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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
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Pro-Israel New Yorkers Hold Symbolic UJA-Federation Check Burning

Richard Allen of JCC Watch, evoking the character Johnny Friendly from the Marlon Brando movie, "On the Waterfront" said, "Nothing moves on the NYC Jewish waterfront without John Ruskay's approval."

Pro-Israel New Yorkers symbolically burned their checks to the NY UJA-Federation on Sept 12

Pro-Israel New Yorkers symbolically burned their checks to the NY UJA-Federation on Sept 12

On Thursday evening, September 12, a group of between 50 and 75 staunchly pro-Israel New Yorkers attended the latest effort to publicly expose what they are calling Donor Fraud in the institutional Jewish community.

Their campaign is called, “Close Your Wallets,” and they are hoping to encourage Jews to withhold their donations to Jewish institutions until specific guidelines regarding the use of that money are adopted.

The loosely organized group whose leader is Richard Allen, head of JCC Watch, has been gathering outside Jewish institutions on a regular basis for several years.  They do this in an effort to draw attention to the use by large Jewish institutions of Jewish charitable donations to support anti-Israel activities and anti-Israel individuals.

This week’s vigil was held outside of the United Jewish Appeal – New York Federation building on East 59th Street in Manhattan.  The vigils will continue until the NYC UJA adopts effective guidelines along the lines of the pledge adopted several years ago by the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee in Florida.

In the past, rallies were held outside of the Manhattan Jewish Community Center and the 92nd Street Y.

According to Allen, the JCC was the first focus because it was showing movies and promoting organizations that work to delegitimize Israel.  Later, the 92nd Street Y was the site of several rallies.

The 92nd Street Y was chastised for supporting and promoting two of the anti-Israel world’s most visible  celebrities, Roger Waters, a musician formerly with the powerhouse rock band Pink Floyd, and Alice Walker, author of the phenomenally successful novel, “The Color Purple.”

But both institutions receive funding from the single largest recipient of Jewish donor funds, the UJA-NY Federation, all of which is solicited in the guise of being used either for Jewish causes or in furtherance of Jewish values.

Allen was joined outside of the UJA building by Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel, and dozens of others, in a symbolic burning of checks made out to the UJA.

When asked whether he thought the UJA will be amenable to adopting the guidelines, Allen told The Jewish Press he thinks it will take time and only a serious groundswell of support will be successful in getting the UJA to adopt effective guidelines regarding the use of Jewish donor dollars.

“Remember Johnny Friendly, from the Marlon Brando movie, ‘On the Waterfront?” Allen asked.  “Well, nothing moves on the Jewish Waterfront without John Ruskay’s approval.”

Allen knows that Ruskay, still the top NYC UJA professional, is opposed to setting guidelines.  Allen referenced an op-ed penned by Ruskay shortly after one of JCC Watch’s earliest rallies.

The article was published in the Jewish Week and bemoaned the efforts of some groups who seek to determine when criticism of Israel becomes beyond the pale.  Ruskay’s line is much broader than is the one painted by Allen and those who have activated the Close Your Wallets campaign.  Ruskay’s vision is that of the largest possible tent, where the greatest number of Jews get to say whatever they want about Israel so long as they count themselves as “supporters.”

Allen doesn’t see much point in welcoming those into a tent who are determined to spread what he and his colleagues see as false, malicious and existentially harmful propaganda about Israel.  His view is that Ruskay’s method may prove to be like the proverbial successful operation which, unfortunately, kills the patient.

The next step for the Close the Wallets campaign is the institution of a wave of individual representatives at New York City synagogues who will be like educational community organizers, informing congregants about the harm caused by those in the economic and political warfare program against Israel, known as the BDS (Boycotts of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) movement.

The second step for the educational community organizers is to explain how Jewish communal dollars are being misused by those whose fiduciary duty it is to spend the Jewish communal dollars in strict accordance with the representations made when the money was solicited.

“This campaign is not going to succeed overnight, but it will over time,” Allen said.  “We’re not going away.”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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10 Responses to “Pro-Israel New Yorkers Hold Symbolic UJA-Federation Check Burning”

  1. Jsh Johan says:

    take the risk, to defend what we believe !..

  2. Howard Fines says:

    It's about time someone did this, members of AIPAC should also send a similar gesture to its leadership as well, to stop supporting Obama's agenda. Its existence as an organization, is to show American support, for the Jewish state, be it under a Liberal or Conservative PM — they are a democracy, free to do as they wish, they shouldn't be bullied by the United States into taking positions that threatens their security.

  3. Kot Oti says:

    Lefties penetrated every office, to serve the cause of the anointed Lefty indoctrinators in the university campuses, producing generations of "useful idiots" raised to hate their country, culture and heritage. These "Zombie Generation: types flood the NGO's having learned no skills, no idea what to do with their life, and free-load on money that comes from wealthy donors in the various charitable organizations. To feel part of the N Y scene, to be invited to the right receptions, they must stay with the trend. Currently BDS/Hate Israel/Hate America is "cool" and they simply do what other Lefty outfits do, stealing money donated for other purposes in order to maintain their standing as member of the "Tous Le New York", the cultural mavins, those in the know, ahead of the trend, the enlightened and sophisticated one – unlike their parents who did something with their life, they are there to schnor off others.

  4. Alain Broder says:

    The institutional Jeeish community is run by self hatin JIO
    JEWS IN NAME ONLY and their gentile allies. They arr self
    Hating beware they they hate you proud Jees Israel even more

  5. Reuven Ofir says:

    Nothing wrong with an Alice Walker or Roger Waters being heard in any of our Jewish Venues on one condition; They should do so in in a debate format with anyone well versed in our culture, history and in the true facts. To provide ignorant and biased people a stage to lecture without being challenged is giving them unchallenged freedom to spout demagoguery and propaganda.

  6. Jay Kanter says:

    Walker,a second rate writer and the has been rocker Waters will be forever known as a Israeli hater.

  7. it goes without saying. now, we have to say it.

  8. Kol hakavod on exposing self hating Jewish traitors.

  9. Vingore says:

    Thank G-d someone has finally done this!   If I am not for myself, who is for me?

  10. Rose Galston says:

    I honestly can't believe that the Jewish Organizations are supporting the Anti-Israel voices….boycott the bastards…GO Richard Allen!!!

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