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April 4, 2017 7:15 am

Panelists Prove That Jewish Voice for Peace Is Neither

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A “Jewish Voice for Peace” A Jewish Voice for Peace demonstration. Photo: Twitterdemonstration. Photo: Twitter.

On Saturday morning, panelists at a Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) conference in Chicago agreed that there’s a simple way to end global oppression and racism, and create a world overflowing with “equality, dignity and human rights.”

The solution? Simply eliminate Zionism from the planet.

“Arguing for a softer, less harsh, nicer version of capitalism, colonialism and racism won’t do it,” said Black Lives Matter leader Rachel Gilmer. “Many liberal Zionists believe that the problem with Israeli apartheid is simply a few bad policies, or Netanyahu, or the wall, but the problem is with the ideological foundation of the state itself: Zionism. Zionism, at its core, is white supremacy.”

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While JVP claims that its mission is to “end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians,” speakers at the conference failed to mention any plan that keeps Israel intact. That’s not a surprise. JVP prides itself on playing a key role in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which pressures corporations, churches and colleges to divest from Israel.

“A world without Zionism is a world without oppression” and would create “equality, dignity and human rights,” said panelist Lubnah Shomali, of the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights.

Shomali’s claim, of course, ignores human rights violations by Palestinian leaders inside the West Bank and Gaza. For example, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority use intimidation to silence journalists who dare to engage in peaceful criticism, as Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported in 2016. In addition, journalists face arrest and detention for exposing corruption, and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas flout international law by using the death penalty, torture and extrajudicial killings.

While speakers during Saturday’s “Let’s Talk About Zionism” panel tossed around Israeli “apartheid” accusations, they ignored the rights enjoyed by Israeli Arabs, including representation in the Knesset and prominent roles in Israel’s judiciary system.

Jewish Voice for Peace, therefore, let an entire panel push the message that Zionism — the belief in a national homeland and refuge for Jews — was evil.

At the conference, Ethiopian Jewish activist Efrat Yerday, an Israeli citizen, also claimed that Israel engaged in racism by forcing Ethiopian Jews to convert to rabbinical Judaism.

Ethiopian Judaism contains numerous elements that predate modern rabbinical Judaism, and the religion has similarities with Ethiopian Christianity. This has caused Israel’s rabbinate to mandate that the Ethiopians convert.

“Zionism does not only dispossess Palestinians, but it also dispossesses, in a very sophisticated way, non-white Jews. Being Jewish is highly identified with being white because of Zionism,” Yerday said. “This early fantasy that was shaped by the visionaries was to be a small Europe in the heart of the barbarian Middle East.”

Ironically, Yerday noted that Ethiopian Jews were able to peacefully demonstrate and protest against what they perceive as injustices against them in Israel. Such a display would not be allowed in neighboring Arab countries, or in areas ruled by the Palestinians.

Yerday also failed to reconcile the “Israel is racist” line with the fact that thousands of black Ethiopians have become citizens of Israel.

In 1984, Israel rescued 16,000 Ethiopian Jews in a secret airlift. That was followed by “Operation Solomon” in 1991, in which 14,000 Ethiopians were flown out of the country in just 36 hours. And Israel named an Ethiopian immigrant, Yityish “Titi” Aynaw, as Miss Israel in 2013.

Israel’s enemies have tried connecting Zionism with racism for decades, in an effort to delegitimize Israel.

During her remarks, Shomali lamented the fact that a 1975 United Nations resolution condemning Zionism as a form of racism was repealed in 1991. But her case for labeling Zionism as a form of racism relies on a cherry picked, one-sided history dating back to Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence.

“There had to be a link made between secular colonialism, secular Zionism and religious Judaism,” Shomali said. “Members of the Zionist movement went to religious Jews around the world and told them that … ‘God is telling you to come to Palestine. You are the chosen people. This is the promised land.’ [They said that Israel was] a land without people … knowing full well that Palestine was not a land without people.”

