JNS.org – El Al Israel Airlines said it promptly canceled a promotional package that appeared on its website for an August concert in Budapest by Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters—a vocal activist in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel—when it learned of the “sensitive issue” on Wednesday.
“This matter was brought to my attention yesterday afternoon,” Sheryl Stein, an advertising/public relations/social media manager for El Al, wrote in an email to JNS.org on Thursday. “Our Head Office received my email this morning and I am pleased to say this issue was resolved in a timely manner. On a regular basis, EL AL offers passengers packages to cultural events around the world. As soon as this sensitive issue was brought to our attention, the package was canceled.”
Waters accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and “international crimes” in a November 2012 address at the United Nations, and last fall was also at the forefront of efforts to boycott an Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Richard Allen, head of JCC Watch, an organization that is calling for the establishment of new guidelines to prevent Jewish funding of activity that gives BDS a platform, said he was “very pleased” by El Al’s quick removal of the Waters package. JCC Watch is organizing monthly protests until it sees new Jewish community guidelines on BDS, in response to the recent scheduling of events with Waters and “The Color Purple” author Alice Walker, another high-profile BDS activist. The Waters event that was scheduled for this spring was ultimately canceled, but Walker appeared at the Y—which receives $900,000 in funding per year from the UJA-Federation of New York—in late May.
“We hope that [El Al’s cancelation of the Waters package] is an indication that other Jewish organizations, such as the 92nd Street Y and the UJA-Federation of New York, will stop the promoting and offering of Jewish institutions to be used to proselytize the BDS movement against Israel,” Allen told JNS.org.