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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Alice Walker’

Wiesenthal Center’s Top Ten Anti-Semitic Slurs of 2013

Monday, December 30th, 2013

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has just released its top ten anti-Semitic/anti-Israel slurs for the year 2013.

The SWC saw the most extreme hatred exemplified by three Arab and/or Muslim leaders, a UN official, a Christian Canadian denomination, a far right-wing European party, an aging rock star, an aging formerly famous novelist, an overripe teenager, an American academic association, a small New York school district, and quite a few European athletes.

1. The very top of the list of outrageous insults comes from Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who referred to Israel as the “rabid dog” in the Middle East region. Successfully adding insult to injury, Khamenei also said that Israel’s “leaders look like beasts and cannot be called human.”

“The genocidal animus of Iran’s Supreme Leader against the Jewish state continued unabated throughout the secret and direct negotiations with the United States and the P5+1,[which] places him at the top of the list,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s Associate Dean.

2. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan placed second on the SWC’s most worst list. Erdogan achieved this dubious honor in a year characterized by a dramatic deterioration in relations between Turkey and Israel. Twice the Turkish leader blamed Israel – using the code word “interest rates lobby” for serious challenges to his authority by the citizens of his country.  First it was the Gezi Park uprising and most recently that same “interest rates lobby” was blamed for a huge, still ongoing corruption scandal that has profoundly affected his government, with more than a dozen ministers either resigned or being fired or reshuffled.

3. In third place is the first Jew on the list. It is the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Arab Territories, Richard Falk.  This year Falk described Israel has harboring Nazi-like genocidal intentions towards the Palestinian Arabs. The hatred he exudes towards Israel is, perhaps, summed up best in his justification of suicide bombings perpetrated against Israel as a legitimate means to inflict sufficient harm on Israel.  There is much more to make your blood boil on the SWC site.

4. In fourth place the SWC listed the economic and legal warfare against the Jewish state known as BDS.  BDS stands for the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel that is urged on by haters of the Jewish State.

In this BDS category, special mention is made of several practitioners. The first example offered is the American Studies Association.  Much has already been written on these pages about the ASA’s misguided effort to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

The good news, of course, is that the ASA appears to have done far more damage to its own organization than any harm that could possibly befall Israeli academic institutions because of the ASA’s stunt. With close to 100 universities condemning the ASA’s boycott and several withdrawing from the organization altogether, perhaps we should really place the ASA’s boycott on a list of efforts taken which resulted in nationwide solidarity in support of the Jewish State.  So, thanks, actually.

The other practitioners mentioned are Pink Floyd’s former frontman Roger Waters, and the United Church of Canada.Waters has also been the subject of several articles here at The Jewish Press. The United Church of Canada, however, merits special attention.

“As Christians suffer in Syria, ethnic cleansing in Iraq, and are threatened in Egypt, the United Church of Canada endorsed a boycott of Israel – the only Middle East state that guarantees full religious freedom and protection to all faiths,” is how the SWC describes the UCC’s folly.

5. The extreme far-right wing Hungarian party, Jobbik, is fifth on the list of most awfuls. The deputy leader of the Jobbik party called for a registry of all Jews in Hungary as a security measure last year.  He also alleges that Israel “runs a Nazi system.”

6. In sixth place is a meme that never seems to go away.  This is the “Hitler as Hero” meme, which was taken up by an alarmingly large and diverse group of Arabs and Europeans over 2013, including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood’s Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Iraqi cleric Qays bin Khalil al Kalbi, Saudi cleric Muhammal al Farraj, a famous Lebanese singer, and several Turkish immigrants in Holland.

7. Several particularly egregious Cartoons That Defame Israel are seventh on the SWC list of most anti-Semitic/anti-Israel Slurs for 2013.  In what passes as an art form that has been around for centuries, this year’s entries into the pantheon of dehumanizing depictions of Jews (and the Jewish State) are prize winners.  Check the SWC site to see this ugly art.

