A prominent Sephardic rabbi has urged leaders from the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of New York to bar “Jewish groups that support BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions)” from marching in the June 1 Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City.
Ahead of an April 8 protest rally outside of the UJA-Federation building regarding the participation of groups including Partners for Progressive Israel, the New Israel Fund (NIF), and B’Tselem in the JCRC-run and UJA Federation-supported parade, Rabbi Elie Abadie-leader of New York’s Edmond J. Safra Synagogue-wrote in a letter to UJA-Federation and JCRC leaders that the groups’ “disguise of being legitimate ‘Pro-Israel Jewish Groups’ has been already discovered and revealed as false.”
“These are the same groups who continue to accuse Israel of being an Apartheid State and a human rights violator, likening Israel to Nazi Germany,” Abadie wrote. “They are the ones who supported and celebrated the Goldstone Report, falsely accusing Israel of war crimes. … We must not condone their actions, let alone allow anti-Israel groups to march under the banner of a legitimate group celebrating Israel.”
The groups in question, though accused of funding and promoting, all deny that they support the movement. The NIF, for instance, states on its website that it opposes the BDS movement, views its tactics as “counterproductive, and “is concerned that segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel.” Yet a promotional flyer for the April 8 rally notes that NIF pro-BDS organizations.
“For instance, 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 from Israel,” the flyer says.
“The community must make its voice heard by calling and writing the UJA-Federation and demand that effective guidelines be implemented to prevent Jewish community charity funds being used for these divisive purposes,” said Richard Allen, head of JCCWatch.org, one of the organizations sponsoring the rally.