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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Allen’

Klinghoffer Jews: Proud, Terrorist-Humanizing and Meek

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Peter Gelb has generated a drama worthy of an important new opera about the American Jewish community. And here, in The Jewish Press, is an exclusive of the cast and the story line.

Gelb is the managing director of the Metropolitan Opera. It was Gelb’s decision to stage John Adams’ opera about the terrorist murder of a disabled, elderly American man, Leon Klinghoffer. The Arab terrorists shot Klinghoffer in the head and in the chest and had him and his wheelchair thrown overboard as evidence of their unyielding position to swap innocent lives for convicted terrorist Arab prisoners in Israeli jails.

Klinghoffer was selected for the sacrificial murder because he was a Jew. Not an Israeli, but a Jew.

John Adams, along with Alice Goodman (born a Reform Jew, now an anti-Semitic Anglican minister), who wrote the heinous librettos, in their own words, set out to “humanize” the terrorists. That is the goal of the opera.

For the past six months, a stalwart collection of grass roots activists, largely based in the New York City area, have been working to inform a critical mass of Americans that it was a grotesquely offensive decision to stage the Klinghoffer opera (falsely titled: the “Death of Klinghoffer” – he didn’t just die, just as Daniel Pearl did not just die – each was murdered because, as Jews, they were powerful propaganda tools).

Should a dramatist decide to write an opera about the sturm und drang on the streets of New York regarding the Klinghoffer opera, there would be three distinct types being cast.

PROUD KLINGHOFFER JEWS

The first type to be cast would be what we’ll call the Proud Klinghoffer Jews, PKJ. This is a new group of actors/activists on the scene. These are the ones who have been forged in the crucible created by years of passive Jewish leadership and streetwise but unwieldy passion. It has been unleashed by the staging of what many consider an inciteful (not insightful), anti-Semitic, philo-terrorist opera at a time of rising anti-Semitism and global terrorism. There would be starring roles amongst these singers.

One, certainly, would be Richard Allen, the fifty-something New York businessman who – completely against type – has emerged as the ultimate grass roots Jewish, effective pro-Israel activist. Allen is not a grandstander; he prefers to remain in the background, dishing out credit to his fellow activists the way most ringleaders dish out criticism. Instead of claiming credit, Allen gets the job done. The man is the ultimate terrier – he puts his teeth in the calves of organizations whose acts harm Israel, and does not let up until he has accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

Another player – probably a baritone would be cast – is Jeffrey Wiesenfeld. Wiesenfeld is a businessman but also a seasoned political operator, having worked in the D’Amato, Koch and Pataki administrations. More of an “insider” than Allen, Wiesenfeld sits on the board of the City University of New York (where he’s made waves of his own as a principled pro-Israel Jewish New Yorker). It is Wiesenfeld who is usually the master of ceremonies at the larger, more effective and unequivocally pro-Israel Jewish rallies in New York.

And a newcomer to the stage: Leonard J. Weiss. The ultimate White Knight who, very publicly, bolted from what had been his beloved Metropolitan Opera. Weiss, recognizing the stench of moral decay, chose to very publicly redirect the money he had been donating to the Met to assist in helping his new comrades create a public astringent, hoping to cleanse the rot.

And Weiss has led the way for other Jews to stand up against this desecration of art. Eugene Grant, a real estate developer, announced that he was suspending his $5 million gift to the Met.

New York City Site of Huge Rally Against Met’s Klinghoffer Opera

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Thousands of protesters showed up to tell the Metropolitan Opera patrons, arriving Monday night, Sept. 22, for the year’s black tie gala, that staging the opera named the “Death of Klinghoffer” was a vile act of anti-Semitism.

Politicians, such as former New York Governor Pataki, and U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), an Israeli knesset member, local politicians, rabbis, activists, heads of Jewish Zionist organizations and Evangelical Zionist organizations, former U.S. Attorney General Judge Michael Mukasey, victims of terrorism and Jewish high school students came to voice their protest against the “Death of Klinghoffer” opera.

Cong. Eliot Engel (R) spoke at the anti-Klinghoffer rally on Sept. 22, 2014. Richard Allen (L) of JCC Watch, was one of the protest organizers.

