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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘roger waters’

Donor Fraud: Jewish Donor Dollars Support anti-Israel Speakers UPDATED

Friday, July 12th, 2013

PLEASE SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF ARTICLE

Several dozen Jews converged on the sidewalk outside the 92nd Street Y Thursday evening, July 11, for the first in an ongoing series of protests that will be held in the same place, every second Thursday of every month.  The protests will continue until the 92nd Street Y responds to repeated requests that it stop using Jewish communal dollars to showcase and support speakers and events that demonize Israel.

Two of the leaders of the global anti-Israel movement were scheduled to appear at the Y this spring.  Roger Waters was scheduled to speak at the Y in April and Alice Walker spoke at the Y in May.  Among many other hostile acts towards Israel, Waters and Walker teamed up in an attempt to block the Israeli Philharmonic from appearing at Carnegie Hall in October, 2012.

Richard Allen, the head of JCC Watch, told The Jewish Press that for months he and others have been attempting to have a conversation with the leadership of the 92nd St Y about their hosting people at the forefront of the movement to commit political and economic warfare against Israel, and, to add insult to injury, using “hard-earned funds” contributed by Jews who are led to believe that money would be used to support the Jewish community.

But the folks who run the 92nd Street Y won’t even give them the courtesy of a return phone call, let alone a meeting.

Allen’s response is to publicly expose what he calls “donor fraud, perpetrated not only by the 92nd Street Y, but also by other Jewish organizations which raise money from Jewish donors on the pretext that the money would be used to benefit the Jewish community.  But instead, some of that money is actually being used to twist support against Israel, it is being used to actively promote attacks against the Jewish State.”

Many who came to protest what they claim is donor fraud carried Israeli flags and handed out flyers to people going into the 92nd Street Y.

The flyers described speakers who were recently invited to speak at the venue and who are leaders in what is known as the BDS movement – the movement which promotes the boycott of, divestment from and imposing sanctions against Israel. Hundreds of flyers were distributed Thursday night.

The flyers also described a new initiative by the group which they are calling the “Close Your Wallets” campaign:

It Is Time to “Close Your Wallets” to Jewish Organizations that Host & Promote Israel Boycotters. We’ll be there in blue and white on the second Thursday of every month to raise awareness of the 92 st Y’s history of hosting Leaders of the Boycott against Israel Movement. No Jewish funding for Boycotts Divestments and Sanctions against Israel!

Ronit Jacobs came with her daughter from New Jersey to join the protest.

“How can the Y host leaders of the BDS movement, which is a cult set on the destruction of Israel,” Jacobs asked Thursday night. “Not only do the BDS people seek to harm Israel, it is clear they don’t even really care about the ‘Palestinian’ people.  If they did,” Jacobs continued, “they would be protesting the horrible treatment of Palestinian Syrians and Palestinian Jordanians and Palestinian Lebanese.  But they don’t.  All these people really want is to rid the land of all Jews.”

Others who showed up to Thursday night offered additional evidence that the 92nd Street Y is insufficiently supportive of Israel.

Robert Sidi, a Manhattan attorney, pointed out to The Jewish Press that he had “reviewed the Y’s electronic calendar and the only Israel-related programming is Israeli folk dancing.  Now no one loves Israeli folk dancing more than I do,” Sidi said, “but it is a disgrace that the only thing about Israel the Y thinks is worthwhile is Israeli folk dancing.”

Helen Freedman, the executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel, and Judy Kadish, AFSI’s special projects director, were both at the protest Thursday night.

“Promoting hatred against Israel and Jews is not what public institutions should be used for,” Freedman said.  “And yet, when AFSI offered to speak, to provide facts about Judea and Samaria, the Y told us we were too political.”

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.

NJ Woman: ‘Show Alicia Keys Support for Supporting Israel’

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Helene Fragman Abramson has been a careful observer of events in the Middle East for as long as she can remember.  Most of the time, Abramson grinds her teeth about the raw deal that Israel gets in the mainstream media, in academia, and – sometimes – in the arts.

That’s why Abramson was so thrilled to read that Rhythm & Blues singer Alicia Keys refused to cave to pressure from a fellow African American artist, writer Alice Walker, who tried to pressure Keys into cancelling a scheduled appearance in Israel on July 4.

Abramson thinks everyone who wants Keys to know that people support her principled position – but who cannot be in Tel Aviv to hear her and show their appreciation in person – should purchase one of Keys’ CDs or songs on July 4.

It’s a small gesture, but it will make a big statement.

