UJA-Federation Twisting Arms of Israeli Diplomats to Allow NIF into Israel Day Parade
The UJA-Federation’s top brass have been twisting the arms of Israel’s diplomatic corps to provide cover for supporting the New Israel Fund marching in the Israel Day Parade, according to emails obtained by JCCWatch.
The strategy to use the Foreign Ministry as their beard came to an uncomfortable public end last week, when the Spokesman for the Israeli Consulate in New York had to make a statement to deny what UJA-Federation CEO Eric Goldstein had told Talkline Communications radio host Zev Brenner on March 30. In an appearance on the show, Goldstein said, twice actually, that “the government of Israel, the Consul General’s office, very much, emphatically, want us to allow these groups to continue to march.”
The consulate spokesman told Arutz Sheva last week that at “no point did any of the parade’s organizers consult with the Consulate or with someone acting on its behalf regarding the New Israel Fund’s participation.” The newspaper quoted the spokesman directly as saying, “never, ever, did the Consul-General, or someone on his behalf, or any of the Consulate’s employees, say anything favoring the NIF’s participation, either explicitly or implicitly, in a hinted manner or in public, in secret or openly.”
The oddly worded distancing of the Consul-General’s office from the UJA-Federation comes as emails obtained by JCCWatch show Goldstein and former UJA-Federation president Jerry Levin, indeed, reaching out to Israeli ambassadors for exactly that kind of cover.
The email trail leading up to Goldstein’s foot-in-mouth routine, and reproduced below, casts a dark shadow on UJA-Federation leadership who were able to co-opt important Israel diplomats to publicly boost their cause of defending the New Israel Fund.
“There is a ton of pressure on them and they are scared, ” a lay leader in the New York Jewish community wrote in February to Danny Ayalon, former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the U.S.A. from 2002 to 2006. “I am personally aware numerous Jewish leaders and community members have called them personally.”
Ambassador Ayalon agreed, writing in an email: “Absolutely, they panicked and want to see me.”
In response to another message about the seriousness of the crisis New Israel Fund’s inclusion in the parade is bringing to UJA-Federation leadership, Ambassador Ayalon wrote back: “Now I get calls from the big shots, Jerry Levin and Eric Goldstein past and present Chairs of the UJA. I agreed to meet with them next week.”
Soon after the email exchange, Ambassador Ayalon met Levin and Goldstein, and then appeared in April on Talkline Communications, telling Zev Brenner, diplomatically, that “Eric is doing a great job” and that while it’s “incomprehensible that you have Jewish groups who are boycotting Israel or calling to boycott Israel, ” how it’s “not only unfair, it’s illogical, especially when it comes from Jewish groups,” and that there should be a “red line not to be crossed” if and when New Israel Fund calls for divesting from Israel, but all these groups should be included in the parade.
What we find so galling at JCCWatch is that Ambassador Ayalon, with his long history of fighting BDS, actually says, here we have it on tape, “New Israel Fund is not the enemy,” side-stepping the point that New Israel Fund supports groups that boycott Israeli companies.
Last week’s denial from the consulate spokesman is a first step in ending the political cover that allows the New Israel Fund to subvert our institutions from within, and “the facts on the ground” are shifting in our favor.
As the heat rises on the consulate in New York, Jerusalem has responded with a strengthening of the entire Foreign Ministry, with Ambassador Dore Gold named on Monday as the top staffer in the institution, led by Tzipi Hotovoly as deputy foreign minister. On Tuesday, Gilad Erdan, the number two on the Likud election list, was appointed to head the ministries of public security and strategic affairs, public diplomacy and the Iran dossier, becoming the point man for the fight against the BDS movement.
As Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf and PR executive and author Ronn Torossian wrote in Arutz Sheva in March, “Walk away from the New Israel Fund if you care for Israel. There is no other choice.”