Pro-Palestinian minister speaks in NY state despite Jewish opposition
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Pro-Palestinian minister speaks in NY state despite Jewish opposition

(JTA) — A pro-Palestinian minister spoke at an alternative location after an upstate New York divinity school revoked a speaking invitation over death threats and local Jewish opposition.

The Rev. Graylan Hagler, a senior minister of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, spoke Thursday night at the German House in Rochester under the auspices of Jewish Voice for Peace-Rochester and Christians Witnessing for Palestine on “Connecting the Dots: Ferguson to Palestine.”

The Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester had disinvited Hagler, the Democrat & Chronicle reported last week.

“I’m standing here to lift up the dignity and rights of all people in the world,” he told the some 250 audience members, according to the Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. “We have to stand up and tell the truth: Black lives matter, Palestinian lives matter, Palestine matters! We need to demand justice!”

According to roc4israel, a local pro-Israel group, Hagler at a Jewish Voice for Peace rally in Washington earlier this year condemned “pimply faced white boys in Israeli uniforms.”

Hagler met with then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2010, roc4israel said, and in 2012 Hagler stated at a panel discussion that he was working to “disengage” Christians from Hebrew Scripture.

Colgate Rochester President Marvin McMickle said in a statement that “after certain concerning facts came to light and after consultation with other members” of the divinity school’s administration, he notified Witnessing for Palestine that “we are no longer prepared to allow this lecture to take place” on campus.