The Internet (or, at least the 4/1,000,000,000th of it controlled by the self-proclaimed “Jewish Voice for Peace”) is in a tizzy over the latest slight to their Dear Leader.
Backstory: The Jewish Federations of North America recently began an online project called Jewish Community Heroes.While I was only aware of it in the context of general improvement in the Web 2.0 campaigning I’ve seen within the Jewish community lately (the subject of an upcoming posting), apparently this month+ long campaign lets people nominate “heroes” in their community (both professional and voluntary) and lets other people vote on each nominee with a panel of judges making the final choices of Heroes who will receive cash prizes.
To most of us, this campaign seems a nice way to celebrate both the values of the community and people who share those values.For Jewish Voice for Peace, however, the “open” part of a Web 2.0 campaign means just one thing: an opening.
You see, Jewish Voice for Peace (or JVP – an organization we have seen before) is committed first and foremost to being the Jewish face of the BDS movement.The trouble is, the Jewish Community (notably the Jewish Federations), in addition to running the Heroes campaign, have unanimously decided that BDS advocates are one of the few groups of people who have placed themselves outside of the “big tent.”
Now to most of us, the obvious answer is for JVP to continue to feel free to do what it wants (including advocating for BDS, for a cutoff of US aid to Israel, for interrupting Israelis at speaking events, and other things the wider community finds noxious) with an understand that in doing so they represent themselves and not the Jewish community as a whole.Ah, but you see JVP desperately wants to claim they represent more than a small minority.And thus they endlessly rail against Jewish organizations which they claim conspire to exclude them.
And so, when the Heroes campaign based on assumptions of good will among participants opened, someone threw the hat of Cecile Surasky, the West Coast leader of JVP, into the ring.And since online politics is one of the few areas where Israel’s foes do better work than its friends (another angle on that aforementioned upcoming posting), ballot stuffing was inevitable and up shot Surasky in the polls.
Once the inclusion of someone whose every waking moment is spent campaigning for everything the Federation (sponsor of the contest) is against became known, Surasky nomination (and associated Web entry) was pulled.This led to inevitable screams of censorship and repression, highlighting the “irony” of the Fed taking this action on Yom Kippur (implying that this was yet another sin against JVP that the community had to atone for).
Now I tried to express my sympathies with Cecile on the Muzzlewatch page where her complaint was aired.But then I remembered they shut down their comments section years ago once critics started asking too many questions that Cecile and her JVP friends couldn’t answer.
Then I thought about joining JVP in order to express my concerns as a member (worth it, I thought, even though their $60 membership fee represents three months of my allowance).But, unfortunately, in addition to that fee new members are asked to sign a loyalty oath declaring their adherence to JVP principles (including support of BDS).And while it may be fun to fantasize about joining their organization and then do my own thing while pretending to speak in their name (i.e., serving up a little sauce for the gander), my respect for other people’s civic space prevents me from going this far in the real world.
Unfortunately, this type of respect for others is not shared by Surasky and friends who continue to demand access to other people’s organizations and platforms while greedily protecting their own civic spaces at all costs.Which is why I’d like to announce my own contest that anyone (including members of JVP) are free to join.
Announcing the first annual Divest This BDS Bozos ™ competition, a month long quest to find the most ridiculous, hypocritical and/or downright clownish BDS campaign and/or campaigner on the planet. I’ll assume Cecile wants in, and I’m even happy to use the profile provided in her Heroes campaign (with suitable clarifications) as a first nominee.Anyone else interested in submitting your own BDS Bozo can send it to me at divestthis[at]aol[dot]com or post your nominee in the comments section.First prize will be a donation to the Jewish National Fund in the name of the winner.