web analytics
December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘JVP’

Is Soros Pumping Money into ‘A Jewish Voice for Peace’?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I’ve written ad nauseum that the most energetic and effective anti-Zionists are Jews, not Arabs or Muslims. A perfect example is the group called “A Jewish Voice for Peace” (JVP), based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but with chapters all over the country, mostly on college campuses.

JVP has been growing by leaps and bounds, with their 2011 form 990 (a tax form which all non-profits are required to make publicly available) showing an income from contributions and grants of $871,250. This is very big money for an organization whose membership appears to be mostly students and young people, and there is reason to believe that they have recently started to receive much more. Unfortunately non-profits that don’t give money to political candidates are not required to disclose the identity of their donors.

This week, during the annual AIPAC meeting in Washington DC, JVP has purchased 100 advertising signs in DC Metro stations, working with the very professional “Avaaz” group (more about them later), to “challenge [AIPAC's] influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.” Here’s an example:

JVP-Aavaz ad in DC Metro

Ads like these cost between $400-$950 per ad for 4 weeks, depending on “timing and market.” So let’s say (very conservatively) that they are paying $250 per ad for two weeks. Their 100 ads cost them at least $25,000, probably twice that.

JVP likes media attention, and one of its favorite tactics is to disrupt pro-Israel speakers and events. Both the advertising and the disruption appear to be intended at least as much to attract attention — and recruits — to their organization as they are to change public opinion about their issues (promoting boycott-divestment-sanctions, portraying Israel as an apartheid state and human-rights violator, etc.).

Here is something else that I noticed on JVP’s form 990, which supports the idea that it is focused on growth. It has only one paid officer, Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson, who is listed as receiving total compensation of less than $75,000. But they also list $355,090 in “other salaries and wages.” Who are the additional employees? What do they do? It’s not the janitorial staff of JVP’s small Oakland office.

My guess is that they are organizers stationed on college campuses and other places where young Jews can be found. Although the organization wants to give the impression that it is an all-volunteer, ‘grassroots’ group, it seems that it is actually a disciplined professional operation that is rapidly growing. Their grants and contributions have increased by an average of more than $100,000 a year (with the exception of 2008, a bad year for all nonprofits).

Someone is pumping JVP up, and I think we can get a clue about who from the partnership with Avaaz. Avaaz is not (yet) big in the U.S., so you may not have heard of it. But let me quote from NGO Monitor’s analysis:

Avaaz was co-founded in 2007 by “Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org.” The former received grants totaling $290,000 from the Soros Open Society Institute in 2008. The latter received a $1.46 million grant from George Soros in 2004. Res Publica describes Avaaz.org as its “primary current project.”

According to a 2007 ABC News report on Avaaz.org’s call for the firing of Paul Wolfowitz as president of the World Bank, Avaaz.org is a “global advocacy group funded by philanthropist and financier George Soros, MoveOn.org and the labor group SEIU.”

According to the 2009 Form 990 (page 87) filed by the Open Society Foundations, OSF gave $600,000 to Avaaz.org via New York-based Res Publica; $300,000 for “general support to Avaaz.org” and $300,000 for “Avaaz.org’s work on climate change.”

A check into OSF 990s for 2010 or 2011 show no grants for Avaaz nor Res Publica. According to its 2011 990, Avaaz.org’s total revenue for that year was $7,519,028. Avaaz.org claims it is “wholly member-funded.” Avaaz does not publish a detailed list of donors on its website or 990 forms, and therefore this claim cannot be verified independently.

Avaaz.org is active in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. Its 2011 campaign “Palestine: the time is now,” was aimed at pressuring the UK, France, and Germany to support a Palestinian bid for recognition. The petition and accompanying video titled “Middle East Peace – The Real Story” promotes the Palestinian narrative. In 2007 Avaaz.org launched a petition calling to “End the Siege of Gaza: Ceasefire Now” demanding an end to the “blockade and growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza” and “ensure the free flow of supplies by land, sea or air.”

Soros also funds J Street, the phony “pro-Israel” lobby, although J Street’s director, Jeremy Ben Ami lied in an attempt to keep it secret.

Avaaz, with its huge budget, is as slick as it gets (here is a discussion of how it managed a fake grassroots Internet campaign for Palestinian recognition). My guess is that Soros is getting behind JVP as well, and with the same objective: to create a ‘popular’ Jewish anti-Zionist movement.

