NEW YORK – New York City Councilman David Greenfield (Brooklyn – D) scolded the leader of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta for siding with pro-Palestinian activists at a Council committee hearing on an anti-BDS resolution on Thursday.
As seen in the video below, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss staged a sit-in on the floor of the Council’s chambers in protest of a resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the state of Israel after delivering a testimony along with pro-Palestinian groups.
“Let me ask you a question,” Greenfield asked Weiss. “Did the State of Israel exist when Hitler killed six million Jews? The answer is no!”
“Who do you speak for, Mr. Weiss?” Greenfield continued as the Neturei Karta leader shouted him over nonstop. “You don’t represent Satmar. Don’t lie. You don’t even live in New York City. Who do you represent? Who do you represent? You represent two dozen of mentally unstable individuals. That’s all. And you are the leader of this mentally unstable cult… Do not pretend to represent our community. Who elected you? Who appointed you? Who made you a rabbi? You represent no one but yourself.”
In his testimony, Weiss noted that the Hasidic community in Williamsburg, consisting mostly of members of the Satmar sect, have boycotted Israeli products and refused to recognize the existence of a Jewish state in the land of Israel – in principle – for decades long.
The resolution, sponsored by Council Member Andrew Cohen and co-sponsored by 33 of the 51 members, condemns “all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel.”
The hearing was marked by protests and frequent interruptions from pro-Palestinian activists, members of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Jewish supporters of the BDS movement. Security officers were forced to eject protesters one by one, as they chanted “Zionists are terrorists,” “F***k Israel,” “F***k Zionism” and “Free Palestine.”
“I was shocked by the depth of anti-Israel sentiment and naked anti-Semitism on display today,” Greenfield said after the hearing. “Shocked, but sadly unsurprised. Any time you hold the BDS movement and its supporters up to any kind of scrutiny, you find either that they are simply ignorant, or that their motivations are rooted in bigotry and hatred. We saw both kinds of BDS supporters at today’s hearing.”
Councilman Mark Levine, Chair of the Jewish Caucus, told Jewish Insider, “The unrelenting effort by BDS activists in today’s hearing to silence those with whom they disagree was a shameful reminder of the broader game plan of the BDS movement. I am proud of my colleagues for standing up in the face of such vitriol to support this important resolution.”