Richard Allen: Jewish “Leaders” Back BDS in the Parade; Coordinated Full Court PR campaign by UJA-Fed….Your Federation Dollars at Work
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Israel ‘Unity’ Parade Set For June 1 But Some Groups Seek To Ban Others
Several right-leaning organizations have labeled three on the left as BDS and anti-Israel.
The annual Celebrate Israel parade along Fifth Avenue. Courtesy of JCRC
The annual Celebrate Israel parade, the New York Jewish community’s largest and most visible sign of support for the Jewish state, is set to mark its 50th anniversary this year.
The event will take place Sunday, June 1, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., along Fifth Avenue from 57th to 74th streets. This year’s theme is “50 Reasons to Celebrate Israel.”
The number of Jewish organizations participating this year is up from 2013, aJCRC (Jewish Community Relation Council) spokesperson said. But as is often the case in recent years, the parade, which is intended to be celebratory rather than political, has been caught in the whipsaw of Mideast politics. As a result, a few groups and individuals on the political right are calling for the parade to ban groups that they claim are pro BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) and therefore anti-Israel.
And the parade may take place without the participation of the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue, a Sephardic congregation in Manhattan, which has threatened to withdraw from the parade if the offending organizations are allowed to march.
The JCC Watch group, which was formed three years ago to protest the JCC in Manhattan’s hosting what it believed to be controversial films and speakers, is calling on the JCRC to issue participation guidelines that would keep three left-leaning organizations out of this year’s parade.
Supporters of the parade charge that the critics are deliberately conflating the worldwide BDS movement, which seeks to undermine the Jewish state’s legitimacy, with those who see the settlements as a threat to Israeli security and support economic sanctions against settlement businesses in the West Bank. (See Editorial, page 6).
One flyer from JCC Watch features a photo from 1933 of Nazi storm troopers putting up a sign on a Berlin store that says, in German, “Do not buy from Jews.” The JCC Watch flyer, announcing a protest rally April 8 at UJA-Federation of New York for its role in support of the parade, includes the tagline: “It starts with boycotts.”
Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, called the flyer “a distortion and outlandish abuse of historical memory,” noting that “we are a people who so diligently guard the message of the Shoah.” To make the day of the parade, “when Jews come to celebrate the land of Israel and its people, a litmus test for how much you love Israel, is very sad, and very scary.”
Some mainstream leaders described such JCC Watch tactics in equally strong terms but were reluctant to give the small group attention, even by criticizing it publicly.