It is incomprehensible. This year, the sponsors of New York’s annual Israel Day Parade are allowing organizations to march who actively promote a boycott of Israeli businesses and companies owned by Jews in Judea-Samaria.
The UJA-Federation, responsible for the annual parade, has given the Green Light to groups organizing boycotts against products of Jewish owners in Judea and Samaria. These groups work every day to isolate Israel and make her a global pariah, announcing to the world the names of specific Jewish-owned companies operating in Judea-Samaria they want punished.
Yet, these “Jewish” groups are being invited to infiltrate the Parade, either because of agreement with their tactics or as a way of affirming what the UJA-Federation calls an “open tent.”
Join us Tuesday, April 8, in Manhattan to tell the UJA: No. This cannot stand. Decent people cannot tolerate this perfidy. We will not accept such corruption of values, such appeasement, and public forfeiture of Jewish dignity. There is something sick about this. Imagine a St. Patrick’s Day Parade with Irishmen marching who call for boycotting parts of Ireland and Irish-owned businesses. These are marching orders no self-respecting Jew can countenance.
There is a fundamental principle involved here, which is: No Jew can accept the boycotting of Jewish businesses, the State of Israel, or the Jewish people. Period! Especially not Jewish organizations, founded to defend the Jewish people. Providing boycotters a public stamp of approval affirms and further enables the boycotting. Merely signing a paper of commitment to Israel’s existence in no way kosherizes the activists promoting the despicable, unacceptable category of anti-Jewish boycotts.
One dare not legitimize the boycotting of Jewish businesses or Jews, qua Jews, no matter his claim that he is doing it for the “right reasons” or to “effectuate necessary change.” If we do, then anyone can boycott Jews or Israel by simply stating they are “doing it for necessary and ‘moral’ reasons.”
To the world, a boycott is a boycott, east of the Green Line or west of it. Approving one leads to the other. Boycotting Israel will spur future boycotting of those “bad” Jews, for example, in Brooklyn or London.
Ironically, the ‘conscience-struck’ Jewish boycotters never boycott Arab or Moslem businesses, despite the ubiquitous terrorism and their violations of human rights. Their outrage is only against the Jewish state and its Jews.
Nazism began even before the implementation of the Final Solution. It began with boycotts against Jewish owned businesses, Jewish merchants, and Jews providing services. The Nazi idea of boycotting Jewish businesses was an essential component and standard of Nazism. Nazism was evil in all of its stages, including the limited earlier stages of anti-Jewish boycotts of the 1930s. It remains just as evil today, even when done by Jews; enthusiastically done in concert with non-Jewish anti-Semites and those arrayed against the State of the Jews, Israel.
UJA’s desire for an ‘open tent’ should not devolve into the destruction of the tent. The purpose of Jewish organizations is to promote and defend Jewish interests, not provide credence for the unacceptable, nor be part of a slow, step-by-step destruction of Jewish sovereignty. There is a big world out there where one can easily find all the available “OPEN” forums blaming Israel and seeking its destruction. Too often, we are hoodwinked by this pernicious notion that “Jewish values” demand we see only our opponent’s and enemy’s viewpoint and forgo our own Jewish survival. Strange, very strange indeed.
Besides, we know the Jewish establishment’s call for an “open tent” does not include many they consider too “right wing.” They select those with whom they ultimately share some simpatico.
Courage is not found in condemning Israel. The whole world does that.
Courage is found in standing up to in-house Jewish boycotters for the sake of something greater than their feigned liberalism, to wit, the defense of the Jewish people and Israel. We expect that from UJA-Federation. That is their duty! But too often the Jewish establishment will not to do that which goes against leftwing, politically-correct thinking. They camouflage their timidity, or concurrence, by intoning lofty but phony clichés.
Look how far some Jewish people have fallen: That which their destroyers did to them, they are now doing to their own brothers and sisters. It stems not from a higher sense of morality but a lower regard for Jewish peoplehood and nationalism….. and noxious self-righteousness. Out of a need to be accepted in their leftwing circles, as well as their unwillingness to stand up and fight the unpopular fight of our day, many are riding the fashionable bandwagon against Israel.
Too many Jews are now part of the herd sport of anti-Semitism, previously forbidden to them but now permitted under forms of anti-Israelism. Many are simply what used to be called: traitors. Traitors should be shunned, not given prominence as desired partners in our parades.
If you can’t attend Tuesday’s gathering, send your protest to UJA- Federation. There are additional instances where Federation-affiliated agencies are inviting speakers who are known to be anti-Israel, against any self-defense measures, and even anti-Jewish, posing simply as “temporary” opponents of Israel with differing views.
Let the directors of UJA-Federation and other Jewish organizations know of your concern about their silence over the beating of Jews across Europe by Moslem gangs and Knockout gangs here. Directors are not necessarily leaders. Real Jewish leaders should not be indifferent, silent, nor lend support to boycotters and others wishing to tear us down.
The directors of our Jewish organizations are not infallible. They certainly weren’t during the 30s and 40s. We’ve seen this before: blind obedience is foolish and leaving our destiny and safety to those who claim they “know best” often can be devastating. This time in history, we must not make the same mistake.
Rabbi Aryeh Spero is author of “Push Back” and was a pulpit rabbi for almost forty years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.