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Sign the Petition for an Open Jewish Voice for Peace!

8 Apr

Jewish-Voice-for-Peace-Divest-This-Logo

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:

Background

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.

Petition

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!

Background

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 to 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.

Petition

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.

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Ballad of the BDSbyterians

26 Mar

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014

bearing-witness-logo

Sorry for the delay, for those of you who can’t get enough of manic song lyrics regarding obscure situations.  (Actually, it took some time to tone down what I started to write.)

Anyway, in the spirit of the new BDSbyterian label I mentioned last time, I present a humble little ballad, sung to the tune (for the most part) of Modern Major General from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance.

The Ballad of the BDSbyterians

I am the very model of a BDSbyterian
I’m open to all points of view (especially if they’re Syrian)
Don’t bother me if you’re a Kurd, Tibetan or Nigerian
I am the very model of a BDSbyterian
 
Don’t talk to him if you’re a Kurd, Tibetan or Nigerian
Because he is the model of a BDSbyterian
 
I’m also well acquainted too with Judith Buter’s fond advice,
I understand facts fed to me by Hezbollah and Mondoweiss
I’ll happily toe Barghouti’s line regarding stocks the Church should ban
Because I am the model of a BDSbyterian
 
He’ll do whatever Omar says, yet claim to be a thinking man
That shows he is the model of a BDSbyterian
 
I also am the model of a terrorist apologist
My power for projecting guilt would stun a trained psychologist
How could this be? I do not know!  Go ask an anthropologist
I am the very model of a terrorist apologist
 
How could he warp his conscience so?  Go ask a trained psychologist
I guess it’s cause he’s made himself a terrorist apologist
 
I wipe my mind of what they do to Jew or homosexual
By leveraging the force of all my powers intellectual
Hamas missiles bore me so, I’ve not regard for where they land
Because I am the model of a BDSbyterian
 
Once rockets launch he has no care for whom they hit or where they land
Because he is the model of a BDSbyterian
 
One last point which proves that I’m a BDSbyterian
The Church must do my bidding or I’ll simply make them vote again
Divestment voted down five times is just a speedbump to my plan
And that’s why I’m the model of a BDSbyterian
 
He’ll make them vote a hundred times, or more because he know he can
And that’s why he’s the model of a BDSbyterian
 
My self-regard is buttressed by inflated moral vanity
My ego soaring while ignoring crimes against humanity
So IPMN writes pamphlets that are high-fived by the Ku Klux Klan
That’s not my problem cause I’m just a BDSbyterian
 
So what if David Duke is now his own committee’s biggest fan?
He doesn’t care because he is a BDSbyterian
 

Max Brenner – Supremely Epic BDS Fail

15 Feb

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series More Silliness

Hey guys.  I’m thinking of auditioning for The Onion.  What do you think?

A group from Northeastern University’s Self-Righteous Asshole community made their presence known last night as they marched in front of Max Brenner’s restaurant and chocolate shop in downtown Boston for close to two hours, demanding that people not buy chocolate on Valentine’s Day in protest of something or other.

“We came to make a statement,” said Joshua Amarilla, a student from Stoughton, MA currently studying comparative literature and a leading member of the Self-Righteous Asshole organization at Northeastern.  “This chocolate shop is involved with evil, EVIL I tell you.  And if you look through this seven page flowchart I printed up, you’ll understand why buying cocoa here contributes to repression, Apartheid and other acts of evilness.”

“This protest has our full support,” says Anna Federman, a long-time leader in the wider Boston-based Self-Righteous Asshole community.  “For, as a Jew, I want to loudly condemn all other Jews – including Jewish chocolatiers – who don’t do what we say, and don’t immediately acknowledge that we are both right about all things and morally superior to them in every way.”

“Oh, and did I mention I’m Jewish?” Federman continued.

When asked why the event turned out just 15 people, Amarilla responded angrily.  “Hey, we had 80 people say they’d show up on our Facebook page, so that should count for something” he bellowed.  “After all, 80 is a lot higher than 15!”

The protest did not proceed without incident.  “At least one patron at Max Brenner’s actively tried to muzzle my freedom of speech by telling me to ‘fuck off’ when I handed him some of the literature I spent all night Photoshopping,” said Thomas Herman, a visiting Self-Righteous Asshole from Tufts.  (Waiting times to get into the Max Brenner’s grew to an hour during the period the protesters were insisting a boycott was the patrons’ only moral choice.)

The patron involved with the incident, Anthony Capone (a part-time physical therapist from Somerville) had this to say about what occurred: “After six weeks of effort, I finally got the girl from the office next door (26 year old Alison McNeeley, also from Somerville) to go out with me – on Valentine’s Day as luck would have it.  And just when I was about to make my move, this douchebag stuffs a leaflet into my hand and starts talking about Apartheid.  Honestly, he’s lucky I didn’t smack him across the street.”

