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.

  • Anony­mous

    The ADL says over and over that Jew­ish Voice for Peace is anti-Israel, but repeat­ing this mantra doesn’t make it true. Jew­ish Voice for Peace works for peace with jus­tice in Israel and Pales­tine, and that means work­ing to end the occu­pa­tion that deprives Pales­tini­ans of basic polit­i­cal rights. The Pres­by­te­ri­ans are debat­ing a res­o­lu­tion to stop invest­ing in com­pa­nies that sup­port and profit from the occu­pa­tion like Cater­pil­lar, whose armored bull­doz­ers are used to demol­ish the homes of Pales­tini­ans. I, for one, applaud the Pres­by­te­ri­ans for this effort and I hope the read­ers of this blog will ask the ADL, exactly how is this anti-Israel?

  • Sylvia

    The fools (JVP also fast for Gaza as Sderot’s chil­dren are being pounded with mis­siles) see their denomination/sect as directly com­pet­ing against Israel: if Israel didn’t exist, Jews would be flock­ing into their tem­ples and their rab­bini­cal stu­dents would have bet­ter employ­ment prospects.

    As a non-religious Israeli, I can’t help but bow to the wis­dom of the Chief Rab­binate who wouldn’t allow that denom­i­na­tion as much as a foot in the door. These peo­ple are try­ing to break with Judaism and Israel’s sup­posed “crimes” are noth­ing but a pretext.

  • So Jew­ish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a “fringe orga­ni­za­tion,” is it? I invite you to take a look at its Advi­sory Board, which includes, among oth­ers, Emmy Award win­ning actor Ed Asner; linguist/philosopher Noam Chom­sky; play­wright Eve Ensler; jour­nal­ist and author Naomi Klein; Pulitzer Prize win­ning play­wright Tony Kush­ner; attor­ney Robert Meeropol, the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosen­berg and founder and Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Rosen­berg Fund for Chil­dren; Michael Rat­ner, for­mer Pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tional Rights; and actor/playwright Wal­lace Shawn.

    Fur­ther­more, Jew­ish Voice for Peace is not, nor has it ever been, “anti-Israel.” If you took the time and trou­ble to get your facts right, per­haps you could make a bet­ter case for what­ever it is you are try­ing to say. Oth­er­wise, you are sim­ply wast­ing your time and ours.

  • Davey

    Israel’s loath­some poli­cies are ruin­ing Judaism as a reli­gion of con­science. Israeli right wingers are tribal con­science­less individuals.

    Some Jews are unwill­ing to hand over their reli­gion and iden­tity to gang­sters in Israel. JVP is a strong, large orga­ni­za­tion stand­ing in oppo­si­tion to the fur­ther dis­pos­ses­sion of an entire peo­ple by a hand­ful of spec­u­la­tors run­ning Israel. I am a proud Jew and a proud mem­ber of the organization.

  • Sylvia

    Well, hav­ing seen your Passover Hag­gadah and the other Judaic beliefs reduced by you to a state of skele­ton, I ‘d say you don’t have to worry about hand­ing over your reli­gion “to gang­sters in Israel”. You have noth­ing left to hand over to anyone.

  • Anony­mous

    Hi Sylvia!
    Yes,we do know that jv’p’ has some­thing amiss. Let’s see.…
    Cater­pil­lar does not sell to Israel –fact– equip­ment is pur­chased from the US Govt.
    The so called pales­tini­ans are sup­plied directly from Cater­piller. Neat, eh?

    This group is ashamed of Israel-enough to harm her.
    What kind of Jews are these? (song)
    What kind of per­son would work to sup­port
    a non-existent peo­ple and coun­try at the expense of a real country?

    Anon and Davey: Since you are such big fans of ‘pales­tine’, could you please edu­cate us?

    When was the coun­try of ‘pales­tine’ founded and by whom?
    Please describe the actual bor­ders of this ‘ancient’ coun­try at any time in their ‘his­tory’.
    Name one (or more) lead­ers, other than Arrafat and the cur­rent pre­tenders
    (check on Abbas re when his term actu­ally expired.Years.)
    Please tell us about, and pro­vide pic­tures of, this ‘country’s’ coinage.
    Any National Hol­i­days you can describe? (‘Hol­i­days’ that don’t focus on Jews)
    Any­thing about ‘pales­tin­ian’ cul­ture that is not obvi­ously Arab?

    For more info, please see the State of ‘Pales­tine’ Quiz at Dry Bones:
    (spread the news)