Read the full, comprehensive report: Profile: Jewish Voice for Peace (PDF).
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has emerged as the leading Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States, working to steer public support away from Israel and convince the American public that opposition to the Jewish state is not anti-Semitic.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which has become the most oft-used tactic by the domestic anti-Israel movement in recent years, is heavily championed by JVP. The group’s ongoing BDS initiative, called “We Divest,” targets TIAA-CREF, a major financial services organization. JVP activists have also supported a variety of divestment resolutions considered by university student governments and mainline churches, including the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches.
JVP intentionally exploits Jewish culture and rituals in its advocacy to reassure its own supporters that opposition to Israel not only does not contradict, but is actually consistent with, Jewish values. Its “Rabbinical Council” even published a Passover Haggadah in the spring of 2012 that dedicated one of the traditional cups of wine to BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) and added an olive to the Seder plate in honor of the Palestinian struggle.
JVP also uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide the movement with a veneer of legitimacy. On its Web site, JVP recognizes its role as such, 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.”
The group’s positions on BDS, its willingness to partner with anti-Israel organizations that deny Israel’s right to exist and legitimize terror, and its refusal to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, demonstrate JVP’s hardline stance.
In fact, JVP consistently co-sponsors rallies to oppose Israeli military policy that are marked by signs and slogans comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, demonizing Jews and voicing support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. JVP has never condemned or sought to distance itself from these messages. Indeed, JVP’s Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson recently gave an interview to American Free Press, a conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic newspaper.
In the past four years, JVP has significantly expanded and is now a national organization with 30 chapters across the country, including a handful on college campuses, and claims more than 100,000 supporters across the country. JVP’s success in this area is aided by its embrace of online marketing tools and its strong presence on social networking sites.
The group has nearly 30,000 “likes” on Facebook and 9,000 followers on Twitter. Not surprisingly, this increased support has translated into additional dollars. In the past few years, JVP has reportedly averaged approximately $300,000 in annual contributions.
Jewish Voice for Peace's hardline stance is demonstrated by its positions on BDS, willingness to partner with anti-Israel organizations that deny Israel’s right to exist and legitimize terror, and its refusal to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.