Soros, in other words, is pitching a whole line of anti-Israel merchandise to Jews. Are you a progressive who wants to distance himself from Israel along with your left-wing friends, while still remaining a member of your (liberal) synagogue? Buy some J Street! But suppose you want to see Israel replaced by an Arab state and don’t care who knows it — if you are suffering from stage-4 Oslo Syndrome — then JVP is for you.

There is a reason why so much of the heavy artillery of anti-Zionism is turned on the American Jewish community. True or false, it is seen as the key to American support for Israel.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Obama Campaign Enlisting Support from Radical, Anti-Israel Rabbis

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

According to Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, President Obama’s attitude towards Jewish voters is astonishing.

Speaking to The Jewish Press, Pollak said, “the Rabbis for Obama group, which includes Jews who are amongst the most hostile to Israel anywhere in America, underscores the lack of seriousness with which they take their effort to convince pro-Israel voters that this president is pro-Israel.”

Earlier this week the Obama campaign announced the formation of a Rabbis for Obama group which includes rabbis from nearly 40 states. In heralding the formation of the group, Ira Forman, the Obama campaign’s Jewish outreach director said in a  news release that these “rabbis represents a broad group of respected Jewish leaders from all parts of the country. These rabbis mirror the diversity of American Jewry.”

Not exactly.

It’s not just that the list is heavily dominated by politically liberal rabbis from non-traditional denominations, but, as many have pointed out, there is a large number of rabbis on the list who are in the forefront of organized efforts to delegitimize Israel.

For example, almost a third of the rabbinical council of the radical-left, anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace are members of Rabbis for Obama, including the JVP co-chair, Rabbi Brant Rosen.  JVP is the leading advocacy group for economic terrorism against Israel.  JVP promotes the Boycotting of Israeli goods; Divestment of stocks from Israeli companies, and Sanctions against the Jewish State (“BDS”).

Rabbi Brant Rosen, who recently toured Iran with a JVP delegation (along with BDS promoter Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb), came back convinced that all the governments involved in the dispute are wrong, but, especially, “the role of the Israel lobby in the Iran issue has been nothing short of shameful.  And at times openly, brazenly disingenuous” (posted on his Shalom Rav blog).

Rabbis for Human Rights is another organization which promotes left-wing causes in the name of Judaism, and is a frequent critic of what they call Israel’s “occupation” of the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria.  Nearly a dozen members of Rabbis for Obama are members of Rabbis for Human Rights, including three members of its executive committee.

To date, nothing has helped to better define Obama as the most anti-Israel president since Jimmy Carter.

The Republican Jewish Coalition issued a press release on Thursday, calling on the Obama campaign to remove what it called the “Obama Campaign’s Radical Rabbi.”  The RJC was referring to Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb.  In its release, the RJC said, “Rabbi Gottlieb has a long and troubling history, which includes dining with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, being the first American rabbi to visit Tehran, and serving in an organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, which the Anti-Defamation League has called one of the ‘top ten anti-Israel groups.’”

Although the RJC only singled out Gottlieb, and only mentioned her membership in JVP in its call for the Obama campaign to reject her endorsement, there are many other anti-Israel aspects to members of the list. For one thing, Gottlieb is the initiator of the “Jewish Fast for Gaza.” This  group, which includes several other members of the rabbis for Obama list, have committed to monthly daytime fasts to “give witness to the violation of Palestinian rights.”  The language of the Fast for Gaza manifesto evokes the Yom Kippur liturgy, but with an odd twist:

Fasting is a form of lament. We mourn the death and injury of tens of thousands of people caused by Israeli enforcement of the infrastructure of occupation. We call on an end to the systematic violence described in The Goldstone Report and many other first hand accounts of occupation.

The Emergency Committee for Israel sent a letter to President Obama on Thursday, pointing out the discrepancy between the campaign’s rhetoric of support for Israel, and the inclusion of rabbis in the campaign who have “demonstrated a deep hostility to the state of Israel and a deep commitment to demonizing the Jewish state and undermining the U.S.-Israel alliance.”

The ECI’s Pollak could not understand how a presidential campaign, with hundreds on staff, apparently did not bother to check into the backgrounds of the rabbis whose names are being used to prove the president’s pro-Israel bona fides.  “It’s like they are just phoning it in,” he said.

When asked whether ECI would be content with the removal of Lynn Gottlieb from the Rabbis for Obama list, Pollak said no.