8. The small upstate New York school district of Pine Bush has permitted ugly anti-Semitic abuse of its Jewish students. Parents have sued the school district for allowing the ugliness to continue. One school official allegedly responded that the complainants’ “expectations for changing inbred prejudice may be a bit unrealistic.”  Really? Let’s hope that official’s hope to keep his job is a bit unrealistic.

9. Two American authors, one a has-been and the other a never-been, are in the 9th place “poison pen” position on SWC’ list. Alice Walker, who easily could have appeared in the fourth place as a practitioner of BDS, appears here because her most recent book, The Cushion in the Road, is described by the SWC as being approximately 25 percent “a diatribe against the Jewish state.”

Walker was the author of a hugely popular and powerful novel, The Color Purple, albeit that was 30 years ago.  The second person in the poison pen category is mostly famous for having a semi-famous daddy, Sidney Blumenthal, a speechwriter for Bill Clinton. Max Blumenthal seems to have spent the past 20 years of his life attempting to be an enfant terrible, but now he’s mostly just terrible. His new book, Goliath, practically takes anti-Semitism to pornographic heights.  He refers to Israelis as Judeo-Nazis, and blames the Arab-Israeli conflict on “Israeli society’s nationalistic impulses.” Blumenthal is at least nominally Jewish.  So sad.

10. The Wiesenthal Center describes various European Sports Venues as having been “Hijacked for Hate,” and placed them in the final slot of its 2013 list of most egregious anti-Semitic/anti-Israel slurs. Of particular note were European soccer stadiums as the stage where a great deal of ugly anti-Semitism played out over the past year. Italian, English, Polish, Hungarian, Latvian and Croatian teams or their members were cited for anti-Semitic activity this past year.

In a late-breaking addition to the list, the Wiesenthal Center included its request that NBA Star Tony Parker apologize for using a Nazi-like salute which is currently widely used by neo-Nazis in Europe. The gesture is called a quenelle, or a reverse Nazi salute.  It has been denounced by French authorities and leaders of the French Jewish communities.

The Wiesenthal Center asks readers to share with it incidents of anti-Semitic or anti-Israel slurs so that such incidents can be explored and exposed, and the perpetrators held accountable.

Egypt Closes Gaza Border Crossing – No Flotillas on the Horizon

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Just as this article was about to be published, The Jewish Press learned that at least 24 Egyptian police officers were killed late Monday, Aug. 19, in an attack near the Rafah crossing.  According to AFP, militants targeted the police, firing rocket-propelled grenades at two buses traveling from the town of Rafah on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza. The crossing is again closed indefinitely. This attack in the north of the Sinai is the deadliest attack against Egyptian law enforcement in many years.

***

Director General of the Gaza border crossings Maher Abu Sabha last week announced that Egyptians had informed Gazan officials the Rafah terminal border crossing would not operate according to its regular schedule and would be intermittently closed indefinitely in both directions due to the serious security conditions in Egypt.

The Egyptian military is unlikely to brook the kind of extreme provocation Israel has endured for years whenever it closes a border crossing into Gaza for security reasons.  For that reason it is unlikely Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al Aksa Martyrs Brigade or any of the other Arab Palestinian defenders of the Gazan people will rise up and violently or verbally attack the Egyptian military for its decision.

A quick check on the non-Arab groups who support the right of the Gazans, including its terrorist inhabitants, to freely move in and out of Gaza did not disclose any public efforts to rally the troops and either denounce the Egyptian military or set sail for the Mediterranean in an effort to break Egypt’s blockade of Gaza.

Hard to believe, but there is no flotilla, nor even a flytilla, carrying aboard the likes of Alice Walker or George Galloway or any of the other people who like to show off their love for Gazans when the rule of law-bound Israelis are treating Gaza in a manner befitting terrorists, but who are nowhere to be found when their love might require that a hair on their head might be mussed.

However, one group has been openly rejoicing over the actions of the Egyptian military towards the supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.  And it isn’t the Israelis.

