Do We Need a Pro-Israel Lobby?
See what JVP's Rebecca Vilkomerson has to say about this on The Tablet.
AIPAC Fosters Islamophobia and Elevates Power Over Justice
By Rebecca Vilkomerson
My children are Israeli citizens. As I work every day to fulfill the mission of Jewish Voice for Peace—striving for equality, human rights, and freedom for all the people of Israel and Palestine—I often think of what I do in terms of my hope that Israel will someday be a place where I’d be happy for my children to live.
Unfortunately, I see the so-called pro-Israel lobby as trying its collective best to do just the opposite—condemning the people of Israel to endless military escalation, ugly ethno-nationalism, and constant warmongering, to say nothing of the system of permanent control, oppression, and dispossession it strives to maintain over the Palestinian people—all in the name of protecting Israel.
From the perspective of my Jewish values, too, I see the pro-Israel lobby doing much more harm than good. In all its component parts, it encourages Islamophobia, fundamentalist Christian apocalyptic anti-Semitism, and the elevation of power over justice. It does tremendous harm to the Jewish community in the United States when it equates criticism of a state’s actions to anti-Semitism, thus de-valuing actual anti-Semitism. And when the lobby pushes positions, as AIPAC is planning to do this week, such as exempting Israel from cuts while all kinds of crucial domestic programs are being downsized, it potentially harms all Americans.
The pro-Israel lobby can continue to pursue its dangerous agenda, but it cannot claim to do so in our names. That’s why I am so proud to be represented in these 100 ads that will appear in Metro stations all over Washington, D.C., as of this week. They read: “Jewish and Proud and AIPAC doesn’t speak for me.”
Rebecca Vilkomerson is the executive director of the Jewish Voice for Peace.
Want to read what other panelists had to say? Go here: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/125551/do-we-need-a-pro-israel-lobby