Thursday, August 09, 2007

Conversations on an Independent New York

There was Big News today in New York City when Lenora Fulani announced at a press conference that she has formed an exploratory committee with the intent of seeking citywide office in 2009 (that's the Mayor's race, when Mike Bloomberg will be term-limited out).

Some of the coverage includes a.m. New York, the New York Observer (which ran the entirety of Fulani's remarks), Redding News Review which also ran Fulani's statement here, New York magazine's blog the Daily Intelligencer ran this piece with the playful title "The Mayoral Campaign Just Got More Fun: Welcome, Lenora Fulani"..., and Brooklyn's Voice of the New York Orthodox Jewish Community Vos Iz Neias also picked up the news...

The Hankster has a clip from the opening of Dr. Fulani's remarks at the top of the site, so be sure to click on the video! You can also go to Lenora Fulani's Committee for an Independent New York blogsite...


jeff roby said...

Fulani, in her press statement, says:

“New York City can be a difficult place to openly engage controversial issues. I know that as well as anyone, having been the subject of much controversy. This is particularly true in connection with certain remarks I wrote in 1989 on the subject of Israel and what I took to be the role of the Israeli government in handling its relationship to people of color and to the Palestinians. I want to speak openly about those 1989 remarks today ...

“... I am repudiating my remarks of 18 years ago. They do not express my feelings and deep concerns about the situation in the Middle East. I disassociate myself from them.”

I remember a time when her refusal to repudiate those remarks was a proud symbol of her refusal to sell out, even in the face of alluring invitations from the likes of Ed Koch.

Will her critics be satisfied, “Oh, that Fulani, she’s okay now”? Or smelling blood, will they now present her with an unending list of more statements — and people — to repudiate before they confer their certificate of legitimacy?

N. Hanks said...

You imply that Fulani repudiated her 1989 remarks in order to satisy her "critics". RE: "confer their certificate of legitimacy" - don't hold your breath.

jeff roby said...

No, I think it's to be able to run a positive race and not get bogged down in the side-issue of her 1989 remarks. I think it's a tactical move, but I am saddened by it.

If it were a sincere change of heart, why so suddenly? Why not when she was under attack from McKay.

Look, during the height of the intifada, when Israeli restaurants and busses were regularly getting blown up and the IDF was bombing Palestinian neighborhoods, such a "both are suffering" approach would have made sense (though I would still have disagreed). But at this point, the Palestinians are rather thoroughly crushed, egged by Israel into CIVIL war, despite an occasional Israeli casualty from a Qassam rocket. All indignities against the Palestinians from the IDF raids to settler land-grabs to the myriad of checkpoints and lockdowns are in full force.

Where Israel suffered significant casualties in recent years was in its war against Lebanon (thousands of Lebanese civilians killed) that Israel launched unilaterally. A war with Lebanon, not the Palestinians.

In that war, with the neo-cons cheering Israel on and urging them to go after Iran while smashing Syria along the way, never was the truth of Fulani's 1989 remarks more tangible.

I wish her well in her race. But if you read my previous post carefully, I "imply" in fact that her critics will NOT be satisfied. Your advice, however, is good. I am not holding my breath.

N. Hanks said...

Things are different now. And why would she react to MacKay's attacks? MacKay is a hack with no base in NYC... The NYC IP's response to MacKay has been and will continue to build independent politics in New York.

rose said...

Please explain the statement "things are different now"?

Things have changed so much in the Middle East that Fulani had an honest change of heart about the situation? What's your opinion? Do you think that the Israelis and the Palestinians have equal grivences? Does Fulani really believe that?

I remember being at an event with Fulani about 2 years ago. She read a letter Ed Koch sent her. It said, in effect "You seem like a swell gal, just denounce your views on Israel and we'll accept you in our club!" She told us she would NEVER repudiate herself on this. She said she didn't want that kind of legitimacy. She swore she would never abandon her progressive roots. Now, two years later, she does just that and you want me to believe that Fulani came to the sudden, heartfelt realization that the occupied and the occupier are living on equal moral ground? Sure! Oh, and I'll be making a bid on that bridge you were trying to sell me, you know, that one in Brooklyn, later! I mean, puh-leeeze!

If this is because Fulani, as you claim, has really come around to the Israeli side, then it's actually all more grotesque. But I don't believe it.

It was simply craven.

N. Hanks said...

Read Fulani's statement.

jeff roby said...

She would react to MacKay's attacks because he was making moves to throw the Fulani forces out of the IPNY, and the threat was real. The IPNY's response was to defeat MacKay in court, as well as what you say. That the IPNY was able to win without Fulani debasing herself was certainly a good thing.

What things are different now? If you are referring to the situation in Israel/Palestine, the situation is more one-sided than it's been for years. Israel launched a unilateral war against Lebanon terrorizing the entire Lebanese people (cluster bombs), with the neo-cons and George Bush and Condoleeza Rice egging them on (stormtroopers of imperialism indeed!).

What's different is that Fulani is contemplating running for citywide office.

"Say it ain't so, Joe. Say it ain't so." (small child to Shoeless Joe Jackson outside the courthouse in 1919)

rose said...

I did and it's exactly what I'm responding to.

rose said...

I re-read her remarks and so I modify the statement "Fulani came around to the Israeli side" to "Fulani said that she doesn't view Israel as the agressor"

But I still need to ask "Why not?" you know, given what's been going on their for nearly 50 years. For example, do you think, and I really do ask for an answer on this, not from Fulani, but from you, that the war with Lebanon last year was a reasonable response to the fact that a soldier had been kidnapped? Do you think that Israel was not the agressor in that situation? I ask you and not her because I don't have her ear and I have yours. You are supporting her statements so I'd like to hear more.