A Manhattan-based group supporting Palestinian rights in the bitterly contested West Bank of Israel is turning its sights on the New York Mets after the organization agreed to host a fund-raising dinner at its Caesar’s Club restaurant for a group that supports Israeli settlers in the same area.
“By allowing the Hebron Fund to fund-raise on its premises, the New York Mets will be directly aiding Hebron’s Jewish settlers, who are regularly described, both worldwide and among Israelis, as violent racists,” a letter from the group Adalah NY said. It called on the Mets to cancel the $300-a-head dinner.
The Mets refused the request.
“Citi Field hosts a wide range of events that reflect the diversity of our hometown and the differing views and opinions of New Yorkers,” the organization said in a statement. “The beliefs of organizations holding events at Citi Field do not necessarily reflect those of the New York Mets.”
Adalah was planning a protest in front of the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office in Manhattan Wednesday.
The Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund was founded in 1979 to raise capital for parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, after-school programs, libraries and summer youth activities for residents of Hebron, a city in the West Bank that currently includes 700 Jews and as many as 180,000 Palestinians.
The group’s Web site invites attendees to “celebrate our ancient bond to the land, reject racist limitations on Jewish growth in Israel, raise sorely needed funds for the heroic Jews of Hebron and declare: Let my people grow!”
Hebron has been the site of numerous acts of violence over the decades. Most recently it made national headlines in December 2008 when a group of Jewish settlers rioted after being evicted from an apartment building, triggering Palestinian protests and a police lockdown.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cn
©2009 Community News Group
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