Chilly protesters of Oren call on NY Jewish community center to open its doors to dissenters

on 5 Comments
Oren protest2
Jews Say No! protest Michael Oren’s appearance last night
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren spoke at the Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side last night, and more than a dozen protesters organized by Jews Say No! stood out on Amsterdam Avenue to protest his appearance and talk to passersby.
The group told the JCC administration that it wanted their voices heard inside the community center, and the voices of others who support Boycott, divestment and sanctions. 
They passed out a flyer with this statement:


Michael Oren represents the Israeli government, which is responsible for:

–a brutal occupation that denies the Palestinian people their right to self-determination;

–systematically denying the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank and Gaza and inside Israel their basic civil and human rights;

–Israeli assaults on Gaza, which indiscriminately kill Palestinian men, women, and children and extensively damage Gaza’s infrastructure;

–planning the construction of 3,000 homes in Area E1 of the West Bank that will make geographically impossible a contiguous, viable Palestinian state.

Michael Oren is not interested in the free exchange of ideas and information. In April 2012, Michael Oren called CBS to try to get a story about Palestinian Christians pulled from “60 Minutes” before he even saw it because he thought it would be a “hatchet job.”


The JCC is supposed to represent all Jews. While it is offering a platform to Oren, who represents a reactionary government that is becoming increasingly militaristic and anti-democratic, it has not provided forums for the many Jews whose Jewish values lead them to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement until Israel complies with international law and basic principles of civil and human rights. Nor has the JCC scheduled programs featuring Jews who question whether a state that privileges Jews (or any other religion) can ever be a “democratic state.” That kind of inquiry and self-reflection is in the best of the Jewish tradition and should be a hallmark of JCC programming!

Sponsored by Jews Say No!

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

5 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    December 5, 2012, 11:50 am

    “The JCC is supposed to represent all Jews.” Really? Why cannot any organization run by its bosses represent anybody it wants to? Who says Jewish organizations have to be democratic? Israel isn’t — why should they be.

    Freedom means freedom to be an evil ostrich. So there! Still, maybe the dissenters can organize their own JCC event. or try to, to see if this was merely protection of an honored guest-speaker.

    • piotr
      December 5, 2012, 12:27 pm

      Perhaps Jewish Community Center has some charter specifying the purpose of the Center, with some boilerplate about needs of all Jews in the community. However, it is not realistic that the Center will admit any Jewish group, like Jewish Satanist, Jewish Love Young Boys Association (I know your views, Moser, but not under THAT explicit name) or, worst of all, Jewish We Do Not Love Israel group.

      • Reds
        December 5, 2012, 3:53 pm

        “However, it is not realistic that the Center will admit any Jewish group, like Jewish Satanist, Jewish Love Young Boys Association ”

        argument by absurdity.

        ” worst of all, Jewish We Do Not Love Israel group.”

        To speak at the Jewish Community Center one must love Israel? how about if they like Israel? maybe love/hate relationship?

        Or do they have to blindly love everything Israel does to have a say? Sounds weird since it’s located in America not Israel.

        It’s mission states

        “The mission of The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan is to foster an inclusive, engaged and informed community that embraces diversity and is rooted in Jewish values.”

        Allowing for Jews to who do not “Love” israel, maybe who might “like” it or “disapprove” what Israel is doing, not speak seems doesn’t seem in line with it’s(JCC) mission statement. but denying them while allowing someone who speaks for a foreign government(whoses actions have not been racist,discrimintory against non-jews) seems odd and in violation of such mission statement.

      • piotr
        December 6, 2012, 12:55 am

        Just to make it clear: the argument was intentionally absurd.

      • Reds
        December 6, 2012, 10:07 am

        Thought so. hope you took no offense and if you did I apologize.

        I Really don’t understand why Oren(Someone who works for an extremely right wing government) gets so much play in more liberal Forums. Something the majority of Jews would never allow to happen or be said about a minority group in the U.S. is not only accepted by cheered on when Oren speak it while denying people in the Jewish community there say at the same time.

        He’s a constant guest on NPR along with Dennis Ross and both are taken by the host as somehow objective

Leave a Reply