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Jewish NGO wants YMCA rapped for Israel boycott

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Jewish NGO wants YMCA rapped for Israel boycott
"Palestinian folk dance" at a KFUM festival in Denmark, 2013. Photo: Christian Roar Pedersen
10:10 CET+01:00
The leading global anti-Semitism watchdog has called on the international Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) to denounce its Norwegian arm, after the group joined a boycott on goods and services made in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israel's Simon Wiesenthal Center has written to the Secretary General of the Geneva-based World Alliance of YMCAs, arguing for it to take action against its Norwegian arm. 
 
“It is outrageous that any branch of a respected organization which prides itself on inclusion and tolerance would embrace the anti-Semitic poison of the radical anti-Israel BDS campaign,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the centre's association Dean wrote in the letter. 
 
He argued that the boycott was "totally opposite" to the YMCA's stated aims of “fostering dialogue and partnership between people of different faiths and ideologies and recognizing the cultural identities of people.” 
 
Rather than helping Palestinians, he argued, the boycott's "sole goal is to demonize and isolate the lone democracy in the Middle East, the Jewish State of Israel." 
 
Late last month the Norwegian branch of the YMCA, KFUK-KFUM, aligned itself with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, arguing that it was the best way to pressure the country to end its illegal occupation of and settlements in Palestinian territories. 
 
On February 21st, KFUK-KFUM wrote on its Facebook page that it was supporting the boycott. 
 
"We are supporting a broad economic boycott of Israel in the fight against the occupation of Palestine," it wrote. "We are doing this in order to contribute to a solution which will bring  a just peace for BOTH PARTIES."
 
"God created all people in his image, equal in dignity, and that human dignity is now violated daily in the Palestinian territories."
 
It later said that it made the statement at the request of the Palestinian YMCA and YWCA, with whom it had worked for 40 years. 
 
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