Jewish Voice for Peace recently came out with a list of 6 congressional candidates that it will endorse in this year’s elections:
o Rashida Tlaib
o Ilhan Omar
o Mark Pocan
o Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez
o Betty McCollum
o Pramila Jayapal
Canary Mission has a detailed outline of Jewish Voice for Peace and its activities. It describes how JVP tries to create division between American Jews and Israel and reduce US social, economic and diplomatic support for Israel.
To achieve their goals, JVP staunchly supports and promotes Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement initiatives in academic, social, and economic institutions. The group provides “a façade of Jewish legitimacy” to BDS campaigns and other initiatives that seek to demonize and delegitimize Israel, and reportedly views itself as the “‘Jewish wing’ of the Palestinian solidarity movement.”
…In 2013, an ADL report claimed that JVP consistently co-sponsors “rallies to oppose Israeli military policy that are marked by signs and slogans comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, demonizing Jews and voicing support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.”
The group is also known for disrupting and trying to shut down pro-Israel events.
Canary Mission also has a run-down on the leadership of JVP:
Led by Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson, JVP consists of American Jews and non-Jewish “allies.”
Vilkomerson is one of the leading promoters of BDS in the United States. In 2016, Vilkomerson wrote a Washington Post opinion article titled “I’m Jewish and I want people to boycott Israel.” She has also targeted LGBTQ Jews for harassment in order to push JVP’s anti-Israel agenda.
Sarah Schulman, a member of JVP’s advisory board, is a Professor and faculty advisor for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island (CUNY CSI). In a 2013 interview, Schulman declared that Jews “should all move” to New York City “and forget about Israel.”
Daniel Boyarin, a professor at UC Berkeley and a member of JVP’s advisory board, has compared Israelis to Nazis, referred to himself as an “anti-Zionist” and has a sticker on his office door at UC Berkeley calling to “End U.S. Aid to Israel.”
You get the picture.
Considering the strong anti-Israel stand of JVP, it is interesting that on the day it announced their list of the candidates it was supporting, Anarcho-Zionist made the following observation:
Those 3 congressmen — endorsed by both Jewish Voice for Peace and J Street — are:
o Mark Pocan
o Pramila Jayapal
o Betty McCollum
Just how does that work?
How can “pro-Israel” J Street support the same candidates as anti-Israel JVP?
First, here is how J Street, itself, describes the virtues of each of these three congressmen:
Rep. Jayapal is a champion of progressive issues, and her stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is consistent with this profile. The Congresswoman supports the Iran nuclear deal and believes the United States has a constructive diplomatic role to play in the Middle East. She also supports a two-state solution. Her upbringing in India, against the backdrop of the Indian-Pakistani conflict, has informed her strong pro-peace perspective. Since being elected to Congress, Rep. Jayapal has been a consistent supporter of J Street’s legislative priorities, and she was an early cosponsor of House Resolution 326, which reaffirms Congress’s commitment to two-state solution and opposes settlement expansion and annexation.
Congresswoman McCollum has been a JStreetPAC endorsee since 2008 and is one of J Street’s most vocal allies on the Hill. Last session, she supported the entire J Street legislative agenda, and this session she was an early cosponsor of H.Res. 326, which gets Congress on the record reaffirming support for the two-state solution and opposing annexation and settlement expansion.
Throughout his time in Congress, Rep. Pocan has been one of the most steadfast supporters of J Street issues. He has consistently voted with J Street’s entire legislative agenda. Rep. Pocan has traveled to Israel and the Palestinian Territories and is a strong advocate for US leadership towards a two state solution. He was one of the earliest cosponsors of House Resolution 326, which reaffirms Congress’s commitment to two-state solution and opposes settlement expansion and annexation.
Notice what J Street doesn’t say about any of them:
Not one of them is described as a friend, let alone a strong supporter, of Israel.
But they are all supporters of J Street and its agenda — and that, of course, is what matters, isn’t it?
BETTY MCCOLLUM MN-04
Betty McCollum is the representative of Minnesota’s 4th district. She is a St. Paul native and was the second Minnesota woman elected to Congress. First elected in 2000, Congresswoman McCollum is a champion for Palestinian rights, including leading the fight to protect Palestinian children from Israeli military detention and abuse by introducing the first legislation for Palestinian rights in the House of Representatives. Throughout her career, she has also championed public education, protecting the environment, and foreign policy centered on human rights.
PRAMILA JAYAPAL WA-07
Pramila Jayapal is the representative for Washington’s 7th district and is the first South Asian American woman elected to Congress. First elected in 2016, Congresswoman Jayapal is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a leader on immigrant rights, labor rights, Medicare for All, College for All, fighting white nationalism, and more. She is a stalwart supporter of Palestinian rights in Congress, including standing up against Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children and Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes, as well as for a resumption of aid to Gaza, and more.
