Group calls for removal of Israeli flag from Monroe County office building; others present alternative views

Several call for removal of Israeli flag from Monroe County office building

Several call for removal of Israeli flag from Monroe County office building

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — “Take it down!” That’s what activists echoed at Tuesday night’s Monroe County Legislature meeting.

The protest was organized by the Monroe County Green Party, which called for the Israeli flag outside the county office building to be taken down.

“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.

It was a message those activists wanted to be heard loud and clear. Many took to the podium with their cries, shouts and even singing.

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

That was the message she sang in front of Monroe County legislators, as well as many other activists who came up to 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 who spoke on the subject advocated for the same thing, to remove the Israeli flag outside the county building. A member of the Green Party believes it divides a county with a diverse population.

“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.

Some advocated for the acknowledgement of both sides instead of the removal of the Israeli flag. Others say the only flag flown on public buildings should be the American flag.

“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.

County Legislator Rachel Barnhart, who represents the 17th district, explained this is not something the Legislature decides, its up to the County Executive. She recalled how we’ve seen several protests now where the Israeli flag hung outside the county building has been taken down and defaced.

“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.

News10NBC reached out to the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester today for comment, but we have not heard back.