“It seems to me we keep rewarding people who seek our demise,” Abramson told The Jewish Press on Monday, June 3. “I do my best to put my money where my mouth is, and that is not always so easy.

“Point is, we can use our wallets to punish as well as to reward.  If we can close it to attacks on the Jewish state, we can also open it in friendship.”

It is not easy for people in the entertainment industry to resist public calls by older, famous people, to shun a person or a land vilified with the worst calumny, that of racism; many artists and other celebrities have been unable to resist the call.

Alice Walker, the 69-year old author, is best known for her novel The Color Purple 31 years ago.

But in the past few years Walker has become infamous for her single-minded hatred of Israel and her efforts to strangle the Jewish State through economic and political boycotts.  In 2011, Walker sailed aboard the “Audacity of Hope,” seeking to puncture Israel’s lawful blockade of Gaza.  She refused to allow her best-selling novel to be translated into Hebrew, and she attempted, along with fellow Israel-hating artist rock musician Roger Waters, to prevent the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra from performing at Carnegie Hall in October, 2012.

Most recently, Walker wrote a letter which she posted on the Internet, calling on Alicia Keys to cancel her scheduled singing appearance in Tel Aviv, Israel. 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.

The response from Keys came swiftly: “I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.” A Facebook page was set up to thank Keys.

And Abramson is suggesting everyone go one step further.

So on July 4 – or leading up to it – everyone who wants to thank Alicia Keys for standing tall and seeking to ‘unify audiences in peace and love’ should buy an Alicia Keys CD or tune either online or in stores.

Abramson said, “I am so grateful that Keys has not succumbed to pressure from fellow artists, the very people who should appreciate Israel.  Half of them would not have been able to develop their craft in most of the neighboring Arab and/or Muslim nations.

“I decided that I would buy an Alicia Keys CD on the date of her performance as a way of saying thanks.  I posted it on my Facebook page and asked others to share the idea.”

92nd St. Y to Embrace Another Israel Hater: Alice Walker

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Just a couple months ago The Jewish Press followed a spectacle created by the 92nd Street Y – the former “Young Mens Hebrew Association” – when it publicly embarrassed itself by welcoming a leader in the economic and political warfare effort against Israel known as the BDSM – the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions Against Israel Movement.

Once pro-Israel supporters of the 92nd St Y got wind that Roger Waters, the aging rocker of Pink Floyd fame, was going to be using the Y platform to spew his anti-Israel invective, emails began ricocheting across the internet, angry phone calls were placed and, eventually, the Y leaped at the opportunity to be able to say “so sorry, that date won’t work” when Waters tried to change the date of his appearance.

You’d think the outrage sparked in the pro-Israel community when the Y, which holds itself out as a center for Jewish life that offers learning opportunities, multigenerational holiday celebrations, and “talks on a broad range of Jewish topics encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to discover their own special meaning in Jewish tradition and find joy in Jewish life and culture” was forced to retreat from hosting an Israel hater would cure the institution from pouring the same bucket of anti-Israel slime over its edifice.

But you’d be wrong.

Because guess who’s coming to dinner next?

Alice Walker, a fading superstar author of the 1983 classic The Color Purple, but one who has re-energized and enlarged her audience with the sure-fire appeal of spewing anti-Israel venom, is scheduled to appear at the Y on Thursday, May 30.  Walker is scheduled to appear with Eve Ensler, activist and author of the Vagina Monologues, to talk “about her activism and her writing, her conflicting impulses to retreat into inner contemplation and to remain deeply engaged with the world.”

A key part of Walker’s “deep engagement with the world” has been her very vocal and categorical opposition to Israel. Walker regularly refers to Israeli “Apartheid practices” and its “persecution of the Palestinian people.”  In a 2012 interview with Democracy Now!, Walker accused Israel of “stealing so much Palestinian land, they have essentially stolen all of Palestine.”

In the summer of 2011, Walker joined the second flotilla to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza aboard a ship named The Audacity of Hope.  In an interview with Foreign Policy, Walker claimed that Israel is the biggest terrorist in the Middle East.

I think Israel is the greatest terrorist in that part of the world. And I think in general, the United States and Israel are great terrorist organizations themselves. If you go to Gaza and see some of the bombs — what’s left of the bombs that were dropped — and the general destruction, you would have to say, yeah, it’s terrorism. When you terrorize people, when you make them so afraid of you that they are just mentally and psychologically wounded for life — that’s terrorism. So these countries are terrorist countries.

Her hatred of Israel is so great that Walker has refused to allow her book, The Color Purple, to be translated into Hebrew.

Walker’s first husband, Melvyn Rosenman Leventhal, was a Jewish civil rights lawyer.

