Since the call includes the long overdue support for the right of return for Palestinians, it will be interesting to see on the balance how many Jews are further attracted to JVP’s integrity and honesty not to look away from or deny the severity of “our” responsibility for the problem and the incumbent responsibility we must therefore take (irregardless of any wrongs committed by Palestinians), versus how many Jews decide to vilify, exclude and attack us.
I pray JVP grows, of course, for the sake of our people. I recently unearthed a copy of Rabbi Everett Gendler’s 1969 translation of Rabbi Aaron Samuel Tamaret’s scathing rebuke of “the Balfourists” written in 1930 entitled “Zionism, Judaism, and World Well-Being from a larger work entitled Sh’losha Zivugim Bilti Hagunim (“Three Unuitable Unions”). Whatever love I feel for Zion and the ideal of Zion, I increasingly lament and resent the hijacking of Judaism by Zionist idealogues and their followers.
I want to reconcile my love of family and friends with what I consider necessary intellectual honesty which dictates that I not exclude them from my upset. It’s hard, and I am not doing it very well, but then I think, “I’M NOT THE PROBLEM HERE!”
Enough emoting. Here is the JVP statement and background. JOIN US!
“The Only Recognizable Feature of Hope is Action ”*
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) endorses the call from Palestinian civil society for
Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as part of our work for freedom, justice
and equality for all people. We believe that the time-honored, non-violent tools
proposed by the BDS call provide powerful opportunities to make that vision real.
We join with communities of conscience around the world in supporting Palestinians,
who call for BDS until the Israeli government:
- Ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967and dismantles the Wall; recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-
- Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respects, protects and
- promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
In the long and varied history of Jewish experience, we are inspired by those who
have resisted injustice and fought for freedom. We strive to live up to those values
and extend that history. By endorsing the call, we make our hope real and our love
visible and we claim our own liberation as bound with the liberation of all.
JVP is committed to supporting and organizing all kinds of powerful and strategic
campaigns to secure a common future where Palestinians, Israeli Jews, and all the
people of Israel/Palestine may live with dignity, security, and peace.
*Quote by Jewish American author/activist Grace Paley
About JVP’s BDS Position
Jewish Voice for Peace is proud to be a part of the global, Palestinian-led
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to end Israeli human rights
As signatories to the BDS call, we will continue to focus on those BDS campaigns
we feel are most effective in building a broad-based movement for change. Our goal,
and the goal of the BDS movement, is ending Israel’s ongoing violations of the rights
of violations and setting the stage for a lasting and just peace for all peoples of
Why is JVP moving beyond Occupation-focused Boycott, Divestment, and
JVP has long participated in the global movement to hold Israel accountable through
nonviolent economic pressure, and we’ve done so by focusing on Occupation-
specific targets including corporations as well as academic and cultural institutions.
Today, the idea that there is a clear economic, political, or social separation between
“Israel” and “the occupation,” has been widely discredited. As the Israeli group Who
Profits? has described: “As we complete our mapping, one fact becomes very clear:
any clear-cut distinction between the Israeli economy as a whole and the economy
of the occupation can no longer be justified. The Green Line border [post-1967
border] has all but disappeared from the corporate activity map. Even if we only look
at the Israeli settlements, and then again only focus on settlement construction, we
will discover that the major players in the Israeli economy are deeply complicit. For
instance, our findings show that all major Israeli banks have funded and supervised
construction projects in the settlements.”
JVP is committed to supporting and organizing a full range of powerful and
strategic efforts to secure a common future where Palestinians, Israeli Jews,
and all the people of Israel/Palestine may live with dignity, security, and peace.
These include supporting nonviolent resistance inside Israel/Palestine; lobbying
Congress; transforming Jewish communal institutions; weakening Israel Lobby
gatekeepers; promoting cultural production; and supporting educational and BDS
BDS can work where “Peace Talks” and international bodies have failed.
Decades of US-backed so-called “peace talks” have led to further entrenchment of
the Israeli occupation, further isolation of the Palestinians of Gaza, escalating
support for racist rhetoric and anti-democratic laws within Israel, and the rapid
expropriation by settlers and the Israeli government of land reserved for a future
Having made countless concessions in peace talks with diminished returns,
Palestinians have gone to world legal bodies like the UN and the ICC to help
adjudicate, but at every turn both the United States and Israel have effectively
thwarted their efforts and international governments have all failed to bring the
region closer to peace.
Boycott, divestment campaigns and sanctions have been used by a wide
range of important social movements.
