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December 2, 2015 / 20 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘JCRC’

CA Bay Area: Ground Zero of the Left takes on Iran Deal

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

It started with just four people. These four people decided that although they live in California’s infamous Bay Area, they had to do whatever they could to stop their elected officials from signing on to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Nuclear Iran deal.

These four people, all involved with the Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council, knew they had to ignite a grass roots effort to stop the Iran deal.

And so Dr. Lenny Kristal, Ruvim Braude, Rosalind Franklin and John Rothmann drafted a short, respectful statement, acknowledging the rights of others who hold different opinions, but unequivocally declaring their opposition to the proposed deal with Iran.

The statement calls on their representatives in Congress to “reject the agreement.”

The basis for their opposition is that the proposal does not do nearly enough to ensure the “safety and security of the United States, Israel and other allies in the Middle East, and consequently increases the likelihood of war in the region.”

The fact that Iran continues to provide financial support to terrorist groups “sworn to Israel’s destruction,” and to “destabilize the Middle East,” was another factor cited by the group.

And it was deeply disturbing to the hundreds of Bay Area residents who signed the statement – folks from across the political divide, and even former strong supporters of President Barack Obama – that chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were heard throughout the Islamic Republic of Iran, even as the JCPOA was being signed by the Iranian representatives and the P5+1, including the U.S.

The original four swelled to 500 supporters within ten days. The statement, which the drafters called a “Declaration of Conscience,” ran as an advertisement in the Aug. 10 edition of the J Weekly, northern California’s weekly Jewish news publication.

Because the names of people who wanted to be included continued to pour in, the original group decided that in addition to taking the statement with the signatures, and delivering it to the area’s congressional representatives, the initiative should remain alive.

A Facebook page, VoteNoBA was created, and the statement is now there in the form of a petition. By “liking” the page, people both in the region and in other areas can amplify the voices being raised telling congressional representatives to vote down the Nuclear Iran deal.

If such a groundswell can rise up in ten short days in the Bay Area, the birthplace of the Free Speech movement and the American branch of the BDS movement, other regions of the country might take heart and undertake similar initiatives.

According to Kristal, “so many movements have started here in the Bay Area and then are emulated elsewhere.” He dared to hope that this Declaration of Conscience might set off similar efforts.

“People are beginning to feel the danger, and when stress builds up, it can result in a coalescence around certain issues,” Kristal continued. “We need to stand up and be counted. We all do.”

Coalition Chair’s Letter of Praise for 100 Shofars Protest in NYC

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Protesters who plan to demonstrate today at the world’s largest shofar-blowing event in history in New York City have drawn praise from the Israeli government coalition chairman, who expressed his admiration for their “courage.”

Israeli government coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin  is “deeply moved” by demonstrators who are to gather to protest participation in the Israel Day Parade of groups promoting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

In a letter sent to Richard Allen, founder of JCCWatch – organizer of the rally being held in New York – Levin praised the rally, set for Tuesday April 29 at  5 pm, “courageous stance of so many friends of Israel involved in the parade, calling to delegitimize those who delegitimize Israel.

“It is not logical or reasonable for Israel supporters to condone or overlook or indirectly cooperate with BDS groups which represent the antithesis of support for Israel. Refusing to recognize the State of Israel’s sovereign right to develop and maintain an independent legal position on any issue of national importance is not legitimate.”

The UJA-Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) which sponsors the annual Israel Day Parade, agreed this year to permit a number of anti-Israel groups to march this year in the parade, setting off a tsunami of protest over their participation. Among those  are:

  • Partners for Progressive Israel: which encourages the public to boycott Ahava Cosmetics, SodaStream and wine from nine Israeli vineyards.
  • The New Israel Fund: which finances NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that promote BDS activities against Israel. NIF funds Machsom Watch, the Coalition of Women for Peace, Women Against violence, Social TV and Mossawa, all of which signed a letter to the Norwegian government pension fund, urging it to divest from Israel.
  • B’Tselem: A major recipient of funds from NIF, the group has produced the anti-israel video shown at Israel Apartheid Week events held at various universities around the world. The organization’s board chairman, Oren Yiftachel, has publicly called for “effective sanctions” against Israel.

The rally, promoted as the “largest shofar blowing event in Jewish history,” is set to take place this afternoon (April 29) at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (New York City) in front of the UJA-Federation building at 130 East 59th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues. Participants are urged to bring their shofars to the rally. Those who do not have a shofar but who wish to participate can receive one to use on site.

Scheduled speakers include Rabbi David Algaze from the World Committee for the Land of Israel / Havurat Yisrael; Richard Allen, JCCWatch; Dr. Paul Brody of the Jewish Political Education Foundation; Helen Freedman of Americans for a Safe Israel; Beth Gilinsky of National Conference on Jewish Affairs; Mort Klein, head of Zionist Organization of America; Robert Muchnick of Manhigut Yehudit, and Lauri Regan of Endowment for Middle East Truth.

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/tuesday-rally-no-israel-boycotters-in-celebrate-israel-parade/2014/04/08/

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