Welcome to Jewish Voice for Peace – DT!

I’ve decided to start my own branch of the organization Jewish Voice for Peace here in the Boston area. The mission of my new branch, which will be called JVP-DT for the time being, will be to communicate the Divest This message that all attempts to target Israel with Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions are not part of a non-violent “movement,” but are instead the cornerstone of a cynical propaganda war.

Very little will change here at the Divest This Web site (other than my new banner). We will continue to debunk BDS hoaxes and expose the hypocrisy of those who choose boycott and divestment as a tactic to morally blackmail civic organizations into parroting (intentionally or not) the real BDS message that Israel is an “Apartheid state.” We will continue to highlight the self-indulgence and excesses of the “movement,” and its monumental failure over the last decade. The only difference is that we will now be doing so under the valuable brand of “Jewish Voice for Peace.”

What is that you say? There already exists an organization called “Jewish Voice for Peace” and they are allowed to have some say in who is in the organization and who is not? That my mission to fight against BDS is the exact opposite of their mission to promote it and, thus, they might object to my simply demanding the right to membership in their organization in order to do whatever I feel like? That any organization, including Jewish Voice for Peace, has the right to decide who is in and who is out and what can be said in their name?

Well, I thought the very same thing. But come to find out, Jewish Voice for Peace itself has determined that it has the right to decide whether or not someone else can or cannot invite them into their civic space. As it happens, the Brandeis Hillel (as part of Hillel national policy) has decided that those promoting boycott, divestment and sanctions are far enough removed from the definition of “supporters of Israel” that even an organization as generous and welcoming as Hillel is ready to place them outside of the “big tent.”

Not that JVP cannot form a chapter on the Brandeis campus and do whatever the hell they feel like. It just cannot do so under the umbrella of Hillel which limits their ability to claim – falsely – that they represent anyone other than themselves.

Now there’s been some talk over the last few days (overblown I suspect) that institutions created to battle BDS are flirting with letting boycotts of Israelis and Israel products produced on the other side of the Green Line (i.e., in parts of the disputed territories) fall within the consensus of what is acceptable vs. what will be automatically fought against.

The reason I suspect this is overblown is that once someone tries to define the boundaries of such an “acceptable” boycott, they will quickly come to realize that it is not this particular Israeli company or product that is the target of BDS. Rather, they will realize that the goal of BDSers is to get a university, church or some other civic organization to boycott or divest from anything Israeli (regardless of geography). And once such a boycott comes to pass, the headline will not be “Organization X is no longer investing in Israeli Company Y located in the ‘Occupied Territories,’” but rather it will be “Organization X Agrees that Israel is an Apartheid State” that appears atop the press releases.

Now those who manage coalitions (such as Hillel or the new anti-BDS Israel Action Center) understand the benefit of broadening their coalition as much as possible. And, as a rule, Jewish institutions tend to be more inclusive than exclusive (sometimes to a fault).

Which is why I think the simplest option is not to let Jewish Voice for Peace join whatever organization it likes, but to simply allow anyone who wants to become a member of their organization and exercise the same latitude of action they demand for themselves. And so, if anyone wants to download a copy of the JVP-DT Guide to Defeating Divestment, or read more nutty stories mocking BDS activists, or simply find a home here under this new big tent I have created for myself at someone else’s expense, please feel free to do so. I’ll even keep my comments section open (something JVP has chosen never to do) so I can get your feedback on my new self-declared identity.

Now excuse me while I compose my next post (written in the name of Jewish Voice for Peace, of course) apologizing for JVP’s behavior over the last half decade.


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34 thoughts on “Welcome to Jewish Voice for Peace – DT!”

  1. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Except when its not. Would it help if a whole bunch of pro-Israel bloggers followed suit? This might be the start of something big

  2. actually, one minor correction. JVP did, a long time ago, allow comments on their “Muzzlewatch” blog. They stopped because they were shocked –SHOCKED!!– at the level of anti-Israel hatred, crossing over into outright anti-Semitism, that manifested itself in the comments section. They didn't want to face up to the reality that they aren't playing to a Jewish audience, but rather serving the role of useful idiots for the far leftist/Islamist coalition that promotes war against Israel in any form.
    And they probably didn't like the fact that some commenters from our side were so easily able to expose their fallacious arguments.