Then Zionists used the forcible transfer of populations to cleanse Palestine of Arab natives, she said.

JVP’s rabid hatred of Israel came into even clearer focus Sunday, when it gave the stage to Rasmieh Odeha member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group. Odeh was convicted of leading two 1969 bombing attacks in Jerusalem. One of those bombings targeted a grocery store, and killed two college students.

JVP’s conference and its choice of speakers are just another reminder that Jewish Voice for Peace opposes any iteration of the Jewish state, and that its prescriptions will lead to anything but peace.

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  • Les Brown

    And you have a problem with that? Would you prefer to get your sources of information only from those channels that correspond to your narrow-minded view point?

    • Michael Davison

      That’s funny, coming from you. A classic case of “do as I say, not as I do”.

      Thank you for the lesson in hypocrisy. Much appreciated.

      • Les Brown

        You think there is hypocrisy in what I said? Where? Was it my daring a response to your meaningless responses?
        You seem very quick to come a highly judgemental opinion in that my responses are used to either validate your opinion of me, or provide a lesson for you in semantics.
        Good luck with life wherever you find it, because you seem to be lacking one of your own.

  • Super Hans

    Hi Les, the thread we were debating on was locked so I’ll post here.

    1. In its 2004 advisory opinion (http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=4&case=131&code=mwp&p3=4), the International Court of Justice discussed at length Israel’s argument that the Fourth Geneva Convention should not apply to the ”Occupied Palestinian Territories”. The conclusion of all 15 judges, all experienced experts in international law, without one dissenting opinion, was that Geneva IV does apply to the OPT and that Israel is in violation of it. This confirms, from the most authoritative legal body in the world, that Israel is committing war crimes and that every Israeli Prime Minister, among other ministers, since 1967, is a war criminal. Do you know of some other legal opinion on the applicability of Geneva IV to the OPT that holds more weight than the ICJ? Anything close?

    2. What is even more disturbing than the legal question is that what you (and the Israeli government) are trying to argue for is the right to simply destroy the homes of regular people in order to ethnically cleanse the land for future Jewish use. It’s a bit like a shady lawyer trying to get serial rapist off on a technicality.

    3. Before arguing that Geneva IV doesn’t apply in the OPT (resolved in 1 above), you attempted to argue that home demolitions of alleged terrorists are fair game anyway. Could you please provide me with any kind of legal authority that contends this? Here is what I know. According to the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, of the 47,000 Palestinian homes demolished since 1967, only 2% of them were punitive demolitions (the sort you refer to). And of that 2%:

    B’Tselem: House demolitions as punishment is used against Palestinians ”SUSPECTED of any kind of violent activity against Israelis” including ”failed attempts to harm soldiers”. ”The measure has never been used against Israeli civilians who committed acts similar to those for which Palestinian houses are demolished.”
    ”The destruction of a suspect’s home is an administrative process carried out without trial, and without the need to prove the guilt of the suspect before any judicial body.”
    ”In the majority of cases, the sanction is carried out prior to conviction. In other words, this form of punishment is carried out primarily against individuals who are only suspected offenders.”
    In cases where the suspect is dead, ” the demolition sometimes takes place before an autopsy is performed and the individual’s identity is verified.”
    Amnesty: House demolitions constitute ”a flagrant form of collective punishment, a violation of a fundamental principle of international law.”
    Amnesty: ”THESE ACTS CONSTITUTE WAR CRIMES.”
    B’Tselem: ”The average number of people living in such houses is approximately eleven…When the demolition is carried out with explosives, in many cases, a great deal of damage is caused to the neighbouring buildings, sometimes rendering the building unfit for habitation.
    Human Rights Watch: Apart from Iraq under Saddam Hussain, Israel has been the only country in the world resorting to house demolitions as a form of punishment.

