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By Jacob Kornbluh
November 28, 2022

A dozen members of the New York City Council departed Monday on a five-day educational trip to Israel. But unlike previous trips sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the delegation is not led by the chamber’s speaker. That office, the second-most powerful government position in America’s largest city, is now held by Councilwoman Adrienne Adams.


A Forward survey last year, in partnership with New York Jewish Agenda, showed that a majority of candidates pledged to continue the tradition of traveling to Israel and the occupied West Bank if elected and oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Sophie Ellman-Golan, a spokesperson for Jews For Racial & Economic Justice, a progressive advocacy group that formed an electoral arm, The Jewish Vote, in 2018 to support local candidates for office, said it advised members to refrain from going on this trip.

The office of Speaker Adams did not reply to an inquiry about whether she did not participate in the trip because she was concerned about backlash from some progressive members of the council. But a council spokesperson said Adams determined it was “prudent” to remain in New York to focus on budget issues amid “multiple crises” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The official added that the mayor issued an updated financial plan earlier this month to balance the 2023 budget passed in June, and that the speaker wanted to stay in New York to ensure city government maintained adequate services for all communities across the city, “including our more than one million Jewish New Yorkers.”


Ellman-Golan said that JFREJ told members to decline to participate in the trip, not only to deal with budget issues, but also because “the emerging governing coalition in Israel includes the most overtly violent, racist, and extremist factions history of the State of Israel — and the trip fails to be in any way evenhanded and show the reality of state and settler violence against Palestinians.”

Read the full article from The Forward