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Group demand that the Israeli flag be taken down from the office building in Monroe County, while others provide different perspectives



Rochester, New York – “Take it down!” At the Monroe County Legislature meeting on Tuesday night, activists repeated that.

The Monroe County Green Party, which demanded the removal of the Israeli flag outside the county office building, planned the demonstration.

“Yesterday it was half-staffed but today someone really put that on tight because you don’t want to lose it. Well, I think there are people who do want to lose it,” one woman said.

Those campaigners wished for their message to be well understood. Many people shouted, cried, and even sang from the podium.

“Freedom’s coming, peace in Palestine, stop the suffering, no more killing,” Jennifer Cherelin said.

She sang that message in front of the legislators for Monroe County as well as numerous other activists who approached the podium one by one.

“Take down the Israel flag.”

“Your attempt to force us to tolerate this flag …”

“Just like many other members we would like to see the Israeli flag removed.”

The majority of those who spoke on the matter agreed that the Israeli flag should be taken down from outside the county headquarters. A Green Party member feels that it creates divisions in a county with a varied populace.

“We’re not asking the county to say they don’t support Israel or that they are against Israel, we just want them to recognize they have an obligation to all the residents of Monroe County,” Chris Edes said.

Rather than having the Israeli flag taken down, some argued for the recognition of both sides. Others argue that the American flag should be the only one flown on public property.

“Find the courage to do the right thing. To protect our democracy to not have any flags of any other countries for any other reason outside of our public buildings; It’s morally wrong, it weakens our democracy,” one county resident said.

The 17th district’s county legislator, Rachel Barnhart, clarified that the County Executive makes the final decision on this and not the Legislature. She recalls the recent protests in which the Israeli flag that was flown outside the county building was torn down and vandalized.

“I think that’s very troubling for a lot of members in our community, to see the Israeli flag treated that way — but on the other hand, perhaps the county needs to reevaluate what flags get to fly outside the county office building, because clearly our community is very divided right now,” Barnhart said.