Cong. Eliot Engel (R) spoke at the anti-Klinghoffer rally on Sept. 22, 2014. Richard Allen (L) of JCC Watch, was one of the protest organizers.

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey spoke out strongly against the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, Peter Gelb, insisting on staging the “Death of Klinghoffer” at the Metropolitan Opera. Mukasey was scathing in his denunciation of Gelb and his wrongheaded decision.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey spoke at the rally against the Met Opera staging the "Death of Klinghoffer" on Sept. 22, 2014.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey spoke at the rally against the Met Opera staging the “Death of Klinghoffer” on Sept. 22, 2014.

Sarri Singer, a victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism spoke out against the opera, as did several 9/11 victims, as well as a victim of African genocide.

Sarri Singer (center) victim of Palestinian Arab terror, with Consolee Nishimwe (L), Genocide Survivors Support Network, Survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda and Wendy Lanski (R), Board Member, Strength to Strength, 9/11 Survivor who was in the North Tower on the 29th Floor, at the Sept. 22 NYC protest against the 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera.

Sarri Singer (center) victim of Palestinian Arab terror, with Consolee Nishimwe (L), Genocide Survivors Support Network, Survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda and Wendy Lanski (R), Board Member, Strength to Strength, 9/11 Survivor who was in the North Tower on the 29th Floor, at the Sept. 22 NYC protest against the ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ opera.

New York City police officer Steven McDonald, the victim of a gunshot which left him confined to a wheelchair, spoke out strongly against terrorism and against the opera which glorifies it.

Detective Steven McDonald of the New York City Police Department was shot in the line of duty in 1986 and paralyzed from the neck down. He spoke at the rally against the Klinghoffer opera at the Metropolitan Opera on Sept. 22, 2014.

Detective Steven McDonald of the New York City Police Department was shot in the line of duty in 1986 and paralyzed from the neck down. He spoke at the rally against the Klinghoffer opera at the Metropolitan Opera on Sept. 22, 2014.

Christian Zionist, founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations Laurie Cardoza-Moore said that the growing cancer of anti-Semitism was now consuming the Metropolitan Opera. She reminded the crowd that Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that “all propaganda must be presented in a popular form.” Cardoza-Moore exclaimed that “the Metropolitan Opera has taken a page out of Hitler’s book!”

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, spoke at the anti-Klinghoffer rally in NYC on Sept. 22, 2014.

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, spoke at the anti-Klinghoffer rally in NYC on Sept. 22, 2014.

New Israel Fund Tries to Explain its Way Around BDS Ban

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

New Israel Fund (NIF) executive vice president Rabbi David Rosenn took disingenuousness to new heights during a talk held Wednesday evening, June 18, at the Jewish Center of Princeton, when he told the audience he refrained from using the term “occupied” territory to avoid “the hot button.”

In fact, Rosenn admitted that areas beyond the ‘green (1949 Armistice) line’—or Judea and Samaria, more accurate Biblical references he refused to use—are not considered Israel proper by him or NIF and therefore the NIF does not sponsor organizations which operate or are headquartered there. Yet NIF continues to be one of the largest funders of B’Tselem—the Israeli Information Center of the Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

Either Rosenn missed B’Tselem’s actual name (it includes ‘in the Occupied Territories’) or he simply omitted the distinction between Jewish organizations in the territories – which they don’t fund – and non- or even anti-Jewish organizations, which they do fund.

B’Tselem is also the organization responsible for giving Arab Palestinians video cameras to record IDF responses (but only the IDF responses) to disrespectful and sometimes violent instigation. The number of recorded alleged IDF ‘violations’ dropped dramatically once the IDF armed soldiers with cameras to capture entire (rather than partial) incidents.

Despite a polite, restrained albeit particularly well informed line of questioning—this is Princeton, after all—Rosenn resorted to semantics, suggesting a distinction exists between organizations supporting the international Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel (BDS) movement—a clear violation of NIF’s stated policy—and organizations located in Israel calling for the boycott of “Settlement” products.

