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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Boycotting the Messenger’

NYC JCC Film Dir Adds Sleazy Journalism Sin to HuffPost BDS Post

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Last week The Jewish Press ran an article that was critical of the Manhattan Jewish Community Center’s film programs director, Isaac Zablocki.  The criticism was for someone in his position – a paid employee of a Jewish institution whose financial existence is dependent on donations from Jews who are not told their money will be used to promote anti-Israel activity – who published an opinion piece in the Huffington Post strongly endorsing economic warfare against Israel. He wrote boycotts of Israel were “unquestionably” good so long as they do not include boycotts of Israel’s arts and culture and academic world.

To make it clear that it was not just an impression or possibly a misunderstanding of Zablocki’s article as supportive of boycotts against Israel, a block quote from Zablocki’s August 15 article, “Boycotting the Messenger,” was used.  Here it is again, this time with the key words underlined:

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nonviolence is a welcome form of protest for the region, and the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable. However, the protest of art, culture and education brings up dangers in the realm of freedom and evolution of thought. Artists and educators have an important impact on changing society. Their diversity of opinions plant seeds of thought and help minds grow.

It is hard to see how Zablocki’s own words mean anything other than that he supports the use of boycotts against Israel, so long as arts, culture and education are immune.  It is hard to say because, heck, those are the words he used!

Zablocki made a few feeble attempts to wish away his own words.  This reporter along with many other people were recipients of an email “clarification.” Next,  Zablocki posted a comment on his own article that he also labeled a “clarification.”  In fact, his statement was not a clarification of his article, it was a contradiction of his article.  Here is a screenshot of his “clarification,” followed by a comment pointing out that his article and his “clarification” are inconsistent.

comments to Zablocki's "Boycotting the Messenger" op-ed in Huffington Post

comments to Zablocki’s “Boycotting the Messenger” op-ed in Huffington Post

The lightbulb must have gone off at this point because then Zablocki, presumably with the Huffington Post‘s approval, did more than just wish away his words.  He deleted them from his article.  By deleting certain key, material words from an article, and neglecting to notify readers that there was a substantive change to the article, Zablocki committed an egregious journalistic sin.

As of sometime on Tuesday, August 20, the key portion of the fifth paragraph of Zablocki’s article, the one quoted earlier in this and our earlier article, was altered. The words “and the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable” were deleted.  The beginning of that paragraph now reads:

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nonviolence is a welcome form of protest for the region. However, the protest of art, culture and education brings up dangers in the realm of freedom and evolution of thought.

And what’s worse, we have been told by sources who wish to remain anonymous, that Zablocki is now telling people that it is obvious from his article that he opposes boycotts of Israel, indeed that that was the point of his article!  Hard to square that with his own words: “the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable.”  What’s unquestionable is that caught in an unpleasant situation, Zablocki took the coward’s way out, and is trying to pretend he never wrote what he in fact did write.

We asked Zablocki for an interview, explaining that if we had misunderstood his original article we needed to clear that up for our readers, but that the email clarification was factually inconsistent with the article.  Zablocki did not wish to be interviewed about this, and instead pointed us to the “clarifying statement” he wrote as a talkback comment to his article.

Here is a screen shot of the original version of Zablocki’s article, as it appeared (minus the highlighting and arrows) when The Jewish Press article was written.

screen capture of original published version of Zablocki article in Huffington Post, before key words were deleted

screen capture of original published version of Zablocki article in Huffington Post, before key words were deleted

What’s With NY Jewish Institutions? JCC Film Fest Dir. Pro-BDS!

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

The shocking news that the 92nd St Y’s now former director was involved in an affair and the possible cover-up of vendor shakedowns, could possibly explain the recent pattern of that institution’s promotion of celebrity proponents of economic and political warfare against Israel.  Perhaps it was simply collateral damage from a leadership gone astray.

But how to explain the New York City Jewish Community Center employing as its film programs director – that is, someone who chooses what films the New York Jewish Community is going to tout for its Jewish audience to see – someone who publicly embraces and encourages others to embrace that despicable movement known as BDS, the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against the Jewish State?

It did not require any investigative journalism to make this discovery.  The JCC’s film director, Isaac Zablocki, wrote an article touting his anti-Israel bona fides in one of the most widely-read (if frequently anti-Israel) outlets, the Huffington Post.

In an article published earlier this week titled, “Boycotting the Messenger,” Zablocki writes glowingly about the use of boycotts against Israel to punish the Jewish state for “violating the human rights of Palestinians.” He romanticizes boycotts as the paradigmatic “non-violent form of protest for centuries.”

The BDS movement fights against the normalization of the occupation of the State of Israel and pushes to exclude Israel from any international program as long as it is violating the human rights of Palestinians.

But Zablocki does not support all boycotts of Israel.  But his selective warfare against the Jewish State is not the Peter Beinart version of “beyond the Green Line is not kosher, within is kosher” style of boycott of Israel.

Nope, Zablocki, being an artiste and all (he had a one film career), is only opposed to arts and academia boycott of Israel. All other kinds of boycotts are hunky-dory.  We’ll allow him to explain it.  Here, again, from his Huffington Post article:

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nonviolence is a welcome form of protest for the region, and the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable. However, the protest of art, culture and education brings up dangers in the realm of freedom and evolution of thought. Artists and educators have an important impact on changing society. Their diversity of opinions plant seeds of thought and help minds grow.

Could it be that Zablocki, who grew up in Israel, but was educated at Columbia University (affectionately referred to by some as Bir Zeit on the Hudson) sees only as virtuous those in the industries he knows best?  It makes sense, in a selfish kind of way, that Zablocki would want to protect his comrades in the academic and arts industries from having their livelihoods harmed even by his favorite form of “non-violent protest.”  But businesses?  Manufacturing? Construction?  Those are for the uncultured masses.  Never mind that those are the industries in which most Arabs, especially poor Arabs, in the region are employed.  But let’s not allow that to be a consideration.

On the most fundamental level, the question has to be raised and raised repeatedly: why it is that so many institutions which are presumed to be providing services to the Jewish world, and are certainly raising their funds from Jews, are staffed by people who see their bona fides in the arts world as requiring a lusty desire to damage the Jewish State?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/whats-with-ny-jewish-institutions-jcc-film-fest-dir-pro-bds/2013/08/17/

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