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.

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About the Author
John L. Rosove is Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles. He is a national co-Chair of the Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet of J Street and immediate past National Chairman of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA). He serves as a member of the newly created Union for Reform Judaism's Israel and Reform Zionism Committee (IRZC). John was the 2002 Recipient of the World Union for Progressive Judaism International Humanitarian Award and has received special commendation from the State of Israel Bonds. In 2013 he was honored by J Street at its Fifth Anniversary Celebration in Los Angeles. John is the author of two books - “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 Publishing, a division of Turner Publishing Company, 2017) and "Why Israel [and its Future] Matters - Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove" (New Jersey: Ben Yehuda Press, 2019). Both are available at John translated and edited the Hebrew biography of his Great Granduncle – "Avraham Shapira – Veteran of the Haganah and Hebrew Guard" by Getzel Kressel (publ. by the Municipality of Petach Tikvah, 1955). The translation was privately published (2021). John is married to Barbara. They are the parents of two sons - Daniel (married to Marina) and David. He has two grandchildren.