Don’t Let Israel Boycotters Into the Israel Day Parade

April 4, 2014 12:59 am 17 comments

Jewish Agency for Israel Jewish youth ride up Fifth Ave. in New York during the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on Sunday, May, 05, 2011. Photo: David Karp.

It was 81 years ago this week that the Nazis instituted their first boycott of Jewish businesses and goods‎. Back before the deathly Final Solution was implemented, Nazism defined itself through its boycotting of Jewish merchants, products, and professionals. Nazi leaders understood that boycotting was the ultimate act of stigmatization and de-legitimization; it was anti-Jewish to the core.

It is unthinkable, therefore, to hear of plans by the sponsors of New York’s annual Israel Day Parade to include groups involved in promoting boycotts against Jewish businesses, or products manufactured by Jews, that are located in certain parts of Israel. The UJA-Federation in New York, which coordinates the parade, says it’s including these groups in the name of an “open tent.”

But no tent should be enlarged in order to give credence to those engaged in one of the world’s most symbolic anti-Semitic acts: boycotting Jews. Not even when the boycotters or their funders are Jewish, or carry names such as the New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, or Promoters of a Progressive Israel. For years, and still today, Muslim and Arab countries wishing to de-legitimize and harm the State of Israel called for boycotts.

The boycotters claim they are only boycotting the (bad) Jews living and producing in areas where “they don’t belong.” The UJA-Federation should have no part of this canard, this indecency. Beyond question, boycotts will soon include other parts of Israel, and maybe people and communities in a Jewish neighborhood near you.

Some of these organizations actually produce lists of Jewish-owned businesses to be boycotted and punished. Curiously, those struck by a sense of “conscience” never seem moved to boycott Muslim states that are behind unending terrorism and severe human rights violations. Their singular focus on, and animus towards, Israel and Jews exposes their phobia and prejudice. They are engaging in the previously forbidden sport of anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Israelism or anti-Jewish nationalism. It is shameful and disgraceful.

On Tuesday, April 8, a group opposed to letting boycotters participate in the Israel Day Parade are gathering in protest in front of the UJA-Federation building on130 East 59th Street, from 4-7PM, to voice our opposition.

Letting the boycotters march is more than appeasement, and more than a public forfeiture of Jewish dignity. It is a kosherizing of the very organizations involved in boycotting our fellow Jews, and it verifies the notion that boycotts against Jews and Israel are acceptable, if a “proper rationale” can be offered.

There is something craven to the core in all of this. Truly, it is sick. Can you imagine a St. Patrick’s Day Parade sponsoring marchers calling for boycotting parts of Ireland, Irish businesses, and Irish products?

We have communicated to the UJA-Federation, the JCRC, and directors of other Jewish organizations our distress and anger regarding the choice they have made. It does not seem to matter. We understand that some on their staffs actually look at the 400,000 Jews in Judea-Samaria and East Jerusalem as “settlers” and interlopers who deserve reprimand and scorn. Though many do not share these views, they, nonetheless, habitually acquiesce to left wing causes for the sake of conformity and open-mindedness.

Too many within the establishment are guided by this pernicious notion, almost gospel-like, that “Jewish values,” openness and tolerance, mean seeing your enemy’s point of view to the exclusion of Jewish needs and peoplehood.

Those espousing the “open tent” theory know that our love of Israel will keep us in the parade despite its infiltration by the boycotters. We’ve seen this scenario too many times: simpatico for critics from the Left, indifference to loyalists in the center.

In today’s world, it’s easy and fashionable to denounce Israeli policies or simply remain silent. It takes courage to stand up to those routinely discrediting Israel from outside, and especially inside, our community. But we expect the UJA-Federation to do so!

There are far too many places in the world where the Islamic rhetoric and anti-Israel propaganda are readily available… and funded. Let them find their “open-ness” in those forums; forums, I might add, that are closed to a Zionist point of view.

If you can’t attend the rally, we ask that you contact John Ruskay of the Federation and Michael Miller at JCRC. There has been too much silence in the face of Jews being beaten-up in Europe and the U.S. Too many young Jews on campus are being intimidated and threatened by Islamic groups. They are rarely, in any meaningful way, helped by the national Jewish organizations – not with legal teams, court filings, financing, manpower, nor even calls for Jews and other good-willed citizens to assist at meetings.

We endured “official” silence in the 30s and 40s. It was a mistake and tragedy of historic proportions. Let us not do it again. Directors may be indifferent. Real leaders are not.

Rabbi Spero is author of Push Back: Reclaiming the Judeo-Christian Ethos, was a pulpit rabbi for almost forty years, leads the Synagogue of America, and can be reached at rabbispero@synagogueofamerica.com.

