Press Releases


CONTACT: Naomi Paiss
202-513-7824 phone
[email protected]

Progressive groups to march together for the first time in New York’s annual “Celebrate Israel Parade”

24 May 2011

Americans for Peace Now, Meretz-USA, New Israel Fund, and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America will march for the first time as a progressive cluster in the 2011 Celebrate Israel Parade in New York on Sunday, June 5th.

Our organizations are proud to announce our unprecedented joint participation in this annual parade. We are marching “in tune with Israel’s values” as expressed in its Declaration of Independence. Our cluster represents those who love Israel and its essential founding principles of democracy, justice, civil rights, freedom and peace, and marches in solidarity with those segments of Israeli civil society working to protect and advance these values.

At a time when a small minority of extremist voices is working to exclude progressive voices from dialogue about Israel within the Diaspora Jewish community, we commend the efforts of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC NY), the parade’s organizer, to broaden our community’s tent. As organizations that represent a large number of Jews across the United States, we are delighted to participate in this year’s parade; we hope that in the years to come, more progressive Zionist voices will be represented.

We would like to note that J Street planned to participate in our cluster but was unable to do so because current rules preclude the participation of any organization with a 501(c)(4) division. It is our hope that the JCRC NY will revisit its guidelines for next year’s parade so that J Street (and other organizations) will be able to march, as a key part of the pro-Israel community.

We would also like to recognize that participation in the parade is not without its complexities for the participants in our cluster. This June 5th is also the 44th anniversary of the first day of Israel’s occupation of the Territories. In fealty to the values we march to represent, we are mindful of the importance of this date and value the preservation of multiple historical narratives associated with it. There are those who might challenge our joint participation in the parade, but we feel that the event is an important opportunity for groups that often criticize the occupation to come together in celebration of our vision of Israel, living within internationally recognized boundaries and at peace with itself and its neighbors. We believe that our presence there will demonstrate—both to the Jewish community and to the world—that love and support for Israel is expressed in many ways, including through the prism of liberal, democratic and progressive values.

We congratulate the Jewish Community Relations Council and the UJA-Federation of New York for creating an opportunity for Jews of multiple political and religious perspectives to come together to celebrate Israel, each in our own way.

For more information, please contact:

Ori Nir, Americans for Peace Now: [email protected], 202-408-9898

Sarah Strnad, Meretz-USA: [email protected], 212-242-4500

Naomi Paiss, the New Israel Fund: [email protected], 202-513-7824

Joshua Bloom, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America: [email protected], 212-845-5292 office, 718-683-2548 (cell)

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