At about 8:15 PM on Friday, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to divest its holdings from Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlitt Packard, due to these companies’ dealings with Israel. Instrumental in securing the votes was the group that goes by the name “Jewish Voice for Peace,” and certain members of its “Rabbinical Council.”
Within hours, the Presbyterian vote had been condemned by the ADL, the AJC, and of course the Israel Mission to the US. Presumably once Shabbat is over in the US more condemnations will follow. It is widely understood in the US Jewish community that Jewish Voice for Peace, which lobbied so actively on this issue, is neither Jewish, nor for Peace.
JVP works closely with the movement to “Boycott, Divest, and Sanction” Israel. Alan Dershowitz has explained very well why this movement, to use his words, “is immoral and hinders peace.” The movement refuses to acknowledge the historical reality that Israel has attempted to end the so-called “occupation” on multiple occasions, and that those attempts have been thwarted by the Palestinian leadership. Its leadership has also made plain that its ultimate goal is not a two state solution, but an end to the Jewish state. JVP, therefore, works closely with enemies of the Jewish people, with the goal of hurting the Jewish people and destroying the Jewish state. Indeed, JVP worked with Electronic Intifada editor Ali Abuminah for this Presbyterian Church vote.
— Aaron Lerner (@AaDLerner) June 21, 2014
And any pretense that the Presbyterian Divestment vote was not part of the broader BDS movement is dispelled here. Presbyterians, however, unwittingly allowed themselves to believe that JVP was a voice from within the Jewish Community, and that therefore the actions that they took were neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semitic. Twitter accounts of what took place show that statements such as “there are many Jews in support of divestment” were made during discussion of the vote.
The fact that members of JVP are allowed to use the title of “Rabbi” surely helped to perpetuate this myth.
American Jews who take issue with Israel’s current government have ample opportunity to support groups within Israel with whom they do agree. Israel has an active peace movement, and both Shalom Achshav and B’tselem are beneficiaries of American Jewish donations (Shalom Achshav through Americans for Peace Now, and B’tselem though New Israel Fund). Engaging in the argument within the state of Israel itself is acceptable, even desirable, behavior. Working with the BDS movement, however, to convince American non-Jews to assist BDS in its stated goal of destroying the Jewish state, is tantamount to treason against the Jewish people.
Individuals who work with enemies of the Jewish people to destroy the Jewish state should not be permitted to cloak themselves with the title of Rabbi. The organizations who granted ordination to the individuals, listed here, who now claim to represent Jews in the fight the end Israel’s existence, should revoke those ordinations. Doing so would take one weapon out of the arsenal that is being used by those who want to destroy Israel.