How Jewish Voice for Peace Went from Fig-Leaf for Anti-Zionists to Major Source of Anti-Semitic Propaganda

Founded in 1996, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is committed primarily to opposing Zionism and to boycotting and libeling the Jewish state. Not content to defend those who disguise their hatred of Jews as hatred of Israel, it has also defended such figures as Louis Farrakhan. Miriam Elman provides a history of the group, and demonstrates that is has undergone a disturbing transformation: originally, it merely provided cover for other anti-Zionist groups, effectively saying, “We’re Jewish and we have no problem with them.” But more recently, Elman argues, it has become an engine of anti-Semitic propaganda, most notably the canard that Israel trains U.S. policemen to abuse African Americans, a claim that has made its way to such prominent Israel-haters as the Muslim activist Linda Sarsour and Temple University’s Marc Lamont Hill.

In a particularly telling episode, JVP activists recently found themselves protesting alongside white supremacists at a pro-Israel event held at a San Antonio church. (Video, 65 minutes.)

Read more at ISGAP

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Jewish Voice for Peace, Linda Sarsour, neo-Nazis

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood