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September 16, 2013 8:58 am

Protesters Urge Donors to Stop Giving to NY Federation Due to Funding of Anti-Israel Activity

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Richard Allen (center), head of JCC Watch, holds a burning check at a rally on Sept. 12 during which his group as well as Americans for a Safe Israel urged the cessation of Jewish donations to the UJA-Federation of New York, due to federation's lack of funding guidelines on Israel. Photo: JCC Watch/AFSI.

JNS.org – A group of between 50 and 75 protesters gathered outside the UJA-Federation of New York’s building on Thursday to burn their checks to UJA and to call on Jews to stop donating to the federation until it establishes new guidelines that prevent the funding of anti-Israel activity.

JCC Watch, which partnered with Americans for a Safe Israel on the rally, previously staged protests outside the 92nd Street Y in New York over the Y’s invitation of anti-Israel celebrity speakers including Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters and author Alice Walker. Those rallies called on the UJA-Federation—which commits $900,000 annually to the 92nd Street Y—to establish the new funding guidelines on Israel, but JCC Watch has now refocused its efforts to call for a stoppage of donations to UJA-Federation itself. As such, the theme of Thursday’s rally was “close your wallets.”

“We have a pattern of forces within the UJA-Federation diverting charitable dollars to further political purposes, and these purposes are anti-Israel,” JCC Watch head Richard Allen told JNS.org.

A promotional email for Thursday’s rally stated that under the leadership of executive vice president and CEO John Ruskay, the UJA-Federation’s Celebrate Israel Day Parade “has invited groups to march that actively call for a boycott of Israeli companies.”

“Under front names like Partners for Progressive Israel, New Israel Fund and B’Tselem, these groups organize and work against the Jewish State,” the email said. Those groups all deny that they support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Allen said dozens of UJA employees came outside of the building to witness the protest on Thursday. When a UJA donor and volunteer noted that the funding in question is “only a small part” of the federation’s budget, Allen said he replied, “Even if it’s one penny, it’s wrong, and it makes the whole organization basically treif.”

The UJA-Federation declined to comment.

The next step in JCC Watch’s efforts is to recruit “community organizers” to educate New York City synagogues about Jewish funding of anti-Israel activity, Allen said.

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  • dcdoc

    “The UJA-Federation declined to comment.” It’s the same in Washington, DC, where Federation supports the DC JCC’s Theater J, whose director Ari Roth who arranges readings of works that equate Israelis with Nazis (Caryl Churchill’s “Seven Jewish Children of Israel”), participates in conferences by Israel’s declared enemies (Sabeel), stages plays that amount to anti-Israel propaganda by Motti Lerner, etc. And not only does the DC Federation decline to comment, Washington’s only Jewish paper, the Washington Jewish Week, now owned by former Federation presidents, refuses to cover the story.

  • Evelyn Hayes

    Bravo for this protest. Let the UJA listen to the appeal and unite for the benefit of our slandered, bullied, attacked and murdered If there were protests when Britain denied Jewish access to its Balfour mandated homeland,the Jewish state in Palestine, the name given by the Romans to confuse the Jews as to what is their true identity and homeland, millions of Jews would have survived the Holocaust and their generations would have multiplied. We would be going on hundreds of millions and not 7 million in Israel. We would have been a proud large nation with an inheritance as a role model for the whole world for all in science, agriculture, culture, humanities, morality, life and love. Israel is a country of many who suffered generations of invaders called Philistines aka palestinians, a dead race, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, Assyrians, crusaders, more. Many after slaughtering the Jews in the 1930s fled thinking they would be punished. As we see today BDS is united with those who do not accept settlement and choose jihad making it a world problem. As the Jews suffer jihad and
    terrorism and the untruths of Oslo continue, G-d’s goodness is removed. I am so sad that our cherished Jewish National Fund gave away the land bought with the Kalisher pennies, the Strauss dimes and the money I collected as a child to repurchase and plant what G-d gave us and means so much for the benefit of the world. We just found a coin from the time of Solomon beside the Temple Mount, with Menorah, shofar and Torah. Yes, the Temple Mount is Jewish. Yes, Hebron is Jewish. Yes, Rachel Imeinu is our loving Matriarch. Yes, the Jews of Gush Katif could have been role models of agriculture for the whole world. As Solomon’s wisdom disclosed, the true Mother is the one who sacrifices.Solomon knew to give the baby to the true mother. As the world makes believe Israel is the Goliath when the philistines/ palestinians are really them, there is a terrible validation that makes terror pay. Sadly, the UJA would befriend the victimizers and boycott the victims Ignoring the reality of the Jewish people and the rights of Jewish land ownership is a disaster multiplied to other than jihad in the Middle east. Lying, stealing and prime evil are being nurtured. BDS is a weed watered by minds that are brainwashed and are bullying the Jewish people again. How many are willing to research the issues as did Joan Peters in her book “From Time Immemorial”? She didn’t believe in Jewish reality either and did research and discovered Jewish reality. Let our people be, have and spread its legacy of love and caring and sharing, not hate, taking and destroying. Stop BDS. Boycott hate and murderers not Israel.

    • Dave Michaels

      Use the term “Palestinian Arabs” rather than “Palestinians” as the latter validates the phony narrative that the Arabs from the Palestine region have always been a unique and historically distinct people.