    4. I covered the other 98% of home demolitions in my previous post.

    5. Regarding your claims about B’Tselem and Amnesty International. Can you provide a source that either of them receives funding from the PA? If so, how much of their budget? More importantly, can you provide evidence that either of them have made stuff up about Israel in their reports? Since their claims corroborate one another, is it a conspiracy along with Human Rights Watch? Are they all meeting up in secret along with the judges from the ICJ to make stuff up about Israel? In Amnesty International we are talking about one of the biggest, most widely respected human rights orgs in the world. Why would they risk their reputation to make false statements about Israel? Is it just Israel they are lying about or also all the other countries that they mention in their reports?

    6. Christians. Providence? What a source. I’m sold (despite the lack of a shred evidence to back up the article’s claims).

    7. Eran Efrati. Any evidence that he is an anti-semite?

    8. Breaking the Silence. Source that it is funded by the PA? How much of its budget? More importantly, can you provide evidence that the testimonies that they take from Israeli soldiers are fake/misrepresented in some way? Have you ever read a Breaking the Silence report?

    9. I agree that Abbas’ hold on power is undemocratic. However, I think it suits Israel to have him in charge. He’s no threat to their continued colonization program. If there were elections today then Barghouti would win easily, but then, he’s in jail. Israel isn’t a democracy either with one third of the population under its control unable to vote for the government that determines their fate.

    10. Pay terrorists. IDF soldiers get paid too right?

    11. Teach their children to hate. I guess you’ve not been to Hebron.

    12. You missed out, ”they name streets after terrorists.” Well, there are Avraham Stern Streets, Menachem Begin Streets and Yitzhak Shamir Streets all over Israel.

  • Michael Davison

    “Then where did you get your facts to say that “Australian aborigines being hunted like animals in the latter part of the 19th century” from?”

    From former Australians living in Israel and other countries around the world.

    “How do you know what is happening in Australia if you don’t live there?”

    Exactly as much as you know about the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict, because YOU don’t live there.

    “Australia may not be the land of hope and glory, but no-one is forcing you to go there…”

    The same is true for Israel… but I don’t go around consistently slamming Australia the way some people make a career out of slandering Israel when they’ve never been within a thousand miles of the country.

    My post was an exercise to prove a point, and you’ve helped me prove it nicely, thank you.

    • Les Brown

      I live in Modi’in, where I came a few years ago. I came here from Melbourne, where I was born, and where a friend of mine had extensive business relationships with the Aboriginal communities.
      Since our discussion has not been about Israel, but rather about Australia, and specifically about their aboriginals, I think you maybe congratulating yourself on your own misunderstandings and false assumptions.
      I certainly have not slandered Israel, nor Australia, and as an Australian living in Israel, I regard your comments as superficial.
      I tell critics of Australia exactly what I tell critics of Israel; you have to live there to understand what is happening now and read history to understand the past

  • Joseph Feld

    A land without people ? Let’s look at the population of Jerusalem. In Ottoman Jerusalem in 1896 there were 8,500 Arabs/ Muslims, 8,700 Christians and 28,000 Jews. In British Mandatory Jerusalem in 1922 there were 5,000 Christians, 13,000 Arabs/Muslims and 34,000 Jews. In 1948 in Israeli Jerusalem there were 25,000 Christians, 40,000 Arabs/Muslims and 100,000 Jews. In 1967 Israeli Jerusalem had 13,000 Christians, 55,000 Arabs/Muslims and 196,000 Jews. Jerusalem had people, mainly Jewish people.

  • Stacy Gittleman

    The scary thing is many Jews in their 20s and 30s are identifying with JVP as their expression of Jewish identity, as I revealed in a recent article I wrote. A troubling trend:
    https://thejewishnews.com/2017/03/29/avodahs-work-toward-social-change-attracts-many-detroiters/

  • markmarkct

    I have always said that leftists are the scourge of the earth and this further proves it

  • hannah

    What was described here leaves me in despair, the stupidity and hate they exhibit is no less than barbaric

  • Chanan Mazal

    Go after the money trail.
    The largest reported donation was from the Rockafeller Foundation.

