Jewish Voices for Peace
In the United States of old, strong voices for peace spoke throughout the land. Inability of anti-war forces to halt the Vietnam War, an apparent U.S. victory in the Cold War, and the dumbing down of America have subdued efforts to organize effective anti-war demonstrations. The rebellious and politically active youth of previous generations have stayed home.
Relative stillness of the activist community is due to another phenomenon -- U.S. military engagements have shifted to the Middle East, and the shift has provided new voices that not only guide the debate on U.S. actions but are able to silence those who do not favor their policies. The voices are those of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a Jewish organization, and its allied partner from the Christian Right, who together form powerful lobbies that steer U.S. foreign policy to support the interests of the state of Israel.
Jewish dominated organizations, the largest and best known being J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which fear AIPAC's one-sided extremism will provoke hostility to Jews in the United States, have shaped themselves to counter AIPAC. Americans for Peace Now (AFP) might be included if AFP was not a look-a like of Israel's Peace Now and did not closely follow its parent's blueprints, which are driven from an israeli perspective.
A previous article, J Street - Two Years after its Formation, examined J Street's operations and effectiveness. Although no longer on the Alternative Insight website, the article can be retrieved at http://www.palestinechronicle.com/old/view_article_details.php?id=15780.
The article maintained that J Street, who still favors the ancient two-state solution and opposes having Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) applied to Israel, is only AIPAC light, has vague goals, acts as the "good guy" to AIPAC's "bad guy," and provides a net for disaffected Jews who stray from identification with Israel and its virulently nationalist, militarist and oppressive policies. J Street's contradictory slogan of "pro-Israel and pro-peace" indicates its thrust is to convince citizens that Israel only needs a few administrative and policy changes and peace will come to the Middle East.
Despite promoting policies not favorable to hard core Israeli apologists, J Street has accomplished little. Negotiations have stopped, settlements have expanded, Jerusalem is being cleansed of Palestinian life, legislators still follow AIPAC's directives, and peace has retreated further. It seems that J Street's principal focus is to corral Israel's opponents into an organization that deflects their energies into rhetoric and away from decisive actions.
The Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) conveys an independent and positive approach to resolving the Middle East crisis and, unlike J Street, is not constrained by a "pro-Israel" label. Its website, at https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/content/jvp-mission-statement, describes its mission, purposely vague but a clue to its real intentions - a just peace for all.
- A U.S. foreign policy based on promoting peace, democracy, human rights, and respect for international law,
- An end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem,
- A resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem consistent with international law and equity,
- An end to all violence against civilians,
- Peace among the peoples of the Middle East.
JVP behaves as a Jewish American organization that places peace for the United States before commitments to Israel. Decisively and boldly, JVP engages in active endeavors -- promoting BDS, assisting student peace groups, soliciting letters to congress, combating one-sided presentations of the Middle East crisis and organizing chapters throughout the nation to act in accord with its mission. However JVP is not without limitations and contradictions.
Not constituted to act as a Political Action Committee (PAC), raise funds for congressional candidates or endorse them, JVP is constrained in influencing Congress to support its policies. These limitations create other limitations - limited exposure, insufficient donations and inability to expand activities and operations. Viewed as a Jewish organization for Jewish expressions, an appearance JVP tries to overcome, limits JVP's outreach and membership.
The Jewish appearance and reference to Jewish values contradicts JVP approach as an American organization only devoted to improve U.S. foreign policy. Similar to J Street, JVP actions and protests have not blunted AIPAC's thrust. In regards to AIPAC, JVC, as well as the American public, has missed an essential point - AIPAC has perverted the U.S. democratic system -- a small minority has dictated who gets elected to Congress and placed the policies of a foreign nation before U.S. foreign policy.
Never and no where in the universe of democracies has an ethnic minority of this small size been able to control national voting patterns and steer foreign policy to such a large accord with their directives and for the benefit of a foreign nation. Not well popularized is that AIPAC's activities are duplicated to a lesser degree in West European capitals and complement Israel's intrusion into all segments of American life. Next to military exports, human capital is Israel's greatest export.
Israeli migration to the United States, whose numbers range from 200,000 to one million during the last decades, is considered to be composed of disaffected Israelis. This is only partly true; many are obviously planted in the United States, dual citizens returning after a stint of training?? in Israel, and others assuming ether part time residency or pursuing citizenship with one purpose -- to influence Americans, especially those in the Jewish community, to favor Israel. Add to the mix, an excessive number of Israelis, for Israel's population, who receive grants, scholarships, come for education, various types of training, part time jobs and to establish businesses while promoting Israel's interests.
Sounding conspiratorial, which it is, the charges can be personally verified by many, including the writer who has witnessed suspicious activities from Israelis living in the United States -- petitioning synagogues to display the Israeli flag, inviting employees to their homes to discuss Israel, gathering data and sending it to Israel, awarding contracts to Israel companies, sending industrial information to Israel, and conspiring against university professors who contradict Israel's policies. No accident that New York and California, two significant states in U.S. elections, contain the great majority of Israeli emigration, adding to and mixing with large Jewish populations they strive to inlfuence. CNN, July 10, 2014 reported that "Israeli companies are flocking to New York City and establishing American entrepreneurial ventures at the rate of ten new startups per month."
A report from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerida tells the story.
In Los Angeles a Council of Israeli Community was founded in 2001. In Los Angeles an Israel Leadership Club was organized and has been active in support activities for Israel, most recently in 2008, it sponsored with the local Jewish Federation and Israeli consulate a concert in support for the embattled population suffering rocket attacks of Sderot, Israel where the three frontrunners for the U.S. president, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain greeted the attendees by video and expressed their support for the residents of Sderot. An Israeli Business Network of Beverly Hills has existed since 1996.
A variety of Hebrew language websites, newspapers and magazines are published in South Florida, New York, Los Angeles and other U.S. regions. The Israeli Channel along with two other Hebrew-language channels are available via satellite broadcast nationally in the United States. Hebrew language Israeli programming on local television was broadcast in New York and Los Angeles during the 1990s, prior to Hebrew language satellite broadcast. Live performances by Israeli artists are a regular occurrence in centers of Israeli emigrants in the U.S. and Canada with audience attendance often in the hundreds. An Israeli Independence Day Festival has taken place yearly in Los Angeles since 1990 with thousands of Israeli emigrants and American Jews attending.
All this might resonate as being no different than the activities of other national groups who have immigrated to the United States, but it is different. Previous immigrants came to the United States to escape political oppression or economic deprivation. Israel is considered a wealthy democracy of healthy and happy citizens. If these émigrés cherish their language and culture, why have they moved to a nation of different language, different culture and different celebrations? Why are they celebrating an Independence Day of a nation they rejected?
Genuine peace movements, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, deserve support. However, a myriad of independent operating movements do not add up to an effective peace movement, one designed to change U.S. foreign policy for the benefit of all Americans -- the whole does not equal the sum of its parts.
The manipulation of the democratic process and capture of the electorate by a small group that diverts U.S. foreign policy to benefit a foreign nation compels the creation of a clearly expressed Americans for Peace, which can galvanize voters into action -- dampening AIPAC's thrust and replacing the congressionals who have traded obligation for campaign shekels -- an organization composed of tens of millions of caring voices, which recognizes the enormity of the threat, and contains Jewish Voice for Peace and other religious and ethnic groups as mainstay subsidiaries.
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