BDS protest
BDS protestiStock

The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—on Monday applauded Assembly Members Daniel Rosenthal (D-Queens) and Nily Rozic (D-Queens) for leading the charge at the New York State Assembly in protecting Israel from the left.

“Unfortunately, a great travesty has occurred. Some New York State politicians have adopted sharply anti-Israel and anti-Semitic positions. Recently, Democratic Socialist lawmakers Jabari Brisport (D-Brooklyn) and Zohran Mamdani (D-Queens) proposed legislation that would punish New York-based charities that engage in ‘unauthorized support of Israeli settlement activity,’” the Rabbinical Alliance said in a statement.

These lawmakers introduced the “Not on Our Dime!: Ending New York Funding of Israeli Settler Violence Act” — legislation aimed at barring New York-based charitable groups from engaging in “unauthorized support of Israeli settlement activity.”

The proposed legislation would give the state attorney general the authority to revoke a charity’s tax-exempt status if it is involved in aiding the expansion of “Israeli settlements.” The Rabbinical Alliance noted that the proposed legislation follows recent skirmishes in which Israel defended its civilian population from terrorists in the Gaza strip who relentlessly and mercilessly have engaged in shelling Israel with rockets.

In a memo in support of their bill, Assemblyman Mamdani and Senator Brisport shockingly said, Tthese settlements play an important role in entrenching Israel’s apartheid rule over millions of Palestinians who are forced to live in enclaves surrounded by checkpoints and with a separate set of rules and rights based on their ethnicity.”

Brisport and Mamdani were blatant in their antisemitic tropes when they claimed that these organizations “masquerade as charities” and “funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to ethnic cleansing”, said the Rabbinical Assembly.

“Many of those who lead the settlement enterprise, including its most harmful and radical elements, are actually funded by organizations here in New York State. Although they are in direct violation of international and human rights law, the organizations masquerade as charities. This allows them to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to ethnic cleansing while enjoying tax-exempt status in New York, meaning that New York State is effectively subsidizing these atrocities,” the lawmakers said.

However, to date approximately 70 members of the Assembly — including Speaker Carl Heastie — have signed on in support of Israel, thanks to the efforts spearheaded by Assembly Members Rosenthal and Rozic.

“These pro-Israel lawmakers drew a line and made it crystal clear that this draconian proposed bill would, if approved, punish charitable Jewish organizations that provide aid to the needy and emergency care for victims of terrorism,” said the Rabbinical Assembly.

“This bill targets them all. In response, we say `Not on our watch!,'” said the letter drafted by Rosenthal and Rozic. “This bill is a ploy to demonize Jewish charities with connections to Israel. It was only introduced to antagonize pro-Israel New Yorkers and further sow divisions within the Democratic Party,” the pro-Israel lawmakers added.

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America thanked Assembly Members Rosenthal and Rozic “for speaking from their consciences” in defense of charitable organizations and for tackling head-on this anti-Israel and anti-Semitic assault in the New York State Assembly.

Mirocznik emphasized that the Rabbinical Alliance of America has long stood in defense of Israel. “Once again we state that Israel is not an Apartheid State. Apartheid was the official South African policy that sought to maintain a complete political and social separation between the white and black population of South Africa. Under South African Apartheid, blacks were not permitted to eat in white restaurants or cafes; to attend white schools or universities; to be treated in white hospitals; to live in white neighborhoods; to serve in the white government or judiciary.

“Anyone familiar with Israel knows that there is no such segregation in Israel. Israeli Arab citizens have full rights. They attend all of Israel’s universities. They can seek medical treatment in all of Israel’s hospitals. They are employed by the Israeli government and by its judiciary and are welcomed at all of Israel’s restaurants and cafes. They even serve in its national legislature, the Knesset. Furthermore, Palestinian Arabs residing in the West Bank live under the political control of the Palestinian Authority and enjoy the full range of rights guaranteed by the Palestinian Authority. Clearly, it is an erroneous conclusion to compare Israel to an Apartheid state.”

Mirocznik further stated, “The Rabbinical Alliance of America protests and condemns this inaccurate and anti-Semitic platform and agenda that singles out the Jewish state for false delegitimization in order to justify terrorism against civilians. As Rabbis, we applaud the efforts by Assembly Members Rosenthal and Rozic in defending Israel. Thanks to their altruistic and strong stand this nefarious proposed legislation is dead on arrival and has no chance. What is most disturbing is that this assault on Israel took place in New York, which outside of Israel has the largest Jewish population in the world. We wonder, how can that happen? But thanks to Assembly Members Rosenthal, Rozic and their colleagues, it will not happen.”