Sierra Club reinstates Israel trips after canceling amid anti-Zionist group pressure

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

The US environmental nonprofit Sierra Club is reinstating trips to Israel after canceling scheduled visits in response to pressure from anti-Israel groups.

Ross Macfarlane, the Sierra Club’s vice president, phoned Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to inform him of the decision, the center says.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish advocacy group based in California, was one of the leading voices in a campaign against the Sierra Club decision.

Macfarlane apologized for the sudden cancellations of trips to Israel, said the visits will continue in the future and denounced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, the Weisenthal Center says.

Cooper says, “We appreciate that the Sierra Club acted quickly to reverse the announced cancellations of trips to Israel which placed the famed American conservation organization directly into the crosshairs of BDS, anti-Israel, and anti-peace zealots.”

“The Jewish community needs to awaken to the fact that extremist anti-Israel and antisemitic organizations will continue to try to insert their anti-peace poison pill into the mainstream of American corporate culture as they have already done on American campuses,” Cooper says.

The Sierra Club is a national US organization based in California. It said it was canceling its trips earlier this week.

The decision came after activists alleged the organization was “greenwashing the conflict” and “providing legitimacy to the Israeli state, which is engaged in apartheid against the Palestinian people,” a volunteer leader with the nonprofit summarized in an email this week.

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