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JVJP disingenuous on BDS’ JVP stance says Coetzee

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MICHAEL COETZEE & ANT KATZ

I believe JVJP is being very disingenuous with their sudden “we never said we support BDS” stance. That’s certainly the impression they created with their public and Twitter behaviour. As for links with JVP, there was the recent visit by Dorothy Zellner. 

So says seasoned journalist and former Citizen news editor Michael Coetzee, who was explaining to the Jewish Report why he had penned “Jewish Voices for a Just Peace: Not what it says on the tin” published on Politicsweb.com last week.

Coetzee - Michael JVJPCoetzee, PICTURED RIGHT,says the Jewish Voices for a Just Peace’s views are in fact at the extreme end of the Jewish political spectrum. 

And yet, says Coetzee, JVJP has been consistently complaining that Gaza got the short straw on the SA media coverage of the recent Gaza spat. 

“The coverage has been by far biased against Israel, as anyone not living in fantasy land could see,” he told SAJR. “Below yet another fact-deprived Steven Friedman lament in the Mail & Guardian, the newspaper’s ombudsman, Franz Kruger, even wrote that being balanced wasn’t necessary in covering this conflict (once again we can dispense with the rules that count for everyone else). The Broadcasting Complaints Commission found that “there was no doubt more time had been given to the Gaza sympathisers”.



This op-ed, sans illustrations, appeared in Politicsweb on Nov 12

Jewish Voices for a Just Peace: Not what it says on the tin

Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP) has been getting a lot of publicity lately, which they’ve used mostly to complain about not getting any publicity. This fringe group of anti-Israeli activists is well versed in Newspeak, but it doesn’t take much digging beneath the surface to reveal the ugly reality behind their supposed struggle for “peace”. In fact, probably the only words in their name that are used in a manner in keeping with their common definitions are “for” and “a”.

JVJP1


LEFT: JVJP event hosting Dorothy Zellner, a JVP activist


A friend recently asked me to explain why I oppose JVJP, and suggested that I learn about the “broad grey area that exists between the one-staters of Hamas and the one-staters on the Israeli right”.

This article grew out of that discussion, during which I suggested that if anyone can do with an education on grey areas, then it’s the likes of JVJP founder Rina King & Co.

JVJP claims to simply be providing balance, trying to ensure that voices other than an uncritical pro-Israeli one is heard. 

JVJP7jpg


 RIGHT: JVJP boss Leonard Shapiro wearing a BDS banner on his chest at the SA March for Gaza in Cape Town


I agree that it’s necessary and healthy for a wide variety of opinions to be aired. There’s no shortage of this in the local media, including the Jewish media, and certainly not in the Israeli media.


But let’s get back to broad grey areas.

Racism, blacks

In reality, there’s a great black chasm between uncritical support for anything the Israeli government does and marching around with keffiyehs, praising Hamas and BDS, and tweeting things like, and I quote, “The way you counter anti-Semites is to show there are civilised Jews!”

Replace anti-Semitism with racism and Jews with blacks if it’s not immediately obvious how repugnant that statement is.

 

JVJP8jpg


 LEFT:  JVJP spokesman Jessica Sherman with JVP’s Zellner


Here we have the problem, in a nutshell. JVJP claims to be all about just making sure that there’s a balanced conversation by providing a voice critical of Israeli actions.

Extremists

But its actual behaviour and positions are far removed from anything balanced or reasonable.

Their views are in fact at the extreme end of the political spectrum, more extreme than anything held by Benjamin Netanyahu or Mahmoud Abbas.

There were Britons who objected to the Allied bombing tactics used against Germany, but that did not suddenly translate into marching around in brown shirts, wearing swastikas and shouting “Heil Hitler”. 

JVP Dorothy1


RIGHT: LOGO The JVJP logo even recalls the Palestinian flag


In not supporting Israel’s right to exist in any shape or form, in calling for one state that is majority Palestinian, in finding common cause with the avowedly genocidal and anti-Semitic Hamas, JVJP finds itself at an extreme, the other end of which you’d need to go far to the right of Netanyahu to find.

JVJP90jpg

LEFT: Shapiro & Co in official capacity as JVJP at the Cape Town anti-Israel march


In not supporting Israel’s right to exist in any shape or form, in calling for one state that is majority Palestinian, in finding common cause with the avowedly genocidal and anti-Semitic Hamas, JVJP finds itself at an extreme, the other end of which you’d need to go far to the right of Netanyahu to find.

Divorced from reality

There’s also an immense amount of hypocrisy and playing the victim going on here.

These people have complained, on live SABC television, about not being allowed to air their views. In interviews on e tv they have complained about the same thing. 

