JNS.0rg – JCC Watch, a pro-Israel advocacy group, is holding protests on the second Thursday of each month until it sees new guidelines that prevent the UJA-Federation of New York’s funding of activities that give a platform to activists of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Between 40 and 50 people attended the first such JCC Watch rally on July 11 outside of the 92nd Street Y (92Y) in New York City, protesting the 92Y’s recent invitation of anti-Israel speakers including “The Color Purple” author Alice Walker and Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters (this spring’s scheduled event with Waters at the 92Y was ultimately canceled, but Walker did appear there in late May).
The UJA-Federation of New York commits about $900,000 per year in funding to the 92Y, according to Richard Allen, head of JCC Watch. Allen told JNS.org that his group is asking Jewish community members to “close your wallets to any of these charities that are promoting donor fraud.”
“They’re not telling their donors that they’re using their money to undermine the state of Israel,” Allen said of the charities.
Though the 92Y has what Allen called “a history of working to promote those who are working to defame the state of Israel,” Allen said he does not believe the 92Y itself condones or supports BDS. Rather, Allen believes the 92Y’s recent hosting of pro-BDS speakers has been “going on under the radar,” and he said JCC Watch is calling for the Jewish leadership of the 92Y to “regain control and establish guidelines so that these embarrassing events do not happen again.”
“It’s not just Alice Walker,” Allen said. “There’s a pattern here.”
Allen said observers of the July 11 rally were sympathetic to JCC Watch’s cause and expressed disbelief that the 92Y hosted Walker.
UJA-Federation and 92Y officials did not immediately return requests for comment from JNS.org.