April 17, 2024
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True Peace and Unity Requires Action, Not Just Words

At a special meeting of the Teaneck Town Council on Oct. 30, Councilwoman Belcher and Deputy Mayor Gee presented the Peace and Unity Resolution, which resolved among other things that the council has “zero tolerance for … hate crimes and discrimination of any kind against any race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, or persons; and will work towards bringing the entire Teaneck community together to listen to and support each other regardless of religious affiliation or demographic background.” This resolution appeared at face value to be in response to the resolution passed on Oct. 17 “Denouncing the Terrorist Group Hamas and Supporting the State of Israel.”

On Nov. 28, a rally was held against a planned student walkout at Teaneck High School (THS) for Palestine. The walkout called for a march against genocide allegedly perpetrated by Israel and initially supported by Superintendent Spencer and the Board of Education. The rally called for THS Superintendent Spencer and the Board to not allow the walkout to be held during school hours and on school property due to the antisemitic rhetoric surrounding the event on social media.

During the student walkout on Nov. 29, chants of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and rhetoric such as “Palestine will be free by any means necessary” could be heard. Calling for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people which as expected put fear into many Jewish residents and students from THS. Many of these students did not attend school because of concerns for their own safety.

Councilwoman Belcher and Deputy Mayor Gee: you were noticeably not in attendance at a rally calling out antisemitism taking place in our town, which was attended by Mayor Pagan and Council members Schwartz, Orgen and Goldberg. You were noticeably in attendance at the rally/walkout calling for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people, which was also attended by Council members Schwartz, Orgen and Goldberg. Since you joined the council, our town full of diversity has seen only more divisiveness as you both seemingly “pick sides.” As constituents of Teaneck we all deserve to hear directly from you how you are working toward uniting Teaneck and supporting the entire demographic versus just writing words in a resolution. To quote your own speech from the Council meeting on Oct. 30. “let us not ignore our neighbor’s pain.” Over a month later we are crying out and waiting to be heard.

Golan Elias
Teaneck

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