Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK - The Anti-Defamation league has released a report criticizing the left-wing group Jewish Voice for Peace for “taking increasingly radical positions and employing questionable tactics in pursuit of its mission to diminish support for Israel” in recent months.
Among its concerns regarding the controversial pro-BDS organization, the ADL mentioned JVP’s recent expressions of support for convicted Palestinian terrorists such as Rasmea Odeh and Marwan Barghouti.
Odeh made headlines earlier this year when she was invited to speak at JVP’s conference back in April. Despite much criticism from the Jewish community, the group defended her participation, describing her as “a feminist leader” and “a deeply respected Palestinian organizer”. Odeh was sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli military court for planting the explosives used in two 1969 Jerusalem bombings, which killed two students. She was later released as part of a prisoner exchange.
“In its zeal to condemn Israel at every opportunity, JVP has celebrated figures who have been convicted of engaging in terrorism.” the ADL wrote.
According to the ADL, the group has also recently ramped up efforts to break down longstanding programs that allow members of American and Israeli police and defense communities to train together and share best practices for fighting terrorism.
This refers to JVP’s new campaign titled “Deadly Exchange,” calling for action against joint training programs between Israeli and American security forces.
According to the organization, “the Anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-Black policies escalating in the Trump era have their roots in longstanding US and Israel policy.”
In these exchange programs, JVP claims, American law enforcement officials are inculcated with disrespect for minorities and violence by their Israeli counterparts.
A recent promotional video for the “Deadly Exchange” campaign also points fingers at US Jewish organizations, including the ADL, for running many of the joint programs.
In a statement to The Jerusalem Post
, JVP reacted to the ADL report, saying that “it appears that JVP's Deadly Exchange campaign has hit a nerve.”
“The ADL's law enforcement exchange programs promote the exchange of violent and discriminatory police practices between the U.S. and Israel,” the group wrote. “Why is a self-described liberal civil rights organization facilitating these exchanges?”
Another accusation on the ADL’s list referred to harassment of Jewish LGBT groups, mentioning an incident that took place during the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York in June where JVP members disrupted the LGBTQ contingent, cutting their microphones and blocking them from marching.
“According to reports, JVP also supported the expulsion of the Jewish group, A Wider Bridge, from the Chicago Dyke March on the grounds that they carried rainbow flags which resembled Israeli flags,” the ADL wrote. “One of JVP’s longtime tactics has been to allege that Israel’s proud record of support for LGBTQ rights is merely a way of directing attention away from its mistreatment of Palestinians.”
In addition, the ADL stated that “although JVP pays lip service to the importance of dialogue and discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in practice JVP members have shouted down and interrupted campus speeches by guests whom they consider too Zionist.”
Jewish Voice for Peace did not provide an answer to these accusations, despite inquiries from The Jerusalem Post
“Israel has strengths and weaknesses, things to teach and things to learn, like any country in the world. It is perfectly legitimate to criticize Israeli policies,” the ADL concluded. “But JVP’s single-minded desire to paint Israel as a source of racism and violence has led it far beyond legitimate criticism of Israel.”