Really? After fielding several questions to clarify the NIF position, Rosenn, who had earlier claimed that the NIF needed to be “vigilant” in deciding which organizations to fund, attempted to dismiss concerns saying “if [NIF] focused on BDS, we wouldn’t be able to realize our mission.”

Perhaps it would surprise Rabbi Rosenn to know that NIF-grantee Adalah provides legal representation for several Arab organizations that promote BDS in Europe as well as in Israel. Perhaps not.

The NIF is also a “proud sponsor” of Breaking the Silence (BtS), an organization of former IDF soldiers apparently so damaged by the effects of war that they were unable to go through chain-of-command to report abuses and IDF policy violations, but found themselves more than capable of confiding in the UN commission that produced the fraudulent and now-debunked Goldstone Report.

Even HaAretz, Israel’s widely read left leaning daily, discredited the group in 2009 citing the BtS agenda as “purely political.”  How a political agenda, particularly one based on fictional events, “supports issues that are in the public good”—the primary definition of an NGO—is anyone’s guess.

There’s no doubt that some NIF grantees are doing respectable, perhaps even good work.  The problem is NIF is funded from outside of Israel and some of the sources are sketchy at best.  This concern precipitated new legislation in Israel that has forced the NIF to be more diligent in adhering to its own guidelines.  Even so, the relationship between NIF and the historically anti-Semitic Ford Foundation drew the attention of investigative reporter Edwin Black who follows NIF money in “Financing the Flames.”

How NIF funding decisions are made remained elusive, with Rosenn saying only that a professional grant department was responsible.

The biggest surprise of the night came when Rosenn asserted that all criticism of the NIF emanated from reports in NGO Monitor, a respected watchdog group that was instrumental in bringing the NIF funding to the Israeli public, and from JCC Watch founder Richard Allen. Allen’s gripe, according to Rosenn, with NYC Federation’s John Ruskay is what led to his attacks on the NIF.

Mass Shofar Blast Against Anti-Israel Enabling on April 29

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

If a small group of grass-roots Jewish organizations have their way, more than one hundred protestors will assemble in New York City on April 29, 2014, each carrying a shofar. On cue, at 5:30 in the afternoon, rain or shine, all will raise their curved rams’ horns, long and short, and wail to the heavens in visceral unison producing a piercing spectacle of protest. The cacophonous alarums will continue their outcry until the shofar blowers feel they have made their point.

What are they protesting? It is their communal leadership.

The dissident shofar blowers will assemble in front of the 59th Street headquarters of the UJA-Federation of New York. The Federation’s beneficiary, the Jewish Community Relations Council, is the chief organizer of the Celebrate Israel Parade scheduled for June 1. The upbeat procession of floats, runners, and marchers is normally a public show of Jewish unity in support of Israel. But this year, the parade has become a maelstrom of disunity over the participation of the controversial New Israel Fund and other groups which recent revelations now link to the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement and the campaign to delegitimize Israel internationally.

The outrage in some American, Jewish, and Israeli circles over the NIF’s inclusion in the highly visible parade, formerly known as the Israel Day Parade, may be more than just a passing horn blast. The discontent may be energizing a historic decision among American Jews. Just what constitutes the Jewish mainstream? Is American Jewry about to set limits on its open tent of inclusion, a precept the community wears as a badge of honor?

More than a few American Jews feel their community has been hijacked from within by such groups as the J Street lobby, the New Israel Fund, and other organizations that constitute a powerful, well-funded minority able to wage war against Israel seemingly in the name of the Jewish people. “These groups are anti-Jewish,” says Judith Freedman Kadish, special project director of Americans for a Safe Israel, “and they are funding groups that are anti-Semitic. They just veil their actions by saying they are trying to influence public policy and an occupation.” The accused organizations and their defenders in the Jewish media and within the Jewish activist community vigorously insist their activities are simply democratic dissent aimed at solving Israel’s problems.

The New Israel Fund, enabled by taxpayer subsidies of its 501(c)(3) status, has been a pivotal funder of the BDS movement that wages economic war against Israel. Until 2011, the NIF was a lead supporter of the Coalition of Women for Peace, which established a global BDS infrastructure. According to NIF financial records, in 2008 alone, the NIF bestowed $93,457 upon the Coalition of Women for Peace. Over a period of years, NIF financing of this organization reached a strong six-figure sum, which included both direct grants and those where the NIF acted as a go-between for other donors–a technique they called “donor advised funding.”

