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Jewish Voice for Peace

For 22 years after its founding Jewish Voice for Peace declined to take a position on Zionism. Now it has boldly stated that “Zionism has meant profound trauma for generations” and “We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter” to “our vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people.” JVP member Robert Herbst writes that the landmark statement “helps restore in my Jewish heart and soul a modicum of pride.”

For more than a generation, Palestinian voices have been suppressed at the New York Times. But under the new publisher A.G. Sulzberger, 38, the paper is serving notice that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans who want open debate. This explains Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking piece saying it’s time to end the progressive silence over Palestinian rights.

Robert Herbst responds to CNN’s firing of Marc Lamont Hill: “Hill’s provocative call for freedom for Palestinians in the whole of historic Palestine (or Greater Israel), in a single state guaranteeing rights for both peoples, did not mention Jews or Israelis, leaving him vulnerable to the false attack that he was advocating eliminating Jews from the Holy Land.”

Robert Herbst writes, “Now the poisons circulating in our politics, with a heavy dose injected by Donald Trump and his discourse of hatred, have killed 11 members of Tree of Life Congregation in the Jewish community of Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, and left their mark on the whole American Jewish community. My fear is that this incident will increase our communal sense of victimhood.  In the wake of Pittsburgh, there is no Jewish future in turning inward, either physically, spiritually, or politically, here in the United States, or in the Middle East.”

In her first address in an American synagogue since becoming a Member of the Knesset, Aida Touma-Sliman ripped into the new Jewish Nation State Law, which she said normalized discrimination and Jewish supremacy, and finally dispensed with equality as a normative value of Israel. “I meet a lot of Jews back home who say we need a Jewish State as an insurance policy, in case something goes wrong,” she told the audience at Temple Israel of New Rochelle. “But why should I pay the price of your insurance policy?”

Liberal Zionist Michael Koplow has condemned Israeli actions at the Gaza fence but called on the left for “balance” in acknowledging the terrorist threat to Israel in the protests. Robert Herbst says the power differential is so unbalanced in Palestine that it is unfair to state “that 30,000 unarmed protesters cannot march and expect to return home alive and uninjured unless they are prepared to take on the impossible task of identifying and removing the few ‘troublemakers’ who may also show up.”

Learning of 18 Palestinians killed over the Passover holiday gutted Robert Herbst. He felt shame. But when he looked around, he could only find a scant few voices also condemning the shooting of the demonstrators at the border with Gaza. The indifference struct him as an act that could be worse than pulling the trigger on one of those sniper guns.