And just to bring this story back to the beginning and tie it up in a bow, Alice Walker was front and center with Roger Waters as the two of them attempted to block Carnegie Hall from hosting the Israeli Philharmonic in October, 2012.

Both artists signed a letter which stated, in part, that they “are conscientious artists who support justice, human rights, equality, and democracy in the Middle East and around the world. Consequently, we are dismayed by Carnegie Hall’s upcoming October 2012 hosting of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The IPO is an organization that whitewashes Israel’s ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians. We call on Carnegie Hall to cancel the IPO’s upcoming October performance.”

If Walker was comfortable boycotting Israeli musicians because of their beliefs, surely she will be supportive if the 92nd Street Y decided not to provide a stage for her because of her hostility towards Israel.

Open Letter to Roger Waters: Music Is Our Shared Language

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters has declareed that a boycott of Israel is the “way to go”(“Roger Waters Calls For Boycott Of Israel,” Rolling Stone, March 20,2013). This statement is distressing not only because his numerous accusations leveled against the state are based on falsehoods, but are inflammatory as well. As members of the entertainment industry, we question Mr. Waters’ misinforming his fans in a way that only triggers further hostilities while continuing to dampen hopes for peaceful dialogue in the Middle East.

Mr. Waters blatantly condemns Israel, yet ignores the facts. Israel has never practiced or enforced racial segregation. As the sole democracy in the Middle East, Israel has always encouraged and legally enabled the integration of Arab peoples into all aspects of Israeli life. Arabs have been elected to the Knesset in every election since Israel’s founding and the Israeli Supreme Court guarantees all Arabs equal rights and full protection under the law.

The recently crowned Miss Israel was born in Ethiopia and quoted Martin Luther King in her acceptance speech! “There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it’s important to show that to the world,” said the new Miss Israel.

Also consider that Israel has already elected a female prime minister, LGBT Israeli soldiers have the right to serve openly in the military, and married LGBT couples are ensured full adoption and inheritance rights. In fact, Israel’s official policies are often more advanced than America’s in promoting and supporting freedom of religion, women’s rights and gay rights, none of which exist in their neighboring nations or states.

Mr. Waters also proclaims his outspoken support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a frequently vilified organization that fundamentally questions Israel’s very right to exist. Even political author-activist Norman Finkelstein – a noted advocate of the Palestinian cause – has branded the movement “a hypocritical, dishonest cult” and said in a recent interview that BDS is “not really talking about rights. They want to destroy Israel.”

One-sided cultural embargos such as those advocated by Mr. Waters are an affront to both Palestinian and Israeli moderates who seek peace. We too wish for a resolution to the complicated Palestinian-Israeli situation, and believe that the unique connection between artist and fan is part of the solution. Music can reflect politics, but should never be disingenuous.

Mr. Waters should remember that music is our shared language, one that transcends dialects of hatred. Fans are the same everywhere in the world, and today many of Roger Waters’ fans are severely disappointed that he chose the words he did instead of those spoken on the same day by President Obama: “The United States of America stands with the State of Israel because . . . it makes us both stronger. It makes us both more prosperous. And it makes the world a better place.”

Roger Waters: ‘I Am Considering my Position’ on Anti-Israel Boycott

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame, told HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps this week that he is now rethinking his call for a boycott of Israel.

Recently, presumably because of the musician’s views, the New York City 92nd Street Y announced the cancellation of his scheduled April 30th appearance.

“I am considering my position,” Waters said of the boycott. “The letter asking my fellow musicians to boycott Israel has never appeared. I am thinking all of this through extremely carefully and I’m thinking it all through extremely carefully because I care more about the outcome, because I care about the people involved, than I do about the moment.”

That’s a lot of thinking for a rock musician, you must give him that.

Waters told HuffPost that he is being “very, very careful to avoid some kind of dramatic moment that could very easily blow up” and damage his ability influence things in the longer term.

“If you were to ask Susan Engel, who’s the director of lectures at 92Y, why she won’t speak to anybody about the cancellation of my talk…she won’t speak to you. She won’t speak to anyone,” Waters said. “I’ve asked and asked and asked, and in the end I just gave up.”

Maybe Susan Engel doesn’t want to damage her own ability to influence things in the longer term…

Still, Waters has not changed his views on who is right and who is evil in the Arab-Israeli conflict. No surprises there: “The occupation and the settlement building is an impregnable obstacle to peace,” Waters said. “There can never be peace unless the occupation ends and the settlement building ends.”