The NIF no longer provides money to the Coalition of Women for Peace. Now, the CWP is strong enough to gather its monies from other sources. But detractors say — the irreparable damage was done. Moreover, the BDS movement today is fortified by a conveyor belt of brutality and oppression accounts–some legitimate, some exaggerated, some invented — force fed to the world by agitation NGOs, including many financed by the New Israel Fund.

NIF’s financial records for 2012 indicate that it granted $109,615 to Breaking the Silence, $255,477 to B’Tselem, and $209,161 to Adalah. These three groups are among dozens of NIF grantees that critics accuse as operating on the front lines of anti-Israel information and distorting the facts about international law as it affects Israel. Numerous Knesset members and Israeli military men have gone on record to decry the NIF as a well-financed, foreign, multinational NGO, hell-bent on “destabilizing the Israel Defense Forces” and erasing the Jewish identity from the State of 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

Post-Scandal 92nd St Y, Time to Re-Set Jewish, Pro-Israel Values

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Throughout the spring The Jewish Press and other media have repeatedly covered various missteps by what had been an esteemed New York Jewish institution, the 92nd St Y.

But it was recently revealed that the man who was supposed to be running the show was instead running around with his assistant; that the assistant’s son-in-law was not only an ex-con but that he had been put in charge of procurement for the Y’s facilities; and that he has recently been accused of demanding kickbacks from Y vendors.

The Y’s board hired a law firm to investigate the allegations.  The probe found strong evidence of wrongdoing, according to the New York Daily News.

But perhaps the Y can now not only cleanse itself from the tawdriness of the current scandal, but recommit to pro-Israel as well as to Jewish values.  While the Board of the Y is engaged in the hiring process for a new executive director, it would be a welcome relief to many if it were also to commit itself to ensuring that Jewish communal dollars are not spent providing a platform to Israel’s most vociferous haters.

Because for some reason, even if only relatively recently, under the previous executive director’s (failure of) leadership, the Y has let down many former supporters. Its scheduling included some people who are not only not supportive of Israel, but who rank among Israel’s biggest celebrity enemies.

First there was the disastrous dalliance with Roger Waters, one of celebritydom’s most outspoken anti-Israel defamers.  The former Pink Floyd rocker’s many acts of hatred towards Israel were chronicled in several articles in The Jewish Press.  Those articles ran when Waters was scheduled to appear in April.  At the last minute, and in a shamelessly stealthy move, a last minute scheduling conflict on Waters’ part allowed the Y to slide out of its commitment.

And then, just a month later, Waters’ sidekick in the effort to bar the Israeli Philharmonic from performing at Carnegie Hall, Alice Walker, was invited into the Y to help promote her new book. Walker is such an overt fountain spewing Israel hatred that even the mainstream Anti-Defamation League has labeled her comparisons of Israelis with Nazis and justifying suicide bombers as shocking and anti-Semitic.

Throughout these episodes, all the efforts to contact the Y’s executive director, Sol Adler, were met with no response.

Now we know why.

The emergent pattern at the Y of  booking not only opponents of Israel, but also the absolute stonewalling by the executive director as well as the communications director, led to the creation of a recurring protest outside of the 92nd Street Y.

The protest is known as “Close Your Wallets,” and it calls upon members of the Jewish community to make their views known by, literally, “Closing their Wallets” to Jewish communal organizations which allow money raised from the Jewish community to be spent supporting haters of Israel. They call that “donor fraud.”

Every second Thursday of every month – the next one is scheduled for August 8 – pro-Israel members of the larger New York City Jewish community stand outside the 92nd Street Y and distribute literature and educate passersby about the donor fraud problem.

And while no one likes to kick a dog when it’s down, perhaps the revelation about such extreme wrong doing as has just been disclosed will set the stage for some widespread housecleaning at the Y.  Therein lies the silver lining to the dark cloud currently hanging over the Y.

