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jewish voice for peace

  • How I stopped ignoring NGO Monitor and started fighting back

    For years I have remained silent as Gerald Steinberg and NGO Monitor have harassed anti-occupation groups in Israel-Palestine, spreading falsehoods about us in order to shut us down. Now is the time to speak out.  By Michael Sfard (translated by Sol Salbe) Around a decade ago, a new Israeli organization appeared out of nowhere. It had a name that sounded like a piece of medical equipment: NGO Monitor. The organization was founded by a Bar Ilan professor named Gerald Steinberg, as part of a right-wing think tank led by Netanyahu confidant Dore Gold. Since its establishment, Steinberg and NGO Monitor…

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  • Queer Jews should think again before celebrating Israel

    We were labeled homophobes and racists for disrupting a group of queer Jews at a pro-Israel parade this month. But as queer Jews ourselves, we could not stand aside while being used to distract from Israel's treatment of Palestinians. By Stephanie Skora Just under two weeks ago, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation, members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) staged six disruptions of the Celebrate Israel parade in New York City. There were several points of protest, including support among New York politicians and Jewish organizations for Israeli policies; the NYPD’s participation in the parade; and exchange programs between Israeli…

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  • Jewish activists arrested for protesting New York pro-Israel parade

    New York's annual, lavishly-funded Celebrate Israel parade was interrupted by scores of American Jewish activists, several of whom were arrested in the process. Seven Jewish protesters were arrested in New York on Sunday afternoon as over 100 activists disrupted the annual Celebrate Israel parade. The event, which sees thousands of participants march down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue accompanied by elected officials such as Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, has received nearly $800,000 in funding from the Israeli government over the last seven years. [tmwinpost] The counter-demonstrations were held by Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, who blocked the progress of…

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  • Can J Street coherently fight both boycott and occupation?

    After J Street U students were attacked at an anti-BDS conference this week, the lobby might want to reconsider the effectiveness of seeking common ground with extremists. Things got ugly at an anti-BDS conference at the United Nations this week when participants turned on a group of liberal university students in attendance. [tmwinpost] The conference, organized by the Israeli mission to the U.N., brought together many of the usual suspects working to counter the effects of the growing boycott movement. Students representing the university arm of J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby,” attracted the ire of the conference when they rose…

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  • 'There's an opportunity to embed Palestine in the progressive agenda'

    A lot of smart people thought Barack Obama would be more sympathetic than his predecessors to the Palestinian cause, hopefully resulting in a more even-handed approach to the conflict. Obama, however, along with Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, failed to achieve peace and things on the ground in Israel/Palestine are measurably worse today than they were eight years ago. The Trump administration, however, has thrown most campaigners on the issue of Israel/Palestine for a loop, and forced many to re-evaluate their priorities. "Even having prepared for the worst since the election, in practice things are still pretty shocking," Rebecca Vilkomerson,…

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  • Israel passes 'dissenter ban' barring entry to boycott advocates

    It's impossible to predict how and against whom the new law will be applied, but the message it sends is clear: if your politics don't toe the Israeli government line, you won't be allowed in. Even if your opposition is entirely non-violent. As Donald Trump signed a revised travel ban against nationals of six Muslim countries and many refugees, Israel's Knesset passed a law that bars giving temporary visas or residency to any non-Israeli citizen who has publicly called for or pledged to participate in a boycott of Israel. [tmwinpost] The way the law is worded makes its possible application very…

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  • Global protests target Airbnb over Israeli settlement rentals

    Over 150,000 sign petition calling on Airbnb to pull out of Israeli settlements as part of the #StolenHomes campaign, which was launched by a consortium of organizations following an investigative report by +972 and Local Call. By John Brown* A coalition of international organizations organized protests in cities across the world Friday against Airbnb’s operations in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. In addition to the international actions, local popular committees of Palestinian villages and cities like Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, and Hebron also participated. [tmwinpost] The protests were part of a global campaign, “Stolen Homes,” which was launched following…

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  • Time to break the silence: An open letter to American Jews

    The American Jewish establishment, from the Federations to synagogues, must take a look in the mirror and decide whether this is the Israel it identifies with. If it isn't, it should speak up. Urgently.  Dear American Jewish community, I should start off with a full disclosure: I am only tangentially a part of you. I have been living in Israel for the past five years, and before that I was an Israeli-American living in the Bay Area (with a brief stint in Los Angeles), where us Israelis viewed ourselves as a semi-autonomous cultural group. For the most part, we were not…

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  • Overcoming Jewish America's Israel fantasy

    The idea of Israel has long been an integral part of Jewish-American identity. But with a generational change among American Jews and increasingly stark political differences with Israel's leadership, could this be the dawn of a new era?  Last summer Michael Oren, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009-13, blithely offended virtually the entire policy, journalism and government elite in New York City and Washington, D.C. with a series of accusations directed at President Obama and liberal Jewish Americans. In a nutshell, Oren accused Obama of deliberately sabotaging relations with Israel in order to achieve the goals…

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  • Interview: Church-based BDS and the Jewish voices beside it

    As more U.S. churches vote on divestment, Jewish Voice for Peace aims to provide key support to a movement often accused of anti-Semitism. An interview with JVP's advocacy director Sydney Levy. By Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Activestills.org This week, three more U.S. churches are voting on resolutions to divest from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. A United Church of Christ (UCC) committee unanimously approved a divestment resolution Sunday night with a final vote by the church’s general assembly expected Tuesday in Cleveland, Ohio. [tmwinpost] The Episcopal Church is debating no fewer than seven resolutions related to…

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  • Church-based BDS does not unfairly ‘single out’ Israel [op-ed]

    Opponents of church-based boycott initiatives often accuse advocates of unfairly 'singling out' Israel while ignoring Islamist violence in Syria and elsewhere. Here's why they're wrong. Text and photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org In the coming days, three more U.S. churches will consider resolutions to apply economic leverage against the Israeli occupation. The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), United Methodist Church (UMC), and various Quaker bodies have taken similar actions in previous years. Now, as the United Church of Christ (UCC), the Episcopal Church, and Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) meet for national conventions, divestment activists say their case has never been clearer.…

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  • The decline of Christian Zionism

    America's largest Christian Zionist organization boasts about its numbers. But while their influence is a given, many Christians are slowly but surely seeing the justice of the Palestinian cause. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest Zionist Christian organization in the U.S., recently sent an email blast celebrating the milestone of “2 million members.” The Washington Post’s right-wing blogger Jennifer Rubin dutifully reported on the CUFI press release, which included an additional list of impressive numbers: According to CUFI, it has “driven hundreds of thousands of emails to government officials, held 2,162 pro-Israel events in cities…

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  • Censorship in the American Jewish community

    Support for groups like JVP has grown significantly since the latest war against Gaza. Disenfranchising this ever-growing segment of concerned American Jews will only escalate the decline in our community. By Seth Morrison The past year has seen increasing efforts within the American Jewish community to censor anybody who believes that boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) are the way to end the occupation — censorship that is most often targeted at Jewish Voice for Peace. And yet, JVP continues to grow. JVP is not anti-Israel, it is anti-occupation. Our belief that that the people living in Israel-Palestine are the ones…

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