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July 16, 2013 1

Jewish Group To Hold Anti-Israel Protests On Tisha B’Av

As many Jews around the world today observe Tisha B’Av – a fast day that marks the anniver­sary of the destruc­tion of both Tem­ples in Jerusalem and the Jew­ish people’s exile from the land of Israel – one Jew­ish group is spend­ing the day protest­ing Israel.jvp-tisha b’av-we-divest-day-action

Jew­ish Voice for Peace, a dri­ving force behind the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paign against Israel in the U.S., is help­ing orga­nize a “Day of Action” out­side the offices of TIAA-CREF, a major finan­cial ser­vices insti­tu­tion, across the coun­try. The protests are being held under the aus­pices of “We Divest,” a coali­tion founded and led by JVP. TIAA-CREF is being tar­geted because it has invest­ments in sev­eral multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel.

The finan­cial giant is hold­ing its national share­hold­ers meet­ing today in Char­lotte, North Car­olina. Protests will be held there and out­side TIAA-CREF offices in Ann Arbor, Boston, Chicago, Den­ver, Detroit, Ithaca, Los Ange­les, New York, Philadel­phia, San Fran­cisco and Seattle.

Though today’s protest was not timed to coin­cide with Tisha B’Av, JVP’s activists have noted and appre­ci­ated the sig­nif­i­cance of the con­nec­tion else­where. Yes­ter­day, “The Pales­tin­ian Tal­mud,” a blog run by JVP’s Rab­bini­cal Coun­cil, fea­tured an entry about Tisha B’Av that pro­moted the “Day of Action” against Israel.

While the main­stream Jew­ish com­mu­nity views Tisha B’Av as an oppor­tu­nity to reded­i­cate its com­mit­ment to polit­i­cal sov­er­eignty and sup­port for the Jew­ish state, the blog post chal­lenged the notion that the Jew­ish peo­ple need a land of their own, say­ing: “More times than I can count I’ve heard that Jews will not be safe in the world with­out Israel to pro­tect us. My fam­ily and teach­ers and friends point to time after time of Jews being knocked down, kicked out, killed and say: it will hap­pen again, no mat­ter what. I look at that his­tory and say: it can be dif­fer­ent, it has to be.”

The author, a Recon­struc­tion­ist rab­bini­cal stu­dent named Jes­sica Rosen­berg, acknowl­edges that many Jews spend the day recit­ing prayers (known as Kinot) that mourn the destruc­tion of the Tem­ples, but notes that she will observe the fast by read­ing sto­ries and poems about “Pales­tini­ans who’ve been dis­pos­sessed and expelled from their land.” Rosen­berg acknowl­edges the dif­fi­culty of con­nect­ing mourn­ing about Jew­ish trauma with crit­i­cism of Israel (in her words, the “Pales­tin­ian his­tory and trauma that my com­mu­nity has to reckon with our part in caus­ing”), but com­mits to start­ing this “new ritual.”

This exploita­tion of Jew­ish tra­di­tion to pro­mote an anti-Israel agenda is clas­sic JVP. The group has even pre­vi­ously pub­lished a Passover Hag­gadah that reded­i­cates the 3rd cup of wine to BDS and adds an olive to the Seder Plate to mark the Pales­tin­ian struggle.

In advance of today’s meet­ing, TIAA-CREF was pre­sented with a BDS res­o­lu­tion sup­ported by some of its investors. The com­pany, how­ever, chose not to put the res­o­lu­tion on the bal­lot of res­o­lu­tions that will be con­sid­ered because, as they expressed, the occu­pa­tion isn’t a “sig­nif­i­cant social pol­icy issue.”

The “We Divest” cam­paign was ini­ti­ated in 2010 by JVP, which began cir­cu­lat­ing a peti­tion at the time call­ing on TIAA-CREF to divest. At present, the peti­tion has close to 21,000 sig­na­to­ries. In 2012, JVP announced that the “We Divest” cam­paign was being trans­formed into a coali­tion com­prised of JVP, the US Cam­paign to End the Israeli Occu­pa­tion, Adalah-NY, the US Pales­tin­ian Com­mu­nity Net­work, Grass­roots Inter­na­tional, and the Amer­i­can Friends Ser­vice Com­mit­tee. As part of its efforts to pres­sure TIAA-CREF to divest from the com­pa­nies that work with Israel, the “We Divest” coali­tion holds reg­u­lar protests and teach-ins and other events pro­mot­ing TIAA-CREF divestment.

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June 19, 2013 2

Anti-Israel Groups Organize Youth Summer Camps

As sum­mer nears for mil­lions of stu­dents across the coun­try, anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions are recruit­ing them to spend some of their free time being indoc­tri­nated in anti-Israel advo­cacy and a one-sided nar­ra­tive of Pales­tin­ian his­tory and culture.boycott_divestment_sanctions

The Amer­i­can Friends Ser­vice Com­mit­tee, a Quaker orga­ni­za­tion that has long engaged in efforts to dele­git­imize Israel, has teamed up with the noto­ri­ously anti-Israel group Jew­ish Voice for Peace to hold a four-day-long “Sum­mer BDS Insti­tute” in late July for college-age stu­dents who are already involved in pro-BDS (Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions) cam­paign­ing on their col­lege cam­puses or are inter­ested in launch­ing a BDS cam­paign on cam­pus next year.

Pro­po­nents of BDS, an almost decade-old move­ment, seek to demo­nize Israel, dele­git­imize Israeli pol­icy and, in its most extreme forms, pro­mote the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish char­ac­ter of Israel in an effort to turn pub­lic opin­ion against the Jew­ish state.