On Friday, Fatah staged a rally in Ramallah’s central square to support the Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and to protest the closing of the Al-Arabiya TV and Maan Agency offices in Gaza City.

The Fatah stalwarts chanted pro-coup slogans and called on to Sisi to crack down on Morsi’s supporters.  They also called for granting Palestinian citizenship to al-Sisi, and accused the Muslim Brotherhood of trying to “drag Egypt into the furnace of the civil war,” according to the AlRay media agency.

Well, the Hamasniks are not going to suffer those insults quietly.  The Hamas government’s media spokesman Ihab al-Ghusain claimed on his Facebook page that Fatah supported Egypt’s massacres and called for the elimination of Palestinian resistance. He also suggested that Abbas’s recent trip to Egypt and the Egyptian’s closing of the Rafah crossing was not a coincidence.
Shouldn’t be too long now before Hamas and Fatah are behaving towards each other the way their Egyptian role models do.

Donor Fraud: Jewish Donor Dollars Support anti-Israel Speakers UPDATED

Friday, July 12th, 2013

PLEASE SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF ARTICLE

Several dozen Jews converged on the sidewalk outside the 92nd Street Y Thursday evening, July 11, for the first in an ongoing series of protests that will be held in the same place, every second Thursday of every month.  The protests will continue until the 92nd Street Y responds to repeated requests that it stop using Jewish communal dollars to showcase and support speakers and events that demonize Israel.

Two of the leaders of the global anti-Israel movement were scheduled to appear at the Y this spring.  Roger Waters was scheduled to speak at the Y in April and Alice Walker spoke at the Y in May.  Among many other hostile acts towards Israel, Waters and Walker teamed up in an attempt to block the Israeli Philharmonic from appearing at Carnegie Hall in October, 2012.

Richard Allen, the head of JCC Watch, told The Jewish Press that for months he and others have been attempting to have a conversation with the leadership of the 92nd St Y about their hosting people at the forefront of the movement to commit political and economic warfare against Israel, and, to add insult to injury, using “hard-earned funds” contributed by Jews who are led to believe that money would be used to support the Jewish community.

But the folks who run the 92nd Street Y won’t even give them the courtesy of a return phone call, let alone a meeting.

Allen’s response is to publicly expose what he calls “donor fraud, perpetrated not only by the 92nd Street Y, but also by other Jewish organizations which raise money from Jewish donors on the pretext that the money would be used to benefit the Jewish community.  But instead, some of that money is actually being used to twist support against Israel, it is being used to actively promote attacks against the Jewish State.”

Many who came to protest what they claim is donor fraud carried Israeli flags and handed out flyers to people going into the 92nd Street Y.

The flyers described speakers who were recently invited to speak at the venue and who are leaders in what is known as the BDS movement – the movement which promotes the boycott of, divestment from and imposing sanctions against Israel. Hundreds of flyers were distributed Thursday night.

The flyers also described a new initiative by the group which they are calling the “Close Your Wallets” campaign:

It Is Time to “Close Your Wallets” to Jewish Organizations that Host & Promote Israel Boycotters. We’ll be there in blue and white on the second Thursday of every month to raise awareness of the 92 st Y’s history of hosting Leaders of the Boycott against Israel Movement. No Jewish funding for Boycotts Divestments and Sanctions against Israel!

Ronit Jacobs came with her daughter from New Jersey to join the protest.

“How can the Y host leaders of the BDS movement, which is a cult set on the destruction of Israel,” Jacobs asked Thursday night. “Not only do the BDS people seek to harm Israel, it is clear they don’t even really care about the ‘Palestinian’ people.  If they did,” Jacobs continued, “they would be protesting the horrible treatment of Palestinian Syrians and Palestinian Jordanians and Palestinian Lebanese.  But they don’t.  All these people really want is to rid the land of all Jews.”

Others who showed up to Thursday night offered additional evidence that the 92nd Street Y is insufficiently supportive of Israel.

