Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
If you have another question, email us at: feedback at jewishvoiceforpeace dot org
 
MORE ABOUT JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE at Democracy in Action

 

Q: Why are you a Jewish group? Can’t you just be a peace group?

A: Jews have a special role to play in bringing about a change in American and Israeli policy. Israel claims to be acting in the name of the Jewish people, and it is up to us to make sure the world knows that many of us are opposed to their actions. More importantly, as long as even legitimate criticism of Israel  is blocked by accusations of anti-Semitism, it is the responsibility of Jews to stand up for  universal justice.

Because we are Jews, we have a particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies. As Jews, we can make the distinction between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue to shield Israel from legitimate criticism.

Q: I have heard of other Jewish American peace groups. What makes JVP different?

A: In JVP, our Jewish ethics guide us to a belief that Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs are of equal importance and deserve equal rights. Unlike other Jewish peace groups, we support the rights of Palestinians and Israelis equally, but keep our focus squarely on American involvement and on international law and universal principles of human rights. JVP was the first major Jewish peace group to demand that American military aid be withheld until Israel ends its occupation.

In our view, we must advocate not only for peace and justice, but for concrete steps that will bring about that future as well.

JVP embraces progressive Jews of all different levels of religious belief and a wide range of views on the Israel-Palestine conflict. We pitch the widest possible tent, on many levels, and have a unique ability to connect with mainstream Americans, mainstream Jews and peace activists, as well as Muslim, Arab and Christian groups.

Q: Do I have to be Jewish to join JVP?

A: No. At JVP, we are inspired by Jewish values and traditions that call for peace and justice. At the same time, we welcome both Jews and allies who advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation and oppose anti-Jewish hatred, anti-Arab racism, and Islamophobia.

Q: Do I have to be in the U.S.?

A: No. Wherever you are, you are welcome to join us in our work. We focus on the United States, however, because of the role that the US plays in the Middle East--including large sums of military aid that fund the Israeli occupation.

Q: How can I get involved?

A: You can start by joining Jewish Voice for Peace. Becoming a member is easy. You can join by donating right here by credit or by sending a check to the address at the bottom of the page. The more you give, the more you can support the work we are doing. You can also subscribe to our online action alerts. Tell us where you are, and we can refer you to a JVP chapter in your area or to one of our many allies throughout the United States and the world who are engaged in the same work we are. Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated, and will go a long way toward helping the besieged people of the Middle East.

 

ABOUT JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE'S POLICIES:

Q: Are you Zionist, anti-Zionist, post-Zionist or something else?

A: JVP is an organization with a wide spectrum of ideological diversity. Our members hold a wide variety of views on many issues involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict. This diversity has been a great source of strength for JVP. The organization welcomes people from many different political points of view, asking only that they hold to our core principles. Those political points of connection include the following:

• We are committed to an end to the Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. We see ending the Occupation as the beginning, not the end, of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

• The root of ending the Occupation is here in the United States, not in Israel, and we work for an end to US military aid to Israel until the Occupation ends.

• Interest groups within the United States, such as the Christian Zionist lobby, the arms and aerospace industry lobbies, and right-leaning Jewish organizations, have a vested interest in maintaining the Occupation. But since the Occupation threatens the peace and security of the Middle East, the true interests of the United States, as well as those of Palestinians and Israelis, lie in ending the Occupation.

• We believe that in order to reach a just and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the Nakba must be addressed. Without  acknowledging the events of 1947-9, there will be no truth and reconciliation. JVP adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that "everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country." Israelis should acknowledge the Palestinian refugees' right of return and negotiate a mutually agreed just solution based on principles established in international law, including return, compensation, and/or resettlement.

• We firmly state that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize the policies of the government of the State of Israel or the policies of the Jewish establishment in the US. But we also believe that actual anti-Semitism is alive and well and is mostly misunderstood both on the left and in the mainstream.

; We stand against all violence against civilians. We believe that the Occupation is the root cause of the violence, and that the Occupation itself, with its checkpoints, harassment, and dispossession of Palestinians is itself an act of violence. We believe that all attacks on civilians, whether by the Israeli army or Palestinian militias, are war crimes.

