Jewish Queer Youth Response to Jewish Voice For Peace

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These are the opening two paragraphs of the Jewish Queer Youth response after being “targeted” by Jewish Voice For Peace at the Israel Parade in New York. It begins: “This past Sunday, over 80 people courageously marched in the LGBTQ cluster of the New York Celebrate Israel Parade. JQY believes it is an incredible act of bravery for LGBTQ youth to proudly and openly march through an audience of over 40,000 predominantly religious Jews.

“Marchers included teens who were kicked out of their homes, schools, and synagogues just for being who they are. These are teens who often struggle with self-harm, suicidal ideation, and internalized shame. Yet almost miraculously, they muster up the courage to face the communities that rejected them. Their message to the Jewish community is very simple: “We all belong.” As far as JQY is concerned, these youth are heroes.  

However, in their moment of courage and pride, this most vulnerable cohort of the Celebrate Israel Parade was targeted for sabotage, bullying, and harassment by an organization called Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Seven JVP “disrupters” secretly infiltrated the LGBTQ marching cluster. They pretended to be part of our group, marching side by side with our teens. As our contingent approached 72nd Street, one of the JVP disrupters lunged toward our speaker system, pulling out as many wires as she could until our music went silent. At that moment, five other disrupters removed their shirts to reveal red shirts brandished with the words “DEADLY EXCHANGE” in black. In the absence of our music, they began yelling to cause a disturbance. They proceeded to block our marching banners with their own anti-Israel signs. The disrupters had formed a human chain, aimed at preventing our group from moving forward. Efforts to move forward were met with physical resistance, intimidation, and screaming. Finally, police and security swarmed into our group creating more disarray and fear. People were pushed, trampled, and shoved. Our marchers were terrified and shocked. In this confusion, some in our cluster thought it was a terror attempt and immediately fled the parade route. Ultimately, five JVP members were arrested. Despite this sabotage attempt, our group managed to turn the music back on and completed the march with our heads held high.”

What the incident underscores is the complete disregard and lack of solidarity put on view by Jewish Voice for Peace, in this case in relation to Jewish queer youth. You can read the entire JQY statement here and find the JQY website along with their mission statement here.

Thank you, PG, for sharing on FB.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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