Sunday, September 4, 2011

Open questions to Jewish Voice for Peace

An open letter to Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) from a new blog: Engaging Zion

"Yes, this question is an accusation. I won’t pretend otherwise. You are my Jewish brothers and sisters, and I am living in Israel where some six million of your Jewish brothers and sisters — almost half of the Jewish people — face a virulent strain of annihilationist politics on our borders and in the broader region.

I must get one thing off the table up front: I do not question your right, moral or civil, as a diaspora Jewish organization to criticize — even harshly — the policies of Israel’s government. No government is above criticism, no politician is above the law. The issue of how to criticize, however, is a legitimate one for honest debate. I feel compelled to write this blog entry, because I am deeply troubled by your partnership choices.

My question is far deeper. For me, personally and literally, it is an existential one. This has to do with your partnering with a number of organizations to produce an ad campaign calling for the United States to stop all military aid to Israel. These ads are now appearing on the sides of San Francisco’s iconic cable cars and elsewhere. Nice placement, by the way.

Two of your partners in this endeavor are American Muslims for Palestine and Friends of Sabeel of North America. In my view, these groups are beyond the pale of what any organization that describes itself as “Jewish” should be partnering with. Here are my reasons:

On December 21, 2010 AMP issued a press release announcing a rally marking the second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead. The last sentence of the release declared:

Palestinians are more determined than ever to fight on until total liberation, until every refugee can return, until the land of Palestine is free from the river to the sea!

This statement is unequivocal. There is no room for Israel in this vision of “peace” promoted by your AMP partner.

This is not the first time you co-sponsored programming with AMP. Last winter you partnered with them and Sabeel in a similar ad campaign in San Francisco. Your slogan: “Be on our side. We are the side of peace and justice.” Really? AMP seeks our destruction, sorry, “liberation” from the “river to the see.” Peace?

Furthermore, AMP has at least one board member, Osama Abu Irshaid, who was involved in pro-Hamas activities in the U.S. He was editor of Al-Zaytounah, published by the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which with the Holy Land Fund, was a member of the Palestine Committee, court records show. This committee, other court records show, was created by the radical Muslim Brotherhood — Hamas’ parent body — to assist Hamas politically and financially. This is the side of “peace and justice?”

Dear JVP, some more questions:
Were you aware that AMP takes such a clear position calling for Israel’s destruction?

If not, now that you know, will you distance yourself from this organization and have no further dealings with them?

If you don’t, should I take that as meaning you condone this position?
Do you see that AMP’s purpose for calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel is to forward the goal of weakening Israel so it no longer can defend itself against terrorism or hostile armies?
Lest I be accused of either fear mongering or delusional fantasy, I direct you to just one (of numerous) annihilationist statements made by Iranian President Ahmadinejad. On August 27 (last week) he said that “Egyptian-Iranian relations in the post-Mubarak era will eliminate the presence of the Zionist entity.” According to the Ahlul Bayt News Agency, under the headline “Ahmadinejad: Egyptian-Iranian alliance can eliminate Israel,” he made these comments in an interview with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV where, “Ahmadinejad addressed Egyptian society, expecting that Egypt will play a key regional role in the coming period.”

One more thing: please take a look at this headline from today’s Ha’aretz: IAEA: Iran reaches breakthrough in suspected nuclear weapons push.

Not fantasy. Not fear-mongering. Just cold, hard reality: one of Iran’s chief foreign policy goals is Israel’s “elimination.”

My read of things: your partner, the AMP, seeks to weaken Israel militarily (as do you). This would greatly benefit Iran and other hostile states whose goal is to liberate Palestine “from the river to the sea.” Given the fact that Israelis are willing to fight for their right to exist, this slogan has only one meaning: war.

How is this the “side of peace”?"

The blog continues, taking on JVP's partnership with Sabeel. Not only has JVP co-sponsored these bus ads with the Sabeel group, they are sharing a booth for the second time, at an East Bay Street festival. In previous years, JVP had shared a booth with Alison Weir's hate group "If America Knew" and the International Solidarity Movement at the Marin County Fair .

Read more at Engaging Zion


Anonymous said...

Let's see: JVP Felice Gelman - CEO of about 5+ dif hedge funds/SUNOVA corps - check 10-b(5)s. She managed about$5.2 million of which a whole bunch was placed in corps like Goldman Sachs and the like. She's a corporate money manager for her day job - interesting? She's a real revolutionary!!! HAH!!! SHE'S PART OF HER PROBLEM!!

Anonymous said...

Felice Gelman fancies herself a kingmaker. She's contributed to Marcy Winograd's campaign (even though it was in a state 3000 miles away), largely because of Winograd's anti-Israel, pro BDS stand.

She's not the only one who likes playing weekend "radical". California activists and attorneys Virginia Pearcy and Stephen Pearcy would drive to anti-corporate, anti-capitalist rallies in their Porsche.

David H. said...

good to know about JVP & sabeel sharing a booth next weekend. ya know it's that whole "two birds with one stone" thing. but in this case instead of a stone it'll be a video.

Y said...

Good article, but I'm pro-Israel as folk and I'd join a campaign to end US aid to Israel, if the slogan were "The US should be Israel's ally, not its imperial overlord! Stop the aid, but allow Israel to buy what it wants and to make its own decisions about security and the peace process."

Anonymous said...

Y- in light of the recent admissions that the US has been spying on Israel, and has bugged the Israeli consulate, I might even be inclined to agree with you

Anonymous said...

Increase aid to Israel with funds currently going to anti-democratic Arab nations while easing restrictions on what Israel can and cannot purchase with said funds.

I like my idea better.