The pro­gram will train stu­dents about orga­niz­ing and imple­ment­ing a cam­paign, deal­ing with media requests, “direct action” plan­ning and more. The pro­gram, which will take place in New York, is cyn­i­cally being pro­moted as “fun in a sum­mer camp-like envi­ron­ment!” on AFSC’s web­site. It is the lat­est effort by off-campus anti-Israel groups to pro­vide stu­dents with the tools to bet­ter orga­nize and ini­ti­ate pro­grams attack­ing Israel on campus.

JVP is one of the lead­ing pro-BDS orga­ni­za­tions in the United States and is the pri­mary group behind, thus far unsuc­cess­ful, efforts to pres­sure TIAA-CREF, a major finan­cial insti­tu­tion, to dis­in­vest from multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel. AFSC has also, to a lesser extent, played a part in pro­mot­ing BDS in the U.S. and spon­sors dozens of anti-Israel events and pro­grams across the country.

In Sep­tem­ber 2008, AFSC mem­bers met with Iran­ian pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad when he was vis­it­ing New York for the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly. AFSC was one of five reli­gious groups to spon­sor a din­ner and con­ver­sa­tion – billed as an “inter­na­tional dia­logue between reli­gious lead­ers and polit­i­cal fig­ures” – with the Iran­ian leader, one of the world’s most promi­nent anti-Semites. ADL force­fully con­demned the meet­ing as a “per­ver­sion of the search for peace.”

Sep­a­rately, Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, the lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion pro­vid­ing anti-Zionist train­ing and edu­ca­tion to stu­dents and Mus­lim com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions in the coun­try, plans to hold a sum­mer camp for youth aged 8–12 in Chicago on Sat­ur­days through­out the summer.

AMP, which had pre­vi­ously been in the busi­ness of train­ing high school and col­lege stu­dents and adults to engage in anti-Israel cam­paigns, has a highly polit­i­cal agenda and reg­u­larly demo­nizes Israel. At times, the group has also pro­vided a plat­form for anti-Semitism under the guise of edu­cat­ing Amer­i­cans about “the just cause of Pales­tine and the rights of self-determination.”

A descrip­tion for the camp notes that the chil­dren will be taught about “Pales­tine and its his­tory,” which will likely be a much dis­torted ver­sion of the his­tory of the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. The descrip­tion also notes that the chil­dren will learn about Pales­tin­ian arts, cul­ture and his­tory and “par­tic­i­pate in fun activ­i­ties.”

ADL described the sum­mer camp pro­grams as venues to “indoc­tri­nate the next gen­er­a­tion of activists with biased mes­sages intended to sin­gle out Israel” and crit­i­cized AMP’s “cyn­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion that there is no such thing as being too young to start learn­ing how to hate Israel.”

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May 3, 2013 2

Alison Weir Laments On “Jewish Power” To Anti-Semitic Newspaper

Ali­son Weir, the direc­tor of two orga­ni­za­tions that try to steer pub­lic sup­port away from Israel and traf­fic in con­spir­acy the­o­ries about the Jew­ish state, gave an inter­view ear­lier this week lament­ing the allegedly all-powerful “Israel lobby.”alison-weir-american-free-press-podcast

Weir’s inter­view was with the Amer­i­can Free Press (AFP), a Wash­ing­ton, DC-based conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic news­pa­per pub­lished by long-time anti-Semite Willis Carto.

Dur­ing the pod­cast inter­view, titled “AIPAC Slaps Amer­ica in the Face, Again,” Weir claimed that the “Israel lobby” is pres­sur­ing Con­gress not to reduce for­eign aid to Israel despite seques­tra­tion and seem­ingly is uncon­cerned with the fact that the money could oth­er­wise be spent on domes­tic projects that would ben­e­fit Amer­i­cans. She alleged that the lobby sup­presses any oppo­si­tion to Israel, Zion­ism or “Jew­ish power.”

Her inter­viewer, Dave Gahary, read­ily agreed with her, call­ing her analy­sis “ter­rific” and reit­er­at­ing that there is strong evi­dence of “Jew­ish power.” He pointed to Jews’ “con­trol” of Hol­ly­wood and Weir agreed, say­ing that it’s an “inside joke” in LA that Jews con­trol Hol­ly­wood. She also defended Helen Thomas’s anti-Semitic remarks and claimed that Jewish-Americans are “very pow­er­ful in pol­i­tics.” Weir even reflected that she was uncom­fort­able her­self talk­ing about the sub­ject in a pub­lic broad­cast because it is “taboo.”

At one point dur­ing the inter­view, Gahary rhetor­i­cally asked “why should we have to hide dis­cus­sions about Jews or Jew­ish power? We shouldn’t. We should be able to say what­ever we want.” Weir agreed, assert­ing that even when peo­ple apol­o­gize for mak­ing anti-Semitic com­ments, their apolo­gies are some­times deemed insuf­fi­cient and they have to “grovel and grovel and grovel.”

It is not the first time that anti-Israel ide­o­logues have appeared on Amer­i­can Free Press. In August 2012, Rebecca Vilkomer­son, the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Jew­ish Voice for Peace, was inter­viewed by AFP to pro­mote JVP and the group’s boy­cott cam­paign against Israel. The par­ents of Rachel Cor­rie, a young activist who was killed while protest­ing Israeli pol­icy in Gaza, and Yis­roel Dovid Weiss, the spokesper­son for the ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta, have also been inter­viewed by AFP in recent years.

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