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Jewish Voice for Peace stomps AIPAC and J Street in latest online traffic figures

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Jewish Voice for Peace skyrocketing

Jewish Voice for Peace skyrocketing

There’s been a lot of talk about Jewish Voice for Peace’s growing attraction, fed by the horrors of Gaza and its poetical Gaza Names project, and Dan Sisken has documented the trend in the above graph of website visits. JVP goes from a fraction of AIPAC’s visits and then more than doubles them. And J Street too. JVP was behind J Street; not any more. (Though if you combine J Street and AIPAC– hmmm).  Also the US Campaign to End the Occupation is right behind those big establishment Jewish orgs. Good work. Says Sisken:

JVP has vaulted over AIPAC and JStreet, which have only shown modest bumps in comparison and the US Campaign has increased their visitors 6 times. The numbers are estimated visits to each site. Source is similarweb.org

There are many other pro-Israel sites that should perhaps be added for a fuller picture… On a negative note, the IDF Blog has also jumped considerably: up to around 4.5 million visits this month. So, no need to go to AIPAC, when you can go right to the source. 

I’d point out that AIPAC and J Street are increasingly indistinguishable. AIPAC is trying to recruit “progressive” rabbis on its recent Israel tour, and J Street is supporting the Gaza slaughter, giving Jews who don’t like massacres the need to decamp to an organization that speaks out.  J Street and AIPAC reach out chiefly to Jews. JVP, as the video below shows, is more avowedly diverse.  Sarah Posner writes about this at Religion Dispatches: the “collapse of the American Jewish center.” You have to go right or left now; and left means a critique of Zionism while right means doubling down on militarism. J Street is on the right.

On July 11, J Street released a statement supporting Operation Protective Edge…

Some J Street supporters were appalled by J Street’s failure to marshal opposition to this newest Israeli military campaign. “Are we moving the community or are we becoming part of it?” one activist asked.

J Street, said [Northeastern Professor Dov] Waxman, “was a left-wing alternative to the groups in the center” when it launched in 2008, billing itself as a Washington-focused alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Now, he said, “J Street has to some extent become part of the mainstream.”

Shaul Magid, a rabbi, the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Chair in Jewish Studies at Indiana University, and a regular contributor to RD, served on the J Street rabbinical council before resigning over the organization’s refusal to support the 2011 Palestinian bid to upgrade its status at the United Nations. He told me that someone once joked to him, “Everyone in J Street is to the left of J Street.”

The activist added that “a growing conversation on campus is feeding the growth of #IfNotNow,” representing a “growing desire by young people to hold Jewish organizational leaders to account,” and expressing that “these people who claim to represent the Jewish community as a whole do not represent them.”

Posner is obviously more comfortable with #IfNotNow, this new non-Zionist group, than she is with JVP, which supports BDS. But as Cecilie Surasky of JVP says, movement is movement; and when Jews start to evolve on this issue, a lot of them will come into the JVP camp.

Here is some of Posner’s fingerwagging of JVP:

Jewish Voice for Peace, because of its rhetoric casting Israel as an aggressor, and because of its support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has largely been vilified by Jewish organizations as not representative of communal Jewish life.

The Anti-Defamation League has deemed the JVP “the leading Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States, working to steer public support away from Israel and convince the American public that opposition to the Jewish state is not anti-Semitic”—a move seen even by those liberals who find JVP too far left as yet another instance of ADL’s attempts to marginalize Jewish groups who refuse to toe the party line.

Naomi Dann, a media fellow with JVP, said that the organization has seen a large uptick in new supporters and formation of local chapters since Operation Protective Edge, noting that in three weeks 50,000 new people signed up for its email updates. She said the ADL characterization is “deeply disturbing to us,” adding “we are part of the Jewish community, our values are rooted in Jewish values.”…

The center, said Magid, “hasn’t done any creative thinking in the last six or seven years.”

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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19 Responses

  1. Nevada Ned on August 17, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Thanks for this article, Phil.

    I sent a contribution to JVP because they have the right values: opposition to Israel’s massacre of the Palestinians of Gaza.

