Wednesday, December 5, 2018



Rally for Peace held in Kingston

Candles for peace

KINGSTON – Members of Hudson Valley Jewish Voice for Peace held their third annual Hanukkah Vigil outside Kingston City Hall, Tuesday evening, to make a statement against religious and racial intolerance, promoting the message, “Rise above racism. We all belong here.”

Hudson Valley Jewish Voice for Peace members were joined with other civil rights organizations – Nobody Leaves Mid Hudson, Citizen Action of New York, Rise Up Kingston and Middle East Crisis Response, to promote the message of tolerance and unification within the community.

Robert Gelbach of Hudson Valley Jewish Voice for Peace said the recent mid-term election stirred up noticeable division among various communities and they were intent on letting the Kingston community know that all are welcome.

“We felt after the election campaign that there had been so much focus on race and racist innuendo in the elections, that it really was time for us to broaden the concern beyond what we had started with, to say it’s time for all of us to start getting together and speaking out against the resurgence of racial attitudes, and racial expressions, in our politics,” said Gelbach.

Fredrick Nagel, a representative for Veterans for Peace and Middle East Crisis Response, said he sees the U.S. operating globally as an autonomous empire and it trickles down to a narrative negating tolerance among different individuals.

“As a veteran, and as a Palestinian rights organizer, I see human rights being the most important thing that we Americans could end up supporting,” said Nagel. “The empire has to start to take a look at what it does abroad – the occupations that we support and send our troops for.”

Overall, the vigil’s message was aimed at creating cohesiveness among the diverse community of individuals that make up the county, state and country.

Although this vigil was held directly before a city common council meeting regarding the issuance of community IDs to all, but focusing on the undocumented residential community, Gelbach maintains that it was just a “happy accident” rather than a politically motivated endeavor.


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