Last year, the New Israel Fund was allowed to participate in the annual Salute to Israel parade. The NIF was joined by other far left groups which marched with them, displaying their banners. These groups include B’Tzelem, Partners for Progressive Israel, (otherwise known as Meretz USA) and Rabbis for Human Rights. The NIF will be marching again this year and presumably the other aforementioned groups will again be joining them.
This should be viewed with concern since the NIF supports groups which support the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement. The following are a few examples.
Five grantees of the New Israel Fund (Machsom Watch, Coalition of Women for Peace, Women against Violence, Social TV, and Mossawa) signed a letter to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund urging it to divest “in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.”
Meretz USA displays on its web-site a heading instructing specific “settlement products sold in the US” to be boycotted which include Israeli products such as Ahava Cosmetics, B&B Baked Goods, Soda Stream, and various wine producers. Oren Yiftachel, the chair of B’Tzelem, which is a major grantee of the New Israel Fund, has publicly called for “effective sanctions” against Israel.
According to NGO monitor, headed by Professor Gerald Steinberg at Bar Ilan University, the NIF authorized grants of nearly 900,000 dollars to B’Tzelem between 2006 and 2009. Despite NIF stated opposition to the BDS movement, their funding of groups which support BDS indicates that their policy runs contrary to their statements.
For some Israelis and Jews to support such a nefarious movement gives impetus to harmful international boycotts. When Jewish groups of the far left support efforts to dictate Israeli policy by disrupting the livelihood of their fellow Jews, they have crossed the line. The people of Israel have the right to decide their future especially on matters pertaining to their vital security without coercion.
Richard Allen, founder of JCC Watch and a member of the pro-Israel parade committee which has organized the stop the BDS movement from marching in the Israel day parade in New York City on June 3, denounced the participation of groups supporting BDS in the parade, “Jews do not call upon Jews to boycott Jews.”
Some of these have also joined the attack against Israel’s public image. B’Tzelem produced a video that was shown at the infamous “Israel Apartheid 2012” and at events held at colleges throughout the world.
American Jewry has different voices which come together on the day of the Israel parade, but there must be zero tolerance for those who act against Israel’s sovereignty. Their participation would demean the very purpose of the event. The only suitable designated spot for those who give support to Israel’s detractors should be next to the likes of the Neturei Karta and others who publicly oppose the Jewish State. Groups supporting BDS may proclaim their support but their actions speak louder than any words.
According to Beth Gilinsky, Executive Director of the National Conference on Jewish Affairs, “It is shocking that organizations actively promoting boycott, sanctions and/or divestment from the Jewish State or other clearly anti-Israel agendas are allowed to march in the Salute to Israel parade. The sponsors and organizers of the parade can immediately stop enabling those hateful groups that are masquerading as “pro-Israel,” by revoking their permission to march.”
The theme of the day is ‘Blue and White’—to unify support for Israel. Multitudes of participants are there to celebrate and show support for the State of Israel. And that’s the way it should be.
Larry Domnitch is an educator and the author of The Cantonists: The Jewish Children´s Army of the Tsar, released by Devora Publishing. He is also an op-ed columnist for Arutz Sheva.