“But the formality of this step — banning outright leaders and key members of a Jewish organization — is yet further concrete evidence of what has been apparent for some time: that even as the Israeli government makes crystal-clear its commitment to having as few non-Jews as possible within its borders, it is also becoming increasingly blatant about possessing criteria for the types of Jews it considers kosher.”
— Natasha Roth
The big news concerning Israel’s fight against the movement for Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions this week is the publication of an Israeli government blacklist of 20 organizations. Notable on the list is the American Jewish group, Jewish Voice for Peace.
Rebecca Vilkomerson, the head of the organization, wrote Monday that “now, contrary to any democratic norm, there’s to be a political litmus test for entering the country.”
It may come as a surprise to some that Jews are actually being banned in an organized and institutional manner — from entering Israel — the Jewish state. But scrutiny of Jewish history reveals how logical this is. They are simply considered “the wrong kind of Jews,” as Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann told Lord Balfour. And the “wrong kind of Jews” can be banned. The Jewish tradition of such societal expulsion of Jews is known in Hebrew as “herem,” the term also applied for “boycott.”
Budrus tells a story of Palestinian community organizers, with the support of Israeli and international activists, nonviolently resisting the destruction of their village by Israel’s Separation Barrier.
As you have likely heard, over the weekend Gov. Jerry Brown signed California anti-BDS bill AB 2844 into law. As our coalition looks at next steps, it would be good to know if any church groups here in California have chosen to boycott or divest believe they will/might be affected by this legislation which bars persons (but legally includes entities) from applying or renewing contracts for over $100,000 if they have a “policy” “against any sovereign nation or peoples recognized by the government of the United States, including, but not limited to, the nation and people of Israel.”
Thank you to all who engaged in the long and collaborative effort to block this bill from becoming law. My personal frustration with our governor’s decision does not overwhelm my gratitude to all of you and those in our broad coalition for the hours, days, weeks and months we joined together to fight this good fight.
I believe legislators should pay attention to the growing number of constituents who actively work to raise Palestinian rights as we do the rights of all oppressed people and minority groups. All who voted to support this misguided and dishonest legislation will find themselves on the wrong side of history.
Let’s stay focused and steadfast as Palestinians are. The arc of the moral universe is long.
— Estee Chandler
“Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” — Cesar Chavez
This white paper was recently published by Jewish Voice for Peace, documenting, in their terms, “How Israel’s defenders use false charges of anti-Semitism to limit the debate over Israel on campus.” Read the full paper here: Stifling Dissent.