Sanity Prevails: Boston JCRC Rejects Anti-Israel Groups’ Campaign to Remove ZOA From Board
JNS.org – The Boston Jewish Community Relations Council rationally rejected an absurd petition filed by far-left anti-Israel groups like J Street, New Israel Fund, and Workers Circle to expel the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). The petition ludicrously accused both me and the ZOA of “elevating white supremacy” and “racism.”
Our far-left accusers essentially said that ZOA’s condemnation of the Israel-bashing and Jew-hatred of anti-Israel Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is racism. But it’s ZOA’s mission to fight Israel-hatred and sponsorship of legislation designed to promote antisemitic boycotts against Israel; Omar’s defamatory tweets calling Israel “evil” and an “apartheid regime”; Omar’s repeated antisemitic claims that Jews buy Congress; Tlaib’s replacement of Israel with “Palestine” on her congressional map; Omar’s funding by BDS leaders and Hamas supporters; and Tlaib’s close associations with a long list of Hezbollah-affiliated terrorists and vicious antisemites.
The Boston JCRC’s anti-Israel extremists also falsely accused us of “racism” because ZOA documented and condemned the Black Lives Matter/M4BL organizations and certain of their leaders for their existing and never-renounced platform and social-media posts falsely accusing Israel of perpetrating “genocide” and “apartheid”; promotion of the antisemitic BDS movement; joint events and social-media posts promoting designated terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)’s front groups Al-Haq and DCI-Palestine; anti-Israel “Days of Rage”; its stated goal of dismantling Israel; and instigation of antisemitic violence in Los Angeles in which BLM defaced, burnt, and damaged synagogues, Jewish schools, and Jewish businesses while screaming “Kill the Jews.”
The anti-Israel extremists also falsely accused me of “elevating white supremacy” for appearing on Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s pro-Israel radio show to champion pro-Israel and pro-Jewish causes. Gorka was the victim of an outrageous far left-wing calumny in which he was falsely accused of fascist connections. Those charges have been conclusively debunked by both the ZOA and Rabbi Heshie Billet. Yet my accusers proclaimed that my simply appearing on his show made me a “white supremacist.” This ridiculous allegation leads to the nonsensical conclusion that all of the hundreds of top politicians, authors and scientists that have appeared on Gorka’s show are equally guilty of “elevating white supremacy.”
Gorka is, in fact, a great friend of the Jewish people. He has spoken at the Jerusalem Post Conference and abhors Nazis.
They also falsely accused ZOA of “racism” and “Islamophobia” for criticizing HIAS, the rescue and refugee agency that used to resettle Jews but now assists other nationalities, mainly Muslims. Our “crime” was urging HIAS to end its partnerships with terror-financier Islamic Relief (an organization that Israel, the United Arab Emirates, other countries, and major banks designate as a Hamas-connected terror organization); and for opposing HIAS bringing people to the United States from five Muslim majority countries that polls by the Anti-Defamation League show are 74% to 93% antisemitic.
The phony petition was especially hurtful to me because I have a long history of combating racism and white supremacy. I am the child of Holocaust survivors, born in a displaced persons camp in Germany. The Nazis murdered most of my family. I grew up in black neighborhoods and demonstrated countless times for civil rights. ZOA’s recent annual gala featured prominent African-Americans actor/rapper Ice Cube and Dr. Kiron Skinner, former director of policy planning at the US State Department — two individuals who surely would never appear with a “racist” organization.
In 2019, I testified in Congress that neo-Nazism must not be written off as “marginal,” and that we must condemn and investigate the sponsors of “sickening neo-Nazi, white-supremacist Internet sites, fomenting hatred and violence, primarily against Jews and blacks, but also directed towards LGBTQ, women, feminists, and Muslims.”
ZOA consistently condemns attacks by white supremacists, including the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha mass shooting in Pittsburgh of 11 Jewish worshippers; the New Zealand mosque shooting of innocent Muslims; and the killing of George Floyd.
The extraordinary irony is that it’s the far-left/anti-Israel, anti-ZOA petitioners who don’t fulfill the pro-Israel mission of Boston’s JCRC, including:
- J Street, which sides with Israel’s enemies at the United Nations; funds Israel-hating congresspersons who sponsor legislation to defund and demonize Israel; and lobbies for such heinous anti-Israel legislation itself. At J Street’s most recent national conference, J Street honored and gave platforms to Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, who pays terrorists to murder Jews; former US president and Israel-hater Jimmy Carter; and Salam Al-Marayati and Ayman Odeh, both of whom oppose Israel’s existence.
- New Israel Fund (NIF), which grants millions of dollars every year to anti-Israel NGOs that promote BDS, demonize Israel, defend Arab terrorists, and bring “lawfare” lawsuits against Israel.
- Workers Circle, which promotes anti-Israel BDS and partners with anti-Israel hate-group Jewish Voice for Peace and their extremist comrades.
These anti-Israel groups have been engaging in longstanding vicious, twisted campaigns to defame and discredit Israel’s defenders, including ZOA and other pro-Israel groups. J Street, NIF, etc., unsuccessfully filed the same baseless claims with other umbrella groups last year. Back in 2008, J Street’s “launch video” displayed a “tic-tac-toe” board of J Street’s pro-Israel targets (with me in the center square: target No. 1). NIF’s deputy vice president spent seven months lobbying and spreading smears against ZOA in Boston — and still failed to obtain more than a handful of votes from anyone who was not already allied with them.
As JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin recently wrote: “the strength of the push to falsely brand [ZOA] as racist … showed that there may be no limits to the lengths to which their opponents are willing to go.”
J Street, NIF, and other extremist groups should be condemned for falsely maligning us for advocating for the Jewish people.
Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America.
Editor’s note: this article has been updated