Of course, in the nearby Gaza Strip there’s no peace at all, in fact, there’s been a whole lot of extra war after the occupation and the settlements all ended. But you can’t confuse this Pink Floyd ace with the facts.

Waters said that the strategic goal for the region “should be a solution of the Palestinian refugee problem, an end to the occupation, security and the right to lead a decent life for all the citizens of Israel, both the Jewish citizens and the Palestinian citizens.”

“That’s the goal that those of us who actually care about people are attempting to encourage,” he said.

So brave. So unabashed. But only to a point. Seeing as his bookings around the civilized world, where 60s geezers – his only remaining audience – won’t buy tickets if he continues his anti-Israeli boycott drive, well, Roger is willing to compromise. Meaning, he’ll take it back.

Principled, but practical.

Roger Waters Proves Hypocrisy of Israel Boycott Advocates

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Well, well, well.  Roger Waters, formerly of rock band Pink Floyd fame, has learned how absurd it is to demand that speech be shut down, and has come to see the virtue of open-mindedness and tolerance.  At least when it comes to his own speech and tolerance for his own brand of intolerance.

Waters was scheduled to speak later this month at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.  The 92nd Street Y, formerly known as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, engaged Waters to appear on April 30.  The event was billed as “A Conversation with Roger Waters.”

As a rock star for more than 40 years, Waters is probably the best known of those engaged in the global economic warfare against Israel, known as the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment From and Sanctions against Israel) Movement.  A constant refrain of his is to compare Israel to Apartheid South Africa, facts be damned.

Waters is not only a committed supporter of BDS, he bragged about having been instrumental in convincing Stevie Wonder to renege on his agreement to perform at a pro-Israel benefit in California that took place last year.  He also spoke at the United Nations on November 29, 2012, condemning Israel as an Apartheid state, and blaming Israel for denying the “Palestinian” people their “inalienable right” to “self-determination.”

In addition to these efforts to convince others that Israel must be shunned for committing “human rights violations,” Waters also was a leader of the effort to get Carnegie Hall to cancel the scheduled appearance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra in October of 2012.

Just recently he proudly insisted that boycott of the Jewish State was “the way to go.”  He did this by asserting that Israel – which has an Arab Supreme Court Justice, Arab members of its parliament, Arabs serving in every profession -  is a violent, vicious Apartheid state.

I think that the kind of boycott that was implemented against the apartheid regime in South Africa back in the day is probably the most effective way to go because the situation is that the Israeli government runs an apartheid regime in Israel, the occupied territories and everywhere else it decides. Let us not forget that they laid waste most of Lebanon around the time I started getting involved in this issue. They destroyed airports, hospitals, any public buildings they could.

But once word got out about the many utterly false anti-Israel statements made and actions taken by Waters, a tsunami of pro-Israel support washed over the Y and, eventually – though sheepishly and silently – the Y disengaged from Waters.

Rather than recognizing that there was a strong pushback from their base and that the invitation had been made without understanding the significance of his hatred for Israel, however, the Y slipped out the back door, as it were.  What the Y said when inquiries were made, to the extent it said anything at all, was that Waters had a “scheduling conflict” when the event was finally cancelled.  This was after a long series of “yes he will, no he won’t, he’ll be there later, Waters? we never heard of him, oops he’s gone, now he’s back, and then, finally, on April 4 : Event Cancelled.”

How do we know that? Because Roger Waters has now issued an official statement about what happened.

Incredibly, as the EoZ site notes, Waters is moaning about how wrong it is to shut him down, because “Not to Talk is Not an Option.”

Really.  Roger Waters, the biggest name BDS advocate on the planet wrote that.  It’s the title of his entry on his official site: “Not to Talk is Not an Option.”  Here is his version of what happened:

I was invited by 92Y to take part in an interview at the Theresa L. Kaufmann Concert Hall on the 30th April this year. I checked out a couple of previous talks on YouTube, and as they appeared to be serious and measured discourse, I accepted the invitation to take part.

Things were complicated when the Opera House in São Paulo, Brazil requested my presence for four full productions of Ça Ira, my opera on the French Revolution, around conflicting dates. In the end, the date for the dress rehearsal of Ça Ira fell on the 30th April, and so, reluctantly and very apologetically, I asked the team at 92Y if my appearance could be re-scheduled. Assistant Director Jennifer Hausler, who had been helping all along, couldn’t have been more understanding, gave me some alternative dates in June and I accepted June the 19th. Everyone was happy. Well, perhaps not quite everyone.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/roger-waters-proves-hypocrisy-of-israel-boycott-advocates/2013/04/10/

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