“PRESS CONFERENCE TAKES JCC OF UPPER WEST SIDE TO TASK” by Fern Sidman

On Sunday afternoon, March 13th, an organization called JCC Watch held a news conference outside the Jewish Community Center of the upper west side in Manhattan to spotlight the nefarious partnership that the board of directors of the center have established with groups that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The JCC in Manhattan is a beneficiary agency of the UJA-Federation.

JCCWatch.org is a volunteer organization that came into being when it was discovered that the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, through its “Other Israel Film Festival” (OIFF) website, actively partners with or links to groups that, in addition to their stated missions, support, fund, or closely work with organizations that advocate the BDS movement against Israel.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is an economic campaign that was launched in 2005 by various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which seeks to demonize, delegitimize, and ultimately destroy Israel by the spread of misinformation, by incitement, and by promoting every conceivable boycott imaginable including cultural, economic, union, religious, political, athletic and academicl. Among the pro-BDS organizations that the JCC is partnering with or linking to are:

* The New Israel Fund, which in 2008 distributed over $20 million to over 300 non-governmental organizations in Israel. Approximately 20% goes to NGOs that engage in political activities related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including some that reject the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish democratic state, and are active in boycott and similar campaigns.

* B’Tselem, whose website includes links to BDS-promoting organizations like Adalah, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and the Arab Association for Human Rights. Most recently, according to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a B’Tselem photographer was involved in “staging” a scene in a videotape that purportedly documented misconduct by Israeli soldiers.

* Human Rights Watch, whose original founder Robert Bernstein, in a New York Times op-ed, strongly criticized the organization for its current anti-Israel bias.

* J Street, whose conferences have been used to host and promote groups affiliated with the BDS movement. (In addition to listing J Street as one of its “partners” on one of its websites, the JCC has made its facilities available for political activities on behalf of J Street.)

JCCWatch.org has requested that the JCC’s board of directors establish public and transparent guidelines regarding BDS, but to no avail. JCCWatch.org founder Richard Allen doesn’t see the difficulty: “It’s time that the board of directors of the JCC in Manhattan take action. It’s simple: all they have to do is stop supporting groups that partner with, fund, or support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel.”

At the news conference, each speaker expressed their horror and deep sadness at the gruesome masscare of the Fogel family, at the hands of Palestinian terrorists in the Samarian settlements of Itamar. Irwin Hochberg, former Chairman of the Board of the UJA-Federation of New York; and former National Campaign Chairman of Israel Bonds spoke of “the golden days” of the United Jewish Appeal, prior to the hijacking of the organization by liberal elements of the Jewish community. Jeff Wiesenfeld, a former executive assistant to New York City appointed by former New York State Governor George Pataki told the media that during his tenure in this position, he had worked diligently to obtain the state funding necessary for the construction of the JCC and called upon administrators there to fulfill their obligation as a true representative of the Jewish community and the State of Israel, as they originally had set out to do.

Expressing indignance at the apathy and indifference to Jewish suffering that is displayed by the JCC of Manhattan, Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans For A Safe Israel said, “The JCC should have its members out in the street protesting this massacre at Itamar. Instead, they go on with business as usual, ignoring the brutality waged against Israel and blaming Israel for the ills of the Arab world.” She added that “by partnering with organizations like J Street, B’Tzelem, the New Israel Fund and Human Rights Watch, the JCC is exhibiting a state of moral confusion. One boycotts totalitarian regimes, like the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, the sponsor of these terrorist groups. One does not boycott the only democracy in the Middle East.”

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

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