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Proud Members of Jewish Voice for Peace

The past few years have seen anti-Semitism rising at alarming rates in both Europe and the US. It’s hardly news that the new anti-Semitism is often expressed in the more socially acceptable form of demonizing the world’s only Jewish state, delegitimizing it, and holding it to a double standard. With the increase in this “polite” anti-Semitism, we are also seeing a rise in the internalization of anti-Semitism among some American Jews. The victims of this internalized bigotry adopt the falsehoods and stereotypes of the anti-Jewish racists who manufacture accusations against Israel in order to foment anti-Semitic sentiment and actions. One example of this phenomenon is the so-called “Rabbinical Council” of a purportedly Jewish organization, whose mission is to aid those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state.

While many of the members of this “Rabbinical Council” are either not actually rabbis or hold ordinations from a fringe group, disturbingly, eight of them claim to hold ordinations from either the Reform or Conservative movements. These Reform and Conservative rabbis, like the other members of their organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, have succumbed to this internalized anti-Semitism. They help to perpetuate the slanders put forth by enemies of Israel and the Jewish people, and they allow their titles to be used as weapons by those whose true goals are to do harm to Jews.

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Jewish Voice for Peace’s Anti-Israel Policies and Rhetoric  

Jewish Voice for Peace, founded in 1996, openly supports the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (“BDS”) — all of Israel, not just the West Bank. JVP openly supports those who call for an Arab-majority single state in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank through the “return” of the descendants of Palestinian Arabs who abandoned their homes inside of Israel in 1948 as well as through obliteration of the distinction between Israel and the West Bank.

This is illustrated by JVP’s statement that “the Palestinian BDS call asks international civil society groups and individuals to use boycott, divestment, and sanction tactics until Israel meets its obligations under international law to . . . dismantle the Wall [and to] respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinians to return to their homes. . . . Supporters of the call include those who support 1 state, 2 states, a confederation or some other configuration.”

Many of JVP’s own statements, like the vast majority of material coming out of the BDS movement, disregard recent history. The methods that JVP advocates are designed to put pressure only on Israel to resolve the conflict. JVP ignores Palestinian rejection of the 2000 Camp David offer of peace and statehood, Palestinian rejection of the 2008 Ehud Olmert offer of the same, and Palestinian violence and terror in response to the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. In spite of these Israeli overtures, JVP makes the patently false claim that Israel has not made “serious efforts” to resolve its conflict with the Palestinian Arabs and puts all of the blame for the perpetuation of the problem onto Israel.

JVP not only ignores events that took place, it also makes up a few that never did. It claims that “Israel must stop land seizures; destruction of homes, infrastructure, orchards and farms; arbitrary arrests and imprisonment; torture; assassinations; expulsions; curfews; travel restrictions; abuse at checkpoints; raids; collective punishment; and other violations of human rights.”

The organization’s statements, moreover, misrepresent the BDS movement, using the common but misleading description of the BDS movement as a “call from Palestinian civil society.” In fact, as has been well-documented by both Cornell Law School Professor William Jacobson and the watchdog group NGO Monitor, the BDS movement grew out of the hate-filled 2001 UN Durban conference.

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Mirabelle Ward is a non-practicing lawyer and a blogger at the Israellycool blog.