“There are clear red lines here that have been crossed by so many rabbis on this list, support for the now-repudiated anti-Israel Goldstone Report, promotion of BDS, charging Israeli leaders with war crimes, there should have been some level of concern that such anti-Israel radicals are on the list,” said Pollak, “it was clear there was none.”

President Obama’s Jewish outreach director, Ira Forman, did not respond to a request from The Jewish Press for comment, but by mid-day Thursday the Obama campaign had issued an official rejection of the criticism.

“The President’s strong support of Israel and toughest-ever actions against Iran has led rabbis from across the political spectrum to express their support for the president and have committed to seeing him reelected,” a campaign official told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The President obviously does not endorse or embrace their every affiliation, action or utterance.”

Don’t Be Fooled By BDS Campaign’s Failures

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

For more than a decade, anti-Israel activists have sought to shoehorn Israel into the nomenclature of apartheid-era South Africa through the use of a tactic named BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions). Apartheid was a universally decried racist system. BDS activists argue that Israel is the second coming of apartheid South Africa and must be treated the same.

BDS activists may claim success, but they are certainly aware that their efforts have failed. No American university has divested from Israel. When a British academic union voted on a boycott of Israeli academics in 2007, more than 400 American university presidents jointly declared that if these Brits insisted on dividing the academic community into two groups – Israelis who should be shunned and everyone else – their U.S. institutions should be counted as Israeli, too.

As University of Miami President Donna Shalala has said, “I know of no American university that would support such a boycott.”

BDS proponents at best can point to isolated, near-meaningless “victories,” such as the recent decision of a socially responsible investment index to remove the Caterpillar Corp. from its list. The BDSers, of course, generally ignore that the decision was based on a variety of factors (including the company’s treatment of its workers), or that many other companies doing business in or with Israel are still listed on the index.

Perhaps their one “victory” was to get a single food co-op in Olympia, Wash., to remove Israeli ice cream cones, crackers, chocolate bars, baby wipes and hand sanitizers from its shelves.

Antics aside, the point of BDS is to change the way Israel is viewed, to focus the debate on whether it is a “pariah” state.

Lately, however, the BDSers seem to be a bit more candid about their motives. While still asserting that Israel is in effect wrong all the time, now they are increasingly comfortable suggesting that Israel should not have been born and this “mistake” should be undone.

Judith Butler, a philosopher and a leading scholar in feminist theory who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, makes this point in her new book Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism, published by the prestigious Columbia University Press. Butler underscores why BDS proponents do not limit their campaign to products made in the territories.

To do so would “forget the claims of 1948, bury the right of return, [and] also accept forms of unjust majority discrimination within the present borders of Israel,” she says.

In essence, the point of BDS – articulated by Butler and others – is to revert to a world without Israel, irrespective of its policies. That was the theme of the One-State Solution conference last spring at Harvard. That is why many of the pro-BDS materials circulated during the recently failed efforts to pass divestment resolutions at three major conferences of church groups – Presbyterians, Methodists and Episcopalians – distorted Jewish history by ignoring the religious, cultural and physical connection of Jews and Judaism to the land of Israel in order to paint Jews as interlopers in a region where they have no right to be (let alone a right, like other peoples, to national self-determination in their historic homeland).

Anti-Israel Christians recently circulated a document titled “Call to Action: U.S. Response to the Kairos Palestine Document.” The Palestinian document was a one-sided political and theological denunciation of Israel; the U.S. version goes a step further, promoting a belief that Jews as a people do not have “an exclusive or preeminent right to the Holy Land,” but rather a right only “to create a vibrant Jewish culture in historic Palestine.”

So while BDS has yet to have any tangible economic impact on the state of Israel, it continues to be a vehicle through which the questioning of Israel’s basic right to exist is, for some, a “legitimate” issue to be raised without embarrassment. This is much more worrisome than a vote about Caterpillar stock or a co-op refusing to sell Israeli ice cream cones. BDS can change the perception of Israel by creating space for respectable people to have calm debates about the “merits” of a world without a Jewish state.

Fighting BDS, then, is not just about preventing or defeating motions and referenda. It requires paying attention to and challenging the distortions of history and language used by BDS advocates. And it requires reiteration that the two-state solution, in which Jews and Palestinians have a right to national self-expression, is the only path to sustainable peace.

