I don’t know if the irony was intended. A few months ago, Roger Cohen wrote a column called Israel’s True Friends.

The photograph illustrating the column showed a demonstration of the group Jewish Voices for Peace. (JVP)

Jewish Voice for Peace

Last month, the watchdog group, NGO-Monitor released its latest report on the group.

NGO Monitor - Jewish Voice for Peace

The report, titled Driving a Wedge, is a comprehensive look at the organizations tactics. The source for the title is a statement made by the group’s executive director:

“I think part of our job as the Jewish wing of the [Palestinian solidarity] movement, is to facilitate conversations inside the Jewish community… So, I think it’s very important to think sort of how we plan a wedge… So, I think that the more and more we can sort of put that wedge in, saying the Jewish community’s not agreeing on these issues, the more we’ll make progress.”

Naturally JVP wasn’t very pleased with this report and responded.

What NGO Monitor portrays as an attempt to split the Jewish community is in fact an accurate reflection of the growing divide in the Jewish community about Israel’s ongoing occupation and unequal treatment of Palestinians.

This is a fascinating response. They don’t even address the statements their own leaders and activists made. They boasted that they were dividing the Jewish community. That wasn’t something that NGO-Monitor made up. But when the statements were brought to light, JVP pretended that they were never made.

Looking at JVP’s website this dishonesty is pretty pervasive.

In a convoluted response as to whether or not JVP believes in a one or two state solution, the organization recounts:

In 1974, under the leadership of Yasir Arafat, the PLO came up with its “Ten Point Plan”, which was the first time a two-state vision was articulated by any Arab national leader, let alone a Palestinian one. The provision did not envision a “two-state solution” per se. The PLO goal was explicitly stated as a secular, democratic state in all of historical Palestine. Nevertheless, the Ten Point Plan also provided that the PLO would accept sovereignty over any part of Palestine that could be “liberated”. This was the first time there was a significant Arab acceptance of any concept of a Palestinian state side by side with Israel, albeit without agreeing to Israel existing in peace with that Palestinian state.

Without any further research this is ludicrous. The word “liberated” simply meant that the PLO intended to establish sovereignty over any territory it could while intending to capture all of “historic Palestine.” There’s no implicit acceptance of coexistence. But here is the complete statement on which this “acceptance” was “implied”:

2. The Palestine Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated. This will require further changes being effected in the balance of power in favor of our people and their struggle.

It isn’t an implicit acceptance of co-existence; it is the PLO’s explicit declaration of war to achieve its goals. One need not be a right winger to understand this. JVP isn’t for peace; it is a self-described adjunct of the Palestinian solidarity movement. In other words its goal is the destruction of Israel.

JVP also supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. But BDS, too, is a campaign not devoted to coexistence but to ending the existence of Israel.

Tellingly when it tries to describe itself in terms of Zionism, it can’t.

Q: Are you Zionist, anti-Zionist, post-Zionist or something else?

A: JVP is an organization with a wide spectrum of ideological diversity. Our members hold a wide variety of views on many issues involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict. This diversity has been a great source of strength for JVP. The organization welcomes people from many different political points of view, asking only that they hold to our core principles.

At least here their evasion is semi-honest. They know that they are anti-Zionist organization and won’t say it outright, so they couch it in terms of “ideological diversity.”

JVP knows that hit has no real constituency in the Jewish community, but pretends to embrace Jewish values as a means to protest Israel’s legitimacy. David Bernstein mocked this mindset a few years ago:

“Hi Jewish community, we’re JVP. Some of us aren’t Jewish, and of the rest of us, many of us haven’t been affiliated in any way with the Jewish community in our adult lives. We want to boycott Israel, and welcome those who seek Israel’s destruction. Can we join the local Jewish Community association?”

In their own words JVP has no ideological connection to Judsism and has no real way of gaining traction in the wider Jewish community. Their sole identifying principle is they are opposed to Israel’s existence. (Maybe they’re careful to use the term “occupation,” but their affinity for those who are openly anti-Israel gives away the game.)

So with no option to build a base of support in the Jewish community for its, JVP is reduced to a “wedge” strategy to weaken the existing support for Israel in the Jewish community.


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