; We believe that when the Occupation ends, it will then become possible to consider all the different ideas for a permanent and sustainable peace in the Middle East. We believe that an open dialogue that includes all different formulations of such a permanent solution are legitimate, as long as they each respect the individual and collective rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Q: What's JVP's position: one-state or two?

A: As activists in the movement for peace and justice in the Middle East, JVP members are often asked for our position on how the Palestine / Israel conflict should ultimately be solved. Our mission statement endorses neither a one-state solution, nor a two-state solution. Instead it promotes support for human rights and international law. As a result, we have members and supporters on both sides of this question, as well as many others who, like the organization as a whole, are agnostic about it. If a short answer is required, it would be that we support any solution that is consistent with the national rights of both Palestinians and Israeli Jews, whether one binational state, two states, or some other solution. In this paper, we provide a longer answer. JVP’s stance has always been that the people living in Israel-Palestine are the ones who must decide on their own political formations and how best to resolve this conflict. In fact, much of our strategy and approach is based on the conclusion that it is outside interference, especially that of the United States, that is the biggest obstacle to the two peoples creating that solution.

(You can read our full statement on this issue here:http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/article_30.shtml)

Q: What is your position regarding Palestinian refugees?

A: JVP supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the right of people to return to their countries.; Peace will only be possible when Israel acknowledges the Palestinian refugees' right of return and negotiates a mutually agreed, just solution based on principles established in international law including return, compensation and/or resettlement.

Please go to http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/nakba.shtml, where you will find fact sheets and links of additional resources.

Q: Aren’t you supporting terrorists who attack and kill your own people?

A: Quite the opposite. We call all attacks on civilians, whether against Palestinians in Jenin or Israelis in Tel Aviv, what they are—war crimes. We maintain that American and Israeli policies have served to sustain the violence throughout the region. That is why we work so hard to change those policies.

Recent history has shown that when Palestinians have hope for the future, support for groups that engage in violence plummets. The occupation, now more violent than ever, creates the fertile ground from which suicide bombers develop. We contend that it is we, not those who support only one side unequivocally, who are truly working to end terrorism in all its forms. 

Q: Do you support boycotts, divestments, and sanctions?

A: The boycott/divestment/sanctions movement (BDS) encompasses a variety of tactics and targets.  JVP rejects the assertion that BDS is inherently anti-Semitic, and we encourage discussion both within our own community and outside of it of the growing BDS movement. JVP defends activists' right to use the full range of BDS tactics without being persecuted or demonized.

We support divestment from and boycotts of companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. This includes companies operating in or from occupied Palestinian territory, exploiting Palestinian labor and scarce environmental resources, providing materials or labor for settlements, or producing military or other equipment or materials used to violate human rights or to profit from the Occupation.

Q: What is your position regarding US aid to Israel?

A: We call for suspension of military aid to Israel until the Occupation ends. We oppose all US aid to Israel that is used to perpetuate the occupation, to attack civilians, to violate human rights, or to support the settlements. 

 

ABOUT EMAIL LISTS:

Q: How can I join your email list?

A: Click here to join.

Q: How can I subscribe to Jewish Peace News?

A: Jewish Peace News (JPN) is an information service that circulates news clippings, analyses, editorial commentary, and action alerts concerning the Israel / Palestine conflict. Although it is not a project of JVP, many of its editors are core activists in JVP. For more information or to subscribe, gohere. 

Q: May I get JVP information in another language?

  A: At the moment, all our materials are in English only.

 

ABOUT OTHER MATERIALS:

Q: Where can I find and download your HOPE images?

A: You can find them here in different sizes. You can get HOPE t-shirts here

 

JVP-Portland member Maxine Fookson was recently in Gaza with Physicians for Social Responsibility. Read her blog here.



JVP-Portland member Maxine Fookson and Mohammed Nabil co-host One Land Many Voices on community radio KBOO. For more info, click here.