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Posts Tagged ‘National Council of Young Israel’

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.

American Volunteers to Fire Up BBQ’s for 3000 IDF Soldiers

Friday, April 12th, 2013

A bunch of loving American Jews are planning to make sure that IDF soldiers who have to remain on active duty on their bases do not miss out on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) celebrations this year, like the hordes of Israelis who head for the national parks, beaches and any empty piece of land to hold their annual BBQ.

In 2012, 400 volunteers affiliated with Standing Together, International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) – Israel Region, and National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), visited 16 of bases, with some 3000 soldiers, and brought them Yom Ha’atzmaut cheer, BBQ grills and an abundance of food.

How much food? 6000 hot dogs, 3000 hamburgers, stockpiles of pita bread, mountains of different salads, whole bottling plants of soft drinks and a lake of humus and ketchup. Or so it seemed.

When the group arrived in Ofer base, near the prison where Arab security inmates often stage their hunger strikes (talk about psychological warfare!), the place looked like a ghost town, report the BBQ organizers in a recent press release. The soldiers were resting up from a night filled with patrols and guard duty, and so the volunteers quietly and efficiently set up the grills, laid out tables, started cooking up a major storm – and the young folks in olive green came to investigate, first one by one and then in droves.

“Every year this program grows as many people here tell their friends what a meaningful experience they had last year,” said Miriam Gottlieb of Standing Together. “So we have repeat volunteers and new volunteers – what doesn’t change is how wide the smiles are on the soldiers faces when they see us!”

“Hey, who deserves the BBQ more then them?” asked Daniel Meyer, Executive-Director of IYIM.

This year, the organizers are expecting 500 volunteers who will be visiting bases throughout Israel, where friendships will be sealed with a good burger.

4 Major American Jewish Orgs Rebuke Cardozo Over Carter Award

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Wednesday afternoon, April 10, a journal from Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of law will be presenting former President Jimmy Carter with an award, honoring him for his “human rights record.”  The Jewish Press has covered developments concerning this award and responses to it, extensively.

In addition to the many alumni and concerned individuals who spoke out against the Carter Cardozo Award, four of the largest American Jewish organizations have weighed in over the last 24 hours, all expressing their disgust 0ver the decision of a Jewish-affiliated school to give kavod (honor) to someone like Jimmy Carter.

On Tuesday, April 9, two organizations called on Cardozo to rescind the Carter honor. The Zionist Organization of America issued a statement, describing Carter as having a “repellant, decades-long record as an Israel-basher and promoter of Israel’s most vicious enemies, including Hamas.”

The National Council of Young Israel also issued a statement calling on Cardozo to rescind the invitation to Carter.  Farley Weiss, the president of the NCYI, wrote, “Mr. Carter’s well-known animus and bias towards the State of Israel has earned him widespread condemnation from Jews and non-Jews alike, and he certainly does not deserve to have any honor bestowed upon by him by an entity that has ties to the Jewish community and the Jewish State.”

On Wednesday, April 10, the day of the award ceremony, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League each publicly criticized Yeshiva University’s law school for choosing to honor and provide a platform to someone with such a well-documented anti-Israel history.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, said the Cardozo law students had not exercised “due diligence” before choosing Jimmy Carter as an honoree.

“Had they done so,’ he told the Algemeiner, “they would have discovered that Mr Carter has never resolved his conflict with the Jewish state. His serial bias against Israel is well-documented. That alone should have led tomorrow’s lawyers, whatever their ethnicity or religion, to conclude  that President Carter should not receive such an honor.”

The ADL’s Foxman slammed the students, saying, “The students were wrong – they are entitled to be wrong and inappropriate and we are entitled to say that honoring former President Carter is wrong, especially for  a Jewish institution…and indeed for any institution.”

In response to Cardozo’s refusal to revoke the award and ceremony for Jimmy Carter, the Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni issued the following statement:

It is shameful that President Richard Joel of Yeshiva University and Dean Matthew Diller of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School are not prepared to take a moral stand and rescind the invite to honor Jimmy Carter made by the Cardozo Journal for Conflict Resolution. By providing moral cover for those who would eradicate Israel and who despise America for her democratic values President Carter has caused irreparable harm to Israelis, Jews across the world and democracies across the globe. Cardozo has now provided a similar fig-leaf to President Carter and that is a terrible shame.

Jimmy Carter has an ignominious history of anti-Israel bigotry. He is responsible for helping to mainstream the antisemitic notion that Israel is an apartheid state with his provocatively titled book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”, the publication of which prompted mass resignations from the Carter Center. He has met numerous times with leaders of the terror group Hamas, whitewashing their genocidal goals and undermining US efforts to isolate Hamas. And Carter’s record of slandering Israel is so voluminous that both CAMERA and Alan Dershowitz have written books refuting his lies.

It is disingenuous of the Cardozo administration to justify its decision to allow the event to go ahead in the name of “academic freedom”.  If a student journal at Cardozo were to invite David Duke to bestow an honor upon him, rest assured that Cardozo administration would not have remained aloof on the matter. By honoring Carter at a bedrock of the American Jewish community, Cardozo administration not only betrays the values of honesty, integrity and truth but it betrays its community of supporters who rightfully view Jimmy Carter as anathema to the aspirations of the Jewish people and the survival of the State of Israel.