“Whether we had 15 people protesting or 50 or 500 doesn’t matter,” responded Amarilla to continued questioning of why their weeks-long call to action ended in a protest barely noticed by the passers-by (much less the hundreds of people inside Max Brenner’s).  “After all, the point is to get people talking about issues that matter to us, specifically about how cool and edgy we are.”

And as it turned out, the event did generate more than twenty tweets during the 12 hours since the protest began, at least four of which were not written by the protestor’s themselves.  Typical of the level of conversation the protest triggered was this one in which a local Bostonian, responding to another tweet that Brenner’s was being picketed, asked: “Gosh, is the food really that bad?”

Apparently not since, in a related story, Max Brenner’s in Boston reports that yesterday was the most successful day in its two-year history and may represent the highest level of Valentine’s Day sales at any Max Brenner’s in the world.

Among the customers who flooded the shop during the course of the day were many Northeastern students who were not available for comment due to the fact that they were all sleeping off a chocolate high.

Members of Northeastern’s Self-Righteous Asshole community were also not available for a follow up interview, having chosen to celebrate their “victory” by locking themselves in their rooms.

Sweet and Sour: BDS Visits Max Brenner

13 Feb

It’s not often the forces of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) decide to put their sour souls on display on the sweetest day of the year.

Apparently, someone got it into their head that it would be a brilliant idea to picket Boston’s Max Brenner restaurant and gourmet chocolate shop on Valentine’s Day (i.e., tomorrow) at just the hour when the place will be packed with forgetful husbands and boyfriends trying to head off conflicts far more terrifying than anything the Middle East has to offer.

But a picket of Max Brenner (something local BDSers imported from a failed similar effort in Australia) does accomplish the boycotters single most important goal: showing their Facebook friends that they can act naughty in public.

While I don’t expect hundreds of people to show up at Max Brenner’s in the next 36 hours to buy them out and hold a chocolate party on Boylston Street (similar to the wine bash that began the Buycott movement in 2009), it would certainly be nice if anyone in, near or planning to be around Boston today or tomorrow stop by 745 Boylston Street (across from the Prudential) and show Max Brenner some love.

I’m happy to get things started:

Max-Brenner-Customer

Send me your pix if you’re able to make a purchase.  I recommend the chocolate covered nuts (far preferable to the non-chocolate covered ones that will be chanting incoherently outside tomorrow night).

 

The Peoples Poet

5 Nov

They can try to hoodwink the public with press releases declaring their latest fake victory. They can interrupt ballet performances by shouting and blowing bullhorns (and turn the entire audience into Zionists in the process). They can even show up in the comments section of this blog demanding answers to irrelevant questions and never respond when we answer their challenges by smashing their points to bits. But when they start messing with the brand, in the words of my favorite never-say die hero: this means war.

I’m talking, of course, of that maybe-one-day-to-be-slightly-famous poet Remi Kanazi whose latest masterpiece – are you ready for this – is called “Normalize This!” (Gee, I wonder where he got that name from?!)

During the three-minutes and twenty-six seconds needed to complete recitation of this work of (yet more) impenetrable outrage, poet Kanazi somehow manages to pack every cliché that’s ever been written on any anti-Israel web tract, pamphlet, hand-scrawled poster, website, Facebook posting, and Tweet, into a presentation that has more in common with rap video than Emily Dickenson.

During the course of his presentation, artist Kanazi manages to switch t-shirts a half a dozen times, no mean feat for a man allegedly living on the Prison Planet of Palestine. Oh, but wait. It turns out this champion for the underdwellers of the new Warsaw Ghetto of Gaza hails from New York City, which probably makes it easier for him to catch a plane to his various tour dates where he can put on his angry young Palestinian minstrel show before stunned audiences of the like minded.

As I’ve mentioned before, I begrudge no one who has been able to carve out a decent living from the whole anti-Israeli propaganda cornucopia (Lord knows I’ve never been able to pull such a feat off from the other side of the political divide). And while it doesn’t look like Kanazi is doing quite as well as Omar Barghouti (who plays his politics and sells his wares while under the protective umbrella of the Zionists he condemns), Kanazi seems to be making a pretty good run of things.

The only trouble is that – outside of those whose every waking moment is taken up despising the Jewish state – Kanazi’s act is nothing more than a resurrection of the old “People’s Poet” routines we saw 40-50 years ago featuring uncompromising and furious members of some ethnic group who would parade before mostly white audiences declaring their uncompromising fury. The fact that this latest version of the brand looks ready to throw anyone who disagrees with him into a neck-breaking headlock probably only increases the erotic thrill of spending $35 to hear him sneer at and condemn audience members for living in a house half as nice as the one he grew up in.

Unfortunately, this act is so old that parodies of it are at least the same age as the artist himself. And so I leave you with the final word on the subject, the Young One’s 1982 take on “The People’s Poet”:

JVP Hagaddah – Oy!

13 Apr

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series More Silliness

Well it took some doing, but my faithful team of dumpster divers managed to unearth an early draft of Jewish Voice for Peace’s most-remarkable Hagaddah.

It’s clearly a markup version, but it provides keen insight into the true soul of BDS.

Enjoy!