Why ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ is anti-Jewish

It is clear from the statement and video (link below) that “Jewish Voice for Peace” (JVP) is an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel group that distorts Israel’s history to justify its antipathy to Zionism and Israel, attacks Israel’s mission as a Jewish and democratic state, and chooses facts selectively while providing no historical or political context to its assertions.

Israel is not a perfect society. It is flawed as is every democracy in the world. Israeli soldiers no doubt have committed human rights violations against the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem just as Palestinians have terrorized innocent Israelis, harmed and maimed them.

This JVP statement and video show specific bias against Israel because they ignore multiple good faith Israeli efforts to achieve peace with the Palestinians, ignore Palestinian rejection of the right of the Jewish people to Israel as a national home, and gloss over terrorism’s negative impact on Israelis and Israeli society.

The JVP statement and video cast Israel in the worst possible light while not criticizing the Palestinians in any substantive way, and they construct an architecture of mischaracterizations that denies Israel’s and the Jewish people’s right of self-definition, legitimacy, and existence as an independent nation.

Reading the JVP statement and watching the video is particularly disheartening to me as a progressive Zionist. I am one who believes that to be pro-Israel is to be also pro-Palestinian because without a two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Israel will lose either its Jewish character or democratic traditions and the Palestinians will be denied their legitimate right of national self-determination.

Israeli compassion for the Palestinian plight is a necessity for the health and well-being of the Jewish people just as compassion for Jews and Israelis is a necessity for the health and well-being of the Palestinian people.

The fact is that our two peoples both claim the same land as their national homes. JVP justifies only the legitimacy of Palestinian Arabs and dismisses the legitimate rights of the Jewish people altogether.

JVP’s criticism of Israel is flawed by its gross insensitivity to the historic, cultural, national, and religious experience of the Jewish people. It shows no appreciation for Israel as a refuge for Jews or for the Jewish state as a cultural and religious center of world Jewry. It treats cavalierly Israel’s security needs. It seems to deem irrelevant that the existence of the Jewish state provides the Jewish people with an historic opportunity to test Judaism’s ethical tradition in the context of Jewish sovereignty. And it dismisses the creation and development of the Jewish state as the greatest accomplishment of the Jewish people in 2000 years.

JVP is not only anti-Zionist and anti-Israel, but because it denies the right of the Jewish people to a state of our own, it qualifies as anti-Jewish.

The name “Jewish Voice for Peace” is a misnomer. Because it advocates an end of the State of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, it is a call to war.

See – https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/zionism/

About the Author
A native of Los Angeles, Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed the position of Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in 1988 and will become Emeritus Rabbi in July, 2019. Before coming to Temple Israel he served large congregations in San Francisco (1979-86) and Washington, D.C. (1986-88). He is the immediate past National Chair of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) and served on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), the Vaad HaPoel of the World Zionist Organization, and the Executive Committee of ARZENU (the International Reform Zionist movement). He is a national co-Chair of the Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet of J Street. John is the author of "Why Judaism Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove" (Nashville: Jewish Lights, 2017) and his forth-coming book "Why Israel and its Future Matter - Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation" (Ben Yehuda Press, New Jersey. Spring 2020). John is married to Barbara and is the father of two sons and the grandfather of one.