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Isaac Zablocki is the director of film programs at the JCC in Manhattan

The shocking news that the 92nd St Y’s now former director was involved in an affair and the possible cover-up of vendor shakedowns, could possibly explain the recent pattern of that institution’s promotion of celebrity proponents of economic and political warfare against Israel.  Perhaps it was simply collateral damage from a leadership gone astray.

But how to explain the New York City Jewish Community Center employing as its film programs director – that is, someone who chooses what films the New York Jewish Community is going to tout for its Jewish audience to see – someone who publicly embraces and encourages others to embrace that despicable movement known as BDS, the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against the Jewish State?


It did not require any investigative journalism to make this discovery.  The JCC’s film director, Isaac Zablocki, wrote an article touting his anti-Israel bona fides in one of the most widely-read (if frequently anti-Israel) outlets, the Huffington Post.

In an article published earlier this week titled, “Boycotting the Messenger,” Zablocki writes glowingly about the use of boycotts against Israel to punish the Jewish state for “violating the human rights of Palestinians.” He romanticizes boycotts as the paradigmatic “non-violent form of protest for centuries.”

The BDS movement fights against the normalization of the occupation of the State of Israel and pushes to exclude Israel from any international program as long as it is violating the human rights of Palestinians.

But Zablocki does not support all boycotts of Israel.  But his selective warfare against the Jewish State is not the Peter Beinart version of “beyond the Green Line is not kosher, within is kosher” style of boycott of Israel.

Nope, Zablocki, being an artiste and all (he had a one film career), is only opposed to arts and academia boycott of Israel. All other kinds of boycotts are hunky-dory.  We’ll allow him to explain it.  Here, again, from his Huffington Post article:

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nonviolence is a welcome form of protest for the region, and the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable. However, the protest of art, culture and education brings up dangers in the realm of freedom and evolution of thought. Artists and educators have an important impact on changing society. Their diversity of opinions plant seeds of thought and help minds grow.

Could it be that Zablocki, who grew up in Israel, but was educated at Columbia University (affectionately referred to by some as Bir Zeit on the Hudson) sees only as virtuous those in the industries he knows best?  It makes sense, in a selfish kind of way, that Zablocki would want to protect his comrades in the academic and arts industries from having their livelihoods harmed even by his favorite form of “non-violent protest.”  But businesses?  Manufacturing? Construction?  Those are for the uncultured masses.  Never mind that those are the industries in which most Arabs, especially poor Arabs, in the region are employed.  But let’s not allow that to be a consideration.

On the most fundamental level, the question has to be raised and raised repeatedly: why it is that so many institutions which are presumed to be providing services to the Jewish world, and are certainly raising their funds from Jews, are staffed by people who see their bona fides in the arts world as requiring a lusty desire to damage the Jewish State?


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email:


  1. Whenever I discuss the topic of Israel with other likeminded people, I always make it a point to differentiate the differences between Judaism and Jews. Although I would not classify myself as an expert or even someone who is well versed in Judaism, from what I have learned, I have a lot of respect for the religion. Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Yet, I am impressed by its forward thinking philosophies and its ability to cover topics that are so well thought out and comprehensive that it is still relevant today. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about all Jews. There is a segment of Jews that I find repugnant and have no respect whatsoever for. Whether it's Tom Friedman, Chomskey, or Finkelstein, or anyone else, these people are truly disgraceful and I have made them aware of that on more than one occasion. But, I also have said that the twisted ideology of these type of people is not a negative reflection of some innate weakness in the character of the religion of Judaism or the state of Israel. The pathology of Jews who will denounce Israel in favor of their antagonizers rests solely with them and them alone. To me at least, every Jew should support Israel. This does not mean that you can't disagree with something that Israel does. I have profound disagreements with Israel's approach to "peace talks." I am strongly opposed to Israel releasing Palestinian terrorists from prison. Just as I am equally opposed to Israel giving up land, building freezes, and not moving the capitol to Jerusalem. But, you will never find me supporting the Palestinians or any other Arab country in the middle east who causes Israel pain, suffering, and upheaval. I have often told anti Israel Jews to go live in one of the Arab countries that they are defending for a month or two and they will see what goes on and the multitude of problems directly caused by the same countries who they are defending. Perhaps that would shock them into reality. Being Jewish is not a curse or punishment, it's a honor and a privilege. But, the Jewish anti Israel crowd is not worthy of such a gift.

  2. Perhaps the jews outside Israel are not content with this corrupt goverment, has nothing to do if Israel occupies or not territories is how the attitude of this goverment, Israel has inmediately change govermentto get a better image to the world, "image" to day is very important to the media, this is why this goverment is totally futile.

