June JVP-in-the-News

JVP National:

The Guardian: Sheldon Adelson looks to stamp out growing US movement to boycott Israel (June 5, 2015)

Jewish Voice for Peace, a US group which supports sanctions, condemned the legislation for “encouraging illegal settlement building while strengthening the far right in Israel.”

The Jewish Daily Forward: Secret Sheldon Adelson Summit Raises up to $50 Million for Strident Anti-BDS Push (June 9, 2015)

“Advocates of BDS, meanwhile, point out that many among their number, including the group Jewish Voice for Peace, are themselves Jewish. Activists for Students for Justice in Palestine, another key American advocate of BDS on campus, report that Jews make up the second largest ethnic group in its ranks.”

The Jewish Daily Forward: Could California Ban Anti-Israel Campus Protests as Anti-Semitic? (June 10, 2015)

Jewish Voice for Peace, a pro-BDS Jewish organization, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry; his envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, Ira Forman, and to Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein, asking the department to revise its definition of anti-Semitism “to reflect its commitment to opposing hate and discrimination without curtailing constitutionally protected freedom of speech.”

The Jewish Daily Forward: Zionist Students Don’t Need Safe Spaces (June 10, 2015)

“If anything, the entire mainstream Jewish community is already a “safe space” for Zionist students. Many consider even J Street out of line — and never mind Jewish Voice for Peace.” 

International Business TimesIsrael boycott sanctions and divestment campaigns stir up US colleges in ‘turning point’ year (June 11, 2015)

“‘This was a turning point year,’ Jewish Voice for Peace spokeswoman Naomi Dann told IBTimes UK. She attributes the West Coast success of the resolutions to activist, progressive California campuses and the disturbingly large Palestinian civilian death toll in last summer’s Israel-Gaza conflict.”

The Jewish Daily Forward: Is Bernie Sanders a Lefty on Everything Except for Israel? (June 16, 2015)

“We’re encouraged by some of what he said during the [2014 Gaza] war,” said Rabbi Joseph Berman, government affairs liaison for Jewish Voice for Peace. “We hope that his work for justice, and bravery to speak out on other issues, will be increasingly reflected in how he speaks about Israel and Palestine.”

Electronic Intifada: Will US Churches Help Bring Down Israel’s Prison Walls? (June 18, 2015)

“When we were in Detroit last year, we were saying to the Presbyterians that whatever decision they were going to take — for or against divestment — they are going to have a number of Jews upset at them, because Jews are divided on this issue,” Sydney Levy, Jewish Voice for Peace’s advocacy director, told The Electronic Intifada. “Their job is not to please the Jews. Their job is to follow their conscience and do so based on principle.”

Jewish Telegraph Agency: 19 Dems urge Kerry to make detained Palestinian children a priority (June 23, 2015)

“Amnesty International, Defense for Children International-Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace and two Quaker organizations, the American Friends Service Committee and the Friends Committee on National Legislation, advocated in support of the congressional letter.”

Also covered in Mondoweiss

In These Times: Three U.S. Churches Are Now Debating Divestment From Companies Invested in the Israeli Occupation (June 24, 2015)

“We know that the peace process has not been working,” said Sydney Levy, advocacy director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). “We know that the Netanyahu government is not interested in a two-state solution. So the question is, under those circumstances, what can you do?”

Truth-Out: Interfaith Collaboration Drives Movement to Divest From the Israeli Occupation (June 25, 2015)

Jewish Voice for Peace has grown to more than 60 chapters over the past year as the only nationwide Jewish group supporting BDS.”

+972 Magazine: Church-based BDS does not unfairly ‘single out’ Israel (June 27, 2015)

“…Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which has grown to more than 60 chapters over the past year as one of the few Jewish groups defending BDS activists from charges of anti-Semitism. “Growth in JVP is a reflection of the failure of other Jewish institutions in the United States,” says Sydney Levy, JVP’s advocacy director. These institutions are “trying to sweep what is happening in Israel under the rug, trying to explain it—as if it’s explainable.” “It’s not working anymore,” Levy states. “So you have more and more Jews who are looking for answers.”

