WFS Panel Discussion 7/22/16

Part 1 Alan Levine

Part 2: Donna Nevel

Part 3: Questions and Answers

Point of View: Jay Wenk Woodstock Times

Freedom of Speech is not a given in this land; it has been under attack many times. The importation of books of “questionable virtue”, the censoring of movies, the Palmer raids and McCarthy’s war on lefties are just a few examples. I have been arrested several times for peacefully protesting wars in front of the White House, in New York City, and in Selma Alabama for supporting Black civil rights.

What does “free speech” mean to you? Does it include the ranting of a candidate for elective office? How about the Nazi rally in Skokie. Ill.? Or your neighbor’s complaints about the height of your fence? Clearly, any of these examples could test your patience, but we understand that free speech cannot be limited to what we personally support, even if we would like that to be the way it is. It is there for all to use. This may be very difficult to accept, but that’s what freedom of speech means.


The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, doesn’t agree with our national and statewide policy. He has decided that those companies who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions toward the State of Israel until that government ends its occupation of Palestinian lands will be cut off from State work and jobs. This is the same Governor who recently instituted a boycott of the State of South Carolina. Boycotts are integral to Democracy, starting with the Stamp Act and the original Tea Party in Boston, including striking workers picket lines, the boycott of California grapes, Montgomery city buses and the South African Government, to name a few.


I believe that Woodstockers agree that denying free speech is unacceptable, whether we support BDS or not. I believe that we want to send that message to the Governor. I am sure that Woodstock’s Town Board supports the concept of free speech regardless of the specific issue. There is an on-line petition to our Town Board asking them to do that, where folks can read the petition and sign on. Go to:


Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes’ words are crucial to our understanding of the concept of free speech and the tolerance necessary for its implementation; ”Our institutions were not devised to bring about uniformity of opinion.”


Don’t let the Governor get away with his attempt to deny our historical values in order to gain re-election votes! Take this opportunity to stand up for the values we want to live by; read the petition and sign it!


Jay Wenk, Woodstock, 679-6970