  3. David Remnick, Pulitzer prize winning journalist and editor of the New Yorker, calls the occupation inhumane and illegal.


    Jon, we need to go in high gear and trash Remnick. We cannot afford to have another mainstream journalist say these things about Israel. He has crossed the line and must be considered an enemy regardless of what he says. Shall we start by calling him a self hating Jew? There has got to be some dirt on him we can dig up.

  4. Gosh Anon – Are you so anxious to spring into the role of self-righteous victim that you can’t even wait for criticism (of any kind) to emerge before declaring any critique of your beliefs and sources as nothing more than cynical accusations of anti-Semitism and self-hatred?

    For the record, I have yet to accuse Remnick, you or any of your fellow BDS-fans of either anti-Semitism or self-hatred. I have pointed out your hypocrisy, cynicism, and self-centeredness, provided information on the fraudulent means BDSers try to get their way, and documented how the whole BDS ”movement” has been one of history’s most spectacular failures. Perhaps it is your inability to challenge the accuracy of any of these characterizations that forces you to retreat into fantasies in which the only arguments you ever receive consist of empty accusations of Jew hatred.

    Whoops! Am I “muzzling” you by responding to your accusations? Anyway, sorry to interrupt your posting this same link onto 10,000 other Web sites (regardless of its relevance to any of them).



  5. Correction Jon I suggested we start by calling him a self hating Jew and then proceed to discredit him with a myriad of other accusations.

    If you think Remnick's comments are irrelevant to your site, you need to remove the blinders.

  6. Jon

    If you think Remnick's comments are irrelevant to this site, you need to take the blinders off and see the elephant in the room.

  7. Getting back on topic, a google search for Jewish Voice for Peace shows this site is now in the number six position.

    Cue the raucous giggling.

  8. Jon,
    I am not aware of Remnick 's previous pronouncements…however I failed to find in his article in the New-Yorker any word condoning BDS…in fact, I would agree to quite a number of his ideas regarding the occupation.

    Remnick is only blaming the occupation as a political threat to Israel as I could do myself.

    As far as I am concerned I have made up my mind to blame the occupation as if there were no BDS and to fight BDS as if there were no occupation.

  9. It's hard to tell whether certain posters [such as Anon who made the initial reference to Remnick] are deliberately hiding behind “anti-occupation” rhetoric to hide their true one state agenda, or whether they just don't believe the leadership of the BDS movement that insists that its goal is the elimination of Israel within any borders at all.

    It's not just me who wonders about this:

    “Of course, there are plenty of people who support the broad kind of BDS that tends to unite rather than divide Israelis and which has no clear strategic aim, and who in fact are opposed to ending the occupation and prefer instead the one-state agenda aimed at the elimination of Israel and the creation of a single, democratic state in its place….They've no interest in dividing Israeli society, only in confronting it. They've no interest in ending the occupation, since they don't recognize the occupation, or at least have adopted logic that doesn't allow for one to meaningfully speak in terms of an occupation, only discrimination in a single, at present undemocratic, state. Many of them also continue to talk about settlements, although that also doesn't make any sense either given their logic…It never ceases to fascinate me that one-state rhetoric continues to be so deeply mired in two-state logic (occupation, settlements, etc.), categories that make no sense once a single state agenda has been adopted.”

    That's from Hussein Ibish, not noted to be a Zionist lackey. http://www.ibishblog.com/blog/hibish/2010/04/17/bds_berkeley_breakthrough_or_falling_first_hurdle

    Ibish also noted, in the same piece;

    'Spin is a wondrous thing, and I've rarely seen more spin in my life than has been engaged in by BDS proponents who have been trying to create the impression that there is a major movement in this direction in the United States and that is “succeeding” and, even more preposterously, “having results.”'


    (this site is still at #6 on Google ranking for “Jewish Voice for Peace” searches. What can we do to bump it up?)

  10. This is silly – no one from Brandeis JVP pretended to be a member of Brandeis Hillel without their permission.

    They respectfully asked to join and were rejected. They did not then pretend that they were accepted.