    For years I’ve also contributed to the Electronic Intifada (EI), which does very good work despite operating on a shoestring – more like a thread. And I urge MW readers to do the same.

    FYI: I’m neither Jewish nor Arab-American, like 90+ percent of the US population.

  2. W.Jones on August 17, 2014, 12:30 pm

    It sounds like Posner is saying that she or others she describes are “pro-Israeli”, but they do not like the Israeli attacks on Gaza. So they aren’t in agreement with JVP for not being “patriotic”/strongly nationalistic, but they aren’t in agreement with J Street for accepting the Israeli wars. Such is the difficult nature of a position supporting the political system that is also a “antiwar”/pro-peace position, at a time when that system is involved in conquest.

  3. Pixel on August 17, 2014, 4:16 pm

    Phil,
    I want to take a minute to thank you for all you do.
    Your work and this site make INvaluablec contributions! !

    With deep appreciation,

    pixel.

    ps. Ditto for all the writers, contributors, and commenters,.

    • W.Jones on August 18, 2014, 12:01 am

      I would like to second that. I love Mondoweiss. I would like to ask why the comments have been limited to two days? I think that the conversations in the comments section have been very enlightening, and more days means deeper conversations. Nonetheless, I can see that there can be an advantage to limiting comments- it means they are more manageable for moderators.

      One suggestion I would make is that you might include occasional citations to articles by or about Orthodox NonZionist Judaism, even if it is a marginal movement. It might help to give a broader range of thought in the broader religious community.

      A final suggestion might be to make friends for a few months with a sincere Christian- not for the purpose of conversion one way or the other, but rather to broaden one’s horizons. By this I am not insinuating that your horizons aren’t broad enough- since in fact they are broad. Rather I think that this gets to one of the key issues of the IP conflict, since the dividing lines have really been drawn along religious lines rather than ethnic ones by the nationalists, and the friendship criterion is one that you mentioned.

    • just on August 17, 2014, 7:13 pm

      awesome!

    • Xpat on August 17, 2014, 9:49 pm

      Am not sure how reliable these numbers are. Try putting in J Street vs. JVP. J Street gets 260 million to JVP’s paltry 400,000.
      That would be depressing if it didn’t seem plausible.

      • Tuyzentfloot on August 18, 2014, 5:29 am

        Am not sure how reliable these numbers are.

        The numbers in my link are simply query counts for keywords being searched for. Very unreliable. There are more reliable indicators though and I trust they’ve been used for the article.

  4. Kay24 on August 17, 2014, 6:22 pm

    I just returned from a rally for the Palestinians in Princeton, organization by many groups like the Jewish Voices for Peace. It was a great success, and I was able to hear good speeches, especially from Chris Hedges and Norm Finkelstein, who were both awesome.

    • just on August 17, 2014, 6:28 pm

      Good for you! How large and energized was the audience?

      • Kay24 on August 17, 2014, 7:08 pm

        Hard to say exactly, but I would guess about 600 people, although it seemed much more, as people kept joining in with their families,and they were quite energized. Considering this was organized spontaneously only 2 weeks ago, I think it was quite successful, and the speeches by Chris Hedges and Norm Finkelstein, were awesome, and received very well. I think many were happy to attend, because there were no rallies in our area at all.

      • just on August 17, 2014, 7:12 pm

        Thanks!

        Were there any people there objecting to the event? Just curious. ;))

      • Kay24 on August 17, 2014, 7:43 pm

        Well, there was ONE car that went by and a couple of idiots shouted “go back to your country”, but they were sort of grinning, not angry. Then there was one couple who got into a a bit of a a heated debate with one guy who had a sign saying he is a Jewish voice supporting the Palestinians, and the woman was quite annoyed shouting about suicide bombers. There were four very young kids who had signs saying they love Israel, but they were not intrusive.

        Overall, I think it was peaceful, and we were the majority!

