“I’m Jewish, and I want people to boycott Israel,” pens Rebecca Vilkomerson, in the Washington “Post Everything” column of the WaPo on June 24. Vilkomerson is the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that is neither a voice for peace nor Jewish except when Jewish traditions can be manipulated to support the Palestinian cause.
JVP refers to itself as the “Jewish arm” of the Palestinian solidarity movement. If you want to know how Jewish and how much of a voice for peace Vilkomerson is, ask her what boundaries she would accept for a Jewish state in a diplomatic settlement resulting in two states, one Arab, one Jewish, living side by side in peace and neighborly tranquility. If she is honest, she will answer none.
For JVP does not accept the idea of a two-state solution, but seeks a unitary state overrun with four generations of Palestinian “refugees” that will obliterate the Jewish character of Israel and fulfill the Palestinians’ professed goal of pushing the Jews into the sea.
How is it possible for someone who is nominally Jewish to pursue such a goal? The same way it was possible for a young George Soros to find absolute elation in helping the Nazis hunt down his fellow Jews for extermination. The same way it was possible for Vidkun Quisling to sell out his country to the Nazis. History is littered with the self-haters whose personal quest for destruction is projected onto their own kind.
Like most proponents of the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, Vilkomerson invokes the common false history of its origins that the “non-violent effort began in 2005” by a broad coalition of Palestinian organizations.
The reality is that BDS began in 2001 at an NGO forum held in parallel with the UN’s Durban, South Africa Conference Against Racism.
Why hide the origins of BDS? Because the NGO activists in their denigration of Israel expressed vitriolic and naked anti-Semitism! The irony of a UN conference attacking racism, while producing a mendacious hatred of its own, was lost on no one, least of all the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, who roundly condemned the NGO activists.
The NGO’s final document vilified Israel as a “racist, apartheid state,” resurrecting the old Soviet libel of Zionism as racism.
BDS is a program of demonization, vilification and delegitimization of Israel, characterizing it as an apartheid state – an accusation belied by a trip to the beach in Tel Aviv, riding an Egged Bus, or walking through the Hadassah Medical Center where Arab and Jewish doctors routinely treat both Arab and Jewish patients.
The purpose of BDS is to deny Israel’s right to exist, to legitimize terror, and to cheer-on the coming of a second Holocaust.
Sound extreme? JVP co-sponsors and participates in symposia and rallies where there is vocal support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, whose unequivocal intentions to destroy Israel are shamelessly part of their reasons for existence. On campus, JVP partners with Students for Justice in Palestine, a group known for its anti-Semitism. It routinely deprives pro-Israel and sometimes simply Jewish speakers of their right to speak on campus. It has attempted to prevent Jewish students from running for student senate because they are Jewish. SJP’s anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic programs have spurred outbreaks of anti-Semitic incidents that have raised concerns for the safety of Jewish students.
The rank anti-Semitism of Rebecca Vilkomerson oozes from her essay. Israel’s incursion in Gaza is depicted as part of a continual, nefarious siege, without a simple mention of the more than ten thousand rockets and missiles launched from Gaza that have rained death, trauma, and destruction on Israel’s southern cities. Palestinian terror and illegal arms shipments necessitated the blockade of Gaza and the security barrier on the West Bank, but this is unworthy of her concern.
The random murder of Israeli civilians is justified as a “horrifying symptom of occupation and repression.” In her mind, the Palestinians have a just cause. A just cause legitimizes the murder of civilians. Protecting your children from random death is not legitimate, not if you are a Jew.
Vilkomerson gave several mutual-admiration interviews to American Free Press, a conspiracy-oriented, anti-Semitic newspaper that traffics in Holocaust denial and publishes in its book selections conspiracy theories ranging from 9/11 Truthers to “Man did not go to the Moon…Paul McCartney was replaced after his death in 1966, and that the official narrative of the Holocaust cannot be sustained.”
In her 2012 AFP interview, Vilkomerson repeated another JVP fiction that MSCI had dropped Caterpillar from its social choice portfolio because of JVP. But the reality is that MSCI dropped Caterpillar because of a lockout during a London, Ontario labor dispute. Here is MSCI’s statement on the issue: “In February 2012, Caterpillar’s ESG rating was downgraded by MSCI ESG Research due to declining ESG performance associated with the management of its Employees & Supply Chain challenges.”
Vilkomerson and the AFP deserve each other. Whether the readers of the WaPo should be exposed to her hatred is another question entirely.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center @salomoncenter