17 Comments

  • This is a disgrace. Under no circumstances should groups
    promoting the boycot of Israel be aloud to march in the parade.

  • William Sternberg

    What is wrong with us???
    I completely understand our genetic penchant to rally behind other opinions and the underdog. I too am a victim of that often misguided drive.
    But to allow our enemies to rain on our joyous parade is madness!

  • Here is the flyer against the leftists anti Israel groups at the parade.It also has some interesting history of John Ruskay the JCC head http://jccwatch.org/Home_Page.html

  • People like this http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/04/04/peace-now-haggadah-compares-israel-to-pharaoh/ or jewish voices for peace that celebrate Ramadan at it’s camp but is not Kosher [not that any real Jewish person would attend].These are groups that should participate. And when is the last time J street stood up for Israel?it always stand for Arabs or Iran.

  • bernhard lazarus

    INCREDIBLE
    JEWS PARTICIPATING WITH OUR ENEMIES FOR US TO COMMIT SUICIDE

    IN 1920 THE ERSTWHILE TURKISH PALESTINE WAS AGREED BY THE VICTORS AND SUBSEQUENTLY ENDORSED BY ALL 51 MEMBERS OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS,THAT
    “PALESTINE WAS TO E CREATED AS THE NATIONAL HOME OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE”
    THIS WAS ENDORSED BY 2/3 MAJORITY, IN A REDUCED AREA, BY THE UNITED NATIONS IN 1947.
    ARAB AGGRESSION TO DESTROY THE JEWISH STATE ARE THE CAUSE OF THEIR PROBLEMS AND HENCE ONLY ORGANISATIOS WHO RECOGNIZE THIS REALITY MUST PARTICIPATE IN THE FUNCTION

  • Israel Patriot

    American Jewry has truly become a Freak Show.

  • Let genuine Jewish groups boycott the parade, and let the donations to ‘Jewish’ organizations, such as the UJA, wither away. It is time to call this outrage what it is, left-wing fascism. There is nothing liberal about them. None of these anti-Semites in progressive clothing are liberal. A liberal would not discriminate against anyone, including Jews. They are left-wing fascists, and it is time for the Jewish community to step up and call these Nazist organizations for what they really are.

  • We could also boycott the boycutters.
    I also think that if the US and other countries feel the need to harrass Israel to return land, then the US and those other countries should also return land. For example to Mexico, Native Americans and even Louisiana to France.

  • gerald cohen

    well said, “never again” in the prison camps their were Jews who sold out other Jews for special favors. It is interesting that these groups thin by spurning Israel they will be more Americanized-Did they not learn anything from the American revolution and the civil war.

    wake up protect the only home land of Jews around the world,value there culture and productivity do not undermine Israel in the name of Humanity.
    contact writer @ rabbispero@synagogueofamerica.com.

  • Seymour M Cohen MD

    I WOULD CALL UJA OR EMAIL THEM
    IDID AND WAS CALLED BACK WITH A LAME POLITE EXCUSE
    I WONDER IF THEY UNDERSTAND HOW UPSET MANY ARE WITH WITH THEIR PC ACTIONS

  • M.A. Kinamohn

    NO nazi scum in the parade!

  • The open tent policy takes naivety to an extreme. It helps legitimize the BDS and give them forum.

  • This is unthinkable! Shame on their leftist idiotic “open tent” logic. BDS idiots should be forcibly kept away from these events and I am only sorry I don’t live in NYC because I would physically be happy to go there and personally eject them on camera. These are cowards not leaders, this is disgusting. This is the difference between Jewish organizations I support like Chabad and FIDF and ones I never will like Jstreet and UJA.

  • NEVER AGAIN?? ITS HAPPENING NOW !

    Why is it that Christians such as myself who worked for many years in the Middle East see it so clearly and so many in the American liberal Jewish community are so blind to what is being said and what is being planned by Israel’s ennemies.

    • Well, Mr. Train, it’s like this: Liberals are anti-Semitic, anti-America, anti-Western Culture, anti-Ad Infinitum….
      “Liberals”, NOT Democrats or those who let the 1%ers of the Left do their thinking for them. SO…..

      Give them a chance to bring about the destruction of those they hate without getting THEIR hands all bloody and they’ll jump at it like a salmon to a well thrown fly.

  • Thank you for the information. I didn’t see any contact information for Ruskay and Moller, maybe that can be included.

    This reminds me of a powerful article regarding the dangers of being too open minded and the dangers these so called leaders lead us into. It is called “What Makes Bernie Run.” Google it.

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