Image Credit: Illustration: ©Gulf News

A Jewish voice in the United States is actively propagating a strong message of support for peace between Israel and the Palestinians while opposing Israel's harsh occupation policies. The ‘Jewish Voice for Peace' (JVP) organisation has managed to grow into one of the US largest grassroots peace groups created by young Jewish leaders.

This organisation has declared its dedication to ‘reaching a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on the principles of equality and the international Human Rights Law'. Though the group's headquarters is in Oakland, California, some of its chapters are in New York City, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, San Francisco, Sacramento and Seattle. As the organisation is mushrooming, other branches are being established across America. It is noteworthy that among several campaigns, the most important one is the campaign against Israel's policies in coordination with the Palestinian ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions' (BDS) civil society group. (Stefani@jvp.org).

Campaigns conducted by JVP are communicating the following themes and messages:

  • No more demolished Palestinian villages; the Jewish National Fund drive ‘to make the desert bloom' means destruction of a Palestinian Bedouin village.
  • Ask one of the largest financial groups in the US to divest from firms that profit from the Israeli military occupation.
  • Israeli artists condemn colonies/built (or in the process of being built) in the Palestinian occupied territories.
  • Support human rights advocates; tell American Jewish leaders to speak out against the abuses of the rights of the Palestinians by the Israeli government, the occupying power.
  • Campus Divestment from Israel: Students around the US are calling for investor activism to address human rights violations against Palestinians with full support for BDS, JVP's Palestinian partners. Indeed, the most interesting about the JVP is the ‘Jewish Voice for Peace New Rabbinical Council', co-chaired by Rabbi Brant Rosen and Rabbi Alisa Wise. These Jewish leaders have dedicated themselves to ‘speaking out on behalf of justice for all peoples in the Middle East'. Rabbi Rosen is the co-founder of Ta'anit Tzedek, and was named one of America's top 25 pulpit Rabbis by Newsweek in 2008. He is also the author of Shalom Rav blog. As glamorous as Rabbi Rosen, is Alisa Wise, a woman who attained a rabbinical status usually forbidden in conservative rabbinical circles.

‘Reform Judaism' movement came into being as a result of ‘the literal interpretation of the Torah known as ‘Jewish fundamentalism', the material interpretation of the spiritual text. These active Jewish groups for peace are the result of a spiritual consciousness that has established ‘Reform Judaism' whose followers are never considered to be Jewish by the ultra-conservative rabbis who are in control of the Zionist right in Israel. The other reason is ‘the profane verses in the Torah' which have been causing the greatest embarrassment to every Jew and every Christian, with no exception. These verses can never be tolerated by any sincere and faithful adherent of the Jewish or the Christian faith, as well. As Christianity had witnessed ‘the reformation of the Christian church', Judaism underwent a similar spiritual awakening. The New Rabbinical Council that supports the ‘Jewish Voice for Peace' has been moving into a higher spiritual consciousness that has grown to become ‘the conscience of the adherents of the spiritual message of the Torah' that does not involve discrimination or abuse of any rights.


In fact, the greatest challenge facing the New Rabbinical Council is the phenomena of the ‘Jews for Jesus' organisation which is devoid of any spiritual message. It is an organisation that has been created to gather support for the Jewish right that governs Israel, from among the various fundamentalist Christian churches in the southern belt states of the US. Conversion to Christianity is the foundation of Christian evangelism. The Likud machine in the US has been backing ‘Jews for Jesus' for its unfaltering support for Israel. For the very first time, the Likud Zionist lobby in the United States, has succeeded in creating a non-Jewish voter bloc that fully supports Israel's policies including its colonial policy in occupied Palestine. ‘Jews for Jesus' has managed to infiltrate all Baptist Churches in the southern states of the US that form the core of the voter bloc of the Republican Party. Indeed, the 2010 congressional elections in the US which the Republicans had won defeating President Barack Obama's Democratic Party was the result of an alliance that united Christian fundamentalists opposed to congressional reforms aimed at limiting the influence of lobbies in the legislative branch of the US government.

The ‘Jewish Voice for Peace' groups are fully aware of this serious interference in the American internal affairs by a foreign element which is in this case, the Likud lobby. These Jews are trying to protect Judaism and all Jews from any retribution resulting from acts that cause harm to America's national security and interests by those supporting the policies of the Israeli right. These Jews are well aware of the biblical law of reciprocity which asserts that ‘what goes around, comes around', and as stated in the Torah; "who lives by the sword, shall die by the sword".

 Professor As'ad Abdul Rahman is the Chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.