For the past few years, I have been a constant visitor to the Jewish Voice for Peace website and their affiliated blog, Muzzle Watch. I did not find JVP accidentally: I found them after a detailed search of justice and peace oriented Jewish organizations. My search was prompted by the brutal invasion and bombing of Gaza by the Israeli defense Forces in 2008. Just like so many Americans seeking Muslim organizations and scholars who are not necessarily hostile to America and Israel, my quest was to find an organization that had a balanced and just approach to the Israeli-Palestinian issues.
I was already aware of the unflinching rhetoric of The American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC) and was also aware of the deeply racist rhetoric of Campus Watch, a group led by Daniel Pipes that claims to monitor speech on Israel on university campuses. For someone who often writes against Israeli policies, these two are pretty intimidating groups as they wield enormous symbolic and material power and are not shy in attacking anyone they can label an anti-Semite or a terrorist. Of course, I have never felt intimidated by them as I choose to write about justice and fairness for all humanity and could not care less as to what these two organizations said about me. Thankfully, though, I am too small a fry to give any trouble to these two institutions and have been able to continue my public scholarship without much notice from them.
Anyway, my search for a Jewish organization that could give me some hope for the future led me to the enlightened and courageous workers and leaders of JVP. I must admit that I do not know any of the organizers personally, and even though I have occasionally sent them my meager financial contributions, I only know JVP from what I have read on their website and blog.
My purpose in sharing this knowledge is to inform my Pakistani readers that there are vibrant, humanistic, and fair groups like the JVP who, while honoring the Israeli right to exist as an independent nation, are also highlighting the plight of Palestinian population. Furthermore, JVP is not your average fringe group but has become an increasingly important voice in the United States on issues related to peace, settlements, Occupied territories, Israel, and Palestine.
Their blog, Muzzle Watch, serves the important function of tracking and reporting all acts of silencing academic and activist voices that are critical of Israel and, in a way, forms a counterpunch to the claims and antics of Campus Watch.
I provide below an excerpt of their mission statement:
Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.
JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.
For details, please visit their website and support their important mission. As for me, I would just like to thank all those associated with JVP for creating this more humane, just, and hopeful alternative to the entrenched and established organizations that see only one side of the picture and represent only what suits their limited agenda.
- Brandeis Hillel again rejects membership bid by Jewish Voice for Peace (jta.org)
- Brandeis Hillel rejects Jewish Voice for Peace (jta.org)
- Seeking to say who stands for Israel (boston.com)
- Jewish Voice for Peace: Statement on the Escalation of Violence (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)