Macy's denies Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons heading to Jerusalem

The Diaspora Affairs Ministry walked back a prior announcement, now saying a planned Hanukkah event will be "in the spirit of Macy's."

November 19, 2018 11:31
1 minute read.
The Pikachu balloon make its way down 6th Ave during the 91st Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the

The Pikachu balloon make its way down 6th Ave during the 91st Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 23, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI)

Macy’s told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the balloons from its upcoming Thanksgiving Day Parade will not be heading to Jerusalem, as previously reported.

On Sunday, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry told the Post that the balloons would be part of a Hanukkah parade in the capital that included a concert from Matisyahu, floats, classic cars and more. The ministry also shared a press release that claimed that the producer of the famed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade would also arrive in Jerusalem to oversee the event.

The director of media relations for Macy’s said that both claims are “categorically incorrect.”

On Monday morning, a PR representative for the parade walked back the release it sent to reporters, saying instead that the event will be “in the spirit of Macy’s.”

“We’re sure that the public will focus on the main message: the importance of unity between Israel and the Diaspora,” the representative said.

Instead of the original claim that the Macy’s parade’s “executive producer” will travel to Jerusalem, the spokeswoman said “one of their producers will come to Israel to be on hand for the parade. The balloons are from an external supplier.”

An organizer said that the producer who is slated to take part in the Jerusalem event on December 3 is J. Jeff Beckman, a music education faculty member at Tennessee State University. Beckman’s online biography states that he was the former band director of the McGavock High School, which marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1992.

The executive producer of the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is Susan Tercero.

Parade organizers confirmed on Monday that Matisyahu would in fact be performing at the event.

Organizers said the parade, titled “Together: Marching with World Jewry,” is designed to be “a demonstration of unity between Diaspora Jewry and the citizens of Israel,” amid the backdrop of “severe manifestations of antisemitism around the world.”

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