Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jewish Voice for Peace anti-Israel protest in Boston turns antisemitic

Jewish Voice for Peace organized an anti-Israel rally in Boston that included chants of "Jesus killers" and "drop dead" towards a small group of pro-Israel students.
Organized by activist Adam Akkad and Jewish Voice for Peace’s local chapter, the demonstrators protested the Israel Defense Force’s current Operation Protective Edge, but made no reference to the hundreds of Hamas rockets targeting Israeli civilians, or the use of Gaza civilians as human shields for Hamas....
Among the Israel supporters, several young Jewish communal professionals encouraged students to stand their ground and come up with their own chants and banners. 
“They said some nasty things, like calling us Jesus killers, asking how many babies we had each murdered, telling us we would burn,” said Samantha Mandeles, a former student activist who now trains students in Israel advocacy for CAMERA.
“There was one woman — the one who assaulted Chloe [Valdary] — who was screeching to me that I should ‘rape my ass with the flag,’ but I ignored her, even as she slapped the end of my flag as it waved it the wind,” Mandeles told the Times of Israel on Saturday....
Following their protest outside the Israeli consulate, demonstrators held another anti-Israel gathering on the Boston Common. Protestors then picketed outside three companies they called “complicit in the genocide” by supporting Israel, including Macy’s and TIAA-CREF, the retirement fund.
Staffers at the Israeli consulate filmed the protest on their cellphones, and it's clear from the videos that not very many people attended.

And, by the way, Israel is not committing genocide in Gaza (or anywhere else). As much as I am against this war, it's clear that Israel is not carpet-bombing Gaza. Too many people have died, especially innocent children and women who have no influence on what the Hamas leadership decides, but Israel neither intends to exterminate the Palestinians of Gaza nor is it actually exterminating them.

Thus Macy's and TIAA-CREF are not "complicit in genocide."


  1. This post troubled me greatly, so I reached out to people I know within JVP. In response I received the following information, which I share here with the permission of Rabbi Alissa Wise of the JVP Rabbinic Cabinet:

    JVP was a lead sponsor of a rally and march through downtown Boston on Wednesday. The march stopped at Macy's (seller of SodaStream) and TIAA-Cref where speeches were given. There was very little confrontation, none of it organized; many people had personal conversations with as they walked or as speeches were going on.

    JVP Boston did not sponsor the rally on Friday afternoon which took place front of the Israeli consulate and then proceeded to Boston Common, though they did post a mention of it on FB, as they do with all events relating to Israel/Palestine in Boston. Leadership did hear a report that some of the demonstrators surrounded the counter-demonstrators, but did not hear anything like what's described in this blogpost.

    Everyone with whom I spoke in JVP agreed that what's reported here is appalling and that no one we know in JVP would say those sorts of things.

    That Friday evening there was a march of 300-400 people in Copley Square organized by Northeastern SJP. There were only three or four counter demonstrators; all conversations were civil. JVP folks in Boston reached out to the SJP organizers to inquire about the incident reported here, and were told that no complaints had been made.

    (That's the end of what I was told - now this is Rachel speaking for myself again.) This whole story makes me sad -- not only because these are examples of terrible behavior and things no one should be saying to each other, but also because it seems clear that people on one side and people on another side are telling and hearing entirely different stories about what's going on.

  2. Hi Rachel - thank you for providing more information. The Times of Israel article said that the Friday demonstration was sponsored by JVP, but apparently they were wrong. Some of the confrontations at the Friday demonstration were filmed by those there. See It sounds like the JVP people don't really know what happened at the Friday rally. Do they know who organized it, if they did not?

  3. Rachel, it disturbs me that you're part of JVP. Do you really agree with their pro-BDS standpoint? When I read your blog, and your tweets, I feel that you are a kind and thoughtful person. Do you think that Israeli academic should be boycotted, and that companies should divest from Israel? In both cases, that touches me personally. I am an academic who comes to Israel every year to do research, and I have many friends who teach at the Hebrew University, Bar Ilan, etc. And my retirement savings are held by TIAA-CREF, which JVP says should divest from companies doing business with Israel - without any regard to whether this is a good business decision for TIAA-CREF for the millions of people who depend on them. Also, JVP is "agnostic" on whether there should be a one or a two-state solution. A one-state solution means the obliteration of Israel as a separate state and in all likelihood the creation of a state with an Arab-Palestinian majority. Jews have not fared well in Arab-majority states, as the history of the 20th century after 1948 tells us. With your intelligence and kindness, how can you agree with these stands?