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March 24, 2010

Ratner on Israeli apartheid Pt.1

Michael Ratner reports on his recent visit to the West Bank

The Real News Network

Michael Ratner — Center for Constitutional Rights president, leading light of the Left, Carl Kruger campaign contributor, Nets minority owner, Forest City shareholder, and Bruce Ratner brother — visits Israel's Occupied Territories, which bear certain uncanny resemblances to... Prospect Heights!

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RATNER: We were appalled by what we saw, and it was much worse than I expected. I mean, I had been, you know, very sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians, to what I've heard about how they're treated, to what—the term "apartheid" is thrown around a lot, and, sadly, what I saw was much worse than I expected. You can begin with, really, in East Jerusalem. You go to East Jerusalem, which, of course was captured in 1967 by Israel, and slowly, ever so slowly, and maybe more rapidly, Palestinians are being pushed out of East Jerusalem. Their houses are being demolished. We visited the houses of people who had—we visited the homes of people who had had their houses demolished.

The State of New York recently gained title, against the will of the owners, to several occupied properties in Prospect Heights. Those homes and businesses will be conveyed to Forest City Ratner, and demolished to make way for a basketball arena and parking lots.

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RATNER: They have to get a special permission from various authorities, including, of course, obviously, the guards that they show their permission to, and that can take one, two, three days.

Since title was transferred to New York State, Daniel Goldstein and his family have been virtual prisoners in their own home, unable to have pizza delivered, with guards paid by Forest City Ratner deciding who can visit his home — and who can't.

JAY: What's the presence of the army in this situation?

RATNER: Well, the army's everywhere in Hebron. The army is on every corner.

The NYPD deployed several dozen — and possibly more than 100 — officers to suppress demonstrations during Bruce Ratner's heavily fortified Atlantic Yards groundbreaking ceremony. The show of force included rooftop spotters, counter-terrorism officers, mobile command centers and even a helicopter.

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NoLandGrab: Is life in Prospect Heights like life in the Occupied Territories? No, not really. But we wonder if Michael Ratner has ever bothered to visit Prospect Heights to see what he and his brother have wrought.

Posted by eric at March 24, 2010 1:51 PM