Why We’re Going to the Celebrate Israel Parade (and Why You Should, Too!) - The Jewish Voice
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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Why We’re Going to the Celebrate Israel Parade (and Why You Should, Too!)

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There has been a fair deal of machloket (that is to say, animated debate) within New York’s Jewish community these past few months vis-à-vis the annual Celebrate Israel Parade taking place this Sunday in Manhattan. The controversy was stirred up by a handful of well-meaning but perhaps misguided Israel supporters in response to unfortunate decision by the equally well-meaning organizers of the parade to invite the participation of Jewish organizations with established ties to groups with anti-Zionist agendas, namely, supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (better known by the acronym BDS) against Israel. So, if anti-Israel groups are allowed to march in what is ostensibly a pro-Israel event, how can we, the editors of the Jewish Voice participate with a clear conscience, you ask? Good question, hypothetical reader!

First of all, the idea of protesting a parade that allows the participation of supporters of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel by boycotting, divesting ourselves from, and imposing our own sanction on the parade, is just too much irony for our brains to process. So the Celebrate Israel Parade prefers the big tent approach to community engagement, and a few misguided people are let in, so what? Unlike the terrorists with whom their sympathies lie, the BDSers are, by and large, cowards who, despite the ideological challenge they present and the discord they sew, offer no immediate threat.

Here’s what we do know:

  • True, wholehearted Israel supporters will absolutely dwarf the BDS camp in terms of numbers. A boycott by true Zionists only shifts the numbers in favor of the radical leftist (and for that matter, radical right wing, i.e. Neturei Karta) contingent.
  • The parade will still be held with or without us. And without us, who will be left to boo and heckle the BDS crowd? Put another way: How will they know they’re the fringe if the majority doesn’t show up?
  • The Celebrate Israel Parade is consistently the largest, most impressive, and to us, most enjoyable expression of support for Israel in all the Diaspora – and it only comes once a year!

Would you pass up an awesome Fourth of July celebration because a few flag burning-types decided to show up and “celebrate” Independence Day in their own way? No – as a patriot, you show up, and you boo and taunt them until your throat is sore. You shout them down until they feel as ridiculous as they are. In a democratic society such as ours, they have the freedom to be as idiotic as they want, and you, dear reader, have the freedom to publicly shame them for it.

In short, with so many reasons to go (it is arguably the greatest Zionist shindig this side of the Mediterranean), we’d only be hurting ourselves if we let a deranged few rain on our parade, as it were.

That is why we’ll be marching with pride this Sunday. We’re going to celebrate Israel. And we hope to see you there!

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