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JVP Misses the Mark in Seattle

Earlier today, at a Boeing plant south of Seattle, members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) blocked an entrance into the facility in protest of  the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the sale of weapons made by Boeing to Israel. Boeing is certainly a worthy target of such protests but it would be so much more useful and powerful for JVP to take a page from the playbook of Americans Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.

In the run-up to World War II, Americans Jews targeted the domestic Nazi infrastructure by protesting meetings of the German American Bund for their support of Hitler and the Nazi Party. Today, few groups are better positioned than JVP to expose and target the domestic Zionist infrastructure with nonviolent protests at, for example, the local Jewish Federation office and local Zionist synagogues.

However, it seems unlikely that JVP will pursue such a role as they are in the business of obscuring the roots of the conflict in Palestine. Consequently, they will not be publicly targeting the institutional support for Israel within the mainstream Jewish community even as they rally to support Israel during the current upsurge of bloodletting.

In closing, I offer for your consideration the reported remarks of one of the JVP protesters today:

“As a Jew, I am outraged that Israel’s one-sided war of choice is being done in my name,” Jewish Voice for Peace [member] Eliana Horn said. “My Jewish values compel me to stand with those who face violence and oppression.”

Now, imagine for a moment that it is the 1960s and the struggle against Jim Crow is at its peak. How would it strike you if a protester said: “My White values compel me to stand with those who face violence and oppression”? Would you not think it a bit bizarre for one to profess her solidarity with Black people by upholding her White values? Wouldn’t you be tempted to argue that justice and peace are values not confined to any one group of people? Wouldn’t you be concerned that the very of idea of distinctive White values implicitly undermines the very struggle for equality?

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