100 SHOFARS - A HEARTENING SUCCESS. by Janet Lehr
ISRAEL GOVERNMENT COALITION KNESSET CHAIRMAN, MK YARIV LEVIN, WROTE "I am deeply moved... by the courageous stance of friends of Israel involved in the parade, calling to delegitimize those who delegitimize Israel. It is not logical or reasonable for Israel supporters to condone, overlook, or indirectly cooperate with BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel) groups..."
Maxine Dovere (JNS) and Russian TV were photographing and interviewing protestors. 100 + stalwarts stood proud, shofrot sounding. We were energized as we repeatedly chanted NO BDS IN OUR PARADE.
The 100 Shofar Rally was organized by JCCWatch, Richard Allen, with the support of NCJA National Conference on Jewish Affairs, World Committee for the Land of Israel, AFSI Americans for a Safe Israel, ZOA Zionist Organization of Emerica, EMET Endowment for Middle East truth.
... Gesturing to the entrance of UJA/FEDERATION headquarters, RICHARD ALLEN, who has nurtured our protests with long hours of work cried, "SHAME, SHAME, SHAME. We want to make sure our Jewish Charitable dollars are not misused." RABBI ALGAZE opened his remarks with a shofar blast. "There is no room for those who boycott Israel. And the crowd chanted:
You want to be democratic? Why don't you ask the Jews who support you. We question Kerry. You are wrong. You should apologize.
STEP DOWN KERRY
STEP DOWN KERRY
STEP DOWN KERRY
THE PARADE IS FOR FRIENDS OF ISRAEL
HELEN FREEDMAN - spoke with passion. "For those who have questions, there is no room. We supported UJA and JCRC years ago and they have terribly disappointed us. How could Kerry under the influence of Barack Obama, have said that Israel is an Apartheid State. He's in effect giving a green light to our enemies as they join with Fetah and Hamas.
RICHARD ALLEN again took the mic. Referencing John Ruskay, Allen noted that the short lived CONAME, one of a number of Liberal-Anti-Zionist organizations that sprung up in the aftermath of the Vietnam War where Ruskay worked with Noam Chomsky (1974.) With the help of John Ruskay and Rabbi Arnold Wolf it morphed into Breira. (For a thorough overview of the various organizations: Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America By Michael E. Staub). "John Ruskay and his group in UJA uses Jewish money to push their agenda. We hope our shofars today will open their hearts so we get a resolution."
LAURI REGAN, Endowment for Middle East Peace, spoke of the parable of the Little Kosher Pigs whose first houses were made of straw, houses that were quickly blown away. Regan continued, the Jews of UJA and JCRC build a big tent, but the JEWS OF ISRAEL BUILD A HOUSES OF BRICK. The future of the organized Jewish community in the United States is at stake. All the Jewish leaders who have come out in support of J Street accepting J Street's support of John Kerry and a two state solution including Hamas. "What does it mean to be pro Israel. DISBAND THE BIG TENT. Surely, if we don't learn from the lessons of history we are bound to repeat them."
Richard Allen quoted the president of the New Israel Fund as saying, "Why should I worry when the heads of UJA/FEDERATION and JCRC support us." After which he roared: "This is not the end, this is only the beginning,"
DR PAUL BRODY led us in singing Hatikvah. It was a powerful moment.
GARY AND ELLIE DUKOFSKY, attendees: It was a transformational, deeply meaningful experience.
The chant against including NIF groups in our annual Salute Israel Parade: If you boycott Israel-made, You don't belong in our parade!
Subject: Fwd: We will not be deterred.
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 22:19:16 -0400
Robert Sidi, Esq.
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Daniel Sokatch, NIF" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: April 29, 2014, 14:29:04 EDT
Subject: We will not be deterred.
It seems silly at first.
100 men and women are planning to blow shofars outside the UJA-Federation office in New York this evening. They're calling on the UJA to exclude NIF, Partners for a Progressive Israel, and B'Tselem from New York's Celebrate Israel Parade ....
The protestors ... can't seem to come to terms with the notion that, for many thousands of us, loving Israel means not sweeping Israel's problems under the rug, but rather ...ending the occupation....
So what's the big deal about 100 protesters in New York City, especially when the UJA, the JCRC, and so many in the organized Jewish community are standing with us?
Sadly, the shofar blowers are getting support from Israeli extremists, including those in positions of real influence. Just yesterday Knesset Member Yariv Levin -- chairman of Prime Minister Netanyahu's coalition and the author of anti-democratic legislation -- wrote them a letter of support.
What I have come to understand is that there is a visceral connection between those protesting the UJA and the ultra-nationalist settlers who hold so much influence in the current Israeli government. Both seek to narrow the scope of acceptable discourse. Both are emboldened by the collapse of the peace process. Both want to rip Israel away from its heritage as a liberal democracy.
...The time has also come for us to step up our investment to change the public discourse in Israel and to rebuild the pro-democracy, progressive camp. You will be hearing more from me soon about the bold steps we are initiating to shift the national direction....
...Daniel Sokatch, CEO
New Israel Fund
P.S. -- This squabble over the parade in New York has been generating a ton of press. Here are a few of my top picks.
Another NIF article, in the Jewish Week, speaks of the "$30 million a year" that the NIF pours into pro-Palestinian, pro-Beduin and other ultra-liberal causes in Israel and then clearly admits:
"Our detractors argue that we are ...beyond the pale of Israel supporters because we do not prohibit our Israeli grantees from boycotting products and services that come from the settlements.... we don't take a specific position on the advisability of such a boycott, (but) we don't prohibit our grantees from doing so."
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