(JNS.org) A group of between 50 and 75 protesters gathered outside the UJA-Federation of New York’s building on Thursday to burn their checks to UJA and to call on Jews to stop donating to the federation until it establishes new guidelines that prevent the funding of anti-Israel activity.
JCC Watch, which partnered with Americans for a Safe Israel on the rally, previously staged protests outside the 92nd Street Y in New York over the Y’s invitation of anti-Israel celebrity speakers including Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters and author Alice Walker. Those rallies called on the UJA-Federation—which commits $900,000 annually to the 92nd Street Y—to establish the new funding guidelines on Israel, but JCC Watch has now refocused its efforts to call for a stoppage of donations to UJA-Federation itself. As such, the theme of Thursday’s rally was “close your wallets.”
“We have a pattern of forces within the UJA-Federation diverting charitable dollars to further political purposes, and these purposes are anti-Israel,” JCC Watch head Richard Allen told JNS.org.
A promotional email for Thursday’s rally stated that under the leadership of executive vice president and CEO John Ruskay, the UJA-Federation’s Celebrate Israel Day Parade “has invited groups to march that actively call for a boycott of Israeli companies.”
“Under front names like Partners for Progressive Israel, New Israel Fund and B’Tselem, these groups organize and work against the Jewish State,” the email said. Those groups all deny that they support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Allen said dozens of UJA employees came outside of the building to witness the protest on Thursday. When a UJA donor and volunteer noted that the funding in question is “only a small part” of the federation’s budget, Allen said he replied, “Even if it’s one penny, it’s wrong, and it makes the whole organization basically treif.”
The UJA-Federation declined to comment.
The next step in JCC Watch’s efforts is to recruit “community organizers” to educate New York City synagogues about Jewish funding of anti-Israel activity, Allen said.