  11. There are two rhetorical tactics being deployed with regard to Remnick’s New Yorker article.

    One is a “pre-emptive strike” with regard to criticism. After all, reading the article, Booz found much to agree with, even – as he points out – it says nothing about BDS. Personally, I found more to criticize about the piece than did Booz, notably its substitution of dime-store psychology for actual history and the fact that the author’s view is frozen in amber (still seeing the Middle East conflict as nothing more than a matter of Israeli concessions, utterly ignoring everything that’s taken place in the last 20 years, much less the last three months).

    But for our original anonymous poster, any criticism of any source he provides (or, one imagines, any criticism of any BDS activity) consists of nothing more than empty accusations of anti-Semitism and self-hatred. The notion that people may have legitimate complaints against BDS or legitimate disagreements with the Palestinian “narrative” is as alien to such a thinker as is the existence of the Middle East beyond the West Bank might be to Remnick.

    The other rhetorical device at play is an Appeal to Authority (something I wrote about a couple of posts back). The importance to Anon of Remnick’s article is that he is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer who agrees with him. Whether that Pulitzer had anything to do with writing about (or even knowing anything about) the Middle East seems beside the point since the key is that someone who won a respected prize has said something our Anonymous friend wants the rest of us to believe.

    Keep in mind that this appeal to authority is totally one way. If I were to post that a dozen or a hundred Nobel Prize winners have condemned BDS, such a fact would be totally ignored while we would be asked to comment on the fact that a hundred year old rock star has decided to skip Israel on his geriatric world tour. Such is the stuff of what passes for debate in the world of BDS.

  12. Dear JVP – Given that I am making a point satirically, you are correct that this piece is “silly” (even if it doesn’t involve time travel and talking mice). However, is it any sillier than claiming TIAA-CREF or Hampshire College divested from Israel (something JVP either tried or continues to do) when neither organization has done so?

    The difference between Divest This and JVP is that this gag piece will soon move down the blog to be replaced by other material on other subjects. I will not continue to try to speak on behalf of you or anyone else (except jokingly to make a point as I do here). I will not try to portray my opinions as representing anything other than my own. I will not insist that JVP is trying to censor or “muzzle” me by not allowing me into their tent or letting me speak in their name.

    Rather, I respect the fact that you have your own civic space within which you feel the legitimate right to say who is in and who is out and what members of your organization can and cannot say and do. The problem is that JVP seems to insist that it has the right not only to its own civic space, but to the space and platforms of others. And it demands the further right to condemn others for “muzzling” and other forms of illiberal behavior solely for asking for the same freedoms enjoyed by JVP itself.

    Let me know if I missed anything.


  13. The University of Johannesburg (UJ)cuts ties with Israeli University.

    “UJ is the first institution to officially sever relations with an Israeli university – a landmark moment in the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel campaign,” it said. The committee said the decision, coming from a South African institution, was of particular significance as it could start “a domino boycott effect”.


  14. oh, A university led by Adam Habib is stopping Israeli researchers from cleaning water in South Africa. what a loss…
    luckily serious instituts in the world are not led by radical muslims from social sciences, and I am VERY happy that they banish Ben-Gurion university – the one whose professors get money for bashing Israel and calling for boycotts.

    sorry for some mistakes I probably wrote here(English is not my language…)
    I have to add – Jon – You are a genious! LOL

  15. From Omar Barghouti ( when he thought he was preaching to the choir ) “we don't want to win too quickly. The wins we have had are convincing ones “

    Giggle. Like Hampshire, Omar? Like TIAA CREF? Like UC Berkeley? Heh, Omar. Didya hear? Bob Dylan will be playing in Israel this summer.

  16. All I was saying is that Habib is a part of a large organization. Each organization has bylaws, procedures, committee's etc. Habib, or anyone else for that matter, is not in a position to make such a decision all by himself. The decision, right or wrong, came from UJ not Habib.

  17. My supermarket sells two brands of matzoh. One made in Israel and one made in the U.S. For our Passover we will have the matzoh made in the U.S.A. We will celebrate our Jewish faith but not the country that says it speaks for us because as long as it maintains the occupation, builds illegal settlements and oppresses another people Israel does not represent our family.
    Boycott, sanction and divest from Israel NOW!

  18. Isn't it great that you get to choose what to buy based on your own personal belief system? And, along the same lines, isn't it great that your supermarket sells products that both you can buy, while also allowing people who disagree with your political positions to buy something else?

