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Brooklyn-based marketing firm walks back dumping potential client over Israel ties

17 10 1

JTA — A marketing firm facing claims that it has refused to work with a Jewish group with Israel ties is blaming the controversy on a misunderstanding.

Big Duck Studio, based in Brooklyn, says it does not support the boycott Israel movement and will continue working with organizations with Israel ties.

It also says that its staff, including a Jewish director, has faced hateful and antisemitic messages in response to what it said was the inaccurate perception that it had declined to work with the Shalom Hartman Institute because of the group’s attachments to Israel.

A conversation last week between Farah Trompeter, Big Duck’s co-director, and an official at the Shalom Hartman Institute resulted in Big Duck’s “mistaken” perception that Hartman would not work with a marketing group that included staffers who question some of Israel’s policies, Big Duck Studio said in a statement posted on its website late Thursday.

“Big Duck’s decision to decline to work with the Hartman Institute was due to multiple reasons, one of which was our perception at the time that they would not be open to working with a company whose employees and clients hold a range of views on the Israeli government’s policies and practices,” the Big Duck statement said. “We have since learned that our perception of the Hartman Institute’s position was mistaken, and we regret that the way we raised the topic caused harm.”

The Hartman Institute meanwhile stood by its version of the conversation, in which it said that Big Duck declined to work with Hartman because the think tank is Zionist and opposes the boycott Israel movement.

The controversy comes at a time when many in the pro-Israel community have expressed concern about the tenor of Israel criticism among progressives, including increasing attempts to extend boycott efforts to Jews and Jewish groups that support Israel. Big Duck’s most recent statement — insisting it was simply trying to alert a potential client to the Israel views of some of its staff — seems to reflect another concern, about the tolerance of pro-Israel Jewish groups for engaging with critics of Israel.

Big Duck’s statement was signed by the marketing firm’s co-directors, Farra Trompeter and........

© The Times of Israel

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