For Immediate Release
Statement re Israeli Ministry's Attack on JVP ahead of National Conference Today
Ahead of the largest ever gathering of Jewish Voice for Peace members, the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs reportedly issued a statement attacking JVP. Over 1,000 Jewish Voice for Peace members will convene in Chicago tonight for JVP’s bi-annual national member meeting focused on building the power of movements for racial justice and equality both here in the U.S. and in Israel/Palestine.
JVP’s National Membership Meeting will be a vibrant, beautiful coming together of our members — chapter leaders, rabbis, academics, students, health workers and more — where we will be analyzing, strategizing, singing, praying, dancing and learning from a broad array of leaders across intersectional movements for justice.
Rebecca Vilkomerson, JVP Executive Director: “The stronger the BDS movement becomes, the more the Israeli government demonstrates its growing alarm about the power of the movement for Palestinian rights. Our National Member Meeting, our largest ever, is proof that JVP is providing a political and spiritual home for a growing number of Jews who want to bring their full selves to this work."
This gathering is only the most recent example of rapidly changing public opinion about Israeli government policies and growing support for the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel until Palestinians have equal rights. Support for Palestinian rights is growing rapidly in the U.S., with recent polls demonstrating that Democrats are now equally sympathetic to Palestinians as they are to Israelis. A recent Brookings Institute poll found that over 60% of Democrats support economic sanctions against Israel’s continued illegal settlement construction.
Jewish Voice for Peace rejects the Israeli government’s persecution of human rights defenders and advocates for justice. We welcome Rasmea Odeh as a woman who survived torture and sexual assault by Israeli security forces, who as a result made a false confession in Israeli military court, which has a 99.74% conviction rate for Palestinians. We are proud to host her and dozens of other powerful and inspiring leaders who have overcome intense and ongoing Israeli government persecution in their pursuit of equality for all, and will help us to deepen our work of challenging the racist and Islamophobic policies of both the Israeli government and the Trump administration.
This attack on JVP is the latest in an escalating campaign by the Israeli government to criminalize political dissent. Recently, it was reported that Israel would begin compiling a database of Israelis who support boycotting the state, while a new law imposes a travel ban on foreign supporters of BDS from entering the country. Last week, Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement and prominent human rights defender, was detained and is currently being interrogated as part of a declared government effort to silence political dissent,including threats of “targeted civil elimination” to tarnish the reputation of BDS activists.
It couldn’t be more clear that the Israeli government is worried about the growing power of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights. We see this as part of the natural evolution of a struggle like this one — that as the movement for justice gains strength, the state will work harder and harder to repress it. And they’re going to use more and more blunt instruments to do so.
We look forward to be joined tonight by 1,000 Jewish Voice for Peace members, allies and partners to strategize, learn and build community as we deepen our commitment to fighting for freedom, justice and equality.
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.