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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.

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June 27, 2012 0

Sabeel Attacks Israel From All Angles In Its “Cornerstone” Publication

The Spring 2012 edi­tion of Cor­ner­stone, a pub­li­ca­tion of the Sabeel Ecu­meni­cal Lib­er­a­tion The­ol­ogy Cen­ter, is a full scale assault on Israel’s legit­i­macy from all angles. The Sabeel Cen­ter is a dri­ving force behind the cam­paign by main­line Protes­tant churches to divest from Israel, includ­ing a num­ber of pro­posed res­o­lu­tions being con­sid­ered at next week’s Pres­by­ter­ian Gen­eral Assembly.

The pub­li­ca­tion depicts Israel as sys­tem­at­i­cally racist, employs offen­sive Holo­caust imagery and uses the­o­log­i­cal argu­ments to demo­nize the Jew­ish State.

An arti­cle titled The Role of the Prophet, writ­ten by Sabeel Cen­ter co-founder and exec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber Jonathan Kut­tab, notes that “Judaism brought [together] the two cor­rec­tives of the Law and the Prophets.” It then describes Israel as an unjust and racist coun­try that approves “laws that vio­late the inter­ests and free­doms of the indi­vid­ual or the minori­ties liv­ing among them.”

Kut­tab blames most Jews in Israel for what he per­ceives as unfair treat­ment of the Arab pop­u­la­tion, say­ing, “the major­ity of Israeli Jews, act­ing through their duly elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives are the archi­tects of these laws.”

An arti­cle sub­mit­ted by Mos­sawa, the advo­cacy cen­ter for Arab cit­i­zens of Israel, is titled Anti-Democratic, Anti-Arab Leg­is­la­tion in Israel. The syn­op­sis states “there are at least 35 laws which dis­crim­i­nate directly or indi­rectly against Arab cit­i­zens of Israel.” The arti­cle lists “four key leg­isla­tive mea­sures” as evi­dence, cit­ing as one exam­ple the Cit­i­zen­ship law, which Mos­sawa claims “dis­pro­por­tion­ately affects Arab cit­i­zens,” although it applies to all Israelis.

An Open Let­ter to For­eign Mis­sions by Taiseer Khatib, an Arab cit­i­zen of Israel, tells a story of his wife and chil­dren hav­ing prob­lems obtain­ing per­ma­nent res­i­dency inside of Israel. This prob­lem, Khatib con­tends, is a result of the Cit­i­zen­ship Law, which he claims shows Israel’s racism since its goal is allegedly to “dimin­ish the num­ber of the Arab pop­u­la­tion.” He adds that this “should remind Jews in Israel of dark times in their own his­tory, when they were them­selves sep­a­rated from their fam­i­lies, never to see them again.”

A poem titled Hear O Israel by Jew­ish Voice for Peace activist David Glick also makes claims that Israel is inher­ently racist and com­pares the coun­try to Nazi Ger­many, say­ing, “But what O Israel/Have you become?/The Nazis made me fear­ful to be a Jew/but you [Israel] have made me ashamed.” He then writes “Time to con­front the dark­ness we have become./With the Holo­caust it is Never Forget/but with Deir Yassin it is Never Mind.”

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