Letters, Week of Sept. 18, 2014

Watershed moment

To The Editor:
Re “Riding wind of discontent, Zephyr runs strong” (news article, Sept. 11):

Teachout won 68 percent of the vote in the 66th Assembly District, which covers Greenwich Village, the West Village, Tribeca, Soho, Noho and over to the Hudson River, parts of Little Italy and the East Village. Many movements throughout New York City history started right here in this district.

A point worth noting: According to The New York Times, Zephyr Teachout “won nearly every county in the state’s eastern half north of Westchester… .” These Upstate counties are lower in population and didn’t carry the overall vote. But lower population makes sense when you see the large swaths of agricultural land for crops, dairy, livestock, vineyards and breweries. The Marcellus Shale (ripe for hydrofracking) runs under many counties and fracking was definitely an issue.

We truly hope that Cuomo and our legislators got the message as clear as the water supply we’re trying to preserve. Think of a future with “dirty water beer” from our Upstate breweries — the name sounds cool but the taste, well, we’ll leave that up to the voters to decide.
Jeanne Wilcke
Wilcke is president, Downtown Independent Democrats

‘Protest candidate’ doth protest

To The Editor:
Re “Riding wind of discontent, Zephyr runs strong” (news article, Sept. 11):

Wu has already endorsed Cuomo as will Teachout. Teachout was a progressive fake-out that the Times and NY1 promoted. Too bad these Rip Van Winkleish Democratic clubs went for the okey-dokey. Clubs mean nothing anymore.
Randy Credico

Realistic, not communistic

To The Editor:
Re “There’s only one way to save our small businesses” (talking point, by Sharon Woolums, Sept. 11):

The only reason the Small Business Jobs Survival Act is not law today is Christine Quinn blocked it as commanded by big real estate. Not one landlord testified against the legislation, which calls for simple arbitration if the two sides couldn’t agree on a fair lease renewal. Why? Because they have no honest legal argument.

Small businesses have been gouged for decades and the real estate industry has had an unchecked bonanza on the backs of mom-and-pops for the last 25 to 30 years!

Since when is arbitration unfair or “communistic” as Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, stated in the New York Post? That is a laugh. Almost every agreement today at any level of business has an arbitration clause in it, from multimillion-dollar contracts to your cell phone! Is the real estate industry afraid of just a little fairness, a few crumbs of rights to the neighborhood small business owner?

Every single city councilmember should be rushing to scream that they will pass this ASAP! We are losing jobs and local businesses every day, in all communities, in all five boroughs. The idea to give more money to the landlords — as proposed by Councilmember Robert Cornegy, of the Small Business Committee — sounds like the “Twilight Zone.” Whose side is he on? Not small business.

Oh, and finally, this is not rent control or rent regulation, it is mediation and arbitration. Is that communist? This is the single, most important legislation to impact jobs across New York City of all the initiatives in the last 25 years combined. Who has the courage to stand up and get this done already?

What are the new progressive councilmembers waiting for? If we had 32 to 33 members before, we should have all 51 now. Pass this jobs bill for New York City now. Do the right thing.
Steven Barrison

Mideast debate rages on

To The Editor:
Re “Standing up for Gaza but not with certain groups” (talking point, by Bill Weinberg, Aug. 28):

I recently learned that Bill Weinberg listed our organization first among allegedly impure groups with which Mr. Weinberg would not deign to stand, despite his proclaimed love for the Palestinian cause.

I wondered what evidence he had provided for our dastardly designation.

Was it because I traveled throughout Gaza and the West Bank as a freelance reporter in 2001, discovered the carnage, and began an organization called If Americans Knew to give people the facts?

Did he dislike our designer’s infographics about Gaza, reaching millions — our Web master’s creation, considered one of the top sites on Palestine?

Did he dislike my recent book on the history of the Israel lobby with its almost 8,000 sales?

No, none of this is mentioned. Mr. Weinberg’s “evidence” consisted of two items. The first was an extraordinarily creative (and erroneous) Sherlock Holmes-like deduction: “It is obvious from its name that this is basically a right-wing nationalist formation with (at least) an anti-Semitic streak.”

The second was an equally creative (and erroneous) description of an alleged If Americans Knew flier that contained, he wrote, “a big quote from Gilad Atzmon,” an Israeli author who apparently causes Mr. Weinberg such anguish that when he heard Atzmon praised, “[a] wave of existential loneliness swept over me.”

The problem is that there is no such If Americans Knew flier.

Poor Mr. Weinberg, in his agony over those not marching to his own, highly flawed tune, simply got things wrong.
Alison Weir
Weir is founder, If Americans Knew

Bill Weinberg responds: If any readers fail to see the anti-Semitic nature of the name “If Americans Knew,” it is beyond my power to enlighten them. As stated in my talking point, the inescapable connotation is that “Americans” (the authors of drone terror and the destruction of Fallujah) are pure and righteous, but are being hoodwinked into supporting atrocities by deceitful Jews.

The vigil outside St. Mark’s Church where I picked up the flier in question on July 28 was giving out two pieces of literature. One was the flier with the Gilad Atzmon quote. The other was the book (with the not-so-subtly anti-Semitic title and subtitle) “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel,” by none other than Alison Weir. So I think it is fair to say, at the very least, that they are partisans of If Americans Knew.

If Ms. Weir is so aghast at her supporters associating her with Gilad Atzmon, I suggest she have a little talk with the activists distributing her book for free on the streets of New York.

I also find her protestations highly ironic, as she has publicly and repeatedly come to the defense of Atzmon. Google “The unfortunate division over Gilad Atzmon” and “More on the Gilad Atzmon controversy and why it matters.”

Atzmon’s bona fides as a Jew-hater are well established by the material I quoted from his Web site, e.g. that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was “in direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership.” None are so blind as those who will not see. I directly link to some offending pages on Atzmon’s Web site in the version of The Villager talking point that I ran on my own site, World War 4 Report. Readers  with strong stomachs are directed there to see for themselves:  ww4report.com/node/13507

Readers are also referred to the online statement signed by numerous progressive writers and activists, including myself, “Anti-Imperialism and the Anti-Humanist Rhetoric of Gilad Atzmon,” urging the Palestine solidarity movement to disassociate itself from this problematic (to be very polite) individual.

Weir and her partisans are not helping the Palestinians by associating their just struggle with Jew-haters. Quite to the contrary.

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to [email protected] or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.

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