The so-called Anti-Defamation League has transformed itself in recent years into the Defamation League, dedicated above all to smearing critics of Israeli government actions against Palestinians and otherwise attacking Arabs and Muslims. A few months ago they denounced the building of the Islamic Cultural Center two block from 9/11 Ground Zero. Now they’ve struck again with their list of The Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in America. True to form, they list describes critical of Israeli government actions as anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic. Included on the Defamation League’s latest list is Jewish Voice for Peace, because being for a just peace makes you antisemitic in the Defamation League’s propagandist view of the world.
Here is what the Defamation League says about JVP:
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP): A central feature of the American anti-Israel movement has long been the role of Jewish anti-Zionist individuals and groups. Among them, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is the most active and influential, with at least eleven chapters around the U.S. JVP, founded in Berkeley, California, in 1996, calls for an end to U.S. aid to Israel, accuses Israel of “apartheid” policies, and supports divestment campaigns against Israel. Like other Jewish anti-Zionist groups, JVP uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide a greater degree of credibility to the anti-Israel movement. JVP recognizes its role as such, specifically noting that the group’s Jewish nature gives it a “particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies” and the ability to distinguish “between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue.” JVP activists regularly attend anti-Israel events wearing t-shirts and holding signs proudly broadcasting their Jewish identity. In March-April 2010, leaders of JVP unsuccessfully lobbied for the passage of a divestment resolution at the University of California, Berkeley, targeting companies that do business with Israel. Sydney Levy, the Director of Campaigns for JVP, wrote a letter on behalf of the group to the Student Senate and described the bill as an “inspiration” and “in line with JVP’s current campaigns to support divestment.” Members of JVP, in a further show of support, attended the student senate meeting where the resolution was being considered.For more information, see ADL’s report here:
Here is a JVP response to the Defamation League:
Jewish Voice for Peace statement on making it on the Anti-Defamation League’s list of top ten “anti-Israel” groups
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is at it again. They just came up with a list of the top ten most influential anti-Israel Groups in America, and Jewish Voice for Peace makes the list. We appreciate the honor, except that the ADL–as usual–got a few things wrong in describing us.
TOP 5 THINGS ABOUT JVP THE ADL GOT FLATLY WRONG
(1) JVP IS NEITHER ANTI-ISRAEL NOR ANTI-ZIONIST.
We do not hold Zionism as a litmus test for membership. Some of our members are Zionists, some are anti-Zionists, and some are non-Zionists. We believe you can define yourself in any of these ways as long as you support an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank — including East Jerusalem — and Gaza, and you advocate for human rights, which naturally apply equally to Israelis and Palestinians.
We stand by Israelis that hold these views, such as Israeli conscientious objectors and Israeli actors refusing to play in illegal settlements in the West Bank.
We stand by Palestinians that hold these views, such as Palestinian activists protesting the Israeli confiscation of land in the West Bank town of Bil’in.
We stand by internationals that hold these views, such as students pressing for divestment from occupation and war crimes or activists trying to break the siege of Gaza.
What unites us is our belief in human rights and equality.
(2) WE DO NOT ‘USE’ OUR JEWISH IDENTITY TO PROTECT ANTI-SEMITES.
We are Jews and allies who strongly oppose anti-Jewish hatred, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab racism.
We do understand that as Jews we have a special role to play in bringing about a change in American and Israeli policy. Israel claims to be acting in the name of the Jewish people. Some American Jewish organizations defend Israel right or wrong, claiming to be representing all American Jews. It is up to us to set the record straight.
We strongly reject the misleading accusations of anti-Semitism that the ADL and others have used in other to protect Israel’s policies. For example, when the ADL accuses Archbishop Desmond Tutu of anti-Semitism, it is not only wrong, but it also makes all Jews less safe when facing a real case of anti-Jewish hatred.
(3) ACKNOWLEDGING THE NAKBA IS NOT OPPOSING ISRAEL’S EXISTENCE.
Would the ADL call those that acknowledge the genocide of Native-Americans in this land anti-American?
We believe that in order to reach a just and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the Nakba must be addressed. Without acknowledging the events of 1947-9, there will be no truth and reconciliation. JVP adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country.” Israelis should acknowledge the Palestinian refugees’ right of return and negotiate a mutually agreed just solution based on principles established in international law, including return, compensation, and/or resettlement.
We acknowledge our own legacy of suffering and the horrors of the Holocaust, but we do not allow these to blind us to the suffering of others. Quite the opposite, we have learned from our own history and from our own tradition not to stand silent when others are suffering. The ADL, on the other hand, fights Holocaust-deniers and denies full recognition of the Armenian genocide at the same time.
(4) THE ADL IMPOSES ON PALESTINIANS A BURDEN IT DOES NOT IMPOSE ON ITSELF.
Jews in America constitute fewer than 2% of the population. We would be rightfully upset if we had to recognize the United States as a “Christian state.” And yet, he ADL expects Palestinians — 20% of Israel’s population — to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” The ADL apparently has learned little from Hillel: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”
(5) STARVING PALESTINIANS IS NOT OUR JUDAISM.
The ADL protests the fact that JVP members hold signs stating “Starving Palestinians Is Not My Judaism.” This one they got right, and they have the picture to prove it. Our question to the ADL is: what is your Judaism?
Want to read more? Check out what Salon has to say: Anti-Defamation League beclowns itself, again and the Bay Area Jewish paper Jweekly. See also our own Cecilie Surasky on Muzzlewatch and Meretz USA’s Foxman vs Peace Groups
How about responding to the Defamation League by making a contribution to Jewish Voice for Peace. It is time that all decent people condemn the Defamation League, aka. ADL, for the disgusting hate group that it is.
October 22nd, 2010