  3. Oh, honey, you really don't want to get into a facts fight with me. Maybe you need larger print. Here's a quote from your friend's article, which I quote in my article: "THE IMPORTANCE OF THE USE OF BOYCOTT TO GET INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION TOWARDS PRESSURING ISRAEL TO END THE OCCUPATION IS UNQUESTIONABLE."

  4. I don't understand Ms. Zabar's comment. Does Mr. Zablocki not in fact support boycott of everything other than the arts? After having this article by Ms. Marcus, I read Mr. Zablocki's article, and I think it's even sillier and more precious than Ms. Marcus lets on. "Israel needs to see films made by Palestinians." Happens every day, you can read about it in Haaretz. "Palestinians need to see films by Israelis." Hmmm — anyone want to open up a movie theater in Ramallah and show some Israeli movies? Not a great investment, as the place will be burned down within hours. In fact, Khaled Abu Toameh has a piece in Gatestone,
    reporting that the Palestinian "leadership" can't even be shown in pictures in public negotiating with Israelis.

    Ms. Zabar and Mr. Zablocki, open your minds to reality. The problem for Israel's enemies is not the occupation of the Judea and Samaria by Israelis. It's the occupation of planet earth by Jews. That's why the Arabs say we should go back to Poland. How happy were the Poles to see those of us who stumbled "home" after Auschwitz?

    Wake up.

  5. Being a Jew is a gift from Adonai Eloihim, it is appaling to realize, there are JEWs who despise their divine heritage, loathing their kins. Thank you for your open participation by liking this, friend Rot Rechtman.

  6. The following is an email that has been sent to Albert Dadon AM, the chairman of the Australia-Israeli Cultural Exchange, which sponsors the Israeli Film Festival that is running in Melbourne and Sydney at the moment.

    Attention: Albert Dadon AM.
    Chairman, Australia Israel Cultural Exchange.

    With reference to the film Inch'allah that is being shown at this year’s 'Israeli Film Festival’, we should note that Inch'Allah's writer and director, Anais Barbeau-Lavalette, in 2009, was one of 500 Quebec artists (including many filmmakers) "joining the international movement against Israeli apartheid" and publicly signing a petition calling for BDS: boycott, divestment and sanctions. This explains why Inch’allah is essentially a propaganda film; it was shot in Jordan probably because of her boycott of Israel. Here's the link to the petition: that was signed by the film’s director.

    During the Q&A session that followed the screening I attended in Melbourne on Saturday night August 17, there was a widespread view that this film should not have been part of the program as it was not an Israeli film in any sense. So much for suggestions of "well-meaning" film-making that the partisan presenter of the Q&A session put forward in his overly enthusiastic support for the film.

    This is not bona fide Israeli cinema. The film was shot in Jordan by a French-Canadian consortium with a very tenuous association with an international production company July–August productions that has some Israeli backers. The director herself, because of her BDS affiliation, would be boycotting genuine Israeli cinema and as such would not want to be associated with Israeli product that she would in principle be boycotting. Ironically any Israeli Film Festival would be boycotted by her!

    The audience witnessed a film that gravely misrepresents the situation that exists in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, highlighting the alleged suffering of Palestinians at the hand of the Israelis by distorting and distending the facts on the ground, using stereotypical symbols of Israeli brutality e.g. a jeep deliberately running over a stone-throwing youth (reminiscent of the story of Rachel Corrie), and a woman giving birth at an Israeli checkpoint and being refused emergency entry to a hospital.

    I am thinking that we should now be calling this film festival the 'Anti-Israel Film Festival'. Please provide an explanation for the inclusion of this film created by a self-declared BDS supporter.

    Yours sincerely,
    David Schulberg

    I have shared my dismay over the film Inch’Allah with others members of our community, who have expressed anger and disappointment over the fact that the film was wrongly touted as being representative of Israeli cinema. As yet I have had no reply from Albert Dadon or had any response to phone messages I have left with the AICE office.

  7. David Schulberg…when was this letter sent to AICE? (and thanks for sharing my reference about 92 ST Y..what a gets worse and worse, coming after asking Roger Waters and Alice Walker to speak. A once great institution. )

    Book of Isaiah

    Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.

    Always true, still is. A sadly fractured and fractious people, even in times of the most dire existential crisis, best seen during the bitter factional in-fighting in Warsaw, 1942.
    I won't elaborate here, as it's off-topic. But it does warrant a separate discussion.

  8. Email was sent Sunday. Subsequently I have left 2 phone messages at the AICE office. The silence is deafening …
    The local Jewish media outlets (AJN, JWire) have been alerted and the president of the ECAJ Danny Lamm, who despised the film, has been notified of my correspondence. In fact Danny attended the weekend screening of the film and was very outspoken about it during the Q&A that followed the film.
    I wait to observe the public reaction.

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