Jewish Voice for Peace Lobbying Hard for Church Divestment » ADL Blogs
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July 5, 2012 6

Jewish Voice for Peace Lobbying Hard for Church Divestment

Update: The Pres­by­ter­ian Church voted against divest­ment late Thurs­day evening, July 5. While ADL wel­comed the deci­sion, we are trou­bled that the issue was decided on such a nar­row vote (333–331 with 2 absten­tions) and that the debate was biased from start to fin­ish with vehe­ment anti-Israel sentiment.  

Jew­ish Voice for Peace has been a highly vis­i­ble and vocal advo­cate in the Gen­eral Assem­bly in favor of the Pres­by­ter­ian Church’s con­sid­er­a­tion of a vir­u­lently anti-Israel divest­ment res­o­lu­tion. The res­o­lu­tion, which calls for the church to divest from three com­pa­nies that allegedly profit from Israel’s occu­pa­tion (Cater­pil­lar, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard), will be voted on later today by the full ple­nary after it was passed in com­mit­tee ear­lier this week.

There is much to crit­i­cize about the prob­lem­atic nature of the res­o­lu­tion itself, but one of the more dis­turb­ing ele­ments of this cam­paign has been Jew­ish Voice for Peace’s aggres­sive lob­by­ing for it.

The group invested sig­nif­i­cant time and resources to send a del­e­ga­tion of activists to the Gen­eral Assem­bly who report­edly tes­ti­fied on the com­mit­tee floor in favor of divest­ment and are live-tweeting the con­fer­ence. A large por­tion of Twit­ter chat­ter about the res­o­lu­tion has been gen­er­ated by JVP using the hash­tag “#church­di­vest” to pro­vide updates on the res­o­lu­tion. Of tweets using that hash­tag in the last 36 hours, approx­i­mately 25% have been gen­er­ated by JVP and two of its staff people.

JVP activists have also cre­ated and dis­trib­uted a flier called “Divest from Vio­lence. Invest in Peace” which con­tains sev­eral state­ments from Chris­tians who sup­port divest­ment, and is cir­cu­lat­ing a peti­tion that calls on Pres­by­te­ri­ans to sup­port divest­ment. The peti­tion claims that the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity has failed in its efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict and it is clear that BDS (Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions) is now the only option left. The peti­tion ends with, “Can you tell Pres­by­te­ri­ans we’ve got their back?”

It is clear that JVP believes it has a very crit­i­cal role to play in the domes­tic anti-Israel agenda: JVP pro­motes itself as rep­re­sent­ing the views of Amer­i­can Jews and can be seen as try­ing to pro­vide cover against claims that the Pres­by­ter­ian divest­ment ini­tia­tives are anti-Semitic. Nobody should be fooled. JVP is a fringe orga­ni­za­tion with its own anti-Israel agenda.