New York police arrest a rabbi and five other activists who blocked traffic in a protest against the Palestinian Authority bid for unilateral United Nations recognition at the United Nations annual General Assembly.
They were arrested during a rally co-sponsored by Americans For a Safe Israel (AFSI) and Amcha that drew more than 35 people, many of whom also stood in street with them. Police took into custody Rabbi Avi Weiss, director of Amcha-Coalition for Jewish Concerns, In addition to Rabbi Weiss, who is also senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, and Helen Freedman of AFSI, Cheryl Jacobs Lewin, chairwoman of AFSI's Chicago chapter, Miriam Prince; Sarah Rosenbaum; and Glenn Richter.
Holding aloft large Israeli and American flags and signs declaring "Shame On the UN For Demonizing and Delegitimizing Israel!" and "We Support Israel", the rally participants chanted "Am Yisrael Chai" (the Jewish people live), as police began to handcuff and lead the six demonstrators to a nearby paddy wagon. They were brought to the 17th precinct in Midtown Manhattan were they were booked on charges of disorderly conduct.
Pointing to the UN building looming in the background, Rabbi Weiss told the demonstrators, who gathered in the heavy rain, “Today we are sitting in the street to tell this den of evil that they will be responsible for the violence that will, G-d forbid, take place in Israel as a result of this move to legitimize a state that clearly does not want peace. If the New York City police really "got it", they wouldn't be arresting us who represent the Jewish voice of consciousness and those who speak truth to power, but they'd be arresting Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is guilty of murdering countless numbers of his own people and who threatens genocide against the Jewish state."
Glenn Richter, a former leader of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry organization and a leading spokesman for Jewish causes, declared, "There can be no business as usual at the United Nations while it continues to demonize and delegitimize Israel, endorse a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood, and welcome the evil Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
Also attending the rally was Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive director of New York Board of Rabbis, who said, "Given the choice between being part of an immoral majority or moral minority, I'd rather be part of the minority than the majority which meets in the UN and makes Israel too often the guilty party. There's a Yiddish saying which translates, 'fear G-d, not people'. We're here because of what people may sometimes do to us, and that's why we have to be so vocal."
Saying that she was mortified by the abject silence of the Jewish establishment organizations in lieu of the impending UN vote to create a Palestinian state predicated on a terrorist doctrine, Freedman said before being arrested, "Incomprehensibly, the major Jewish organizations have chosen to stay away from the battle. Is it spinelessness or mindlessness?"
Turning her attention to the existential threat that a Palestinian state would present for Israel, she added that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas unilateral efforts to have a PA state declared at the UN are “reprehensible and incredibly dangerous for Israel.“
“Iran's Ahmadinejad should not be permitted into this country, not in New York City and certainly not in our streets, restaurants, and universities, while he is threatening the western world with nuclear war,” she added. “The Durban III denunciations of Israel should not be tolerated. The entire purpose of the United Nations has been turned upside down."