Conversation Salam Qumsiyeh, a young Christian Palestinian living in the West Bank. Salam Qumsiyeh is being hosted by the Woodstock Reformed Church, 16 Tinker Street. Potluck; bring a dish to pass. Open to the public. Contact: Jane.toby7@gmail.com or 518 291-6808

-Wed, Sep 14 from 7 to 9 pm. "My Life as a Christian Palestinian in the West Bank," a talk by Salam Qumsiyeh, will be presented at the Woodstock Reformed Church, 16 Tinker Street. Middle East Crisis Response www.mideastcrisis.org is cosponsoring the event, which will include refreshments and is open to the public. Contact: Jane.toby7@gmail.com or 518 291-6808

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

“Je ne suis pas Charlie”

We had over 45 people at this film, with a very good discussion afterwards.
We had recorded a special Skype interview with Max Blumenthal talking
about the Woodstock Free Speech Campaign and played that before his film.



-Friday, August 5, 7-9 PM in Woodstock. Film screening of “Je ne suis pas Charlie” by Max Blumenthal and James Kleinfeld at the Woodstock Town Hall, 76 Tinker St. The two filmmakers explore the post-Hebdo climate in France to find out what happens when the state tries to regulate what political expressions are acceptable in a free society. The film is part of www.WoodstockFreeSpeech.org, the campaign to roll back Governor Cuomo’s executive order forbidding the boycott of Israel. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response www.mideastcrisis.org, Hudson Valley Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions www.hudsonvalleybds.org and Catskill Mt. Veterans for Peace. Contact: Jane.toby7@gmail.com or 518 291-6808

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Panel Discussion on Governor Cuomo’s executive order

We had about 30 people in the Woodstock Town Hall for this event. Wonderful speakers
and plenty of questions at the end. It seems like some people had even changed their minds.
The panel was filmed and put on Woodstock Public Television, and will be
played this coming Thursday on Activist Radio http://www.classwars.org.


-Friday, July 22, 7-9 PM in Woodstock. Panel Discussion on Governor Cuomo’s executive order attacking citizens’ right to boycott Israel. Alan Levine, Constitutional lawyer and Donna Nevel, National Board member for Jewish Voice for Peace, will discuss both the First Amendment and moral arguments against Cuomo’s order that would create a blacklist of organizations and groups working for peace and justice in the Middle East. The panel, part of the www.WoodstockFreeSpeech.org campaign, will take place at the Woodstock Town Hall, 76 Tinker St. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response www.mideastcrisis.org, Hudson Valley Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions www.hudsonvalleybds.org and Catskill Mt. Veterans for Peace. Contact: nicabramson@riseup.net or (845) 679-5301

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Salt of the Sea


-Friday, July 1, from 7 - 9 in Kingston. Film screening of “Salt of This Sea" at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, 320 Sawkill Road (access to UU is from Rt. 209/Sawkill Road). The film is a stirring drama about the experiences of a young woman from the States in her efforts to reclaim her family roots in Palestine. Official Selection of the Cannes International Film Festival. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response www.mideastcrisis.org and Hudson Valley Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions www.hudsonvalleybds.org. Contact: Jane.toby7@gmail.com or 518 291-6808

We had a nice turnout, over 30 people and a good many new faces. There was a lively discussion at the end about the role of art in opposing apartheid Israel. We also talked about the upcoming Woodstock Free Speech initiative:

http://woodstockfreespeech.org

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States


-Friday, June 3, from 7 - 9 in Kingston. Film screening of "The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States." at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, 320 Sawkill Road (access to UU is from Rt. 209/Sawkill Road). Crucial to Israeli illegal occupation of Palestine is its acceptance in the U.S. news media. This film offers a sophisticated analysis of Zionist strategy to keep both policymakers and the public in the United States on their side. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response www.mideastcrisis.org and Hudson Valley Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions www.hudsonvalleybds.org. Contact: Jane.toby7@gmail.com or 518 291-6808

We had 35 people at this event, and the discussion was intense. No pro Zionists comments at all.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Two events for the beginning of May


Both of these events went very well. We had a small crowd for Yasmin Yablonko and
Khaled Farrag at a private residence in Woodstock. The movie, "Valentino's Ghost"
showed at the UU in Kingston and we had about 30 people who attended.