Playing the Jewish Card to Promote BDS

In contrast to its innocent-sounding name, Jewish Voice for Peace actually shares the most dangerous and radical positions of the BDS movement; it supports a Palestinian claim to a “right of return” for refugees, which would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state, has promoted the lie that the Al-Aqsa mosque is under threat, and praised increased Palestinian violence over the last 8 months as “resistance.” Their pinned  Tweet is from October 2015 praising MSNBC for its “courage” in airing a series of maps that claim to show Palestinian land loss – which MSNBC later apologized for, admitting the map was “completely wrong.”

JVP deliberately exploits its Jewish character to attempt to shield the BDS movement from accusations of anti-Semitism, which explains the headline of its director Rebecca Vilkomerson’s piece for the Washington Post: “I’m Jewish, and I want people to boycott Israel.”

The implication is that anyone who might be uncomfortable with the idea of singling out the world’s only Jewish state for boycotts and demonization now has the go-ahead to target Israel, because they have Rebecca Vilkomerson’s Jewish approval. But a closer look at her article shows that her arguments supporting BDS are so weak, her religion might be the only card she has left to play.

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She portrays the wars that were instigated by Hamas as “assaults on Gaza” by Israel. She lists the number of Palestinians killed but makes no reference to the fact that the majority were Hamas terrorists, that Hamas does everything possible to ensure maximum collateral damage to Palestinian civilians, or that Israel’s ratio of Palestinian combatants to civilians killed is better than other Western armies. She refers to the Palestinian children killed, as though Israel deliberately targets them, and makes no mention of Hamas at all, as though Israel chooses to go to war for no reason.

While Vilkomerson was upset by Israel acting in self-defense to protect its civilians against rocket attacks, she decided to embrace BDS, “to bring about freedom and full rights for Palestinians.” She omits that BDS wants to achieve this through denying Israel’s right to exist and bringing about the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.

She falsely claims that “Palestinians with Israeli citizenship live in a system of unequal laws and rights,” when in fact Israel’s Arab citizens do have equal rights, while the Palestinians are governed by the Palestinian Authority.

After all the falsehoods, her attempt at balance is to acknowledge that “Of course, during this time there have been attacks on Israeli civilians too,” but then she explicitly blames the victims by calling terror attacks “a horrifying symptom of ongoing occupation and repression.” She ignores the history of Arab terror attacks against Israeli Jews before 1967 and even before Israel was declared a state, ignores the role of incitement in the Palestinian media, and absolves Palestinians of any responsibility for terrorism as though they are incapable of making their own decisions or controlling their actions.

Referring to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s anti-BDS bill, Vilkomerson argues that “it’s not discrimination to hold a state accountable for its violations of international law and human rights abuses.” Except that is an entirely false representation of what BDS does. Is it merely a coincidence that the one nation BDS chooses to slander and demonize and target for boycotts, is the only Jewish state? BDS does not target the Israeli government for its policies, it targets Israeli Jews and their businesses in particular, discriminating against them just because of their identity.

As Alan Dershowitz points out, Israel is a democracy with

internal mechanisms for addressing its imperfections. There is no legitimate reason for singling it out for the kind of external discrimination represented by BDS.

Vilkomerson believes that BDS is the best tool to pressure Israel to change its policies. She is misguided. BDS may demonize and delegitimize Israel, but the truth is on Israel’s side, and Israel will not base national security decisions on pressure resulting from misleading op-eds and BDS lies.

For resources on BDS, click here.

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