Haaretz: United Church of Christ votes to divest from companies with ties to Israeli settlements (June 30, 2015)

“Jewish Voice for Peace expressed their support for the vote, with board member Lev Hirschhorn praising the church for “a courageous step” that “put their words into action. We’re on the precipice of a new political moment. Progressives are speaking up, and it’s only a matter of time until Israel is held accountable for its human rights abuses,” Hirschhorn said.”

The Huffington Post: United Church Of Christ Takes A Stand On Israeli-Palestinian Conflict With Divestment Vote (June 30, 2015)

“Major Jewish organizations, such as the Union for Reform Judaism, have strongly opposed divestment, while smaller groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace have praised the decision made by the UCC and others, as a number of American churches have taken the action.”

The New York Times: United Church of Christ Approves Divestment to Aid Palestinians (June 30, 2015)

“Representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace, an advocacy group based in Oakland, Calif. that has endorsed the B.D.S. movement, attended the United Church of Christ meeting as observers. They said they welcomed the boycott resolution and described it as a reflection of growing impatience with what they called Israel’s intransigence. “Progressives are speaking up, and it’s only a matter of time until Israel is held accountable for its human rights abuses and violations of international law,” Lev Hirschhorn, a board member, said in a statementon the group’s website.”

Associated Press: UCC church to divest over Israeli treatment of Palestinians (June 30, 2015)

“We’re on the precipice of a new political moment,” said Lev Hirschhorn, a board member of Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the BDS movement.

Religion News Service: United Church of Christ votes to divest from Israeli companies in occupied territories (June 30, 2015)

“Though one Jewish group, Jewish Voices for Peace, has actively promoted divestment resolutions under consideration by Protestant denominations this summer, mainstream Jewish groups overwhelmingly blast the strategy as one-sided and oblivious to Palestinians’ willingness to resort to terrorism.”

The Chicago Monitor: Angela Davis and Rasmea Odeh: Sisters in a Growing Solidarity Movement (June 30, 2015)

“As Davis explained…In her view, the prosecution of Odeh is part of an attack on the “ever expanding movement for justice in Palestine. The growth of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.”

Common Dreams: As Powers Inch Closer to Nuclear Deal, Groups Call for Diplomacy, Not War (June 30, 2015)

“Signed by numerous groups—including U.S. Labor Against the War, American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace, and National Iranian American Council—the letter continues: “The American public overwhelmingly supports a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff with Iran and does not want another war.'”

JVP Members in the Media: 

The Hill: Sheldon Adelson’s Mistake (June 9, 2015)

Op-ed by JVP executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson. 

The Washington Post: Boycotting Israel is not Anti-Semitism (June 15, 2015)

Letter the the editor by JVP DC-Metro member Bill Simonds. 

In These Times: In Max Blumenthal’s ‘The 51 Day War,’ Life in Gaza Looks Bleak, But Resistance is Growing (June 15, 2015)

Book review by JVP Campus Coordinator Ben Lorber. 

Mondoweiss: Ending Memoricide–the Nakba Museum Project (June 18, 2015)

Article by JVP Boston member Alice Rothchild.

The Jewish Journal of Greater LA: The University of California Should Stand for Free Speech (June 24, 2015)

Op-ed by JVP Academic Advisory Council organizer Tallie Ben Daniel. 

Foreign Policy in Focus: Lawmakers Are Using Trade Rules to Blacklist Critics of Israel (June 24, 2015)

Article by JVP Milwaukee member Rachel Ida Buff. Reprinted in Truth-Out

Al Jazeera America: Is BDS the only Pro-Israel option left? (June 25, 2015)

Op-ed by JVP Academic Advisory Council member Mark LeVine. 

+972 Magazine: Interview: Church-based BDS and the Jewish voices beside it (June 30, 2015)

Interview with JVP advocacy director Sydney Levy. 

Jewish Journal of Greater LARedefining Anti-Semitism Suppresses Criticism (June 30, 2015)

Letter to the editor by JVP member Noam Perry. 

The Columbus Dispatch: Controversial Speaker Offers Statement of Hope at Bexley Conference on Israel-Palestine conflict (June 11, 2015)


The Sacramento Bee: Anti-Semitism Resolution Stirs Dissent (June 22, 2015)


the Wire

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