Robert Sidi, a Manhattan attorney, pointed out to The Jewish Press that he had “reviewed the Y’s electronic calendar and the only Israel-related programming is Israeli folk dancing.  Now no one loves Israeli folk dancing more than I do,” Sidi said, “but it is a disgrace that the only thing about Israel the Y thinks is worthwhile is Israeli folk dancing.”

Helen Freedman, the executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel, and Judy Kadish, AFSI’s special projects director, were both at the protest Thursday night.

“Promoting hatred against Israel and Jews is not what public institutions should be used for,” Freedman said.  “And yet, when AFSI offered to speak, to provide facts about Judea and Samaria, the Y told us we were too political.”

USA Today Joins Effort to Persuade Alicia Keys to Boycott Israel

Friday, June 14th, 2013

As if it wasn’t enough to have the once-famous novelist Alice Walker publicly claim that the young rhythm and blues singer Alicia Keys will suffer mortal soul decay if Keys goes ahead with her plan to sing in Israel, which Walker and her minions refer to as an Apartheid State, and a huge Internet and petitioning effort to similarly dissuade her, now the national American newspaper USA Today has lent a helping hand.

In a “news article” printed on Wednesday, June 12, USA Today‘s music critic, Steve Jones, cut and pasted nearly the entire press release sent out the day before by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

The press release/news article told USA Today‘s readers that a “delegation representing more than 500 organizations” delivered a petition with “12,000 signatures” to the New York office of Keys’ non-profit Keep a Child Alive which provides support to children and families devastated by AIDS in Africa and India.

The USCACBI petition lists many of the worst-lies-about-Israel-that-Israel-haters-love-to-repeat, such as that Israel is an Apartheid State and that it is a systemic abuser of “Palestinian human rights, and even that Keys’

performance is legitimizing a country that systematically undermines her nonprofit’s mission, that ‘every person has the right to health care and that all children deserve a future.’ Israel routinely denies Palestinians health care and systematically destroys the futures of Palestinian children, denying their rights to education and health care, and regularly arresting Palestinian children and then torturing the vast majority of them.

There is no mention in the USA Today article that Israel routinely treats not only hundreds of Arab Palestinian children and adults a year, but that it does so even for the children of terrorists as well as the terrorists themselves, as any quick Internet search would quickly reveal.

An Internet search that took less than five seconds produced information that more than 100,000 Arab Palestinians were treated in Israeli hospitals in 2011.  More than 4 million other results also showed up for the simple search “Israel treats Palestinians hospitals.”

Incidentally, that same search revealed that more than 100 Arab Palestinian doctors work in Israeli hospitals – there goes the Apartheid lie, for anyone who might be interested in truthful reporting.

The USA Today article does not put quotes around the following, which is in Jones’s “article”:

In response to Israel’s large-scale abuses of Palestinian rights, Palestinian Civil Society launched a call for a global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel in 2005, modeled on the call by black South Africans for a boycott of apartheid South Africa that helped bring an end to the racist system.

The press release/USA Today article goes on to recount the names of other artists who have been successfully intimidated – eagerly or otherwise – into believing the worst about Israel and who have cancelled their performances in Israel.

Columnist Jeffrey Goldberg was apparently the first to notice the similarity between the press release and the article, and tweeted it on Thursday.  The Algemeiner also took note.

Thus far Keys has remained firm and plans to perform in Tel Aviv on July 4.  There are some social media efforts to support Keys in this position, including this Facebook page, “Alicia Keys Plays for Peace in Israel,” and an inspired effort by a New Jersey woman described in an earlier Jewish Press article, urging supporters to buy Keys’ music worldwide on the day of her Tel Aviv concert.

JCC Watch: Stop Giving Jewish Money to Fund Anti-Israel Activities

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Pro-Israel New Yorkers continue to seek ways to prevent Jewish charitable dollars from supporting anti-Israel activities and speakers.

