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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Americans for a Safe Israel’

Tuesday Rally: No Israel Boycotters in Celebrate Israel Parade

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

A coalition of concerned pro-Israel New Yorkers will be gathering Tuesday evening outside of the UJA-Federation building at 130 East 59th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues, between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.

The organizers say they are having the rally because every other effort the group has made over the past several years has failed to convince the UJA-Federation and the JCRC that people affiliated with organizations which support the boycott of Jews in Israel – anywhere in Israel – should not be given an official hecksher of “pro-Israel” bona fides by being welcomed to march in the Israel Day Parade in New York.

The theme of the group coalesced over time and became “It starts with boycotts.” That’s because the people whom the group does not want to be granted acceptance support boycotting Jews as a legitimate tool the pressure Israel to accede to their – not the voters of Israel, but their wishes in resolving the Arab Israeli conflict.

“It starts with boycotts of Jewish products, and ends with violence against Jews,” said Beth Gilinsky, one of the main speakers at Tuesday’s rally. Gilinsky emailed The Jewish Press Monday evening. She is a long-time Jewish and pro-Israel activist and is the founder and president of the National Conference on Jewish Affairs.

“At this time, perhaps more than any other time since the beginning of the Holocaust, when anti-Israel hatred, and anti-Semitic and jihadist violence, are surging across the globe, it is time for the Jewish community to demand that Jewish leaders show some backbone,” Gilinsky explained.

As two New Yorkers put it in a letter they sent to the head of the UJA-Federation, their objection to the inclusion of people who intentionally harm Israel in the Israel Day Parade is not a matter of restricting free speech.

“Please do not confuse our opposition to the inclusion of BDS groups in the parade with any attempt to stifle free speech. On the contrary, we have no objection to the right of people to state their positions,” wrote Benjamin S. Klapper, of Manhattan. “As Jews and supporters of the state of Israel we do not have to furnish the platform.”

All of the rally organizers repeatedly made clear that they support the good work that the UJA-Federation and the JCRC do, especially their services for indigent and elderly Jews. But they all felt very strongly that it is wrong to permit those who willingly harm fellow Jews, or give support to those who do, to march with those whose love for Israel means they will fight for it, not against it.

“We stand with Israel, against the anti-Israel, Arab-supported BDS movement which dehumanizes Jews, demonizes Israel and which, sadly, some dishonorable Jewish groups support,” said Beth Gilinsky, one of the main speakers at Tuesday’s rally. Gilinsky is a long-time Jewish and pro-Israel activist and is the founder and president of the National Conference on Jewish Affairs.

The BDS movement promotes economic and legal warfare against Israel by promoting the implementation of Boycotts of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel and Israeli leaders.

The sorest point between the rally organizers and the gatekeepers for the parade is in the definition of boycott. For the pro-Israel group, anyone prepared to support those who do, or who themselves use economic warfare against Jews are supporters of anti-Israel boycotts, whether the support is for a boycott of all of Israel or only of Jews living in Judea and Samaria.

For those who make the eligibility determination, groups like J Street and the New Israel Fund and even the Partners for Progressive Israel, which consistently partner with or who fund groups that promote Israel boycotts or who promote boycotts themselves, their pro-Israel bona fides comes from their claim to “support Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Richard Allen, is the founder of JCCWatch. Allen is the main catalyst for the rally and the sustained effort to ensure the Celebrate Israel Parade includes only actual lovers of Israel. He explained to The Jewish Press that the UJA-Federation has been telling concerned donors that no BDS supporters will be marching in the parade.

“But that’s simply not true and they know that. Partners for a Progressive Israel march in the parade. That is a pro-BDS group,” Allen said.

A quick skip over to the Partners for a Progressive Israel website reveals that oh yes indeed, the group most certainly promotes the boycott of all kinds of Israeli products, including SodaStream (what would Scarlett say?), Ahava and, all told, more than a dozen products including wines, salads and spices made by Jewish companies. Most of which, by the way, employ Arabs at salaries far higher than the salaries at Arab-owned companies.

Take a look:

Partners for a Progressive Israel very proudly support the boycotting of more than a dozen Israeli products

Partners for a Progressive Israel very proudly support the boycotting of more than a dozen Israeli products 

Joe Rapaport is a New Yorker who took the time to speak with John Ruskay, executive director of the UJA-Federation. Ruskay told Rapaport, that all the “groups marching in the parade have signed off that they are NOT in favor of BDS.” How to explain that position with the Partners for Progressive Israel’s proud affirmation of their boycott is difficult to understand.

