100 Shofars in New York Against BDS Groups
A "100 Shofar" protest was held on Tuesday in New York, in front of the UJA-Federation Building in Manhattan, to condemn the invitation of three pro-BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) groups to the 50th annual Israel Day Parade.
Arutz Sheva contributor and Americans For a Safe Israel National Director Mark Langfan was on scene to record the protest, which was organized by JCCWatch.org and Richard Allen.
The protest follows an April 8 rally in front of the building, which similarly called on UJA to dis-invite "Partners for Progressive Israel," which lists Israeli products to boycott on its website; the New Israel Fund (NIF), which has supported BDS and reportedly been encouraging Arab riots; as well as B'Tselem, whose volunteers have taken part in Arab riots.
NIF and B'Tselem have also been implicated in pro-BDS activities, including via subsidiaries, videos and statements. All three are currently set to march in the parade under their own banners.
The planned inclusion of the pro-BDS groups has raised an uproar ahead of the annual Israel Day Parade, which will take place on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on June 1.
Unless the groups are pulled, several local rabbis, including day school and yeshiva principals, are considering boycotting the event, thereby significantly reducing the number of participants.
Money behind the inclusion?
Jeff Wiesenfeld, a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) which organizes the parade, revealed the decision process that led to the groups' inclusion.
While a majority of JCRC's leadership would have opposed the "detestable" BDS groups, according to Wiesenfeld, "there was no debate. It was a decision handed down from ‘above’ because, I think, it was determined that, financially, the UJA stood to lose more from the left if the BDS groups were excluded than they would gain from the right."
Rabbi Aryeh Spero, author of Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit, said "real Jewish leaders should not be indifferent, silent, nor lend support to boycotters and others wishing to tear us down."
The rabbi added, "directors of our Jewish organizations proved their fallibility during the 1930s and ‘40s, teaching us that blind obedience is foolish and leaving our destiny and safety to those who claim they ‘know best’ can be devastating. This time in history, we must not make the same mistake."