The radical antisemitism of the JVP
Do not be fooled by its moniker. Jewish Voice for Peace does not advocate peace of any kind.
On Nov. 3, the official Twitter account of Jewish Voice for Peace Action, the lobbying wing of the far-left organization Jewish Voice for Peace, claimed that the shared values of the United States and Israel are “super racist.”
Five days later, the JVPA retweeted a statement that “Zionists”—a thinly veiled dog whistle for “Jews”—“will happily burn down democracy everywhere.”
On Dec. 13, JVP tweeted, “Being pro-Israel in America also means being complicit in conservative efforts to sustain white supremacy, roll back reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights, and weaken democracy.”
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These statements are part of a long history of antisemitic tropes that claim Jews are the source of the world’s misfortune and epitomize what a given society perceives to be ultimate evil.
Do not be fooled by its moniker. Jewish Voice for Peace does not advocate peace of any kind. Its goals are simple: Delegitimize the state of Israel and promote antisemitism.
Worse still, the organization has a significant following on social media and maintains chapters on college campuses around the country.
In Pittsburgh, where I am a student at the University of Pittsburgh, JVP in October 2022 promoted a blatantly slanderous petition calling for “honest coverage of Israeli attacks on Palestinians from the NY Times.”
The petition in question demanded that The New York Times demonize Israel’s defensive actions in response to Palestinian terrorism committed by the “Lion’s Den” terror group
In 2021, JVP promoted the discredited “Deadly Exchange” conspiracy theory, which falsely claims that Israel trains American police officers to use violence against people of color.
The petition claimed, without evidence, that “U.S. police are using the tactics of occupying armies [Israel] on the people of this country.” In effect, the petition blamed Israel for the problem of police brutality and American racism. This is a classic example of JVP exploiting antisemitism by holding Jews responsible for America’s social problems.
This not only harms Israel and Jews, but also the United States. The Anti-Defamation League proposed bringing Israeli and American law enforcement together because Israel has been dealing with the constant threat of terrorism since it was created. After 9/11, it became clear that the U.S. could benefit from Israel’s decades of counter-terrorism experience.
The JVP’s opposition to exchanges between American and Israeli police that involve “no tactical or military training whatsoever” is deaf to legitimate concerns about American domestic terrorism. This is all the more true following the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in October 2018.
Spewing lies about and fomenting hatred against both Jews and Israel is not without consequences. A 2022 report published by the AMCHA Initiative documented 254 attacks on Jewish identity in the 2021-’22 school year alone, double the previous year. The report notes that “attempts to disconnect Zionism from Judaism and from progressive causes nearly tripled.”
JVP also attempts to negate the legitimacy of Israel and the Jewish connection to the land by defining Zionism as “a settler-colonial movement” To JVP, indigenous rights and self-determination apply to everyone except Jews.
Israel is and has always been the homeland of the Jews, and the Jews have maintained their connection to it for centuries. They prayed toward Jerusalem. The Amidah prayer contains an entire verse dedicated to the return to Israel: “May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy. Blessed are you, Lord, who restores His Divine Presence to Zion.” On Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover it is customary to say, “Next year in Jerusalem.”
This is why, when given the opportunity, the Jews returned to the land in a series of modern aliyot. Despite Arab violence against the Jews, the olim built a proto-state against all odds, and ultimately accepted the 1947 Partition Plan that would create a Jewish state alongside an Arab state. Arab leaders rejected the plan and launched a war on reborn Israel, preventing the establishment of the Arab state.
This rejectionism has not changed. Since 1947, all two-state solutions that have been proposed have been rejected by Palestinian and Arab leaders.
None of this matters to JVP. To them, Israel and Israel alone is to blame for the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict. And this is not enough for them. Israel must be at fault for all the problems of the United States as well.
The lies promoted by JVP to college-age audiences around the U.S. damage perception of Israel and directly conflate the evils of the world, such as racism, colonialism and other forms of violence, with Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Beyond its blatant antisemitism, however, perhaps the most egregious aspect of JVP is that it engages in such behavior while hiding behind the excuse that they are a Jewish organization aiming for a “Judaism beyond Zionism.” PJC
Hannah Margolis is a CAMERA fellow and a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh. This column first appeared on JNS.