US Jewish Peace Group Calling Romney Racist over Palestinian Culture Comment

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

In an entirely predictable effort to use the word “Jewish” to attack those who support the Jewish State, the organization Jewish Voice for Peace invited other haters of Israel to sign a letter to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, lambasting him for his “racist” and “ignorant” statements about Arab Palestinians.

In one of the more hotly debated statements Romney made on his trip to Israel last month, he attributed the vast disparity in economic health between that of the robust Israeli one and the dismal one of the Palestinian Authority to, in part, a difference in culture.

Given that the two societies live in the same climate, with the same geologic infirmities, is it a wonder that someone might think to look to culture to explain the vast difference between the two?  Of course, the naming of children’s sports teams, streets and town squares after people who blow themselves up in order to murder as many Jews as possible is surely an indicator of cultural inclination.

But the JVP folks insist that the reason for the disparity in economic health between the two societies is the “Occupation.”

Rabbi Joseph Berman of Temple B’Nai Israel in Revere, Massachusetts, is the Boston chair of JVP and sits on its rabbinic council.  Rabbi Berman delivered the JVP petition to Romney’s national headquarters in Boston, on Monday, August 6, 2012.  The petition “demands” Romney apologize to the “Palestinian people” for his “cultural differences” statement regarding the Arab Palestinian people.

Your statements in Jerusalem regarding the growth of the Palestinian and Israeli economies were inaccurate and misleading. Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian land makes it impossible for the Palestinian economy to succeed, not “cultural differences.” Your comments were not a reflection of the values Jews, Americans, and our allies hold dear. We call on you to apologize to the Palestinian people for your willful lack of understanding of the facts on the ground and the racist assumptions behind them.

Given what they describe as Romney’s racism, JVP claims that this election season “is a unique moment to raise the issue of the Occupation in the presidential election. We all know the Occupation is what’s holding back the Palestinian economy.”

Is it?  Back in 2002 the pre-eminent Middle East historian Efraim Karsh slew that sacred cow. Karsh explained that, actually, the very best thing that ever happened to the economy, the overall health, the educational levels and the standard of living for the Arab Palestinians was precisely what JVP and others claim is the reason for their misery: the so-called “Occupation.”

Following the 1967 war, when Israel became responsible for the Arabs living in the disputed territories, their life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 years in 2000; their infant mortality rate plunged from 60 out of 1000 to just 15 in 2000; during the 1970′s the economy in the territories and Gaza was the fourth fastest growing in the world, illiteracy rates plummeted to just 14 percent, the lowest of all Arabs in the surrounding Arab countries.  In 1967, when Israel first gained control over the territories, there was not a single institution of higher learning, by the beginning of the 1970′s there were seven.

The JVP petition claims that Arabs are under-paid in the territories, but, in fact, Arabs living in Israel and the territories have among the highest standard of living of any Arabs anywhere in the world.

But Jewish Voice for Peace echoes the outrage of Palestinian Authority spokesman Saeb Erekat’s response to Romney’s cultures claim. They are insisting that rather than Arab intransigence and a culture that glorifies murder and terrorism, it is the mere statement of a US presidential candidate that has destroyed the chances for negotiations that JVP, at least, claims would lead to the creation of the holy grail of progressive Jewish politics – the creation of a Palestinian State.

Professor of Medieval history Richard Landes, writing in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, August 6, shored up Karsh’s exposure of the “Occupation” as Middle East bogeyman (“Richard Landes: Romney Is Right on Culture and the Wealth of Nations“).  While Karsh wrote about the benefits brought to the Arabs by their exposure to, and entwining with, the Israeli economy and technological progress, post-”Occupation,” Landes struck hard on aspects of Arab culture that practically ensure stagnation.

Arab culture, says Landes, views intellectual curiosity and exuberant innovation as subversive.  He writes that Arab culture  “emphasizes rote learning and unquestioning respect for those in authority,” and public criticism of authority invites “sharp retaliation.”

Landes brings the argument full circle.  In the speech he gave in which he discussed the impact of culture on both the Israeli and the Arab economies, Romney cited historian David Landes, Richard’s father. The son pointed out, in his Journal op-ed, that “Blaming others for one’s own failures prolongs failure. Even though his own government daily chooses a culture of death, not life, Mr. Erekat wants to blame Israel for Palestine’s woes; no admission here that he and his colleagues might have some role in the suffering of their own people.”

