Monday, September 16, 2013

JVP: Jewish disagreement on Israeli policies is not the issue; but assisting Israel’s enemies is beyond the pale.

Throughout the world, the Jewish people gather in communal prayer on Yom Kippur. Yet in Sacramento, California, members of  Jewish Voice for Peace spent the day picketing Target for daring to sell SodaStream, a home carbonation device based in Israel.   No one familiar with JVP would be shocked that their activists would spend the holiest day in the Jewish calendar protesting Israeli products.
From the Times of Israel: When Dissent Becomes Abandonment, by Yitzhak Santis
In an environment of demonization and double standards targeting Israel, JVP tries to project itself as a legitimate member of the mainstream American Jewish community.  But JVP actively supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, and the demonization strategy adopted by the 2001 NGO Forum in Durban, South Africa. JVP is instrumental in bringing these campaigns to mainline churches, on campuses, and within the Jewish community.
For the overwhelming majority of American Jews, these goals and activities lie far outside the broad communal tent.  There has always been room for dissent within the community regarding Israeli policies.  But responsible dissenters accept Israel as a Jewish and democratic state within secure and internationally recognized borders, seeking a two state solution.
On the core question, JVP claims to be neutral on “one-state” elimination or a two-state solution.  “One-state” means a bi-national framework open to thousands of “returning” 1948 Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.  Jews will be a minority, meaning no national self-determination and Zionism. And given the reality faced by minorities elsewhere in the Arab world, Jews would be unwelcome and endangered.  Yet, JVP’s amorphous position on whether Israel should exist is explained by them as follows: “we have members and supporters on both sides of this question, as well as many others who, like the organization as a whole, are agnostic about it.”
“Agnostic” on whether Israel should exist is not dissent.  This is abandonment.

Jewish Voice for Peace has a long history of standing alongside those committed to the destruction of Israel, literally sharing a tent with Alison Weir's notorious group "If Americans Knew" and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) at the Marin County fair.  At a JVP sponsored rally in San Francisco last year, supporters of Israel were besieged by opponents chanting "Zionist Scum, your time has come" .  Santis takes JVP to task for consistently aiding and abetting groups with an anti-Semitic agenda.

Nor is JVP averse to working with groups espousing antisemitism.  One of JVP’s principal partners in the church BDS effort is Sabeel, which promotes historic Christian anti-Jewish teachings of replacement theology and deicide imagery.   Sabeel’s founder, Naim Ateek, has said, “The establishment of Israel was a relapse to the most primitive concepts of an exclusive, tribal God…”  Despite this anti-Judaism, JVP’s Rabbinical Council – headed by Brant Rosen – issued a “Statement of Support for the Sabeel Institute” declaring, “We stand in solidarity with the work of Sabeel.”
Similarly, in June 2013, JVP’s Sacramento chapter sent an email forwarding an action alert by Charles E. Carlson’s Strait Gate Ministries.  Carlson has written of “the Zionist influenced banking fraternity” that is “in league with world Zionism.”  In 2011, JVP’s Colorado chapter co-sponsored an anti-Israel vigil with Carlson’s group.

He concludes
JVP’s hope is to gain admission to the Jewish communal table so as to inject BDS and anti-Zionism into Federations, Hillels, JCCs, and synagogues.  This hope should remain unfulfilled. 
Interested in reading more about Jewish Voice for Peace?

From NGO Monitor: Driving a Wedge: JVP's Strategy to Weaken US Support for Israel by Dividing the Jewish community

From the Anti-Defamation League: Profile : Jewish Voice for Peace

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