The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) praises the Jewish Community Relations Council-NY Federation (JCRC) for issuing 2015 Marching Group Rules which state that all groups that march in the 2015 New York City Israel Day Parade must “oppose, not fund, nor advocate for” anti-Israel anti-Jewish boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
These rules aptly focus on what marching groups really do, rather than simply taking purported “official” policies at face value when those policies differ from the groups’ real anti-Israel activities.
JCRC’s 2015 rules also correctly acknowledge that the real goal of anti-Jewish anti-Israeli boycotts and sanctions is “to delegitimize the State of Israel.”
JCRC’s 2015 rules have restored the integrity of the Israel Day Parade, also know as the “Celebrate Israel” Parade. The Israel Day Parade is a day to celebrate and support Israel. The 2015 rules mean that the 2015 Israel Day Parade will not be marred by extremist marching groups that promote, fund and assist harmful boycotts and sanctions against Jewish Israeli businesses – whether these businesses are based in Tel Aviv and Haifa or Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.
The presence of these radical extremist groups in the past Israel Day Parade (in 2014) gave credibility and legitimacy to the groups that in fact, harm Israel.
JCRC’s new 2015 rules send a important message that boycotts of Israel and Israeli Jews are wrong. JCRC’s new 2015 rules are also in accord with Jewish law, which expressly forbids Jews from harming the ability of other Jews to earn a livelihood. Anti-Israel, anti-Jewish boycotts also violate New York State’s Human Rights Law.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated: “attempts to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, the most threatened democracy on Earth, are simply the latest chapter in the long and dark history of antisemitism.”
Boycotts harm real, innocent people – Jews and their well-paid Arab workers and partners, who are all simply trying to earn an honest living for their families.
The boycotts also harm people around the world by preventing people from enjoying the benefits of wonderful Israeli products and services.
Last year, a coalition of pro-Israel groups – including ZOA – protested that certain boycott-promoting marching groups were damaging the very purpose of the 2014 Israel Day Parade. Pro-Israel activist Richard Allen also testified before the Knesset about the harm done by these 2014 marching groups:
- Partners for Progressive Israel promotes boycotts right on its website. PPI’s website lists Jewish-Israeli companies (including Ahava cosmetics, Israeli food companies, Israeli wineries, and 170 Israeli industries) in eastern Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria and urges people to boycott these Jewish-Israeli businesses. PPI also supports cultural and artistic boycotts, including the boycott of the arts center in Ariel, Israel.
Groups that boycott Jewish businesses in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria harm Jews and Arabs, and prospects for peaceful co-existence, and legitimize the BDS movement as a whole.
- The New Israel Fund(NIF) spent large sums of money erecting the BDS infrastructure, and funds groups that provide vital material support to the BDS movement. NIF has financed numerous Israeli NGOs (non-governmental which promote BDS, including Machsom Watch, Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), Women Against Violence, Social TV, and Mossawa, all five of which signed a letter to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, urging it to divest from Israel. NIF funds enabled CWP to launch its “Who Profits From the Occupation” campaign to identify and target Jewish-Israeli businesses for CWP’s and other groups’ BDS campaigns. CWP’s Eilat Maoz told Knesset committee members at a hearing on Israel’s anti-boycott bill: “We are honored to inform you that even if you pass the [anti-boycott] bill, we will continue calling on Israelis to boycott the occupation.”
NIF also gave a stipend to a member of the International Solidarity Movement, which promotes divestment, justifies Palestinian “armed struggle” (terrorism) and participates in efforts to impede legitimate Israeli counter-terrorist measures. The International Solidarity Movement’s co-founder, George Rishmawi, is even on record justifying the “need” for terrorism. (A list of organizations that NIF supports that have aided Israel’s enemies is available here). Also, in 2011, the NIF Associate Director in Israel, Hedva Radovanitz, said that “she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.”
Also, NIF grantees Adalah, B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence provided the false information in the (since discredited) Goldstone report that accused Israel of war crimes. The false Goldstone report is one of the BDS movement’s chief weapons.
These NIF-funded groups also make distorted out-of-context films that are used to malign Israel and promote BDS. The NIF-funded groups bring in Arabs to viciously curse and scream at young Israeli soldiers, including screaming ugly charges and epithets against the young Israeli soldiers’ mothers and family members, in an attempt to provoke a response. The NIF-funded groups are always filming. On the rare occasion when an Israeli soldier understandably responds, the NIF-funded groups broadcast only that rare response, without showing the Arab provocation, in an attempt to portray all of the IDF in a bad light. The NIF-funded groups shows these out-of-context films on college campuses and around the world.
- B’Tselem, a major NIF grantee, produced the anti-Israel video shown at infamous “Israel Apartheid Week” events at universities and colleges, which promotes BDS and defames Israel. The chair of B’Tselem’s board, Oren Yiftachel, has publicly called for “effective sanctions” against Israel. As noted, above, B’Tselem provided extensive false information for the Goldstone Report, which is used to promote BDS.
ZOA notes that the following radical extremist groups also do not qualify to march in the Israel Day Parade:
- Americans for Peace Now openly boycotts Jewish-Israeli businesses in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.
- Ameinu lobbies to impose severe international sanctions against Israeli officials whom Ameinu disagrees with, is likewise discriminatory. Ameinu’s top three officials are all also J-Street officials and/or closely involved with J-Street. In addition, the PPI-Ameinu slate in the ongoing World Zionist Congress election includes the heads of Open Hillel, J Street, Americans for Peace Now and NIF.
- “Open Hillel” tries to force the Hillel International campus organization to provide platforms for “Students for Justice in Palestine” to promote global BDS and Israel’s destruction. A former high-level “Open Hillel” official wrote: “Open Hillel has become a vessel for the BDS agenda.”
- J-Street has an “official” “no BDS” position that differs from what it actually does. J Street in fact gives major platforms to global BDS movement leaders at its national conferences and campus events, and promotes BDS on J Street’s website “Our Voices” video.
It is gratifying that the Israel Day Parade will now be a true day to celebrate Israel – and not a day when radical extremist groups that harm Israel are given credibility and legitimacy.