Because the UJA-Federation is the source of funding for so many Jewish organizations, an organized effort is about to get underway to ensure that this funding source – all of which comes from Jewish donors – is being used to fund programming that is infused with Jewish values and which is supportive of Israel.  This effort is in response to several years during which UJA-Federation-supported entities use some of those donors’ dollars to support efforts to cripple the Jewish state.

One of the most active efforts to stop this suicidal movement is led by Richard Allen who began JCC Watch several years ago when he was no longer able to abide the many anti-Israel events taking place at New York City’s Jewish Community Center.

Allen decided that one way to fight the battle was to inform as many people as possible about the problem.  He created a huge database of email addresses and periodically sends out emails with detailed information about anti-Israel events and suggestions for action. He is judicious about the frequency of his mailings and is careful to include accurate information.  And he just keeps adding to the roll of email addresses.

Allen and his colleagues found that the NYC JCC was partnering with groups that blatantly promote economic and political warfare against Israel known as the BDS movement (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel).

In March 2011, JCC Watch held a protest outside the JCC and issued a call for the JCC to “establish public and transparent guidelines that make clear that the JCC will not partner with nor link to other organizations that support or fund the BDS movement.”

While the JCC has not stopped its anti-Israel programming completely, Allen and others have said that there has been an improvement in the kinds of activities and events it has hosted over the past two years.

Most recently, JCC Watch has been closely following the hosting by the 92nd Street Y of several virulently anti-Israel BDS advocates.

Two of the most ardent “celebrity” promoters of BDS were recently scheduled to appear at the Y.  Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame was supposed to appear at the 92nd Street Y in April, and only didn’t because he encountered scheduling problems.  And just a few weeks ago, the rabidly anti-Israel novelist Alice Walker spoke at the Y.  Both endorse BDS and both actively attempt to get other artists to boycott and otherwise harm the Jewish State.

The National Council of Young Israel issued a call to the Y’s leadership on Wednesday, June 12.

“While we admire your longstanding effort to promote Jewish culture,” the NCYI leadership wrote, “we are deeply concerned over your ill-considered programmatic decisions that run counter to the interests of your own constituency. Extending an invitation to noted anti-Israel personalities is counterproductive and runs afoul of your desire to affirm a commitment to the State of Israel and world Jewry. Individuals who denigrate the Jewish State should not be welcomed with open arms at any venue that is associated with a Jewish group or organization.”

NCYI went on to ask that the leadership of the 92nd Street Y give greater care “in the future to the selection of featured speakers at the 92nd Street Y and ask that you invite those who stand for and with Israel instead of those who call for boycotting Israel.”

JCC Watch was thrilled that other Jewish organizations are responding to the need to prevent Jewish donors’ dollars from being used to fund anti-Israel activity. It and several supporters tried repeatedly to reach administration personnel at the Y in order to discuss the matter, but their efforts were stymied by bureaucratic roadblocks.

Now JCC Watch is taking the issue to the UJA-Federation, because the 92nd St Y receives funding from UJA-Federation.

“Those are Jewish charitable dollars, given by Jewish residents of New York who want their dollars to go towards funding Jewish Values.  Trying to destroy the Jewish State is not a Jewish value and is not something donors had any reason to believe they would be funding,” said Allen.

On Wednesday, June 12, JCC Watch gave Jerry W. Levin, president of the UJA-Federation, a heads up regarding the next stage of activity for JCC Watch and its allies.

Levin was advised that unless assurances are given that anti-Israel programming such as Walker and Waters will not be supported with Jewish Communal charity money, there will be a monthly protest in front of
the 92St Y.

These monthly protests will include what is being called the “Close Your Wallets” campaign.  This campaign will ask people to stop supporting charities which support, through funding, these anti-Israel events.

The ongoing “Close Your Wallets” campaign will be called: The Sons & Daughters of Zion in Blue & White.  Blue & White Ribbons will be given to the public each protest day and protesters will be urged to wear Blue & White.  The educational component of this campaign will begin this week, and the protests are expected to begin in early July.

