Controversial Real Estate Sale: West Bank Land Illegally Sold Exclusively to Jewish Buyers in Westchester, Sparks Outrage

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A groundswell of dissent is brewing in Westchester County as a coalition of ethnic and religious organizations has taken on a disturbing trend: the sale of Palestinian land exclusively to Jewish buyers by Keller Williams Realty. Westchester community groups are making it clear that this is a gross violation of human rights and a blight on the principles of equality and justice.

Imagine living in a house passed down through generations, only to have someone arrive one day and claim that it belongs to them, forcing you to leave. Imagine that same house being advertised to buyers in America, effectively putting your family’s cherished home up for sale to strangers.

This scenario is not hypothetical; it’s the harsh reality facing many Palestinians. Right here in Westchester, a real estate agency is facilitating the sale of land from the West Bank exclusively to Jewish residents, further exacerbating the pain and injustice experienced by Palestinian families who have called these lands home for generations.

At the heart of the matter lies a seething contradiction: while governmental bodies vocally assert their opposition to racism and discrimination, they have seemingly turned a blind eye to the flagrant discriminatory practices occurring right under their noses. This hypocrisy has spurred outrage among residents, prompting questions about why such blatant discrimination can persist without repercussions from government agencies.

The sale includes properties in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law. The demonstrators argue selling land in these settlements to only Jewish purchasers further entrenches the settlements and the Israeli occupation.

This isn’t the first time we’ve shed light on Palestinian land appropriation issues. In a previous report, we highlighted advertisements from Harey Zahav that have sparked outrage and raised concerns. The firm’s promotional materials unabashedly endorse the idea of settling in Gaza, despite its tumultuous history and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One advertisement boldly proclaims, “A house on the beach is not a dream! We have begun clearing rubble and fending off squatters.” Another ad takes it a step further, referring to Gaza as the “Land of Israel” and urging individuals to “Fight. Liberate. Settle.” It even provides a hotline for individuals to express interest in securing a place in the proposed settlement.

Keller Williams and Home in Israel have recently held similar events in other cities. The interfaith coalition stressed their protest is not against Judaism but against real estate practices they view as illegal and discriminatory.

Ironically, The Leffell School, a non-profit organization that recently accused Yonkers students of making antisemitic remarks against their women’s team, is now involved in assisting the sale of illegal land in the West Bank. This raises questions about whether the school is breaking the law and if this warrants an investigation by the New York State Attorney General.

According to reports about the incident with the Yonkers students, a student allegedly said, “I support Hamas, you f–king Jew,” and Yonkers kids were yelling “Free Palestine” and other anti-Jewish statements throughout a game against The Leffell School’s team.

Despite an investigation conducted by the NAACP revealing no evidence of the alleged remarks, and confirmation from referees who worked the game stating they did not recall any antisemitic language being used, a Black coach from the Yonkers team was still terminated as a result of the accusation.

Now, this same school, The Leffell School, which made the initial accusations against the Yonkers team, is assisting in the sale of land in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which is considered illegal under international law. As a non-profit organization, The Leffell School’s involvement in such activities may be a violation of its legal status and could potentially lead to an investigation by the New York State Attorney General.

This situation highlights the school’s inconsistent stance on issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the consequences faced by the Yonkers team and coach. It also raises concerns about the potential misuse of the school’s non-profit status and the need for further investigation into their activities.

“This sale is complicit in the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land,” said Harry Soloway, a local Jewish Voice for Peace leader. “Land theft and ethnic cleansing are not, and will never be, Jewish values.”

It is hypocritical for Westchester and New York to proclaim themselves as bastions of inclusivity while allowing such blatantly racist and discriminatory acts to occur unchecked,” remarked a spokesperson for the coalition. The sale of Palestinian land exclusively to Jewish individuals is not only morally reprehensible but also a direct affront to the principles of equality and justice upon which our society supposedly stands.

In the midst of significant financial contributions from influential organizations like AIPAC to politicians, the question arises: who is being compensated to ignore the oppression faced by the Palestinian people? The sale of Palestinian land in a county once heralded for its progressivism serves as a stark reminder that oppression has become a lucrative enterprise in today’s world.

Organizers of the protest wanted to shine a glaring spotlight on the complicity of both private entities and governmental bodies in perpetuating systemic discrimination. By targeting Keller Williams Realty and Home in Israel, organizers hope to hold these companies accountable for their involvement in the sale of property in West Bank settlements, deemed illegal under international law.

Two counter-protest members infiltrated the crowd demonstrating against the illegal sale of West Bank land and began conducting their “prayer.” Individuals who opposed the sale viewed this as a disruption to the protest against what they deemed to be unlawful actions. The counter-protesters proceeded to wear their “Tefillin” until police directed them to a grass field behind the protest area. Perceiving this as a provocative act, the protesters requested that the police remove them from their side. However, the police stated that since the individuals were on the grass, which belonged to the school, and had permission from the owner, they were unable to take any action against them.

The sale of property in the occupied West Bank, promoted at multiple synagogues across North America, is stirring controversy due to its illegal nature according to international law. Additionally, its discriminatory practices, which exclude non-Jews, are in direct contradiction with domestic laws. As such, the coalition demands thorough investigations by the District Attorney, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and the Federal Government into potential violations of housing and civil rights laws. They argue that failure to address these issues would represent a serious neglect of duty by government agencies.

The organizer also demanded a “Request for Comment” from government officials, urging them to publicly address the glaring inconsistencies between their professed values and their inaction in the face of discrimination. They emphasize the urgent need for accountability and transparency, asserting that failure to act would only perpetuate injustice and erode trust in governmental institutions.

We emailed the Greenburgh Town Supervisor, Paul Feiner, to get his response to the controversy. We asked for his views on the real estate event being held in the town and whether he has concerns about the allegations that it violates anti-discrimination laws.

More broadly, we ask Feiner whether he believes the town should allow events that sell properties in the occupied West Bank or whether he thinks they should be prohibited going forward. Unfortunately, as of this article’s publication, Paul Feiner has yet to respond to our email, which is highly unusual for him. Despite this, he has not provided any comment on the matter.

The demonstration comes amidst escalating violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Organizers referenced the recent fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, which they characterized as a “genocide against Palestinians.”

In solidarity with global movements advocating for Palestinian rights, the protest represents a pivotal moment in the ongoing struggle for equality and justice. As voices unite in condemnation of discrimination and oppression, the message is clear: the time for complacency is over, and the fight for a more equitable society begins now.

DAMON K JONES
DAMON K JONEShttps://damonkjones.com
A multifaceted personality, Damon is an activist, author, and the force behind Black Westchester Magazine, a notable Black-owned newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. With a wide array of expertise, he wears many hats, including that of a Spiritual Life Coach, Couples and Family Therapy Coach, and Holistic Health Practitioner. He is well-versed in Mental Health First Aid, Dietary and Nutritional Counseling, and has significant insights as a Vegan and Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Not just limited to the world of holistic health and activism, Damon brings with him a rich 32-year experience as a Law Enforcement Practitioner and stands as the New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you for this article. Continue to provide transparency to events happening at home and abroad.

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