Bronx Independent Lawyers for Justice contributes $18,000 to Magen David Adom

“We value equality, public service and a deep commitment to the common good,” said criminal-defense advocate Marvin Ray Raskin.

Magen David Adom medics and first responders help those in need throughout Israel. Credit: MDA.
Magen David Adom medics and first responders help those in need throughout Israel. Credit: MDA.

A diverse group of 50-plus individuals and small-firm attorneys practicing defense advocacy in Bronx County courts has donated $18,000 to support Magen David Adom, Israel’s emergency medical services system, as part of an initiative to publicly oppose pro-Hamas sentiments voiced by others within the Bronx legal community.

The donation will help fund medical equipment and training for medics currently dealing with increased terror in the aftermath of the Hamas attacks in southern Israel on Oct 7.

The contribution was made alongside a public statement by the group—collectively known as Bronx Independent Lawyers for Justice, or BILJ—against a resolution passed on Oct. 20 by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys and the Bronx Public Defenders through their union, the United Auto Workers Local 2325. The resolution called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and “an end to Israeli apartheid and the occupation and blockade of Palestinian land, sea and air by Israeli military forces.”

Israel withdrew all its citizens from Gaza in 2005 and was compelled to implement a blockade to prevent the importation of materials into Gaza that were being used by terrorists to build and fire thousands of rockets targeting Israeli civilians in the last 19 years. In addition, Israel’s non-Jewish citizens have equal rights as Israeli Jewish citizens and serve in leadership roles in government, debunking the notion that the state has an apartheid system.

Blasting the union resolution as both anti-Semitic and historically inaccurate, the Bronx attorneys—led by criminal-defense advocate Marvin Ray Raskin—came together to refute the suggestion that pro-Hamas views represent the Bronx legal community. To further underscore their position, members contributed funds to support Magen David Adom, which serves all who need medical treatment, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.

In a statement shared with the press, the Bronx attorneys warned that the two legal defense organizations could face both taxpayer and private funding retribution, and pledged to follow up with appeals to state and city officials.

Magen David Adom Patient Stretcher
Magen David Adom medics and first responders assist a patient in need. Credit: MDA.

“They cheerlead for those who planned and carried out a terrorist attack and whose tactics included rape, kidnapping, butchering of women, the targeted murder of babies and the premeditated slaughter of innocent civilians,” said Raskin of the groups that passed the resolution. “We categorically reject the antisemitism and revisionist history propaganda disseminated by these purveyors of prejudice.”

He added: “The BILJ values equality, public service and a deep commitment to the common good. Our choice to contribute to Magen David Adom, an Israeli organization that includes medics of diverse identities, including Arab-Israelis, and is committed to compassionate treatment for all, reflects these beliefs.”

Sam Konig, a director of strategic philanthropy for American Friends of Magen David Adom, said “we are deeply thankful to Mr. Raskin and the attorneys of the BILJ for their gift to Magen David Adom. Their courage to speak out for justice is matched only by their generosity. They will help save lives and bring healing to many who need it.”

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In the United States, disaster relief, ambulance and blood services are handled by an array of organizations. In Israel, there’s one organization that does it all: Magen David Adom. Although MDA’s role is mandated by the Israeli government, it’s not a government agency. As Israel’s official representative to the International Red Cross, MDA’s role precludes it from accepting governmental support for its general operations. Because of this arrangement, the agency relies on support from donors, including those from the United States, to keep its dispatch systems, training and equipment the best in the world.
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