Israel Now

‘Flyergate’ And Beyond

How the BDS wars play out on one campus: a Q&A with NYU’s Rabbi Yehuda Sarna.

Special To The Jewish Week
05/27/2014 - 20:00

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna is Skirball executive director of the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University. He co-founded NYU’s Of Many Institute For Multifaith Leadership, which works to promote positive Jewish-Muslim dialogue on campus.

Rabbi Sarna in his NYU office. Boycott vote by the American Studies Association “did not echo much on campus.”

The BDS Wars, Close Up

From ‘pinkwashing’ to the Park Slope Food Coop fight, in the trenches with the JCRC’s point person on the ever-demanding issue.

Special To The Jewish Week
05/27/2014 - 20:00

The call demands my attention and I prepare myself with a deep breath. I know the reason for this call from Jerusalem, and I also know my answer won’t satisfy them. I rarely have good news these days. The caller is outraged about the latest tactic in the ongoing effort to delegitimize the State of Israel — this time under the guise of “socially responsible investing.” We review the strategies employed in previous battles, and analyze their relevance; one strategy, for instance, involved combating the pressure on TIAA-CREF to drop Caterpillar from its portfolio. (Activists in the BDS, or boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, demanded that the retirement fund remove Caterpillar, as they claimed that the company “profits from the Israeli occupation”).

Ricky’s NYC, a popular cosmetics store, refused to stop selling Ahava products. Michael Datikash/JW

A BDS Blueprint For The Green

The argument for a savvy response that mixes pressure with pragmatism.

Special To The Jewish Week
05/27/2014 - 20:00

At first glance, the movement on university campuses to delegitimize Israel via academic boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) appears to have gained considerable ground and long-term traction. Although many had expected that the movement was doomed to failure, at least in the United States, three scholarly associations have now adopted resolutions calling for boycott, with the prospect of more to follow. Well-organized BDS proponents within university faculties in effect “turned out the votes” at the meetings of groups like the American Studies Association, while others who had at most passing interest in the issue either failed to counter-mobilize in time or remained on the sidelines out of general indifference.

Brooklyn College has seen its share of pro-BDS activity. Wikimedia Commons

Tech Sector Soaring Despite Boycott

Israel’s ‘start-up nation’ reputation seen trumping economic threat as foreign investment is robust as ever.

Israel Correspondent
05/27/2014 - 20:00

Tel Aviv — The uproar over threats of an economic boycott against Israel puzzles OurCrowd founder Jonathan Medved.

Our Crowd, a venture capital firm that gives a select group of individuals a chance to co-invest in Israeli start-ups, recently completed a campaign to raise $25 million through an equity sale. Did the threat of growing efforts to divest money from Israel and boycott business dealings impact the sale?

The Zula team

Rock Steady

Israel concert promoters and festival organizers have taken some BDS hits, but mainly the show goes on.

Israel Correspondent
05/27/2014 - 20:00

Jerusalem — They plan the events months, even a year, ahead. They launch a publicity blitz and may already have sold tickets. And then — boom! — it all starts to unravel when the musician or artist or writer is pressured by activists in the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement to cancel the gig and not play in Israel.

Madonna, performing in 2012 in Tel Aviv. Courtesy of MDNA/Young

More ‘Noise’ Than Anything?

Gauging the impact — economic and psychological — of the BDS movement.

Staff Writer
05/27/2014 - 20:00

In recent months, Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, blacklisted Israel’s Bank Hapoalim.

The Dutch water company Vitens announced the end of all joint ventures with Israel’s national water supplier, Mekorot.

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid has warned of dire economic consequences because of the boycott effort. Getty Images

Calm On The Israeli Campus

Israeli professors not feeling a chilling effect in push to freeze them out, but they caution about need for vigilance.

Israel Correspondent
05/27/2014 - 20:00

Jerusalem — At the end of last year, the battle over the Middle East conflict on U.S. college campuses seemed to reach a milestone when the American Studies Association became the first professional organization of university academics in the U.S. to endorse a boycott of Israel.

The American Studies Association voted in favor of a boycott of Israeli universities. Wikimedia Commons

Directory Listings; The information below was provided by many of the advertisers appearing in this issue.

05/26/2014 - 20:00

Aberdeen Israel Fund
Investing in Israel Today

By William Scholes, Assistant Investment Manager Aberdeen Asset Management

Aberdeen Asset Management believes there are a number of compelling reasons to take a close look at investing in Israel today. Here are a few: 

Israel Now May 2014

Rock Steady: The Show Goes On For Concert Promoters; Still Start-Up Nation: Tech Sector Thriving Despite Boycott; In The BDS Trenches: From ‘Pinkwashing’ To The Park Slope Food Coop

05/26/2014 - 20:00
Israel Now May 2014

Can Inclusive Candidate Be Elected Chief Rabbi?

David Stav, once a long shot in Israel, seeks major changes in haredi stronghold, including on marriage and conversion.
Editor and Publisher
05/28/2013 - 20:00

A few months ago Rabbi David Stav, the 53-year-old founder and president of Tzohar, a rabbinic organization that strives to make the face of traditional Judaism more appealing to Israelis, was seen as the Don Quixote candidate in the upcoming national Chief Rabbinate election, held once a decade.

Rabbi Stav has pledged to end corruption of the rabbinic court system and privatize kashrut certification.
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