While Elder of Ziyon beat me to this particular gag, I realized that the whole Open Hillel tactic provided me the means to accomplish something I’ve been tempted to do for a while: continue my anti-BDS work as a member of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
When I originally looked into what this might involve, I ran into the fact that JVP requires anyone joining their organization to sign a loyalty oath that commits them to supporting the organization’s pro-BDS agenda. And since it would be dishonorable to sign up as a member with the specific intention of subverting their mission (even if such a move would reflect the true values of JVP), I decided to simply invest the $60 I would have spent on JVP membership dues into the sole proprietorship that is Divest This!.
But then the Open Hillel program, supported by Jewish Voice for Peace, demonstrated that an organization’s mission should in no way prevent those who oppose that mission from joining and doing whatever they like once inside the tent. So, in the spirit of openness, justice, fairness, inclusiveness, dialog and all kinds of other words with positive connotation, I present a humble petition in support of an Open JVP:
Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization claiming to speak on behalf of Jews interested in a just peace in the Middle East, has chapters and affiliates across the US. Jewish Voice for Peace currently publishes its “JVP Mission Statement,” with a more detailed version appearing as part of their member registration form – a form which asks anyone interested in joining the organization to commit to “work in agreement with our [JVP’s] mission and guidelines.”
Included in these mission guidelines is support of international efforts to target Israel with Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns. Specifically, joining the organization requires members to adhere to a mission statement which includes the following: “JVP rejects the assertion that BDS is inherently anti-semitic, and we encourage discussion both within our own community and outside of it of the growing BDS movement. JVP defends activists’ right to use the full range of BDS tactics without being persecuted or demonized…”
These guidelines are counterproductive to creating real conversation about BDS among JVP members, and prevents JVP chapters from exploring a full range of options, including supporting efforts to defeat BDS on college campuses and elsewhere, exposing the hypocrisy of the BDS movement and those that support it, discussing the possibility that BDS campaigns might actually be anti-Semitic and bigoted, highlighting the “movement’s” many frauds and failures, and producing parodies and funny songs about Omar Barghouti.
Requiring support of the BDS agenda for membership in JVP excludes the voices of those Jews dedicated to peace who have honest disagreements on how this peace can be achieved, shutting down open discourse on Israel and the Middle East. For example, these rules prevent sites like Divest This! (which is dedicated to defeating the BDS movement) from doing so as a member Jewish Voice for Peace, or from forming coalitions with other anti-BDS individuals and organizations as a representative of JVP.
As members of the Jewish community dedicated to a just peace we believe that Jewish Voice for Peace acknowledge and engage with a full spectrum of political views on the BDS movement. We see cooperation with anti-BDS groups on and off campus as an essential step towards peace and understanding. Furthermore, if Jewish Voice for Peace truly wants to be an organization dedicated to “Israelis and Palestinians: Two People’s One Future,” it cannot exclude Jewish groups simply for their political beliefs.
Therefore, we ask Jewish Voice for Peace to remove its guidelines for support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions “movement”, which currently exclude groups and individuals with particular political views from participating in the organization, and to make support for all other items on the organization’s mission statement optional.
Sign the Petition for an Open Jewish Voice for Peace!Read the petition