Friday, April 5, 2013

Jewish Voice for Peace: Rejecting Free Speech

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
Noam Chomsky:

Jewish Voice for Peace doesn’t believe in freedom of speech.  We've long suspected this- after all, this is the group that made a habit of gleefully shouting down speakers they don't agree with.

In January, Carolyn Klaasen, Coordinator of  JVP-NY sent out an email to her mailing list, urging them to sign a statement in support of a BDS conference at Brooklyn college, and thanking people for “ standing up for free speech, open political debate”. A second email from Klassen, days later extorted that “efforts to shut this event down are a deplorable attack on free speech”. The JVP sponsored event went on as scheduled.

The JVP commitment to free speech ended right there.

Days ago,  Amy Helfant of JVP sent out another announcement, urging its supporters to pressure a New York synagogue into cancelling a talk by Pam Geller, writing “the willingness of the Great Neck Synagogue to welcome rather than condemn a person who promotes bigotry and racism is an affront to our values and has no place in the world we are creating for ourselves and our children.”   JVP’s moral integrity is rather selective. Hypocrisy. That's the word we’re looking for. Hypocrisy.

From an article in the Forward by Josh Nathan-Kazis

Leftist Jewish groups are calling on a Long Island synagogue to cancel a speech by an outspoken Jewish blogger known for her outspoken anti-Muslim views — raising questions about a double standard on free expression.

New York activist groups Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and Jews Say No! announced their opposition to a speech set for April 14 by Pamela Geller, an activist known for her extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric, at the Modern Orthodox Great Neck Synagogue.

In an email sent to JVP activists on April 3, the organization called on members to contact the Great Neck Synagogue and ask it to cancel the event. Rebecca Vilkomerson, JVP’s executive director, told the Forward on April 4 that at least 50 people had contacted Great Neck Synagogue at the group’s behest...

The campaign comes weeks after some of the same leftist Jewish groups organized against efforts to cancel a panel on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement at Brooklyn College. One of the groups also opposed a decision by the LGBT Community Center in New York to block an appearance by a pro-BDS scholar.

One gay community activist, who opposed the BDS ban at the LGBT Community Center, slammed the leftist Jewish groups for their apparent free expression flip-flop.

“I’m startled [the leftist Jewish groups] didn’t learn any lessons from the controversies of two months ago at the Gay Center and at Brooklyn College,” said Bill Dobbs, a longtime gay activist. “They’ve lost the moral high ground.”

Vilkomerson said that JVP’s call for the cancellation of the event was not evidence of a double standard

Right, Rebecca. Right. We know exactly how you think:  "Free speech for me, but not for thee"

1 comment:

Gary Fouse said...

JVP disrupted the speech of Netanyahu in New orleans. When they came to UCI a couple of years ago, they referred to all pro-Israel speech on campus as "useless discourse'

They are thugs.