Orthodox Seeking Federal Funds for Sandy-Struck Synagogues UPDATED

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Wednesday is the day you can help the synagogues and other houses of worship that helped you and others who suffered from Hurricane Sandy.

After Hurricane Sandy ravaged parts of New York City and the surrounding communities last fall, many synagogues and other houses of worship became distribution centers for material goods and spiritual relief to those affected.  Many of those buildings sustaining enormous damage from the storm.  But because those types of non-profits are not specifically mentioned in the authorizing legislation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been unwilling to provide them with available relief funds.

The Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs and the National Council of Young Israel are asking constituents to call their federal legislative representatives and tell them to vote in favor of legislation that will solve the problem: HR 592, the “Federal Disaster Assistance NonProfit Fairness Act of 2013.”

HR 592 is bi-partisan legislation introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, a New York Democrat (NY-06), and Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican (NJ- 04).  It will correct a defect in the current FEMA legislation by making clear that houses of worship are to be included amongst the nonprofit recipients of federal disaster relief aid.

The language that the bill will add to the current law that provides disaster relief and emergency funding defines houses of worship as

A church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other house of worship, and a private nonprofit facility operated by a religious organization, shall be eligible for contributions under paragraph (1)(B), without regard to the religious character of the facility or the primary religious use of the facility

The ever-present fear that any time government and religion come near each other the mighty “separation of Church and State” that Americans hold dear might be threatened is often enough to overcome common sense.  But the Constitution does not prohibit any relationship between the two, what it prohibits is for the government to promote and support one particular religion, according to the bill’s proponents.

Because HR 592 will provide funding for any house of worship that is affected by natural disasters, the fear of unconstitutionality recedes. In order to ensure there is no misunderstanding, the religious organizations hope that the legislation is passed.  If it is, millions of dollars of the relief fund will become available to the more than 2oo synagogues and other houses of worship that were damaged in the storm.

A vote on this bill will take place on Wednesday, February 13.  The OU and NCYI ask that all citizens call their legislators and ask them to vote yes on HR 592.  For those who don’t know how to contact their representatives, or even who is their representative, there are websites which provide the information.

In addition to the organizations that represent Orthodox Jews, there is a broad range of support for HR 592, including the Jewish Federations of North America, the New York Board of Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Council of Churches of the City of New York, the American Jewish Committee, the Archdiocese of Trenton and Newark, the American Jewish Committee and Agudath Israel.

UPDATE Febreary 13:  Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 592, by a vote of 354 to 72.  The bill now goes to the Senate for approval.

Right-Leaning Pro-Israel Organizations Join Voices in D.C.

Monday, January 7th, 2013

The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) and the National Council of Young Israel announced on Friday, January 4, that EMET will serve as the NCYI’s voice on Capitol Hill for purposes of addressing foreign policy.  Both organizations are right-of-center and resolutely pro-Israel.

EMET is a small Washington, D.C. think tank which conducts weekly one-on-one briefings with Congressional offices, and hosts frequent talks by leading policy experts which are attended by members of congress, staffers, and others interested in Middle East policy.

According to Sarah Stern, founder and president of EMET, the collaboration between the two organizations makes sense

because of the strong symmetry in foreign policy views shared by the two organizations.  EMET’s policy focus will remain, as always, preserving and defending the national security of the United States, and its ally Israel, in the joint struggle against the forces of radical Islam and emphasizing Israel’s unique role as the eastern outpost of Western democratic values.  EMET currently does this with the backing of over 25,000 Americans throughout the United States.

The issues that EMET focuses its attention on educating members of Congress about include the need for Jerusalem to remain undivided; the need to demand of Islamist regimes that unless they meet required policy thresholds, U.S. military and financial assistance will be curtailed or even terminated; the dangers of a nuclear Iran; the dangers of a failed “land for peace” policy in dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the recognition that the path to peace is blocked by Arab Palestinian intransigence; and the need for American leadership in obtaining the release of unjustly jailed Jews around the world, including Jonathan Pollard.

The NCYI is an organization that grew out of the needs of Torah observant Jews to meet the challenges of a non-accommodating diaspora world, especially during the early decades of the Twentieth Century. Young Israel has 146 branches throughout North America, and it currently focuses not only on Torah observance, but on the needs and aspirations of its community, including various kinds of focused political action.  Obtaining the release from prison of Jonathan Pollard is a particularly important issue for Young Israel.  Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the executive vice president of the organization until his recent retirement, was one of Pollard’s most fervent advocates.

NCYI President Farley Weiss said in a joint press release about the arrangement between the two organizations, “NCYI is very excited to have EMET represent NCYI on it matters of foreign policy concerns.  I personally have admired for many years the tremendous job Sarah Stern and EMET has done and accomplished on Capitol Hill and their sterling reputation.  We are confident that partnering with EMET will be a win-win situation for both parties and will give the National Council of Young Israel a much stronger voice on issues of concern to our members.  We look forward to a great relationship with EMET.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/right-leaning-pro-israel-organizations-join-voices-in-d-c/2013/01/07/

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