Saturday, May 24, 2008

Jewish Voice for Peace and the New Blood Libel

Jewish Voice for Peace needs a new motto, something like “We’re not really anti-Zionist, but we always act that way.” Their latest screed about the Palestinian Nakba reads like a textbook produced by the Palestinian Authority, full of allegations designed to incite hatred and prevent peace. It levels charges of atrocities allegedly committed against Arab civilians by the Jews of 1948 Palestine, who had the temerity to try to defend themselves not only against 5 invading Arab armies, but also against local villages that had long been launching attacks against Jewish civilians and besieging Jewish Jerusalem.

Their “fact sheet” accuses Israel of war crimes, in blood-curdling detail that brings to mind accounts of the horrors of the Holocaust. This of course is not by accident. There are three themes that anti-Zionists use to try to relate the Palestinian narrative to the Holocaust. First, they attempt to present the Arabs as nothing more than peaceful innocent bystanders who became secondary victims of the Holocaust (ignoring the fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al Husseini spent the war years in Berlin where he encouraged the Nazis to commit full scale genocide against the Jews, recruited Muslims for the Nazis, and toured Auschwitz with Eichmann, probably to help plan a similar facility should the Germans have overrun Palestine). Secondly, they insist on the false equation of the mass industrial-scale extermination of European Jewry based on a horrific racist ideology, and the dislocation of Palestinian Arabs caused by another war of extermination against the Jews—this one started by their fellow Arabs. Finally, and most outrageously, they claim that current Israeli self-defense actions against the terrorist organizations Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are morally or legally on a plane with Nazi Germany’s treatment of the Jews.

The descriptions used by JVP are almost all credited to one source: Ilan Pappe’s book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Pappe, for those unfamiliar with him, is a former Israeli lecturer at the University of Haifa who has since relocated to the University of Exeter in the UK. A doctrinaire Marxist who once ran for Knesset with the Communist-led Hadash party, he opposes the existence of Israel as a Jewish state but nonetheless supports "resistance" by Hamas, a radical Islamist movement that seeks to impose sharia law and at least tolerates, if not incites, violence against Christian "infidels" . Most tellingly, he also frankly admits that he is not really interested in facts: “‘We do [historiography] because of ideological reasons, not because we are truth seekers... ‘there is no such thing as truth, only a collection of narratives’.” This philosophy was exposed when one of Pappe’s graduate students, Teddy Katz, was shown to have falsified evidence about an alleged massacre at Tantura in 1948 by claiming that his interview subjects said one thing while the tapes of the interviews proved otherwise.

There are historians such as Benny Morris who have indeed documented incidents of expulsion and even murder of Arabs during Israel’s War of Independence, when the Jews were fighting for their lives and the Arabs were fighting to kill Jews. Israel, no more and no less than other countries, was not born without violence, without wrongs being committed, without people being displaced. All Americans who are not part of the original Native American population live on their land by virtue of military conquest, much of it involving acts worse than anything Israel is accused of by its worst enemies-- and Americans are not returning to a homeland for which we have pined and prayed for centuries. The same holds true for Canadians and Australians. So by what moral right do those who point the finger at Israel and bellow “J’accuse!” continue to reside in their own comfortable homes?

The blood libel is an old staple of anti-Semitism. Jews through the centuries have been slaughtered because of the now-rejected Catholic teaching that the Jews were responsible for killing Jesus, then for the myth that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood for matzah. Now we have the new blood libels against Israel. The most prominent has been the al-Dura affair, used as a bloody shirt to create a jihadist frenzy during the Arafat’s terror war—and now that the entirety of the filmed evidence has been aired in a French courtroom, the questions about what might have been a fully staged hoax are larger than ever. Other examples of media gullibility to Arab manipulation abound—the “Jenin massacre” in 2002 during which world media eagerly swallowed Palestinian claims of hundreds of deaths during Operation Defensive Shield, the doctored pictures from Lebanon , blame placed on Israel for the deaths of civilians killed by Hamas mines on a Gaza beach. Of course, while the sensationalist false reporting of these incidents makes headlines, the “corrections” are always buried in small type at the bottom of page 10.

JVP has chosen to perpetuate the tradition of the blood libel, hiding behind anti-Zionism as a politically correct shield. As self-described experts on anti-Semitism, their leadership can’t claim to be ignorant of what they are doing. So one can only conclude that they agree with Pappe: facts aren’t important, advancing the ideology is. And the ideology, sadly, is not one of peace, but of fanning the flames of anti-Israel hatred.


  1. The past isn’t just the 1940’s, but much of the era of British mandatory Palestine.
    These links demonstrate just how much non-innocent bystanders many Arabs where back then.

    Palestinian atrocities pre 1948

    Arab revolt

    Jewish refugees

    The murder of Dr Levi Billig

  2. Just wanted to say that your blog is great reading, and keep up the good work!

    I just have one question, though, because I'm a little bit cynical: How do we know that honestreporting is fair and doesn't have an agenda? I did a quick perusal of the site but didn't find any endorsements.

  3. Jewish Voice for Peace has publically denounced International ANSWER as anti-Semetic, yet they routinely participate in ANSWER rallies.
    And this year, as usual, JVP is planning to protest the Bay Area's largest Jewish festival- they'll be standing AGAINST evil day schools, summer camps and synagogues. (Then they'll put down their signs and come in to enjoy the day of free music, fun and festivities.)
    The vast majority of the Jewish community can't abide the blatant hypocracy of this group.
    Thank you for the intelligent, articulate post

  4. Annonymous wrote
    "Then they'll put down their signs and come in to enjoy the day of free music, fun and festivities"

    Last year they walked through the crowd in their JVP shirts distributing literature. They used as a base the tale of a "non-Zionist" group dedicated to harsh criticism of Israel that, for unclear reasons, is still allowed to table at the event.

    This is after they quite literally lined the entrance to intimidate festival goers. I do not mean they lined up at the entrance, but they were actually allowed by the SFPD to assemble inside the entrance itself.

  5. Annonymous asked:

    "How do we know that honestreporting is fair and doesn't have an agenda?"

    Honest Reporting has a very clear pro-Israel agenda and does not hide that. For their fairness, one needs only to look at the articles they criticize, which they do not misquote or take out of context.

    Responsible news outlets that have been criticized by Honest Reporting have at times changed their policies, issued retractions, or even issued apologies as a result of the work Honest Reporting has done.

    Like you, I maintain a high level of skepticism about information from all sides, but I have found Honest Reporting to be reliable.

  6. Here we go again.
    Jewish Voice for peace AGAIN protested Israel in the Gardens, and seemed disturdbed that they weren't allowed to line the entrance and harrass festival attendees.
    Caught on you tube for your enjoyment:

  7. From the Solomonia blog:

    Jewish Voice for Peace Was Against Muzzling -- Before They Were For It

    So JVP runs this blog called MuzzleWatch, all about how other Jews are stifling free speech -- particularly when it comes to anti-Jewish polemicists like Norman Finkelstein and the like -- but guess what happens when you refuse to toe the ideological line JVP demands...why they boycott you, Of course!

    Adam Holland has a good post on this phenomenon: Jewish Voice for Peace: for freedom of speech except when they're against it

    You aren't the only ones who've noticed the monumental hypocricy of Jewish Voice for peace

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