Statement by LSSA 2320 In Solidarity with the Palestinian People

We, the Legal Services Staff Association (LSSA) 2320,[1] a “wall-to-wall” union representing over 600 American legal workers, attorneys, and other non-management employees in New York City, stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, equality, and dignity. We vehemently condemn the Israeli government’s violent ethnic cleansing, illegal military occupation, and apartheid governance.

In just 11 days, Israel bombed Gaza and killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children; at least 70,000 people were made homeless or internally displaced. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces and armed settlers threaten Palestinians with expulsion from their homes. In Israeli cities, armed lynch mobs assaulted Palestinian citizens of Israel in their homes and on the streets. Despite a formal ceasefire, Israel continues its 14-year blockade of Gaza by land, sea, and air. Israeli forces continue to fire bullets and tear gas at worshippers at Al-Aqsa, one of the holiest sites for Muslims. Israeli security forces are mass arresting hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel to intimidate them into silence. These are just some of the most recent examples in 73 years of Palestinian dispossession, and they occur with unconditional U.S. support.

This is not a ‘conflict’ between two equal sides. Israel is a heavily militarized nuclear power that receives $3.8 billion in U.S. military aid each year. The U.S. also shields Israel from accountability at the United Nations. We are outraged that our government enables Israel’s human rights violations.

LSSA 2320’s support for Palestinian liberation is consistent with our values. We are committed to building a just world, and we reject all forms of racism. Our members serve poor and working-class people in one of the most unequal cities on the planet. Yet, our government chooses to invest in war and divest from the communities we serve. The austerity and poverty that our clients face is magnified by U.S. support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, instead of funding public services that we badly need.

Indeed, when we defend our clients in Housing Court, we are reminded of the families in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan who are also resisting violent displacement from their homes. We are reminded, too, of the rest of occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, where the IDF and armed settler militias steal Palestinian land by force and demolish their homes. When our neighbors are violently evicted from their homes, we remember the generations of Palestinians dispossessed and made refugees every day since the 1948 ethnic cleansing known as the Nakba. When we advocate for our clients’ food assistance, we remember that Israel starves Gaza. When the NYPD and ICE, agencies that actively train with and learn from the IDF, brutalize our clients, we see the connection with Palestinian children in Israeli prisons with no right to a trial. When we fight for low-wage workers, we reflect on Gaza’s estimated 50% unemployment rate, as well as a segregated Israeli labor market that exploits Palestinian workers. When landlords shut off our clients’ heat and hot water in the dead of winter, we remember that 97% of Gaza’s water supply is contaminated. When our clients have been hit hardest by the pandemic, we think of Israel’s merciless bombing of homes, schools, and medical facilities, including Gaza’s only COVID testing lab.

We honor the enormous risks that Palestinians are taking to defend their lives and land from settler colonialism. They are teaching the world a lesson in bravery through mass demonstrations, general strikes, and sharing their stories, despite violent threats and censorship. As concerned workers and union members, we find it is our duty to stand in solidarity with them.

To that end, LSSA 2320 calls for an end to all US military aid to Israel. A ceasefire is not enough; our government must end its support for Israel’s atrocities. We support Congressional efforts to hold Israel accountable, including Rep. Betty McCollum’s Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act (H.R. 2590), which seeks to prevent US aid to Israel that is used to incarcerate Palestinian children, seize or destroy Palestinian land, and forcibly transfer Palestinian civilians.

Our members work every day to protect and advance the rights of historically marginalized and oppressed communities. We do this work because we are deeply committed to the fight for racial justice, economic justice, and social justice. It is this commitment that drives us to speak out and to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We call on our employers, UAW and NOLSW leaders, our community partners and allies, our siblings in the labor movement, and all who share our ideals to join with us in standing with the Palestinian people.

[1] Founded in 1973, LSSA is a unit of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers (NOLSW), UAW Local 2320, Region 9A.