Celebrate Israel Parade
Celebrate Israel ParadePhoto: INN

According to an open letter, 500 Israeli-Americans who oppose judicial reform have signed a petition demanding that JCRC-NY (Jewish Community Relations Council), other Jewish groups, and elected state officials refuse to host and appear at marches with Israeli cabinet ministers traveling to New York for the Celebrate Israel annual parade, The Forward’s senior political reporter Jacob Kornbluh reported on social media.

The letter, which Kornbluh posted to Twitter, is titled “Reject Anti-democratic Far-right Ministers from the Celebrate Israel Parade.”

In it, the Israelis, who describe themselves as living in New York and around the US, said they were “appalled” that the annual pro-Israel parade had invited a delegation from the “extremist Israeli government, including key supporters of its anti-democratic assault on the Israeli judiciary.”

They called upon the JCRC-NY and other marchers to refuse to let the “far-right government ministers actively working to undermine Israel’s democracy” from participating in the parade.

“We urge Jewish organizations and New York State and City elected officials to refuse to march alongside those who threaten our democratic values, and reject the attempt to normalize these authoritarian forces,” the letter said.

Stating that “this extremist government has been largely shunned by officials from the US and other nations, which have refused to meet with far-right ministers who publicly support the anti-democratic attacks,” the letter claimed that “despite this broad consensus,” the Celebrate Israel Parade has “nonetheless decided to host a record number of Israeli government ministers and officials… [some of whom] represent the most racist, homophobic, and authoritarian elements of this government.”

Noting that the delegation includes nine ministers, which the letter castigated as extremists and “outspoken proponents of the assault on the judiciary,” the letter singled out MK Simcha Rothman, chair of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, who it described as holding “some of the most radical views in the coalition concerning restricting the judiciary’s independence.”

“After being ostracized by mainstream Jewish organizations and the US government, these officials have now found a backdoor into the Jewish-American community through the Celebrate Israel parade,” the activists wrote in the letter.

“This is an insult to the many hundreds of Israelis and American Jews who have been fighting for democracy in cities across Israel and the US.”

The letter claimed that “accepting such a large and extremist governmental delegation at a major American event will be used by anti-democratic forces in Israel as evidence that the judicial overhaul is not opposed by US official and can thus advance quickly and freely.”

The activists also threatened to not attend the parade if they had to “march alongside extremist government officials while they are engaged in a plan to eviscerate the country’s democracy.”

“The theme of this year’s Celebrate Israel Parade is ‘renewing the hope,’ but there is nothing hopeful in the dangerous path to authoritarianism that the parade’s guests and dragging Israel into,” the letter concluded, urging the JCRC-NY and other supporters of the parade to oppose the government’s participation.