Friday, August 14, 2020

Itamar Marcus, CEO of Palestinian Media Watch. (Credit: Marc J. Berger, MD)

YI White Plains panelists, with moderator Lawrence Askowitz. (Credit: Marc J. Berger, MD)

Amit Deri, CEO of Reservists on Duty. (Credit: Marc J. Berger, MD)


On Sunday, December 16, the Five Synagogues of White Plains Israel Action Committee held a community-wide program with a number of pro-Israel organizations dedicated to transparency and truth. The committee presented three speakers, each of whom is a CEO of his organization.

Itamar Marcus, of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), presented multiple videos of Palestinian glorification of homicidal terrorists. In one segment, he showed how on a typical day, a teen in Gaza can be influenced by the honor bestowed on terrorists in everything he experiences. After attending a school named for a terrorist, he can then participate in a youth sports program named for another terrorist, while passing a statue memorializing yet another “hero” killer. He showed how easy it is to influence a young Arab to seek a heroic and rewarding career as a terrorist.

“PMW has opened the eyes of the international community to the activities of the Palestinian Authority that clearly show they support terror,” said Marcus. “PMW is now creating new materials for the campus including a new app that makes the best of PMW material easily accessible to all students.”

Amit Deri, of Reservists on Duty (RoD), leads groups of minority Israeli veterans, who tour internationally, clarifying to their audiences how well they are treated in Israel. They strive to correct the misinformation, promulgated by many protesters against Israel, that minorities are discriminated against in Israel, negating the false accusations of apartheid-like government policies. One of the participants is a Lebanese Christian and another is a member of the LGBTQ community in Israel.

Deri believes, “RoD’s activity on college campuses, targeting the young generation, is its most important arena. The rise of anti-semitism combined with anti-Israel indoctrination has become a dominant factor.”

The third organization presenting that morning was Ad Kan. The first two groups conduct their activities internationally, while Ad-Kan works within Israel itself. Gilad Ach described his group as follows: “The State of Israel is flooded with dozens of radical-left organizations, and hundreds of radical activists, who arrive from across the globe to confront IDF soldiers and present the world with a biased and deceiving view of the life in Judea, Samaria and other areas of Israel—all in order to de-legitimize the Jewish State and Israelis around the world. The members of Ad-Kan join radical organizations, disguised as activists and through the use of sophisticated electronic devices (e.g. hidden cameras) and deep research, expose the links between anti-Israel organizations and organized crime and terror while showing their true intentions.”

In just the last year, Ad Kan’s actions led to criminal prosecution of 18 anti-Israel activists who worked with the Palestinian Preventive Security Service against the IDF. Under the guise of Achvat Amim, Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, these protestors were collecting sensitive information about military activity. Further, Ad Kan uncovered a new group called Akevot, which exposes classified data from the state archives. Ad Kan was able to stop the funding of this organization by the governments of Switzerland and Norway.

This event was the culmination of a week of regional sessions convened by Hetz, a new umbrella group coordinating joint meetings with these organizations and similar pro-Israel groups, including the Israel Law Center and JerusalemU. “The challenge of bringing Jewish leaders together to join forces was always a great one,” added Eran Teboul of Hetz. “Through hard work, along with my partner Sam Solomon, we brought seven of Israel’s key advocates to New York, meeting with 120 influential figures and extending collaboration opportunities with your local communities.

Lawrence Askowitz, YIWP’s representative to the Five Synagogues of White Plains Israel Action Committee, coordinated this program, with attendance from across Westchester. He extolled the community-wide, open-tent approach that he believes allows for better understanding of the issues within the local Jewish community. Askowitz added, “We have tried to avoid speakers from either the extreme right or left in recent years to maintain a sense of common community, despite the wide range of personal political opinions in the shuls. For this event, Eran and I focused on bringing people who concentrate on transparency rather than political ideology, and who have a deep understanding of what Palestinians say in Arabic to their own people, as opposed to the PR face they display in English media.”

 By Judy Berger



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