“Just like the mothers of the disappeared in Argentina,” Allen wrote, “we will build the pressure until they have to respond.”

Allen envisions the campaign to include emails, direct mailings, direct phone campaigns and synagogue organizing throughout the greater New York area.  He said the JCC Watch “Jewish Community Alert” will be used, and that goes directly to the inbox of every rabbi, synagogue and organizational leadership, student leadership, charitable and educational leadership throughout the organized Jewish world.”

JCC Watch urged UJA-Federation’s head Levin to review financial support to institutions that provide a venue to anti-Israel programming.  Levin was informed that Allen will “personally fund this effort to insure a complete national saturation within the Jewish Community of our activities.”

Americans for a Safe Israel’s executive director, Helen Freedman, wrote in an email to The Jewish Press, that “rather than try to plug every leak, it is important to get to the leadership of Jewish institutions like the 92nd Street Y and the JCC in NYC and discuss the issues with them. If the scheduling of BDS and anti-Israel speakers is inadvertent, then more careful attention must be paid. If it is deliberate, it is inexcusable and the Jewish community should withdraw its financial and participatory support.”

“The goal of the New York Lawyers Committee to Stop BDS is to make sure that Jewish organizations immediately implement programs that educate and inform our community about the dangers to world Jewry in general and Israel in particular of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel,” its chairman, Robert Sidi, told The Jewish Press. “The 92 Street Y must stop hosting supporters of BDS; our own Jewish leadership must stop denouncing, denigrating and delegitimizing Israel.”

“If the leadership of the Y and JCC refuse to meet with us in order to clarify and rectify the situation, AFSI will have no choice but to join with the organizations picketing against them,” AFSI’s Freedman wrote.

Alice Walker at 92nd Street Y: Tight Security, Squelched Interview

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The day before pop music star Alicia Keys rebuffed the appeals of author Alice Walker and Pink Floyd band member Rogers Waters to cancel her upcoming performance in Israel, Walker herself benefited from the Jewish community, which gave her a platform to promote her work.

On May 30, the 92nd Street Y in New York City hosted Walker, an activist with the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, at a book-signing for her new collection of poetry, The World Will Follow Joy, and her new book of meditations, The Cushion in the Road.

Before the book signing, the 92Y stage was the setting for a dialogue between Walker and playwright Eve Ensler for a dialogue that was mutually adoring, with each singing the other’s praises.

Outside the event on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, the response of the Jewish community to the use of 92Y as a venue for an anti-Zionist was tepid. A small, noisy group of perhaps 20 people, mostly elderly, demonstrated against Walker’s appearance.

Lannie Grauman, one of the few younger protesters, said she was raising her voice to make clear that a Jewish organization should not provide a venue for an avowed hater of Israel.

“Walker spreads lies about Israel,” she said.

Police arrived when a confrontation between a screaming protester and a Walker supporter threatened to erupt into physical conflict. Security was tight – even people coming into the 92Y lobby were interrogated.

Della Johnson awaited a friend on the landing outside the entry doors. Johnson said she “simply wanted to see [Walker] in person,” and was not keeping up with Walker’s political opinions.

Those opinions – including Walker’s positions concerning Israel, her support of the BDS movement, or her participation in the attempts to break Israel’s legal blockage of Gaza – found no expression during her time on stage. The love-fest began with Ensler’s pronouncement that “it feels right,” as the two clasped hands.

“I honor this woman,” Ensler said.

Walker and Ensler conducted a polite, philosophical dialogue about “humanity,” with frequent expressions of high regard for each other’s work.

The few questions allowed from the audience were submitted in writing, on cards supplied and collected by ushers. The questions were thoroughly filtered – any possibility of Walker being challenged on Israel was eliminated.

When the staged segment was finished, the two authors sat together. “This is a book signing,” announced 92Y’s director of security.

“If you don’t have a book you have to leave,” he added.

