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July 24, 2015 11:00 am

Israeli Audience Gets a Taste of Jewish Voice for Peace’s Brand of Betrayal

avatar by Yitzhak Santis / JNS.org

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An October 2007 demonstration in Seattle by the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace. Photo: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons.

An October 2007 demonstration in Seattle by the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace. Photo: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – Israel’s Channel 2 recently dedicated a full 15 minutes to the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Reporter Danny Kushmaro brought to an Israeli audience awareness of “the Jews that stand behind the boycott of Israel.” For me, a longtime “student” of JVP, as well as many Americans, there would be little surprise to hear the venomous rhetoric disgorged by JVP activists. For an Israeli audience that never heard of JVP, however, the reaction had to have been nothing short of shock and a profound sense of betrayal.

For decades, I lived in JVP’s cradle, the San Francisco Bay Area, and watched it grow in the 1990s from a small living room coffee klatch calling for a two-state solution to what it is today: a national organization with a multi-million dollar budget that has formally endorsed the full Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement agenda of undermining the Jewish state’s existence.

Where JVP gets its money from is largely unknown, as the group is highly secretive about its funding sources. The organization has published only two “annual” reports in the last decade, both of which offer no clue about its funding. NGO Monitor did find 21 mostly hard-left, and one Arab-American, foundations that underwrite JVP. But this only accounts for a fraction of JVP’s budget.

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JVP is also murky about its membership. Its executive director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, has stated, “We’re not an insignificant portion of the Jewish community.” JVP tries to bolster this assertion with the claim that it has “200,000 online activists.” Yet JVP does not discuss how it determines which of these activists are actually Jewish. To be part of the Jewish community, one has to be, well, Jewish.

Though JVP has supported BDS for years, it didn’t officially join the international campaign until this February. BDS activists, of course, do not want to make peace with Israel. Rather, they seek peace without any Israel. The key BDS demand signaling this is the call for a “right of return” of millions of descendants of the Palestinian Arab refugees that emerged from the 1948 Arab-initiated annihilationist war against Israel.

BDS wants to reverse the results of that war.

In the Channel 2 report, when Kushmaro asked two JVP activists about their group’s support for a “right of return,” their answers were appalling. Sitting on a bucolic park bench far from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic State, Kushmaro asked them, “If, after we make the right of return and all those things of the BDS, there will come peace? There will be peace in Israel?”

“I think it is the only way that there can ever be peace in Israel,” replied one of the JVPers.

“And if you are wrong?” asked Kushmaro. The other JVPer spluttered over her words searching for an answer and, finding none, asked Kushmaro in a tone of indignation, “How are we, how are we supposed to answer these questions?”

Kushmaro’s concise reply nailed it: “Because it’s my life. I’m living there. You want me to gamble on my life.”

Being thousands of miles away from the chaos engulfing the Arab world on Israel’s immediate borders gives these two JVP representatives the luxury to objectify Israelis and reduce their predicament to one-dimensional theories supported by glib sloganeering.

We who live here in Israel, however, understand well that this “right of return” demand is a euphemism for delegitimizing Israel’s status as the national home in which the Jewish people are implementing their right to self-determination. JVP may not see it, but there is a major dissonance between calling yourself “Jewish Voice for Peace” while actively opposing this right for your own people.

The Los Angeles Jewish Journal recently focused on one of the BDS movement’s founding leaders, Omar Barghouti, who in 2013 said, “Definitely, most definitely do we (BDS leaders) oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No rational, not-sell-out Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.”

Despite (or because of) this, JVP’s Vilkomerson described to the Jewish Journal how Barghouti and the BDS campaign “have been incredibly patient with us.” In the “past few years, she said, [BDS] leaders ‘were willing to work with us despite us not endorsing the full call [for BDS].’”

Indeed. The JVP-Barghouti relationship is actually longstanding. In 2011, Barghouti wrote that the “BDS National Committee (BNC)… sees JVP as an important ally in the U.S.” Further, Barghouti was listed as a featured speaker at JVP’s 2013 National Member Meeting.

Let’s not mince words. Israel’s 6-and-a-half million Jews are about half the world’s Jewish population. JVP’s support for delegitimizing Israel, while promoting its isolation and destabilization in a Middle East where hundreds of thousands have died in ethnic and sectarian civil wars, is an act of existential betrayal to 50 percent of world Jewry.

Betrayal, with all its connotations of treachery and perfidy, is a strong word. But when a group of Diaspora Jews joins forces with Israel’s most extreme adversaries seeking to strip the Jewish people of the inalienable right to national self-determination, I cannot find another word to describe such behavior.