Boycott, divestment campaigns, and sanctions are tactics that have been used by
formerly vilified, but now celebrated, nonviolent activists and minority groups to
advance numerous social movements throughout history. These include the
Montgomery Bus Boycott, the anti-Apartheid Movement, the struggle for
farmworkers rights, and efforts to end the slave trade in the 18 th century in England.
They are tactics that allow individuals, religious and students groups, unions, and
others to press for change when governments fail to end human rights abuses.
BDS is a way to hold Israel accountable for its human rights abuses.
Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan
Heights; discrimination against Palestinian citizens inside of Israel; and decades of
ignoring Palestinian refugee rights is both unethical and unsustainable.
We believe it is firmly within the Jewish tradition to hold any government accountable
for violating the human rights of others—and that includes Israel. But the United
States has given Israel a free pass for decades, providing massive economic and
military aid, and unconditional diplomatic support, thus allowing Israel to take
Palestinian land and destroy Palestinian lives with impunity. It is in this context that
the BDS movement emerged.
We have responded to the BDS Call because Palestinian civil society has
asked the world for help.
In 2005, a diverse coalition of over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations—
including unions, academic institutions, political parties, cultural groups, and civil
society organizations—recognizing that governments had failed to end decades of
Israeli repression, called upon the international community to join in a global
economic BDS campaign.Thousands of groups around the world have responded to
the call, leading to a loose-knit global movement that looks entirely different in every
country and every locality.
The BDS movement is conditional and asks people to stop applying pressure
when Israel stops violating three fundamental Palestinian rights.
The Palestinian BDS call asks international civil society groups and individuals to
use boycott, divestment, and sanction tactics until Israel meets its obligations under
international law to:
- End the occupation and dismantle the Wall
- End discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel
- Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinians to return to their
Supporters of the call include those who support 1 state, 2 states, a confederation or
some other configuration— but we all agree Israel must recognize the fundamental
rights listed above.
BDS campaigns take many forms in order to address local contexts and
Groups around the world have organized street protests,
boardroom lobbying, shareholder actions, lawsuits, teach-ins, and other actions to
call attention to corporate and institutional complicity in occupation. Among others,
targets have included arms manufacturers, agricultural exporters, cosmetic
manufacturers, cultural groups, investment firms, and academic institutions. What
links these disparate campaigns is their common goal of ending complicity with
Israel’s occupation and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
BDS initiatives offer academics a way to oppose Israeli institutional complicity in the denial of Palestinian access to education
From checkpoints and the bombing of schools, to arbitrary travel restrictions and
segregation inside of Israel, human rights groups have documented numerous ways
that Israeli policies severely limit Palestinian access to education.
BDS initiatives give academics in particular a way to register their opposition to such practices by
targeting institutions that are complicit in Israel’s repression of Palestinian academic
freedom. These initiatives are not aimed at individual faculty, but rather institutions
funded by the Israeli government; or in rare cases, individuals who officially
represent those institutions.
BDS campaigns promote open and honest debate.
Time and time again, we’ve seen that BDS campaigns, whether on campuses or
churches, increase discussion and communication. They either bring an end to a
culture of silence, or replace a monologue focused largely on the Jewish Israeli
narrative, with a dialogue that fully includes a Palestinian perspective.
BDS campaigns offer unique coalition and community-building opportunities.
One of the BDS movement’s most striking features is the remarkable diversity of
coalitions of students, academics, religious leaders, human rights activists and
others who come together to support divestment and boycott initiatives. In
divestment hearings on campuses or in city governments, groups that represent
Jews, Palestinians, Muslims, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Persians, LGBTQ, Armenians,
labor, women, environmentalists and so forth testify on behalf of divestment, often in
marked contrast to relatively homogenous coalitions that oppose divestment.
Many Jews support the BDS movement.
As Jews who believe in the Jewish tradition of social justice, and in whose name
Israel claims to act, we feel particularly accountable to respond to Palestinian civil
society’s call. We join with Jews inside of Israel and around the world who feel
similarly, and who recognize that Jews have an important role to play in calling out
the cheapening of the charge of anti-Semitism by those who wish to silence human
We also feel that BDS can be good for Jewish Israelis. Much like the US based civil
rights movement or the anti-apartheid movement, BDS can positively transform
Israel/Palestine, help put an end to decades of human rights abuses, counter the
rising racist and anti-democratic atmosphere inside of Israel, and lay the foundation
for a just and lasting peace.
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