If blaming others is at least a root cause of the dismal Arab economy, and if JVP and their fellow travelers encourage that culture of blame, then perhaps it is also the culture of those such as Rabbi Joseph Berman and his comrades at JVP which must bear at least some of the blame for the cycle of Arab failure.

More Good Works by our Brothers and Sisters at the Jewish Voice for Peace:

JVP supports Presbyterian Divestment

JVP is very proud to have been part of the broad coalition supporting Presbyterian efforts to boycott settlement products and divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation since 2004. We are especially proud of the members of our youth branch — Young, Jewish, and Proud (YJP) — and of our Rabbinical Council who were in Pittsburgh this year at the General Assembly meeting in support of the resolutions.

TIAA-CREF: Divest from the occupation

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) has endorsed the TIAA-CREF campaign and is urging all groups working on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in the US, especially on university campuses, to endorse the campaign and join it, whenever possible, to amplify its reach and impact across the US. 

Campus Divestment

On April 28, 2010, students at the University of California at Berkeley failed by just one vote to overturn the veto of the original student council vote of 16 to 4 to divest from companies that specifically profit from the occupation, but they helped launch a new phase of the movement for justice.

Jew-Washing Divestment

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

http://fresnozionism.org/2012/07/jew-washing-divestment/ I’ve mentioned the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) organization before, and I’m particularly interested in where they get their money. Their 2010 IRS form 990 shows an income from public contributions and grants of $705,605, they have 6 paid employees and a payroll of $367,186. That is a significant amount of money, and it is deployed very effectively.

For example, as Yitzak Santis and Gerald M. Steinberg tell us, they were instrumental in “Jew-washing” the attempt to pass a divestment resolution at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA):

These were the “Jew-washers” – very visible actors in many such political attacks on Israel, particularly in Christian frameworks.  They are influential beyond their actual numbers, providing a convenient means for cleansing such actions from the stains of double standards, demonization and sometimes anti-Semitism against the Jewish state of Israel, and even Judaism itself.

JVP is spearheading divestment campaigns in several arenas, such as the educational financial services organization TIAA-CREF, and of course on many campuses.

In each case the approach is the same: “look, we are Jews and we think Israel is oppressing Palestinians, and we support boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) as a nonviolent way to get Israel to give them their rights and obey international law.”

It is not made clear to liberal Presbyterians and others that the goal of BDS is simply the destruction of Israel. But it’s not a secret. JVP refers us to the official BDS Movement website where we find that “punitive measures” will  continue until

Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

As the Levy Commission recently found, Israel is not in violation of international law, and it is not occupying or colonizing “Arab lands.” JVP’s ideas of the ‘fundamental rights’ of Arab citizens of Israel goes far beyond what we normally think of as civil rights — for example, these ‘rights’ are said to be violated by Israel’s being a Jewish state — and UN resolution 194 does not require Israel to admit the grandchildren of refugees. Practically, does anyone doubt that an influx of up to 5 million claimants of refugee status to Israel will end the Jewish state?

I think that very few American Jews would go this far. Even the phony ‘pro-Israel’ J Street understands that the BDS movement is beyond the pale. And yet, JVP represents itself as a “Jewish voice!”

Jewish? How about anti-Jewish? Santis and Steinberg continue,

In many cases, Jew-washing is also used to whitewash the blatant theological anti-Semitism that accompanies the church-based BDS attacks on Israel.  One example is Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian group that is very influential in those mainline churches active in the BDS wars.  Its theology includes supercessionism – a reading of the New Testament that considers the Church to have superseded the Jewish people in God’s promises – and deicide – the charge that “the Jews” killed Jesus – that served as the basis for centuries of anti-Jewish persecution.

Giving Sabeel a thorough Jew-wash is JVP’s Rabbinical Council, which in its “Statement of Support for the Sabeel Institute” acknowledges “the more radical incarnations (sic) of some of [Sabeel’s] theological images.”

Yet, Sabeel’s frequent denigration of Judaism as “tribal” and “primitive” and comparisons of Palestinians to Jesus on the cross put there by the Israeli government’s “crucifixion machine,” does not seem to affect JVP’s rabbis, who assert that it is “a mistake to dismiss Palestinian Christian theology wholesale.”

Investigations of J Street’s funding showed connections to Saudi Arabian, Turkish and Iranian interests. JVP has been very secretive about its sources of income, but can you imagine what we’ll find when they slip up?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/jew-washing-divestment/2012/07/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: