Bronx Defenders Union faces backlash over controversial statement on Israel-Gaza situation

November 2, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
Members of the Bronx Defenders team, now at the center of a controversy following the union's statement on the Israel-Gaza situation. Photo via Bronx Defenders on Facebook
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On October 20, the Bronx Defenders Union, UAW Local 2325 — which represents employees of the Bronx Defenders, but not the organization itself — released a statement on social media condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza. 

The statement aligned itself with the call of Palestinian trade unions for global workers to end all forms of complicity with Israel’s actions. The union’s post referred to Israel’s actions as “genocidal” and highlighted remarks made by Israeli officials that, in the union’s view, supported this characterization.

However, a strong counter-narrative emerged in response to the union’s statement. A subsequent petition, signed by 1,425 people by Thursday afternoon, called for the defunding of the Bronx Defenders, alleging the union’s statement to be antisemitic. 

The petition pointedly referenced a recent Hamas terror attack on Israel, which caused significant civilian casualties. The atrocities, many of which were captured on video by the perpetrators, ranged from murdering civilians in cars to more gruesome acts. This terror attack led Israel to declare war against Hamas, the governing body in Gaza.

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Critics of the union’s statement noted its lack of reference to the Hamas-perpetrated atrocities or any form of condolence to the affected Israelis. The petition also refuted the union’s claim that an Israeli airstrike targeted Al-Ahli Hospital, citing evidence from various reputable sources which determined the explosion was caused by misfired rockets launched from within Gaza.

In defense of its recent statement, the Bronx Defenders Union, UAW Local 2325, maintained its stance, rejecting the notion that supporting Palestinians equates to antisemitism. 

A statement from Babatunde Aremu, chapter chair for the Bronx Defenders Union-UAW Local 2325, on behalf of the executive board, emphasized their opposition to antisemitism and expressed distress over violence and civilian casualties.


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