There were no exceptions. Lorri Schwartz, a therapist who had been invited to attend by an Ensler associate, was summarily escorted out of the book-signing line, forced to purchase a book in order to have a moment of conversation with Ensler.

After each purchaser of an Ensler or Walker book had received an autograph, Walker agreed to answer several questions from JNS.org.

Asked why she refused to allow Israeli publisher Yediot Books to translate The Color Purple into Hebrew last year, Walker responded, “It was translated [into Hebrew] before there was a boycott [of Israel]. So it’s already there.”

Explaining her rationale behind boycotting Israel, Walker said that in her experience, “boycotts are ideal for such situations in which you refuse to employ violence.”

“You know, we went through this in the [American] South,” she said. “We went through this in South Africa and it’s the only option…because Israel has been very brutal in occupying Palestinian land and its mistreatment of Palestinian people. Have you been to Gaza? You see what has been done to the people?”

Before Walker could respond to the point that Gaza City is actually highly developed and residents there enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, Beverly Greenfield, director of public and media relations for 92Y, attempted to interrupt the conversation.

But Walker continued.

“I would stop my government from giving the Israeli government so much money,” she said. “We need the money here. Our schools are a mess – they’re closing them down. Our hospitals are terrible. You know, the poor communities are in such suffering. We need the money that we have been giving to Israel all these years. It’s not right. There’s no way you can make it right.”

As Walker continued to express her views, 92Y’s Greenfield, who monitored the entire interview, again interrupted. “This is not the place for this,” she said, before shutting down the interview.

(JNS)

NJ Woman: ‘Show Alicia Keys Support for Supporting Israel’

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Helene Fragman Abramson has been a careful observer of events in the Middle East for as long as she can remember.  Most of the time, Abramson grinds her teeth about the raw deal that Israel gets in the mainstream media, in academia, and – sometimes – in the arts.

That’s why Abramson was so thrilled to read that Rhythm & Blues singer Alicia Keys refused to cave to pressure from a fellow African American artist, writer Alice Walker, who tried to pressure Keys into cancelling a scheduled appearance in Israel on July 4.

Abramson thinks everyone who wants Keys to know that people support her principled position – but who cannot be in Tel Aviv to hear her and show their appreciation in person – should purchase one of Keys’ CDs or songs on July 4.

It’s a small gesture, but it will make a big statement.

“It seems to me we keep rewarding people who seek our demise,” Abramson told The Jewish Press on Monday, June 3. “I do my best to put my money where my mouth is, and that is not always so easy.

“Point is, we can use our wallets to punish as well as to reward.  If we can close it to attacks on the Jewish state, we can also open it in friendship.”

It is not easy for people in the entertainment industry to resist public calls by older, famous people, to shun a person or a land vilified with the worst calumny, that of racism; many artists and other celebrities have been unable to resist the call.

Alice Walker, the 69-year old author, is best known for her novel The Color Purple 31 years ago.

But in the past few years Walker has become infamous for her single-minded hatred of Israel and her efforts to strangle the Jewish State through economic and political boycotts.  In 2011, Walker sailed aboard the “Audacity of Hope,” seeking to puncture Israel’s lawful blockade of Gaza.  She refused to allow her best-selling novel to be translated into Hebrew, and she attempted, along with fellow Israel-hating artist rock musician Roger Waters, to prevent the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra from performing at Carnegie Hall in October, 2012.

Most recently, Walker wrote a letter which she posted on the Internet, calling on Alicia Keys to cancel her scheduled singing appearance in Tel Aviv, Israel. Walker was not content to merely call Israel an apartheid country.  She told Keys Israel is “unbelievably evil,” “greedy” and “cruel,” and that it is responsible for a great deal of global suffering.

The response from Keys came swiftly: “I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.” A Facebook page was set up to thank Keys.

And Abramson is suggesting everyone go one step further.

So on July 4 – or leading up to it – everyone who wants to thank Alicia Keys for standing tall and seeking to ‘unify audiences in peace and love’ should buy an Alicia Keys CD or tune either online or in stores.

