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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Community Relations Council’

Grass Roots Jewish Groups Condemn NYC Jewish Leadership for Condoning BDS

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

For the second time in as many years, grass roots pro-Israel New Yorkers held a rally outside the NYC UJA Federation building and blasted their shofars to bring attention to what they are describing as a deficiency of leadership.

More than a hundred people showed up to hear speeches criticizing the NYC UJA-Federation, especially its president, Alison Doctoroff, for giving their hecksher to organizations that seek to financially harm Israel, and to join in the 100-strong Shofar blowing intended to focus attention on the problem.

The pro-Israel activists were protesting the decision made by the UJA-Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council leadership to allow groups which support boycotts of such iconic Israeli products as SodaStream and Ahava to once again march in the NYC Celebrate Israel Parade.

Beth Gilinsky, the president of the National Conference of Jewish Affairs, one of the organizational supporters, has been trying for many years to galvanize what passes for institutional Jewish leadership in the United States to take strong affirmative positions on behalf of Jews and the Jewish State. She sees the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) campaign as the latest anti-Semitic strategy, one for which too many Jews have fallen.

“Through heavily-funded tsunamis of lies, disinformation, and agitprop, BDS seeks to malign what is beautiful and positive and strong about Israel. BDS is evil and essentially anti-Semitic, passing off as expressions of ‘justice’ false accusations against Israel and Jews. Israel is not an ‘apartheid’ state, as the BDSers propound, but in so many ways is the one beacon of light and progress in a neighborhood teeming with brutality and oppression.

“Skyrocketing BDS has led to increased threats and violence against Jewish people, Jewish institutions, and property. Even our young Jews are not free of it, as BDS has provoked a widespread climate of aggression against Jewish students on American campuses. I urge every Jew, and every Jewish organization across the globe, to step forward as a united front at this time in history to challenge those — be they Palestinian Arab agitators or hard Leftist Israel-bashers — working overtime to ignite anti-Semitism and destroy Israel.”

Richard Allen, the force behind JCC Watch, served as the master of ceremonies for Monday’s rally. Allen explained why so much of the focus of the rally this year was on UJA-Federation president Alisa Doctoroff. Doctoroff is a major supporter of the New Israel Fund, which funds entities that advocate boycotts of Israeli products. The NIF was permitted once again to march in the Celebrate Israel parade, which the UJA Federation and the NYC JCRC oversee.

Allen made the point: “Some of these groups are marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade when their purpose is NOT to celebrate Israel, but to denigrate it.”

Participant at 101 Shofar rally in NYC to protest BDS advocates in Celebrate Israel Parade. May 11, 2015

Participant at 101 Shofar rally in NYC to protest BDS advocates in Celebrate Israel Parade. May 11, 2015

New Yorker Lauri Regan, representing the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), also spoke at Monday night’s rally. Regan spoke about the growing delegitimization of Israel across the globe, and in particular how it manifests on U.S. campuses.

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

Seeking ‘Peace’ by Waging War?

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

All along this has been the modus operandi of the Palestinian-Arabs and their supporters.  They have fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians; committed shootings, stonings and bombings; and incited hatred and violence among the Palestinian-Arab population.  Outside of the region they seek to defame or delegitimize Israel or punish Israel economically.  This onslaught has been incessant. Hardly the ingredients for “peace.”

A major conference taking place in Philadelphia on March 28 and 29 by supporters of the Palestinian-Arabs looks to perpetuate the attacks rather than end them.

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is staging “The Role of the US in Israel-Palestine: Current Realities and Creative Responses” at the American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers) headquarters in Center City Philadelphia.  FOSNA is a support arm of a radical Christian Palestinian-Arab group based in Jerusalem called Sabeel.

Sabeel is a stew of Christian liberation theology and replacement theology that politicizes religion to advance a political agenda.  In this case, that agenda is an end to the Israel we know and love; an Israel that serves as a vital ally to America.

Rather than truly seeking ways to co-exist or to build up a normal Palestinian-Arab society, FOSNA has assembled a roster of Israel haters and antagonists to present discussions and workshops geared toward delegitimizing and defaming Israel, hurting the Jewish state economically and eroding support for Israel – particularly among American Christians.

Based on a conference schedule posted on its Web site, the FOSNA conference will encourage the termination of American military aid to Israel; recast “the Israel-Palestine conflict as a civil rights struggle, with parallels to South Africa and the American South;” seek to increase anti-Israel activities on campuses; and promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  FOSNA believes that the mainstream media is not already biased against Israel and thus will discuss strategies to make it more unfavorable to Israel, and to turn more Christians against Israel.

According to its Web site, conference sponsors include: Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), the Catholic Peace Fellowship, the Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace, and the Peacemaking Committee of the Presbytery of Philadelphia.

To the Jewish community, the lack of a consistent position regarding Israel within Christianity can be confusing.  Groups including Friends of Israel (founded in 1938), Christians United For Israel (founded about a decade ago) and smaller groups such as Delaware’s Olive Tree Ministries are fervently pro-Israel, while other Christians such as the Quakers and “Main Line” Protestant denominations have been antagonistic toward Israel.  This divide is as old as the modern State of Israel itself.

When the State of Israel declared its independence in 1948, many Palestinian-Christian clergymen abandoned the Hebrew Bible because they believed it was too Zionist.  In an effort to reclaim it for their people, they replaced the Israelites with Palestinians in the narrative.  For example, instead of adhering to the biblical context of the Exodus, they supplant that with an interpretation of the Palestinian-Arabs going to the Knesset, saying: “Let my people go!”

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” takes interpretive liberties with the biblical accounts and prophecies of the Hebrew Bible in order to mold it to specific political and theological agendas.  It maintains that certain Torah passages are outdated and irrelevant, claiming they reveal a primitive way of understanding G-d’s revelation to man.  A majority of these “irrelevant” sections often involve G-d’s promise to give or return the Jewish people to their land.

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” is still considered fringe within mainstream Christianity.  Its proponents wish to advance the cause of the Palestinian Christians, who desire to create a Palestinian state.  The impetus for the movement stems from “Replacement Theology,” a faulty method of biblical interpretation that claims the church has replaced the role of Israel in the Bible.  Denominations that commonly hold to “Replacement Theology” to a degree include some Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/seeking-peace-by-waging-war/2014/03/29/

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