MARK POCAN WI-02
Mark Pocan is the representative of Wisconsin’s 2nd district. First elected in 2012, Congressman Pocan is Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and has long been a leader in promoting economic and social justice initiatives. He is a consistent and leading voice for Palestinian rights in the House of Representatives, including breaking the silence around the Israeli military blockade and humanitarian crisis affecting Palestinians in Gaza and protecting Palestinian children.
JVP seems as reticent to brag about how anti-Israel these three are as J Street is silent as to how anti-Israel their stances are.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the three.
Pramila Jayapal is a good friend of Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar — such a good friend in fact that when the 2 were criticized a year ago for their attacks on Israel, Jayapal jumped to their defense on Twitter:
Jayapal opposed anti-BDS legislation last year in Congress, saying that she had “unresolved concerns about First Amendment free speech and protest protections.”
She also wants to see opposition to the Israeli “occupation” as part of the Democratic platform, and in 2018 was part of a press release, along with Mark Pocan, condemning Israel’s handling to the Hamas “March of Return” riots.
Betty McCollum goes further.
In October 2018, Betty McCollum was the first US lawmaker to ever publicly accuse Israel of apartheid, when, at at the annual national conference of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights she said in reference to Israel:
Friends, the world has a name of that form of government that’s codified in the Nation State Law, and it’s called apartheid.
Rep. McCollum has been ‘a strong ally of the pro-Israel community’?
Is it any wonder that J Street has been forced to repurpose their endorsements of candidates to reference their support for J Street instead and expunge any claim of support of Israel?
More recently, in 2019, Rep. McCollum introduced the ‘‘Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act’’ (HR 2407), which she claims
is expressly intended to end U.S. support and funding for Israel’s systematic military detention, interrogation, abuse, torture, and prosecution of Palestinian children. This bill not only highlights actions by the Government of Israel that violate international humanitarian law by their treatment of Palestinian children in detention, it affirmatively declares that equality, human rights, and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis are the values the American people expect the U.S. government to advance.
Among the problems it finds with it:
o The bill is based largely on the lobbying efforts and accusations of Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P). DCI-P is closely tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
o Citibank, Arab Bank and Global Giving have closed DCI-P accounts due to these PFLP connections.
o Many of the citations to UN and other reports in turn simply copy lines from DCI-P publications.
o The new legislation includes several inaccurate factual claims and distortions of international law.
o The bill applies standards to Israel that are not applied in the US in general, or in McCollum’s state of Minnesota in particular.
o The bill misquotes a number of State Department reports
This is someone that J Street supports — but not so enthusiastically that they can publicly boast of her as a friend and supporter of Israel.
The fact that J Street supports someone like McCollum should not be all that surprising. After all, J Street at one point supported Rashida Tlaib
o supported Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh
o supported Islamic Relief, which has links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
o criticized California’s Kamala Harris for discussing cooperation between California and Israel on water management, agriculture, and cyber security
o accused Harris of “racism” for meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
o retweeted a post from Linda Sarsour supporting Ahed Tamimi, who was jailed for incitement and assaulting an IDF soldier — and upon release voiced support for suicide bombing.
While we have long championed the value of a wide range of voices in discussion of the conflict and related issues, we cannot endorse candidates who conclude that they can no longer publicly express unequivocal support for a two-state solution and other core principles to which our organization is dedicated.
Fortunately for McCollum, accusing Isreal of apartheid does not contradict any of those “core principles” that J Street is dedicated to!
J Street is OK with Mark Pocan too.
The Washington Free Beacon reported in 2017 that Representative Mark Pocan anonymously reserved official Capitol Hill space for an anti-Israel forum organized by organizations that support boycotts. In the end, Pocan did not attend the anti-Israel forum he sponsored. A senior Congressional official was quoted as saying
[Pocan] chose to facilitate a pro-BDS smear campaign using taxpayer dollars without even showing his face at the event…As millions of Jews and non-Jews alike celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, Congressman Pocan and his J-Street lackeys are spending their time working to undermine the state of Israel.
During the trip, the five met with Shawan Jabarin, whom the itinerary described as the General Director of Al-Haq, for a discussion on “Palestinian political prisoners”.
What the AGI itinerary failed to note, however, are Jabarin’s ties to terrorism.
A member of the PFLP, Jabarin was convicted for his efforts to enlist support abroad for attacks on Israel. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but was released after nine months due to respiratory difficulties.
It is obvious why Jewish Voice for Peace would want to support Jayapal, McCollum and Pocan — that group and these 3 congressmen are clearly a good fit.
J Street obviously thinks they are a good fit with these 3 too.
It is worth noting that J Street does not need to convince those who strongly disagree with our positions within the American Jewish community or the political sphere. The majority of American Jews and many politicians already broadly agree with us; they just need a movement to validate, organize and amplify their voices. [emphasis added]
The fact that J Street deliberately makes a point of validating and amplifying the views of these 3 politicians demonstrates how badly J Street has stumbled.
Or how cynical J Street really is.
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