  • Chanan Mazal

    Go after their money trail.
    Largest recent transparent donation was from the Rockefeller Foundation.$140,000. Judith Rudin. (A nice Jewish girl, former pres of U of Penn, was the it’s CEO)

  • Robi Michael Schiffman

    Why do people even pay these SJW snowflakes any mind?
    There will always be haters – and they will always hate – if they choose to be self loathing Jews that’s their choice – I would, however, love to know how many of these insects at the conference were using Israeli tech on their phones?

    If these idiots and the entire bds movement wanted anything more than their own “15 minutes” they would live up to their propoganda.

  • oceanstater

    While the post clearly backed the headline’s implication that the “Jewish Voice for Peace” is clearly not for peace, I don;t see how it showed the the JVP is not Jewish/ Indeed, we Jews are indeed plagued by self-hating members of our tribe who mistakenly think they will somehow be spared by the jihadis and neo-nazis they pander too. Similarly there were Jews who backed Hitler early on in expectation he would crush Communists and Socialists and they would be spared, but they wound up in the same camps anyway.
    Despite my quibble at the headline, I appreciate your countering the misnamed “Jewish Voice for Peace.”

  • Michael Davison

    “A world without Zionism is a world without oppression”.

    I’d love to have some of what these kids are smoking.

    I suppose they think that without Zionism, Morocco will free the Western Sahara, the Libyans, Iraqis and Yemenites will cease their internal sectarian violence, the Syrian civil war will evaporate overnight, Boko Haram will go back to herding goats, China will withdraw from Tibet, Turkey will withdraw from the northern half of Cyprus, South American governments will support their native populations instead of discriminating against them, Aussie aborigines will suddenly become completely equal to white Aussies, etc., etc.

    All they’re doing is proving that Albert Einstein was right when he said, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

    • Les Brown

      Maybe we could also expect, as well as Aborigines being equal with white Aussies, that America’s negroes and hispanics will also become equal with white Americans and be paid a subsistence wage of $7.25 per hour thus emphasising the enormous disparity between the rich and poor in the land of unequal opportunity.
      At least everyone in Australia, Aborigines included, are paid at least a basic wage of $17.70 per hour, and if they are casual, ad-hoc, workers, there’s a 25% loading on top of that.
      Had you been educated in Australia, you would also know that there is much emphasis placed on Indigenous education, something which is obviously totally lacking where you come from.

    • jackkessler

      It is not a conceptual problem. It is an emotional one. The emotions that have gotten out of control in these people are malice and hatred.

  • LouAdams

    why are so many young jewish women so ignorant about Israel and the middle east

    • jackkessler

      Because no one teaches them. And if anyone does, they refuse to accept it.

  • Reb_Yaakov

    The Ethiopian angle is hard to fathom when you consider that the transport of Ethiopians to Israel represented the first time in history that Blacks were removed from Africa for any reason other than slavery.

    On the other hand, it is clear that the exodus of Arabs from Israel during the War for Independence was not entirely voluntary, to say the least. Further, many if not most of those who were legitimate landowners have not been compensated. This is an issue that should have been addressed even in the absence of any peace agreement, and it has opened Israel up to criticism such as that leveled here. The claims made by the anti-Israel contingent are mostly ridiculous, but Israel must, too, come to terms with the truth and reach a just solution.

    • Shmuel Borenstain

      Dear Reb Yaakov
      You should know the truth better. During the war of Independence Arab countries did not see Palestinians as having nationality different from their own. They invaded “Palestine” to help their Arab Muslim brothers eliminate Jews (as planed and executed by Hitler’s friend, the Al-Aqsa Mufti and his organized gangs, for example) and capture land (as Jordan did). Right after the war all Arab states expelled their hundreds of generations old Jews, numbering many more than all of the Palestinians who left Israel. So, who should be compensated?
      Incidentally, today, few care about Syrian refuges, Jews are not involved.

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