    No doublt you would be appauled if I and my friends forced your supermarket to stop selling the American brand of matzoh, requiring you to either buy Israeli or buy elsewhere. Fortunately, we have chosen not to limit your choices based on our political pet peeves. Now if you and your BDS friends could bring yourself to do everyone else the same favor, we might be getting someplace.

  19. This is America and you would have a hard time in my market telling the owner not to sell matzohs made in America. He would be far more willing to take the Israeli matzoh off the shelf. He doesn't put Israel first as it appears that you do.

  20. But I am not involved with a movement calling for stores to pull products off shelves and limit other people's choices based on my own personal politics. You are the one doing that through a project you call the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions “movement.”

    So I would never ask your store to do anything just to suit my narrow political interests, but it's good to know that if you and your friends tried to pull off a boycott at that same store, your American store owner would likely tell you to stuff it.

  21. Boy the JVP types seem to be sending in their third string lately, given that our most recent anonymous poster doesn't event seem to know what the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) “movement” is.

    If it helps, my latest Anonymous friend, neither I nor any other Israel activist I can think of has any problems (or even cares) if you or any of your friends make your own personal choice based on your own beliefs (political or otherwise) over what food you buy. You are making a personal choice no more remarkable (although certainly no less) than the billions of buying decisions made by people every day for all kinds of reasons, including those who hold different opinions than yours choosing to act on those beliefs by specifically buying Israel products.

    But the BDS project you celebrated just a few comments ago is not satisfied with such personal choices. Rather, they are dedicated to eliminating all choices other than their own by calling for stores to boycott Israeli goods. For without such an institutional (vs. individual) decision to banish Israeli products from their shelves, they have nothing to boast about other than the fact that they (and people who agree with them) are exercising their personal political choices at the supermarket (which, as noted above, is totally un-remarkable and un-newsworthy).

    So please feel free to exercise your free choice as much as you like. So long as you now understand that there is a movement, known as BDS, dedicated to preventing others from exercising the same freedom you and your friends enjoy.

  22. I am making my own choices but I believe that just as Israel's friend apartheid South Africa was subject to boycott, divestment and sanctions so should Israel until they get completely out of the West Bank and end the siege of Gaza.
    This movement is growing and Israel is running scared as they should be.
    You can't oppress a people forever, steal their land, threat them like untermenschen and not expect a backlash.
    Too bad but Israel brought it on themselves.

  23. Given that you didn't seem to know what the BDS movement actually was before I explained it to you, I'm not exactly why you think we should accept your pronouncement that it is growing and succeeding at face value. And given that Israeli GDP and exports have both doubled during the BDS decade and that Israeli goods sell out immediately whenever a boycott is declared at a particular retailer, it seems likely that for every person like you who chooses to not buy Israeli products to make a political statement, there are many more people ready to do just the opposite.

    Seeing how empty your head is of knowledge and understanding about the issues you choose to speak about, I can understand why you want to fill this considerable void with fantasies of imminent victory coupled with groundless accusations. But given that your only data point is that you are not buying some matzoh in support of the Apartheid statelet of Gaza, it's not entirely clear why anyone should take either your perception of the world or moral preaching seriously (despite how seriously you clearly take yourself).

  24. BDS, as shown by the latest day o'rage against the Jewish state is nearly dead in the water. Across America, stores sold out of Israeli products. And the BDS'ers- looks like they had a flash mob. About 2 dozen of them.

    Go ahead, folks, shake yer booty. I'm going to sit down right about now with some delicious Israeli goat cheese, and dates, and I'm washing it down with a nice red wine from the Golan.

    You could join me, if you'd like.

  25. “For Americans to be persuaded [to support the Palestinian cause],” says Hany Khalil, organizing coordinator for United for Peace and Justice, a national antiwar organization that opposes the Israeli occupation, “we have to build support across all sectors of the United States, and that will never happen without a significant and visible split within the Jewish community.”

    Jewish Voice for Peace was invented to create the illusion of such a split in the Jewish community. They exaggerate their strength and their numbers (At a NYC meeting Rebecca Vilkomerson announced she had 100,000 people on her email list, of which 10 % actually contributed . Of those, she said there were a few dozen “activists” in NYC). Outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, where their numbers are suplemented by many non-Jews, support for JVP is extremely weak

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