When starting a political movement, choosing the right name is perhaps the most important step. We tend to make snap decisions about whether or not to support an organization based on what its name implies, despite the danger that an organization can misrepresent itself with false connotations. The Jewish Voice for Peace organization (JVP) has done just that, as not only do they not represent the majority opinion of the Jewish community, but also do not stand for peace.
While their name may sound innocent and upstanding, JVP is one of the main organizations that seeks to delegitimize and demonize the state of Israel through double standards. JVP is an avid supporter of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement (BDS), which attempts to get American universities to stop investing in Israeli companies, and economically boycott the only democracy in the Middle East.
A more accurate name would be the Jewish Voice for Palestine, as JVP is so openly against the Jewish homeland (which is also home to many other minorities, not just Jews). They even went so far this year as to invite Rasmea Odeh as their guest of honor at their National Membership Meeting. Odeh is a convicted terrorist who murdered two Israeli college students in 1969 by planting a bomb in a supermarket in Jerusalem. An organization that supports terrorists cannot claim that they are also in support of peace.
Yet JVP has been successfully hiding its sinister actions behind its peaceful-sounding name. Ohio State’s Jewish LGBTQ group, B’nai Keshet, actually co-sponsored an event with them. The event was a Purim drag show (Purim is the Jewish holiday that encourages dressing up in costumes) to raise money for LGBTQ refugees. While this event was for a good cause, partnering with JVP under any circumstances signals that JVP’s mission of undermining Israel is acceptable and tolerated on Ohio State’s campus. The recent defeat of the BDS ballot measure at Ohio State clearly demonstrated this, as the student body did not fall for the false rumors of Israel’s human rights violations and voted to continue doing business with the country.
Ohio State’s Hillel cut ties with B’nai Keshet after the Purim event. Hillel International wisely refuses to work with anyone willing to partner with an organization that supports such extremist values. While I support the majority of B’nai Keshet’s work in helping Jewish LGTBQ students and creating a more welcoming culture for this minority group on campus, I cannot believe that they would overlook such enormous flaws in an organization offering to co-sponsor.
Building support for members of the LGBTQ community cannot come from shifting hatred towards Israel. Indeed, justice for one group can never come at expense of another group, and an organization that attempts to do just that should not be allowed to have the word “peace” included as a part of their name. It is time to call JVP out on their actions and withdraw support, as any organization that honors a terrorist cannot be trusted to actually work for a better future.