Spectators at Celebrate Israel parade in New York, June 3, 2012. Photo by AP
Partners has recently been the target (along with the New Israel Fund and B’Tselem) of a nasty campaign to bar us from participating in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City. (J Street activists participated as individuals in the “progressive cluster” of marchers.) Right-wing groups, including the Zionist Organization of America, J.C.C. Watch and Americans for a Safe Israel, have planned a protest in front of the U.J.A.-Federation of New York for Tuesday, April 8.
Ha’Aretz has published an article about this controversy. In it, Partners is mentioned as follows:
Partners for Progressive Israel (formerly known as Meretz USA) endorses boycotting products made in the settlements.Those lobbying against the progressive groups’ inclusion say there is no distinction between boycotting Israel as a whole and products made in the occupied territories.. . . “To single out Israel or even those communities in Judea and Samaria is discriminatory and immoral,” [claimed one of the protesters] . . .
“We are proud funders of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council, which organizes this parade to enable the diverse New York Jewish community to stand together to express their commitment to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” said UJA-Federation of NY spokeswoman Emily Kutner, when asked about the protests.The JCRC said, in a statement, that it “carries the profound responsibility to bring together the widest possible spectrum of supporters of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” Groups applying to march in the parade are required to pledge that they “support Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” and will not include “political, divisive or inflammatory” statements on their banners or other marching props.And while the JCRC “strongly disagrees” with organizations that support targeted boycotts of companies that manufacture products in Judea and Samaria, as long as they sign the pledge they “fit within the guidelines of the Parade.”“. . . all Parade participants must adhere to the guidelines by displaying exclusively celebratory messaging on the avenue,” said the JCRC’s statement.
Partners’ former president and current vice president Dina Charnin was quoted with the last word:
“There is a lot of misunderstanding and ignorance, and on the part of more extreme people, a willful desire to shut down conversation on these issues,” from those opposed to their marching in the parade. “According to surveys a majority of Jews here and in Israel support two states” for Israelis and Palestinians. “There may be differing opinions about how to get there, but it’s better for the Jewish community to discuss these things and not shut each other down,” Charnin said.
Her group, like others cited by those opposed to their inclusion in Celebrate Israel, will likely march in a group organized by the NIF [New Israel Fund], as they did last year.
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