(JTA) — The Jewish National Fund of Canada has withdrawn its sponsorship of the Jewish Federation of Vancouver’s Yom Ha’atzmaut event over the Federation’s decision to feature the controversial Israeli pop singer Achinoam Nini, known as Noa. “Due to the views of the entertainment booked for this year’s celebration, we will be taking a one-year hiatus from sponsoring the event,” JNF CEO Josh Cooper said in a statement, according to a report last Friday, Feb. 19, by the Canadian Jewish News. “The entertainer that has been hired does not reflect, nor correspond to the mandate and values of the Jewish National Fund of Canada.”
A week earlier the Vancouver Federation decried a Jerusalem Post report suggesting Vancouver Jews were “outraged” about the singer’s appearance because she allegedly supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement against Israel. In response, the Federation said, “To the best of our knowledge, reports suggesting Ms. Nini promotes BDS are incorrect.” The JNF statement did not specifically cite BDS.
The Jerusalem Post deleted the jpost.com article about Nini, issuing a statement saying the paper “in no way intended to suggest that the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver or Ms. Nini herself support the BDS movement. We apologize for any confusion that may have been caused.”
The singer herself took to Facebook a day before The Jerusalem Post deleted the article stating, “I am absolutely and completely against the BDS [campaign]. I see it as a hypocritical movement full of contradictions who will not bring peace to Israel nor help the Palestinians achieve their goals; very much on the contrary.” Nini has, however, voiced support for Israeli NGOs critical of the Israel Defense Forces and Israel’s actions in the West Bank.
In a letter to the Vancouver Federation, Eyal Platek, an Israeli lawyer, said Noa “is known for the provocations she incites; she is an extremist who supports radical left organizations that attack, slander, lie and cause ongoing harm to the Israel Defense Forces and to IDF soldiers who guard and protect our citizens and our homeland.” Platek asked the federation to reconsider its invitation to Noa “and prevent the offense this would cause to the citizens of Israel, IDF soldiers and the commanders.”
The federation told JTA it is “disappointed” by JNF’s decision to withdraw from the event, “and we look forward to welcoming them back next year.”