Rebecca Vilkomerson has been a member of Jewish Voice for Peace since 2001 and the group’s Executive Director since 2009. She lived with her family in Israel from 2006-2009. In 2010 she was named one of the 50 most influential Jewish American leaders by the Forward, and was named one of “14 Women to Watch” in 2014.
FMEP: Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has, in some ways, been a lightning rod for the global movement for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel (BDS). Many people can’t reconcile the idea of a Jewish organization advocating a boycott of Israel. Obviously, this is especially true for those who see BDS as unfairly anti-Israel, even anti-Semitic. As the Executive Director of JVP, how do you respond to those charges? And, perhaps a parallel question, what would you say are the major differences between the public perception of the BDS movement and its reality?
Rebecca Vilkomerson: Read more at Facts On The Ground, the Foundation For Middle East Peace’s blog.
On Wednesday Israel and the United States finally signed a new Memorandum of Understanding(MOU), committing the United States to provide Israel with $38 billion in military aid over the ten years spanning 2019-2028. The sum includes $5 billion for missile defense, which Israel had previously had to lobby Congress for each year for a $200 million per year increase in basic aid. The MOU makes some changes to the system by which the US provides aid to Israel, and was also unusually difficult to negotiate. Here are five takeaways: Read more at Facts On The Ground, An FMEP Blog
The owner of Brooklyn Commons, Melissa Ennen, has finally responded to the controversy around the appearance of 9/11 Truther and anti-Semite Christopher Bollyn. Unfortunately, her response is to defend his appearance at her venue. Here is her statement, in full: Continue reading
Brooklyn Commons is continuing to resist calls from a very wide swath of the New York City progressive community to cancel the talk to be held at their site this week by the notorious anti-Semite and right-wing conspiracy theorist, Christopher Bollyn. Continue reading
This morning, I was notified by Busboys and Poets that they have cancelled the event that was to be held this week featuring the notorious anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist, Christopher Bollyn.
Thank you to everyone who acted to bring this about, thank you to Andy Shallal for his quick response to my message to him about it, and thank you to B&P for recognizing their error and acting swiftly to correct it. Please do send them your thanks directly through their contact page.
Now, let’s see if Brooklyn Commons will do the same. Please urge them to follow suit. Their contact page is here.
B&P has said that a statement will be issued shortly. I will post it here when it is out.
There is a distinct tone-deafness in too many progressive circles about anti-Semitism. To some extent, I can understand where it comes from. Anti-Semitism is, thankfully, at a nadir at this point
in history. There is far less of it in the world than at almost any time I can think of, and what there is of it has been able to do far less harm to Jews than at any time in our history. But that does not mean it is gone, nor that its continuing presence is not noxious and dangerous. This last is a point too often lost on some progressives.
While anti-Semitism on the left, like many things, has been exaggerated by certain forces (usually in the service of a Likud-oriented agenda), one very real symptom of it is the ease with which some can barely cloak their anti-Semitism and find safe haven in progressive spaces from time to time. A current example of this phenomenon is the planned appearance of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist Christopher Bollyn at prominent progressive outlets in Brooklyn (September 7) and Washington, DC (September 6).
Who is Christopher Bollyn? He is a former writer for the American Free Press, which the Southern Poverty Law Center denounces as an anti-Semitic hate site. Since his firing from that publication ten years ago, he has been writing books and espousing his theories, most prominently the one about Israel having been behind 9-11. But a look at his web site finds that Jews (by no means confined to Israel or to Zionists) are responsible for a great many other bad things as well in his mind. Continue reading