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Jewish Voice for Peace Statement on BDS

Summary: JVP has grown dramatically in size and influence in the past two years. As part of the ongoing assessment sparked by this growth, JVP reviewed its BDS policy. On the basis of an organization-wide conversation about BDS, we have refined our position while maintaining our strategy. JVP shares the aims of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee — ending the occupation, achieving equality for Palestinians now living in Israel, and recognizing Palestinian refugees’ right of return. JVP focuses our efforts on boycott and divestment campaigns that directly target Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. We believe this to be the most effective way for JVP to help bring about the aims we share with the Palestinian BDS call.

JVP is dedicated to promoting full equality and democracy for all Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that an enduring peace will remain out of reach until Palestinians as well as Israelis can negotiate from positions of strength. This requires a shift from the prevailing imbalance of power. JVP fully endorses the use of nonviolent strategies to achieve this shift. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, of which JVP is a part, plays a central role in this work.

Palestinian activists have long engaged in non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation and to Israel’s institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against its Palestinian citizens, but they have been subjected to repressive measures by Israel, and in the past, the impact of their actions has been diminished by the international media’s focus on violent resistance.

Since 2005, Palestinians, Israeli allies and hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide have been mobilized in response to the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns. These campaigns include: economic, cultural and academic boycotts of West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements, and of Israel itself; divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights; and calls for economic sanctions against Israel.

The Palestinian civil society BDS call, now led by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee on behalf of its constituent organizations and unions, which represent the majority of Palestinian civil society, has three stated goals:

  • an end to the occupation;
  • equality for Palestinians now living in Israel; and
  • recognition of Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

We share these aims, and believe that they can and must, in the end, be achieved in mutually-agreed ways that uphold the well-being of Palestinians and Israelis alike.

As a force of U.S.-based Jews and allies, JVP has considered the full range of BDS campaigns, and has chosen to focus our efforts on boycott and divestment campaigns that directly target Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. We believe this to be the most effective way for JVP to help bring about the aims we share with the Palestinian BDS call.

In solidarity with the Palestinian Boycott National Committee and other Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations, JVP has initiated and sustained the largest divestment campaign mounted in the United States for Palestinian human rights -– the growing movement to induce investment giant TIAA-CREF to divest of its holdings in companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Boycott National Committee stands fully behind the JVP-initiated TIAA-CREF campaign, and has urged “all groups working on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in the U.S., especially on university campuses, to endorse this campaign and join it, whenever possible, to amplify its reach and impact across the U.S.”

JVP has issued guidelines to support our chapters in engaging in BDS campaigns at a local level through work with coalitions of concerned activists.

JVP rejects the assertion that BDS is inherently anti-Semitic. We will defend activists around the world who employ the full range of BDS tactics when they are demonized or wrongly accused of anti-Semitism.

After strategic and ethical analysis and organization-wide deliberation among our members, JVP affirms our role in the larger BDS movement. We are committed to a continuing review of our role that takes into account the evolving political situation, the growing BDS movement, and the responses of JVP’s constituency and the people to whom we speak.

Original Link: http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/content/jvp-issues#1

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