My impression is that the “progressive cluster” of groups had a better turnout than last year. (Perhaps attacks on our participation in the parade have boomeranged.) The New Israel Fund again deserves credit for taking the lead in organizing us. We were booed at times, including by people with placards accusing us of supporting BDS, but also cheered about as much.
|Progressive groups at Celebrate Israel Parade in NYC, June 1; see more photos by Gili Getz at NIF Facebook page.
At one point, we were sandwiched between anti-Israel chasidim on one side and pro-settler types on the other side of the street — all jeering us. For some reason, the anti-Israel bunch included some anti-gay messages; I’m told that some Latin immigrant workers were hired for this purpose. I guess they were making a point about bestiality because they displayed big stuffed animals; I specifically recall giraffes. We found this genuinely funny, but I wouldn’t blame the gay & lesbian pro-Israel contingent marching behind us if they were not amused.
The right-wing Arutz Sheva media service interviewed me briefly at the parade. The video
is beneath the article, “Watch: Arutz Sheva On-Site at the Israel Day Parade.” I’m at the 16-minute mark of this video; it jumps for a few seconds to something else, and then returns to what I think is a pretty good sound bite for the Partners viewpoint (albeit less than perfect). It was quickly followed by a supportive comment from a bystander, who happens to be someone I know from my local Jewish community (Michael Rand gave me permission to identify him by name while quipping, “If I disappear tomorrow you will know why,” and describes himself as a supporter of Israel, the New Israel Fund and J Street). Still, the written article above the video concludes with a patent untruth about Partners:
… Arutz Sheva talked to representatives from both sides of the political divide at the parade – including activists from pro-BDS Partners for Progressive Israel and nationalist watchdog groups.