Abramson said, “I am so grateful that Keys has not succumbed to pressure from fellow artists, the very people who should appreciate Israel.  Half of them would not have been able to develop their craft in most of the neighboring Arab and/or Muslim nations.

“I decided that I would buy an Alicia Keys CD on the date of her performance as a way of saying thanks.  I posted it on my Facebook page and asked others to share the idea.”

Pro-Israel New Yorkers Protest 92nd St Y’s anti-Israel Speaker

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

“She can say whatever she wants, but not in ‘our’ building,” was Manhattan attorney Robert Sidi’s response when finding out that the 92nd Street Y was hosting vocal Israel-hater novelist Alice Walker.

Sidi was explaining to The Jewish Press why he showed up Thursday night, May 30, to stand outside the 92nd Street Y and protest the fact that a Jewish institution, built and maintained with funds from Jewish charities, was providing a platform to someone who “denounces, denigrates and demonizes Israel.”

About a dozen pro-Israel New Yorkers joined Sidi last night, protesting the appearance by Alice Walker at the Y.  Walker was at the 92nd St Y to promote a recent publication of a book of poetry and to talk “about her activism and her writing, her conflicting impulses to retreat into inner contemplation and to remain deeply engaged with the world.”

Lainee Cohen Grauman and her husband Jonathan Grauman told The Jewish Press that they only found out about Walker’s appearance at the 92nd Street Y two days before the event.

“It really riled me,” Lainee Cohen Grauman said. “I liked her book, The Color Purple, but her politics and anti-Israel activities are  horrible.”  Grauman ticked off several anti-Israel positions Walker has taken: “she was on the flotilla to break the blockade of Gaza, she tried to stop Carnegie Hall from hosting the Israeli Philharmonic, and now she is trying to get Alicia Keys to back out of her appearance in Israel.”

Alicia Keys is a popular R & B singer scheduled to appear in Tel Aviv in July.  In a public letter Alice Walker called on Keys to pull out of her commitment to perform in the Jewish State.

In the letter Walker wrote to Keys, “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.”

Walker was not content to merely call Israel an apartheid country.  She told Keys Israel is “unbelievably evil,” “greedy” and “cruel,” and that it is responsible for a great deal of global suffering.

This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.

Grauman tried to call the 92nd Street Y administration to ask why they were providing a forum for Alice Walker, but finally gave up after  being repeatedly foiled by the switchboard.  Not only could she not speak with anyone, she could not even leave a message.

“It was important to show up outside the Y for two reasons,” Jonathan Grauman told The Jewish Press. First, it is important to send a message to the Y and to other Jewish institutions – they need to be put on notice that there are members of the Jewish community who do not want Jewish communal dollars spent supporting enemies of Israel.  And second, we want Alice Walker to know that we are aware of her anti-Israel message and she will not go unchallenged.”

Both Graumans concurred that it was important to go out and challenge falsehoods against Israel. “Walker’s insistence that the land belongs to the Palestinians is not just anti-Israel, it is a rejection of 2000 years of Jewish history,” Jonathan Grauman explained.

Richard Allen is the head of JCC Watch, which sent out the original notice about Walker’s appearance at the Y.

“It is shameful that the 92nd Street Y is diverting Jewish community money for anti-Israel activities,” Allen told The Jewish Press. “There has been a pattern – first with [BDS activist] Roger Waters and now with Alice Walker.  And all of our efforts to speak with the 92nd Street Y administrators have been met with closed doors, closed ears and closed minds.”

The Israel supporters who showed up outside the 92nd St Y last night to protest Walker’s appearance had a rare opportunity: as she approached the entrance to the Y at about 8:00 p.m., they were able to engage Walker in discussion about what they claim are her severely twisted and untrue assertions about Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/pro-israel-new-yorkers-protest-92nd-st-ys-anti-israel-speaker/2013/06/01/

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