JVJP91jpg


RIGHT: Tweets of support for JVJP from Suraya Dadoo of the MRN


King, in an SABC interview, claimed that the media coverage during the latest Gaza war was predominantly pro-Israel.

Patently absurd

This is patently absurd and divorced from reality. The coverage has been by far biased against Israel, as anyone not living in fantasy land could see. 

Below yet another fact-deprived Steven Friedman lament in the Mail & Guardian, the newspaper’s ombudsman,  Franz Kruger,  even wrote that being balanced wasn’t necessary in covering this conflict (once again we can dispense with the rules that count for everyone else). 

JVJP92a.jpg


LEFT: A Facebook post by Leonard Shapiro from last year in which he, in his personal capacity in any case, supports BDS



The truth

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission found that “there was no doubt more time had been given to the Gaza sympathisers.

However, the amount of time given was not the test, but the quality and content … https://www.sajr.co.za/images/default-source/default-album/jvjp92-jpg.jpg” class=”sfImageWrapper”>JVJP93.jpg


RIGHT: Leonard Shapiro implies Hamas isn’t a terrorist organisation


 

Too extreme 

If you take an extreme position, one that is too extreme even for the Palestinian Authority, then of course you’re going to be treated as controversial.

Despite what it claims, JVJP is not interested in just providing balance and a platform for dialogue.


BDS’ 
friends 

Look at their friends and cheerleaders, which include holocaust deniers, blatant anti-Semites and the sort of people who pose for pictures with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, and BDS.

This is the same BDS that is not supported by the Palestinian Authority (PA), by ordinary Palestinians, according to opinion polls, and who even Noam Chomsky believes are missing the point.


Infamous Tutu plaque

Both PA president Abbas and senior PA negotiation Saeb Erekat want nothing to do with BDS. Who they actually represent is another issue, but why, for the purposes of this discussion, does JVJP support them? Do they know better than the Palestinians what’s good for them?

Coetzee - Michael JVJP


LEFT: The infamous Tutu plaque


Which brings us to the colonialism at the heart of groups such as JVJP. While supposedly fighting “colonialism” (one wonders how Muslim Arabs first came to live in the Levant), so many groups of this ilk are themselves guilty of the worst sort of colonialist mindset.

In this worldview, everything the Gazans or the Palestinians in general do is a result of something Israel did. They apparently have no agency of their own, and are powerless to decide for themselves not to fire rockets at civilians or build tunnels to massacre children.

JVJP5


RIGHT: Tweet by JVJP from their event with Zellner, saying that the way to counter anti-Semitism is to show there are civilised Jews


Then there’s the fact that Hamas, which JVJP views as noble freedom fighters, runs a regime far more oppressive than anything that goes on in the occupied territories.

Hamas has no time for the liberal values espoused by anti-Israeli leftists. Gays, lesbians, feminists, atheists, Jews – Hamas wishes death upon all of these, which I guess makes it a good thing that JVJP and BDS supporters can do their work while living in some sort of self-imposed exile.

JVJP2


LEFT: Hamas and Hezbollah supporters, apparently, at the march JVJP attended


There’s something not quite right with the fact that so much of the left is engaged in a vicious campaign against by far the most liberal country in the entire region. Who can, with a straight face, claim that the Israeli government is more oppressive than the Saudis, or al-Assad? Who, if given the choice between living in Israel and any country within about 2 000 km, would choose another country?


What’s their real motivation?

Not very far away, Islamic State fighters are crucifying people and massacring entire villages. A suicide bomber just killed 50 children in Nigeria. But the single most pressing issue in the world for JVJP, more important even than the oppression Palestinians suffer under Hamas rule, is the fact that Israel exists when they believe it shouldn’t.

Which brings us back to the question of what their real motivation is?

JVJP3


LEFT: JVJP retweeting BDS tweet calling for support for BDS anti-Israel march


What really drives them? Their actions and positions make it clear that it’s none of the things they claim.

For some reason they choose to place themselves on the side that promotes suicide bombings, genocide and fascist government.

It’s not hard for any rational, objective person to realise that there’s a massive moral difference between goals and actions of the Israeli government and the goals and actions of Hamas.

As American atheist author Sam Harris eloquently pointed out, we know what Israel would do if it could do anything it wanted to, because it can. It could kill every man, woman and child in Gaza tomorrow, if it wanted to.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW PICTURE

JVP Dorothy2ABOVE: JVJP at the same march

Instead, it goes to greater lengths than any other military in the world to prevent civilian deaths. We also know what Hamas would do if it could do anything it wanted to: kill every single Jew in Israel. We know this, because that is not only what their official charter says, but is also what they are continuing to try and do to this very day. Yet we are supposed to believe that the supporters of the latter are the guardians of human rights and peace.