But there is no need to attempt to reconcile those two contradictory positions, because the official  ”2014 CELEBRATE ISRAEL PARADE – June 1, 2014 RULES AND REGULATIONS” makes no reference toBDS. The only requirement imposed on parade marchers is not even that they “support” Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, but that they “identify” with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. No pledge is required, the statement just appears in the rule book.

Rapaport said that Ruskay also tried various hedges, like “the Federation does not decide who is in the parade, the JCRC does.” Ruskay conceded, however, according to Rapaport, that the Federation had the ability to influence the decision. Finally, Rapaport explained that Ruskay “jumped to the argument that to eliminate these [BDS supporting groups] would alienate big donors, specifically Bronfman.”

It always comes down to money, doesn’t it?

“I have received calls this week from members of the Jewish establishment accusing us of trying to stop the parade altogether,” Gilinsky said.

“Neither could be farther from the truth. We certainly want the Celebrate Israel event to succeed — just without promoters of the anti-Jewish, Hamas-backed BDS movement parading down Fifth Avenue!”

Groups participating in the rally include JCC Watch, Americans for a Safe Israel, National Conference on Jewish Affairs, Coalition for Israel, Young Israel of Kew Gardens, Jewish Action Alliance, Never Again is Now and the Jewish Political Education. Foundation

American Jews Protest Release of Terrorists and Start of False Talks

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Stalwart New York-area pro-Israel Jews gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York City midday Tuesday, July 30 to express their grave disappointment in Israeli leadership which they believe has caved in to wrong-headed and wrongly-directed demands by the U.S. government to commence foolhardy “peace” talks.

And as an inducement for the Arab Palestinians to deign to sit down and speak with representatives of the Jewish State, the Israeli government violated solemn promises made to scores of Israelis: that imprisoned terrorists with Israeli blood on their hands will never be released from prison.

As dozens held signs and chanted, several speakers representing nearly two dozen pro-Israel organizations shared their outrage over the decisions.

Buddy Macy is an Israel activist from New Jersey.  He has written dozens of letters to Israeli Knesset members over the years, beseeching them to be strong and not fall for the threats of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations or any of the other global entities which constantly demand of Israel concessions that they never make of another sovereign nation.

Macy honed in on the idea that Israel keeps making concessions, the concessions keep leading to more violence, and yet, in the name of what everyone calls the “peace process,” Israel continues to submit to making still more concessions.

Macy asked whether it was time for Israel to learn from the Arab Palestinians, who at least have the strength of their convictions, even if Macy and others believe those convictions are based on falsehoods.

“From a practical standpoint, also, isn’t it time that we stopped agreeing to and implementing the least harmful concessions, and, rather, stood up for what we believe,” Macy asked.

“Releasing Arab murderers of Jewish men, women and children in another one of Israel’s ‘goodwill gestures” is foolish, said Tamar Adelstein, coordinator of Crown Heights Women for the Safety and Integrity of Israel, which organized Tuesday’s event. “Every gesture for peace the State of Israel signs onto endangers the lives of every Jewish citizen who lives in Israel. Every land for peace deal that Israeli and Jewish leaders have agreed to has brought war, terrorism, devastating property damage and loss, and has left traumatized vast numbers of our precious Jewish children.”

Helen Freedman, the executive director of the New York-based Americans for a Safe Israel, reminded the Israeli prime minister how he had ridiculed former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for considering releasing prisoners with Israeli blood on their hands.

“When Netanyahu was in the Opposition and Sharon talked about releasing prisoners, Netanyahu said it was disgraceful for [former Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon to consider releasing terrorists, and that is because releasing terrorists encourages Israel’s enemies,” Freedman said at the press conference on Tuesday.

“Netanyahu was so forceful in saying that if Likud was in power they would make sure this would never happen. And Gideon Saar was at his side, agreeing,” Freedman reminded the crowd. “But on Sunday, Saar and Bogie Ya’alon and others disappointed us all and voted to release these murderers.”

An undercurrent at the gathering was speculation about what Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his cabinet were threatened with that induced them to vote 13 – 7 in favor of the prisoner release.

Most agreed it probably had to do either with refusing to help – or actively hindering – Israel’s efforts to stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons or refusing to veto anti-Israel actions at the United Nations.

Israel’s agreement to release prisoners with blood on their hands in exchange for absolutely nothing other than sitting at the table with them was particularly irksome.

“This demand clearly proves that there is absolutely no intention of any peace on the side of the PA and we should call their bluff and accept the reality that the ‘peace’ process is a sham,” Robin Ticker, a blogger and pro-Israel activist told The Jewish Press after the rally.

Organizations including the Los Angeles-based Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, B’nai Brith of Toronto, Rachel’s Children Reclamation Center, the International Committee for the Land of Israel, and a Victims of Terror group supported Tuesday’s press conference.

