This year New York’s annual parade to celebrate Israel will, despite blatant efforts by New York Jewish “leadership” to fool those concerned, once again include groups supporting economic sanctions against Israel.
You see, the New York Jewish leadership apparently thinks boycotting some Jews in Israel is acceptable, so long as their companies are located beyond where the Palestinian Authority wants them.
For all pro-Israel Jews, Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people, but for most American Jews, New York City is the undisputed Diaspora capital of the Jewish people.
That’s at least one good reason why battle lines were drawn over who and what should be permitted to march in New York City’s Annual Israel Day Parade (it’s officially known as the Celebrate Israel Parade, but people who have marched in or watched it for years and years still automatically call it the Israel Day Parade).
There has been an extremely vocal group of pro-Israel advocates desperately trying to ensure that the people who march in the Israel Day Parade are actually pro-Israel in deed, and not just in slogan. They haven’t set the bar high – just high enough to keep out those whose actions seek to harm Israel, or those who fund those who do – from participating,
That band of warriors has been led by Richard Allen, a New York City businessman and founder of JCC Watch.
The primary target of the “keep the Celebrate Israel Parade pro-Israel” coalition has been groups, such as the New Israel Fund, which financially supports organizations which advocate economic warfare against Israel, and Partners for a Progressive Israel, which itself proudly advocates boycotting such iconic Israeli companies as SodaStream and Ahava.
In January, when the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York released its 2015 registration packet for the parade, people like Richard Allen and others in the coalition to keep the Israel Day Parade pro-Israel initially rejoiced.
But only momentarily.
The 2015 Marching Group Rules contained in the packet states clearly that all groups participating must identify with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and the homeland of the Jewish People.
The third rule states clearly that BDS groups may not participate. It states:
“All Groups must oppose, not fund, nor advocate for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel by not recognizing it as a Jewish state.”
Just below that rule, the packet links to further information. Unfortunately, neither of the links work, and only one could be found on the web. That one did not provide any further enlightenment than did the ostensibly clear rule.
When The Jewish Press contacted the JCRC of NY, Michael Mittleman, director of the “Celebrate Israel” department, refused to explain what was meant by barring groups from participating in the parade if they do “not fund, nor advocate for” BDS.
Mittleman would only say that the JCRC had a statement it had released, which he promised to forward, on the topic and it was the last word he or any of them would say about the topic.
The conversation went from cordial to less so, as the reporter attempted to get Mittleman to expand on any specifics. The reporter asked, point blank, whether groups which advocate boycotts of such companies as SodaStream and Ahava would be permitted to march in the parade.
Mittleman would not answer other than say the only information the JCRC would provide on the topic was in the statement which he would forward.
The “Celebrate Israel” director acknowledged, when pressed, that a decision about whether a specific group would be permitted or wouldn’t be permitted to march would have to be made, but he simply would not state what criterion would be used, beyond what was already in the 2015 parade rules and what was in the statement he promised to forward.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus