JVP & Stabbing Intifadah

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At their Twitter feed, here, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has remained relatively silent of late about the recent wave of stabbings in Israel. At the beginning of the disturbances (early October 2015) they highlighted outbreaks of anti-Arab racist mobs, and casualties at Palestinian demonstrations in the West Bank without an explicit word about the wave of knifings.

In the Tweet posted above, JVP implicitly endorses this “important statement” by “the BDS Movement” promoting “Palestinian resistance,”

In their official statement here JVP takes one quick sentence to deplore the loss of life on both sides, before then taking the pains at great length to hold Israel responsible for imposing collective punishment on the Palestinian people.

No sympathy, not even a word about the murder of Naama and Eitam Henkin in front of their four children.

This is not a Jewish voice peace. The one-sided support of Palestinian rights at JVP remains uncritical, and counter-productive. And while I don’t at all like the hashtag getting trotted about by the Jewish right, I don’t think they think “Jewish lives matter.” They are the mirror image of the Zionist right. Morally obtuse, the violence they frame inside a neat and supporting “context.”

If context explains “everything,” one could just as well shift the onus and “contextualize” Jewish racism in Israel, but to what effect? The problem with context is that it explains nothing, not because context doesn’t matter, but because it’s a rabbit hole.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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3 Responses to JVP & Stabbing Intifadah

  1. “Context is everything” is not the same as “Context explains everything”. There is a context to the latest violence, and it includes rumors fed by de facto changes in the Temple Mount status quo, the increasing Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, the burning of the Duma family last summer and the unsolved murder, the crack down by security forces. There are, to be sure, other factors, and I will leave that for the historians.

    There has not been a more recent statement by JVP than October 4. The Henkins are not mentioned, but Palestinians victims are also not mentioned. On the whole, the security situation of the Palestinians is much, much worse than that of Israeli Jews. I understand that Jews wake up when Jews are killed by Palestinians and when Palestinians are killed by Jewish settlers, and generally go back to sleep when IDF security forces do the killing. Palestinians do have a right to resistance, but they don’t have the right to hurt innocents. And right now is the time to quiet things down.

    I will say this — would that JVP changes its name! It’s not peace it’s about; it’s justice, freedom, and dignity for both Israelis and Palestinians.

    • zjb says:

      logically, if context is everything, then there’s no text. i replied more seriously at FB. shabbat shalom, “Jeremiah.”

  2. snailgem says:

    “context explains everything” is just as wrong as “context explains nothing”.

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