Where Are The Activists?


Gil Troy’s article, “Where Are Your Bloody New York Jews?” (Opinion, Oct. 11) resonated with me because as executive director of Americans For A Safe Israel, I have been asking that same question for years. This year, our group alone, with Bob Kunst, a single activist, demonstrated outside the UN in support of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he was speaking before the General Assembly. We displayed Israeli and American flags, and held aloft large signs declaring that we stood with Israel. Unfortunately, it was only passer-by Israelis who stopped to give us a thumbs-up. The New York Jews were not there.

The previous year, when Iran’s then-President Ahmadinejad was being hosted at the UN, a group of us did stop traffic on Second Avenue, and were arrested by the NYPD and taken away in police vans to the police station.

But this small group was again made up by AFSI members and Rabbi Avi Weiss, who has always put himself out in the forefront of demonstrations.

But where were the leaders of the more than 50 organizations that make up the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations? They were not to be seen or heard from.

Troy mentions the wonderful leaders like Ben Hecht and a host of celebrities who led the massive anti-Nazi demonstrations in 1943. The Bergson group was part of this effort to wake up Americans to the horrors of Hitler. The leadership was there. It is totally lacking today except in small groups like AFSI and others that lack the clout and finances of the Conference.

Executive Director, Americans for a Safe Israel