Posted on: February 4, 2011 Posted by: Mitchell Plitnick Comments: 2

On the same day that Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) could celebrate an excellent article about it in the New York Times, they also had to send out the alert below, alerting us to another threat to one of their activists.

I had reported some time back on a physical attack perpetrated by at least one member of the fanatical extremist group, Stand With Us against JVP members in Berkeley. The violence, however, doesn’t seem to be abating. Quite the opposite, as the defenders of occupation, human rights violations, and ethnic hatred continue to be exposed by groups like JVP, they will increasingly turn to intimidation tactics. It’s all they have.

I, obviously, know JVP well (indeed, when I worked for them, I also got a threatening phone call on my home phone). I know the membership and leadership will only be more determined in the face of these pathetic but monstrous tactics. The dispatch from Jesse Bacon is below, after which is a photo of the flyer that was found on the porch of the targeted activist. I know that even most people who oppose JVP equally oppose these sorts of tactics. Please spread this around so they can take action within their own communities to try to bring some civility back to the discourse around Israel. 

From Jesse Bacon:

Los Angeles area Jewish peace activist targeted at home for work against Israeli occupation: Part of pattern of escalating harassment and attacks against Jewish peace advocates

[February 4, 2011, Los Angeles]  On Wednesday February 2, Jewish Voice for Peace Los Angeles chapter leader Estee Chandler discovered a “WANTED for treason and incitement against Jews” poster on her front porch. The photo featured her picture, workplace, and most disturbingly, names of nieces and nephew (see attached) as well as charges about “anti-Jewish” activity.

The poster specifically targeted her for her work with Jewish Voice for Peace, a national organization with 27 chapters, dedicated to ending Israel’s occupation and promoting a just US foreign policy that recognizes the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Chandler had previously been in the media as part of a national effort to get the retirement fund giant, TIAA-CREF, to divest from companies that profit form the Israeli occupation.

The creators of the poster remain unknown, though the police are actively involved.

This act of intimidation at the home of a peace activist follows similar high profile campaigns of harassment by settler groups  targeting Jewish activists like Tikkun’s Rabbi Michael Lerner, or Rabbis for Humans Rights’Rabbi Arik Ascherman and New Israel Fund president Noami Chazan in Israel. It is also part of an alarming escalation of threats and attacks on Jewish Voice for Peace members  here in the United (Links to video or photographs):

  • November 14, 2010-, Members of the group StandwithUS disrupted a JVP local chapter meeting in Berkeley, CA  and one of them pepper sprayed (VIDEO) two JVP members.
  • June 6 , 2010-  For an hour, StandWithUs members taunted and threatened (VIDEO) members of JVP members,  and Women in Black as well as Palestinian allies at a silent  peace vigil.
  • In the last 6 months, the Oakland offices of Jewish Voice for Peace have twice been covered with graffiti and stickers (PHOTOS) that said things like, “Jewish Voice for Palestine” and “Viva Baruch Goldstein.”  Baruch Goldstein is a hero of the extremist settler movement who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Muslims at prayer there and wounding another 125.

Police reports have been made in all cases.

Estee Chandler, Los Angeles chapter leader Jewish Voice for Peace: ” I was forewarned about extremists when I first decided to start a Jewish Voice for Peace chapter here in my hometown of Los Angeles.  I went into it with my eyes open. While I didn’t think anything would happen this soon, i cant say it wasn’t something I didn’t anticipate. Ultimately I think these people really are cowards, and not really to be feared.

We are the silent majority of American Jews and its time for us to stop being silent. if we raise our voices a fraction of the level of these people- we will become the message, too many people who are with us  are afraid. ultimately nonviolence is the only thing that has ever won out.”

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, Rabbinic Council of Jewish Voice for Peace, leader of Jewish adult study center as well as various justice related projects in Southern California such as “The resort to vilification, demonizing, and other such tactics against Estee Chandler and other Jewish Voice for Peace members must be identified as acts of desecration, both in a secular sense and in the religious sense. The right to hold different views in peace and without fear, is at the heart of democracy’s promised and cherished freedoms.

The “wanted poster” is a translation in English idiom of the villainy unleashed by the violence prone settler movement in Israel and now, their supporters in the United States. Jews who speak for peace and reconciliation are not traitors to their people rather they are its Prophets and descendants of the way of the holy house of Aaron: “seeking peace and pursuing it.” The charge of “traitor” and the designation of “race” as Jewish on the poster bespeak the ideas of people who spread fear as their only tool.

[If you have trouble reading the text here, contact me and I’ll send you the image. – MP]

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