In an email to The Jewish Press on Tuesday evening, Macy explained that he had sent a copy of his speech to every member of the Israeli government, and concluded it with a plea for true American Jewish leadership regarding Israel:

We, in America, are also desperately seeking true leadership from one of our own who sits in a position of esteemed leadership.  I am positive that at least one of you agrees with me that the release of 104 Arab “Palestinian” convicted murderers is an obscenity that reduces the worth of every Jew in the world.  I am also certain that at least one of you thinks that the idea of a two-state ‘solution’ – at least at this time – is pure fantasy.  Please, I beg of you, speak out publicly before all of Israel’s sovereignty has disappeared, and before all of us have been placed in grave danger.

Knesset member Nachman Shai (Labor) is the only Israeli who answered Macy’s emails.  Shai wrote: “Do not send more emails.”

JCPA: ‘We’re The Voice of American Jews,’ But Many Beg to Differ

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

As we conclude the somber observance of Tish B’Av, the time when so many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people are recalled, it is perhaps not irrelevant that U.S. secretary of state John Kerry has returned to the Middle East.

Official reports claim Kerry has no plans to visit Israel, but, as Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu reported in The Jewish Press, Kerry met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas while in Jordan.  It turns out he is also meeting with various Arab leaders who, according to al Jazeera, Kerry believes “are essential to his push to get Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks.”  That’s right.  Arab leaders to push – who? Who else, but Israel, to restart the “peace talks.”

Yes, although the entire Middle East is in turmoil, Egypt has just gone through a second revolution, nearly a100,000 have died in Syria’s ongoing civil war, one into which Lebanon is increasingly being drawn, Turkey is nearing the boiling point, Iraq continues to unravel and Iran is approaching nuclear weapons capability, leave it to a group of professional Jewish professionals to sashay into D.C. and tell the relevant congressional committees that now is the time for Kerry to kickstart the Arab-Israeli “peace talks.”  And that’s what happened, just before Kerry left for the Middle East.

The Jewish group making the possibly worst-timed suggestion ever is the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).

According to its website, the JCPA has a tripartite mission: first, “to safeguard the rights of Jews here and around the world”; second, “to dedicate ourselves to the safety and security of the state of Israel”; and third, “to protect, preserve and promote a just American society, one that is democratic and pluralistic, one that furthers harmonious interreligious, inter ethnic [sic] interracial and other intergroup relations.”

From their mission, you might think that the safety and security of Jews and the Jewish state would be the primary focus of JCPA’s activities.  But you might be wrong, as a quick look at their website makes clear.  The JCPA’s focus is on liberal domestic issues. Israel and Judaism play a minor role.

JCPA CLAIMS TO REPRESENT THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY

Nonetheless, the JCPA can prioritize as it wishes and make whatever suggestions it wants to members of congress.  But when the JCPA leaps over its goal to be something and starts proclaiming it is something, that is when people begin to bristle.

You see, on the JCPA Facebook page, and on its Twitter homepage, it states, with no qualifiers, that “the JCPA is the representative voice of the organized Jewish community.”

That’s news to a whole lot of American Jews who shared their response with The Jewish Press.

Because when the JCPA decided to meet with the House and the Senate foreign relations committees, asserting that the American Jewish community wants Kerry to focus on restarting the peace talks, that claim may have been heard as if it had far more weight than warranted.

Let’s put aside for the moment that when the JCPA went to congress to make its claims, it was double-dating with the American Task Force on Palestine.  That’s something they do a lot.  Again, whatever JCPA does is its own business.

But The Jewish Press asked a broad geographical cross-section of American Jews who are knowledgeable about the Middle East in general and Israel in particular, whether, as the JCPA asserts, it is the “representative voice of the organized Jewish community,” and if it spoke representing them when it went to congress urging the restart of the “peace talks” at this time.

In a word, no.

People in California, Chicago, Florida, Washington, D.C., and New York were asked to comment.  Rabbis, architects, businesspeople, financial wizards, intelligence analysts, and Jewish communal leaders were asked to comment.  They all said no, the JCPA does not represent them.

“They don’t represent me,” said Jeff Ballabon, the president of a New York consulting firm and the founder of the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem, a consortium of two dozen national pro-Israel groups.

“Israel has stated very clearly: there are to be no preconditions for starting the peace talks, so I have to wonder, why are these groups putting pressure on Israel?  I don’t see how any American Jew who cares about Israel’s safety and security would be pushing this now,” Ballabon said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jcpa-were-the-voice-of-american-jews-many-beg-to-differ/2013/07/17/

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