(The following was originally published in Liberation, the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s official newspaper.)
Editor’s note: The entire U.S. political establishment — including its “liberal” and “progressive” figures like Bill De Blasio — has given unwavering support to the Israeli massacre in Gaza. This is in sharp contrast with millions of people across the United States who are standing with the Palestinian people, and increasingly standing up to Israel’s apologists.
In confronting De Blasio, Palestine solidarity activist Nida Ahmed gave voice to this growing movement. The following report by Ahmed was originally posted on Facebook and is republished here with her consent.
So while waiting on the platform this morning, I see NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio about to enter a subway car with his five person security detail in one of his ride-the-subway-with-the-regular-people PR moves he likes to pull so often. I entered his car and asked if I could speak to him between requests from other riders for photos, to which he agreeably responded yes, although his expression withered as I started to speak.
I took him to task on his stance on supporting Israel. That I was truly baffled and saddened that he condoned war crimes, human rights violations and how he has done nothing to put an end to the massacre of innocent civilians and the devastation of entire towns.
I told him it was extremely unfair and biased of him to hold a press conference at City Hall falsely declaring that “NYC Stands with Israel,” because he represents the most diverse city in the world with more than 8 million constituents and he has not once bothered to even address those opposed to the terrorist Israeli regime despite daily protests.
He, of course, mentioned something about rockets and I told him that this does not absolve Israel from conducting itself in a humane manner nor does it justify their violations of international law. I also told him that we desperately need our taxpaying dollars here rather than contributing to a racist regime and a military without moral conscience.
He then said that while he understands my concern, this is his personal view and we can agree to disagree. I told him that he is alienating a huge population and that this certainly affects his future as a politician, to which he responded, “If it means I lose votes, so be it.” Yes indeed, so be it.
His detail did try to interrupt me by saying that if I provided a card with my contact information they would be happy to be in contact with me.
“In contact with me for what?”
“With information regarding the Mayor’s views.”
“I know the Mayor’s views, that’s why I’m trying to discuss them with him right now.Please don’t try to shut me up, everyone is always trying to shut up any voice of dissent. It is my right as a citizen of New York to be able to address my elected officials.”
I did thank him for hearing me out, and special thanks to the NYC subway system for holding the Mayor hostage long enough to be able to express myself so thoroughly.
I hope that incidents such as this one cause him to at least think twice about making these little public relations trips around town, knowing that the people will not be suppressed and will call him out on his ridiculous views and policies right to his face, in public. And if nothing else, at least I got it off my chest.
#FreePalestine #FreeGaza #WhatcanIsayImaNewYorker #GuessWhoImNotVotingFor #BDS — at Grand Central Station. 42 St.