There are none so blind as those who will not
see, and few things as destructive as a
voice not guided by the light of reality and truth





In their own words: JVJP, BDS collaboration

The following is taken verbatim from a notice
issued by the JVJP on behalf of BDS:


BDS South Africa via JVJP

September 23 · Edited ·

Reminder: Veteran civil rights activist Dorothy Zellner addresses Jewish Voices for a Just Peace, tonight 18:30 PM

Dorothy Zellner, a veteran of the Civil Rights movement in America will be addressing Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP), tonight, Tuesday 23rd September in Johannesburg. She founded the organisation ‘Jews Say No!’ and is a founding board member of Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre. Dorothy is also a volunteer for Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) in New York. She will be discussing Shifts in American Jewry, What the Occupation Means for Organising and General Issues on Palestine-Israel.

Details

Date: Tonight Tuesday 23rd September

Time: 18:30 for 19:00

Venue: Supper Room of the Main Hall Area St Luke’s Church, 18 High Road, Orchards

Media is invited to attend and report

About Dorothy Zellner:

Dorothy M. Zellner is a veteran of the U.S. civil rights movement and was a staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from 1962 to 1967. She worked with Julian Bond in SNCC’s Communications Department in Atlanta, ran the Northeast Regional Office of SNCC, and also worked in Danville, Virginia. She spent the 1964 Freedom Summer in Greenwood, Mississippi.

After spending 20 years in the South, she returned to her hometown, New York City, where she was a long-time staff member at the Center for Constitutional Rights and then at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. She is one of the six editors of the award winning book Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (University of Illinois, 2010) and runs a small family foundation. As a Jewish activist against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, she is a founding member of Jews Say No!, A VOLUNTEER WITH JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE, and a founding Board member of the Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre.

For more information and media queries

Rina King – 076 785 7944

Jessica Sherman – 084 485 6704

JewishVoicesJP@gmail.com

@JewishVoicesJP

South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP) is a group of Jewish South Africans who recognise that the South African Jewish community is not homogenous in its thinking and that there are many different views on Israel. Many Jews in our country are deeply troubled by the actions of Israel and the human rights abuses which are inflicted on Palestinians. Many Jews are afraid to speak about these abuses for fear of being ostracised. As such, JVJP aims to facilitate respectful dialogue and discussion among South African Jews.

Reminder: Veteran civil rights activist Dorothy Zellner addresses Jewish Voices for a Just Peace

Related reads on SAJR.CO.ZA




Coming tomorrow:

Who is Dorothy Zillner, JVP & other anti-Zionist organisations she supports?

Coming Wednesday:

Who else is the JVJP playing with in South Africa?




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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. David Hersch

    Nov 24, 2014 at 6:49 am

    ‘Like others before them, for example Open Shuhada Street, they too will quickly disappear. Until then, let us oppose them with all our might.

    PS: I think the Cape Town \”march\” consisted of two people, nothing more. As for Jessica Sherman, her late father, Rabbi David Sherman, is turning in his grave and I am sure her mother and sisters are ashamed.’

  2. Choni

    Nov 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

    ‘My message to all those who propagate an equal moral equivalence between Arabs, and Israelis is that the only struggle in the Holy Land of Israel is one between \”SHema Yisrael\” and \”Alluah Akbar\”.

  3. Gary Selikow

    Nov 24, 2014 at 8:55 am

    ‘JVJP=Jewish Voices for a Judenreihn Palestine’

  4. Myron Robinson

    Nov 24, 2014 at 9:51 am

    ‘JVJP supports BDS. BDS categorically state in their anti Woolworths demonstrations & in their purported shareholders meeting that they are against regimes (read ISRAEL) who commit Human Rights violations hence their protest against Woolworths supplying Israeli goods. Ok lets then not buy any petrol which emanates from the Middle East viz. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc. as those countries are inter alia the worst violators of Human Rights not to mention China etc. Fat chance that the BDS will boycott the above countries. Just shows that the BDS & the JVJP are a  bunch of Hypocrites.The less said about Hamas HR violations the better. Those Jews who say not in my name are correct. I would hate to be associated with them.’

  5. David

    Dec 25, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    ‘Does anyone really believe that Hamas with their published goals for Israel and it’s Jewish population, will be satisfied to live side by side in a single state? ?
    \nCertainly not me.
    \nI believe the main issue is that Israel simply cannot take that chance, as the Jewish population in Israel can only be wiped out once. There could and would be no going back to the ‘status quo.’
    \nYou only have to look at the attitude towards Jews in any current Arab / Muslim state to see that  Many of these states will not even allow you in with an Israeli stamp in your passport.
    \nSo BDS  and JVJP  – think again , because we have no choice but to fight to ensure our survival’

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