June 21, 2024
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June 21, 2024
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Met Council Breakfast Features New York Leadership

Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng: “I don’t have to tell anyone in this room we are facing a dramatic spike in antisemitic hate crimes. These hateful acts are unacceptable. We stand with you. You may feel alone and neglected and abandoned these days. We are not going anywhere; we are with you.”

On June 2, the Met Council on Jewish Poverty held its Annual Legislative Breakfast ahead of the annual Israel Day on Fifth event.

Met Council CEO David Greenfield welcomed the crowd. “It’s been a very rough eight months for us in the Jewish community. It’s really encouraging to see so many of our friends here today. We appreciate your friendship and we will remember it.”

Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi represents the Neutra family whose son Omer is a hostage in Gaza. After the breakfast, Suozzi held a press conference to bring attention to the American hostages.

He continued, “We’re proud to be the largest provider of 100%-affordable senior housing in NYC. Last year, we served over 325,000 people in need, more than any other Jewish charity in America. When people think of Jewish values, they think of tikun olam, which means saving the world. Before you save the world, you have to save your neighbor, your block, your community. Then you’re free to save the world.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul reflected on Met Council’s charitable work, “lifting up God’s people, giving them hope, taking care of victims of domestic violence, feeding and housing the poor and helping those that had endured the atrocities of the Holocaust, tens of thousands who call themselves New Yorkers.

Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson: “I stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in the Bronx and beyond. I am here with all of you to demand the release and return of all our hostages, our family members, our loved ones and friends.”

“As the home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, when the people of Israel are hurting, the people in New York are hurting. We are here today to stand with the hostages, their families and make sure they are reunited,” Hochul said.

Hochul questioned what can we do and offered the following suggestions: changing the state’s laws increasing the list of hate crimes, adding “more money to schools, to make sure they’re actually teaching Holocaust education because I am not seeing a lot of evidence that people know what happened then and should never happen again, supporting law enforcement who are out there protecting us every single day and making investments protecting the security of yeshivas and synagogues. We want everyone to feel free: worshiping, walking down the street and not being afraid.”

Twenty seven year old Nova Festival survivor Michal was shot in the legs and stomach. She lost 10 of her friends, and two are being held hostage in Gaza.

NYS Attorney General Leticia James said, “It’s more important than ever that we are here to support the Jewish community. We all feel the incredible toll of the past few months and the utter devastation and trauma. It’s critically important that the hostages be released and that the people in the State of Israel be safe.”

New York Senator Charles Schumer stated, “Let’s not forget that the war could end tomorrow, the hostages would be free if the evil terrorist organization Hamas lays down their arms. Hamas bears total responsibility for the carnage in Gaza. They hide behind their fellow Palestinians by turning hospitals into command centers, refugee camps into mission launching sites. The leaders of Hamas do not care one iota about the Palestinians and rather use them as human shields. Until Hamas is defeated, we cannot have peace.”

Eric Goldstein, CEO, UJA: “We learned since October 7 who our friends are, and are very disappointed in who they are not. We’re very, very grateful to all of you who are here, who showed such support for the Jewish community.”

Schumer stressed that we must hold four goals paramount. First, “the threat of Hamas must be radically reduced. Hamas cannot have any role in future Gaza if we’re to have peace. As long as Hamas exists, there will never be a two-state solution.” Second, “we have to bring the hostages back home!” Schumer’s third goal is to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. “Of course, Israel has a fundamental right to defend itself. What the ICC and other international organizations have done to Israel is despicable.” Shumer’s fourth goal is to supply humanitarian aid to the civilians in Gaza “who are being used by Hamas as mere pawns.”

Schumer concluded his remarks expressing that he was proud of the national security supplemental, giving military and humanitarian aid without conditions. “The most important thing you can do for Israel is get them the aid they need to defend themselves.”

Met Council CEO David Greenfield

Fifteen families representing 10 hostages participated.

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