Organizers claim 500,000 people participated last year, the first year the Parade was broadcast on NYC television. Enjoy this first-hand, on-the street coverage from last year's Celebrate Israel Parade held up New York City's Fifth Avenue. The event honoring Israel's 63rd birthday was held on June 5, 2011. The video segments include comments by Israel Amb. Michael Oren, Rep. Elliot Engel, Rep Charles Rangel, Grand Marshalls Eugene Gluck (a holocaust survivor) and Joseph Sitt of Thor Equities- who is redeveloping Coney Island. Dozens of community groups march and construct floats lauding various Zionistic qualities and characteristics.
This year, the parade is not without controversy, which attracts attention. Jeff Dunetz, who blogs at Yid with Lid, is encouraging Zionist groups to boycott the Jewish Community Relations Council's inclusion of anti-Zionist, leftist group, The New Israel Fund, and their affiliates (B'Tselem, Partners for Progressive Israel/Meretz USA), who lobby against Israel's government and military in international courts, and advocate 'boycott, divestment and sanctions' ("BDS") against Israeli-made goods in the marketplace.
On June 3rd, hundreds of synagogues within reasonable distance of Manhattan will be renting buses, carpooling and finding other means of transportation to show their love of the Jewish State, at the annual Salute to Israel Parade (now called Celebration Israel). (Browse clips from 2011 Parade, which include quotes from parade grand marshalls, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Israeli Amb. Michael Oren, Rep. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Elliot Engel, Rep. Charles Rangel, and several former Soviet Union Jewish veterans who urge, "a safe Israel assures a safe USA").
This year I (Jeff Dunetz) have made the difficult decision to stay home, and I urge you to talk to your Rabbi’s and Synagogue boards to stay home also.
It wasn’t until after last year’s parade that I realized the New Israel Fund (NIF) was allowed to march. Marching with the the NIF with their own banners were other anti-Israel groups B’Tselem, and Partners for Progressive Israel.
Parade organizers were asked, and refused to dis-invite NIF from this year’s celebration.
By staying home we are condemning the participation of these anti-Israel groups in a parade supposed to celebrate our connection to our spiritual homeland.
Two cables released in the Wikileaks dump last year show the NIF for what it is a foreign-funded group dedicate to the de-legitimization of the state of Israel. . .
The (JCRC) is supposed to be creating a Salute to Israel Parade, not a "boycott Israel festival." Staying home is the only way to show the organizers that it’s unacceptable to sanction groups whose purpose is to de-legitimize Israel, or even worse create a non-Jewish Israel.
One of the great things about the Jews as a people is we try to be inclusive of all people and points of view, it is also one of our downfalls.
“It is incredible what political simpletons Jews are. They shut their eyes to one of the most elementary rules of life, that you must not "meet halfway" those who do not want to meet you. -- Ze'ev Jabotinsky, "The Iron Wall;" November 4, 1923”