  5. a blah chick on August 17, 2014, 6:23 pm

    ” Sarah Posner writes about this at Religion Dispatches: the “collapse of the American Jewish center.” You have to go right or left now; and left means a critique of Zionism while right means doubling down on militarism. J Street is on the right. ”

    That bit made me think of Yeats:

    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    • Raksha on August 18, 2014, 10:34 am

      “The Second Coming” – I thought of that Yeats poem too, and even quoted from it in an email yesterday in which I was discussing the Sarah Posner article. This isn’t the first time I’ve quoted it by a long way, but it is the first time in an Israel-Palestine context. Never thought that would happen!

  6. jayn0t on August 17, 2014, 7:36 pm

    It’s a common mistake to think that being denounced by The Anti-Defamation League is to an organization’s credit. The ADL and other Zionist organizations use hysterical language to criticize moderate, or completely ineffective, anti-Zionist groups. Consciously or not, this gives these groups more credit than they would otherwise have.

  7. Calling JVP, “the leading Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States, working to steer public support away from Israel and convince the American public that opposition to the Jewish state is not anti-Semitic,” sounds like a compliment to me.

    The public shouldn’t support Israel when Israel is engaged in behaviour that is clearly wrong, and the public should understand that opposition to the Jewish state is not anti-Semitic. Those are both benevolent goals.

    Zionists vociferously equate every loathsome thing Israel does with being Jewish, and feel entitled to denigrate Jews who speak out against Zionism.

    As if they have any right to exert authority over Jews as a whole.

    Most of the world’s Jews don’t live in Israel, and even the Jews who do live in Israel are not unanimously supportive of dropping bombs into captive civilians. It is to deny their humanity to believe them to all be of one mind.

    Criticizing Israel is just common decency. Merit-based criticism of actions taken, and decisions made, is not bigotry.

    The belief, that all Jews are (or should be) subservient to the Zionist agenda, on the other hand, genuinely IS anti-Semitic.

    Zionists had no right to co-opt the term ‘anti-Semite’ – let alone to redefine it to serve their agenda – and it has the potential to inspire anti-Semitism every time a Zionist hides behind that hollow accusation to deflect what he can’t defend.

  8. Nevada Ned on August 18, 2014, 1:52 am

    OT but here goes:

    Yahoo! news covered a wedding story: a Palestinian groom and a Jewish Israeli bride got married in Israel. The bride converted to Islam. The wedding was plagued by hundreds of right wingers demonstrators shouting “Death to the Arabs!”

    The strength of the right wingers in Israel is not new to readers of Mondoweiss, or to readers of Max Blumenthal’s book, Goliath. But it IS news to regular readers of the New York Times, whose correspondents try mightily to disguise unpleasant developments in Israel. Yahoo! runs a story that can’t be spun by Jodi Rudoren as favorable to Israel.

    Imagine if that happened in the US: Supppose there’s a wedding in New York City between a Christian groom and a Jewish bride, and suppose that the bride converts to Christianity. Suppose also that hundreds of thuggish Jewish demonstrators show up uninvited at the wedding, bellowing “Death to the Christians!”

    That would be totally blow out of the water all the strenuous efforts (by the spin doctors, PR professionals, “Brand Israel” propagandists) to portray Israel as a tolerant pluralistic democratic society.

    It isn’t.

    Thanks, Yahoo!

  9. JohnWV on August 18, 2014, 6:49 am

    Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, a racist state, and will never accept a non apartheid democracy with a Jewish minority. Continuing illegal annexations, settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing have also precluded any negotiated two state solution. Justice may now be served only by imposing resolution just as cruel, disruptive and humiliating to Israel as Israel has wreaked upon occupied Palestine for generations. The Jewish State must be forced, by whatever means necessary, to recognize an armed Palestine with externally enforced autonomy, eviction of all settlers, true contiguity encompassing Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem together, neither pinched nor parceled, and pay punitive reparations. American foreign policy may then again serve American interests, not the Jewish state’s relentless pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and worldwide racist empire.

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