Yitzhak Santis is chief programs officer at the Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor.

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  • KENNETH C WILLIAMS

    SO TRUE!!! 🙂

  • Barry

    Let’s call a spade a spade.
    Jvp and their ilk are at ease over the possible slaughter of the Jews in Israel.
    And not just the Jews but the Christian and other minority communities as well.
    The 21st Century’s equivalent of the final solution because the BDS demands remove any defense of the people of Israel and it will be a massacre of most of the population. They will be locked in for the slaughter as Europe and the US will not admit them, just as Britain with its White Paper locked the Jews into Europe to be rounded up.
    Going by Middle East standards it will seem that we are back to the time of the crusades when the streets run with blood.

  • Paul

    These anti-Israel jews feel very safe. That feel that jews can safely live anywhere in the western world, and that they can afford to adopt this stance in order to feel good with themselves their consciences – based on the information and disinformation our enemies are paying a lot of money to disseminate. This feeling is ironic – the only reason these jews can enjoy this feeling of security, and be shown any respect by their own countrymen (most of them, anyway), is because of the existence of Israel. But NOBODY will respect them for betraying their loyalty to their own people. The goyim will despise them for this too, as they would despise people betraying their own.
    The jews in many europeans countries have shared this feeling of confidence in being accepted by the goyim for many years – and are now considering leaving their countries, where they can, because of the growing agressive anti-semitism.
    Any self-respecting Jew, who is prepared for ideological reasons to support positions that threaten the very existence of the Israeli state, is welcome to come to Israel and help vote a different government into power. Not to betray your own people. no matter how self-righteous you may feel.
    If the woman in the interview could NOT answer what will happen if she is wrong, SHE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HERSELF – SHE IS INDEED PLAYING WITH THE LIVES OF HER FELLOW JEWS !
    I personally feel our settlement policy is stupid and self destructive, that is damaging us and our future survival propects. So I vote against it and pray that enough wise Jews will do the same, to bring a wiser government into power. But you don’t abandon a child who has problems – you do your best to fix those problems. And you don’t abandon the only real jewish home, the only place dedicated to enabling the Jews to survive in a very hostile world, because the politicians currently in government are perhaps making mistakes.
    These anti-Israel jews do not realise they are shooting themselves in their own leg, as they say in hebrew. They also say, in hebrew, that they are urinating into their own pond.
    Shame on them.

  • Holy Shirt

    If universal circumcision remains the mark of Judaism, most members of JVP can claim Jewishness. Ritual circumcision performed between the ears and north may not make one twice as Jewish, but by not being limited to sons, it provides roughly double the number of ‘Jews.’ Where universal brain damage is the norm, can Jewish ‘minds’ be any number?

  • I hope when antisemitism in America reaches the proportions it has in say, France, these self-hating Jews will know who to blame – themselves.

  • Unfortunately a lot of American Jews aren’t real Jews with all the intermarriage that takes place. Any Jew with half a brain realizes that Israel protects world Jewry. They’ve forgotten the holocaust that even if you were 1/16 Jewish you were sent to concentration camps

  • Fred

    It is a sad sad indictment that some Jews are ignorant about their own recent past. They are willing to become Judas goats for the Arab, they would be probably be willing to drive the Jews to their death. A frightening prospect to be betrayed by your own.

  • Davies Samuel

    In time of war traitors are jailed or shot…….Since 1948
    Israel has been in a state of war with almost all of its neighbors and lately BDS and its supporters.

  • David Goshen

    What the anti Israel Jewish supporters do not realise is that the Palestinean Leaders do not want to build institutions and become self sufficient.Muslims when interviewed in London believe that the state should provide housing,food ,education,healt services etc without any need for them to work.The same drawback exists with Abu Mazem and the PA.They naively believe that the donors should continue to support them forever.The PA citizens should all be millionaires because the millions flowing in should be devoted to improving the quality of life.but instead it is beining used to line the pockets of the PA & Hamas rulers.
    There is no incentive to state building for Abu Mazem and his govenment nor Hamas rulers.Thgey should never be short of cash to run their governments!!!

  • Pinchas Baram in Boston

    don’t hem and haw. they are rotten apples, they are poison, they are betrayers and yes, like kapos they are TRAITORS. they should be shunned and cursed and vilified. No holds barred.

  • Hannah

    Please be active on their Facebook group. Hardly any pro Israel activists are.

  • brenrod

    these are jews seeking to murder other Jews working for and funded by jew killers. They should be hunted down like rabid dogs and dragged to the gallows.

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