“This is a great opportunity for the Y’s board of directors to take control and stop the promotion of speakers who favor the boycott of Israel,” Richard Allen who heads JCC Watch, the driving force in the efforts to prevent, and then to educate about the problem of donor fraud, told The Jewish Press.

“They need guidelines, so they know what should not be crossed,” Allen continued. “The former leadership was not open to having them, but now, when putting in place other guidelines, those responsible for the Y’s future should also make it clear that Jewish communal dollars must not be used to fund anti-Israel activities.”

Allen told The Jewish Press that the Close Your Wallets protests will continue on the second Thursday of every month, until the Jewish communal organizations set those guidelines.

The Y is currently being run by the deputy executive director Deputy Executive Director Henry Timms, until a new executive director is selected.

Pro-Israel New Yorkers Protest 92nd St Y’s anti-Israel Speaker

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

“She can say whatever she wants, but not in ‘our’ building,” was Manhattan attorney Robert Sidi’s response when finding out that the 92nd Street Y was hosting vocal Israel-hater novelist Alice Walker.

Sidi was explaining to The Jewish Press why he showed up Thursday night, May 30, to stand outside the 92nd Street Y and protest the fact that a Jewish institution, built and maintained with funds from Jewish charities, was providing a platform to someone who “denounces, denigrates and demonizes Israel.”

About a dozen pro-Israel New Yorkers joined Sidi last night, protesting the appearance by Alice Walker at the Y.  Walker was at the 92nd St Y to promote a recent publication of a book of poetry and to talk “about her activism and her writing, her conflicting impulses to retreat into inner contemplation and to remain deeply engaged with the world.”

Lainee Cohen Grauman and her husband Jonathan Grauman told The Jewish Press that they only found out about Walker’s appearance at the 92nd Street Y two days before the event.

“It really riled me,” Lainee Cohen Grauman said. “I liked her book, The Color Purple, but her politics and anti-Israel activities are  horrible.”  Grauman ticked off several anti-Israel positions Walker has taken: “she was on the flotilla to break the blockade of Gaza, she tried to stop Carnegie Hall from hosting the Israeli Philharmonic, and now she is trying to get Alicia Keys to back out of her appearance in Israel.”

Alicia Keys is a popular R & B singer scheduled to appear in Tel Aviv in July.  In a public letter Alice Walker called on Keys to pull out of her commitment to perform in the Jewish State.

In the letter Walker wrote to Keys, “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.”

Walker was not content to merely call Israel an apartheid country.  She told Keys Israel is “unbelievably evil,” “greedy” and “cruel,” and that it is responsible for a great deal of global suffering.

This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.

Grauman tried to call the 92nd Street Y administration to ask why they were providing a forum for Alice Walker, but finally gave up after  being repeatedly foiled by the switchboard.  Not only could she not speak with anyone, she could not even leave a message.

“It was important to show up outside the Y for two reasons,” Jonathan Grauman told The Jewish Press. First, it is important to send a message to the Y and to other Jewish institutions – they need to be put on notice that there are members of the Jewish community who do not want Jewish communal dollars spent supporting enemies of Israel.  And second, we want Alice Walker to know that we are aware of her anti-Israel message and she will not go unchallenged.”

Both Graumans concurred that it was important to go out and challenge falsehoods against Israel. “Walker’s insistence that the land belongs to the Palestinians is not just anti-Israel, it is a rejection of 2000 years of Jewish history,” Jonathan Grauman explained.

Richard Allen is the head of JCC Watch, which sent out the original notice about Walker’s appearance at the Y.

“It is shameful that the 92nd Street Y is diverting Jewish community money for anti-Israel activities,” Allen told The Jewish Press. “There has been a pattern – first with [BDS activist] Roger Waters and now with Alice Walker.  And all of our efforts to speak with the 92nd Street Y administrators have been met with closed doors, closed ears and closed minds.”

The Israel supporters who showed up outside the 92nd St Y last night to protest Walker’s appearance had a rare opportunity: as she approached the entrance to the Y at about 8:00 p.m., they were able to engage Walker in discussion about what they claim are her severely twisted and untrue assertions about Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/pro-israel-new-yorkers-protest-92nd-st-ys-anti-israel-speaker/2013/06/01/

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