Jewish Voice for Peace San Diego Condemns the Israeli Offensive in Gaza

by on July 21, 2014 · 19 comments

in History, Peace Movement, San Diego, World News

By David Deutsch, Jonathan Graubart, and Avital Aboody/ Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego

hold israel accountableJewish Voice for Peace San Diego (JVPSD) is the local chapter of the national Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization devoted to the pursuit of peace, social justice, equality, and human rights in Israel-Palestine.

While most mainstream American Jewish organizations have long abandoned moral responsibility when it comes to Palestinians, we insist upon holding Israel accountable for its crimes, which include a nearly fifty-year occupation, a denial of Palestinian self-determination, repeated war crimes, and systematic human rights abuses.

We oppose Israel’s latest offensive on the Gaza Strip, labeled Operation “Protective Edge.” As of July 18th, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights released figures that estimated more than 80 per cent of the 260 Palestinian victims to have been killed so far were civilians. They also reported that a further 1,920 Palestinians had been wounded as a result of the conflict that began on July 8th.

The collective punishment of the Palestinian people carries the full support of the US government, which supplies much of Israel’s highly sophisticated weaponry. In Israel a mob in Tel Aviv recently sought vengeance by physically assaulting the few Israelis protesting the current assault on Gaza.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas of the world and home to 1.8 million Palestinians including many refugees whose parents and grandparents were expelled from their homes in what is now southern Israel, including Sderot. Gaza residents have lived under a brutal occupation for 47 years and a devastating Israeli siege for the past 7 years. The International Committee of the Red Cross denounces the siege as illegal “collective punishment.”

Operation Protective Edge has brought the crisis to new heights. Gaza’s hospitals face shortages of essential medicine and equipment and the International Red Cross delegation warns of a water shortage. Israel’s boast of providing warnings before bombings offers small comfort as the population is boxed in by Israeli and Egyptian forces with no place to go.

Operation Protective Edge is the fourth major Israeli onslaught on the civilian population of Gaza since 2006. While each has been justified in the name of security, top Israeli security officials concede that these operations have not made Israel more secure. They have simply inflicted massive suffering on an impoverished densely populated community. Collectively, these assaults amount to crimes against humanity. Such attacks provoke hate and calls for revenge, making all Israelis and Palestinians less safe.

In addition to a ceasefire JVPSD calls for a comprehensive international resolution of the Palestinian situation guided by respect for human rights, international humanitarian law and past UN resolutions. While all parties must be held accountable for war crimes and human rights abuses, the international community must also review the underlying conditions the have subjugated the Palestinians to periodic mass killings by a sophisticated modern army.

We do not excuse Hamas or other Palestinian militants for their attacks on civilians. But our unshakeable belief in justice – as Jews and as human beings – compels us to acknowledge that the root of the violence lies in the Israeli government’s commitment to the occupation of Arab lands in the West Bank and Gaza for over 47 years. The US has enabled this occupation. For real change to occur, here and in Israel, we must all speak out forcefully.

 

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar ObJamie July 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm

The last comment of the article mentions the terrorist-like activities…of Hamas and other Palestinian militants. I would call that a bit biased.

” While each has been justified in the name of security, top Israeli security officials concede that these operations have not made Israel more secure. ”

This is simply, NOT TRUE. The wall stopped the suicide bombers, the offensives destroy rockets, weapons, and the assholes that fire them from mosques and schools. Duh!

Where is the mention of the conceeded lands? Where is the mention of the Israeli’s citizen rights to not get hit by a rocket?

Your stance is confused.

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avatar unWAShedwallmartTHONG July 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Someone has been not been diligent in reading the history of the conflict. A little more study on your part regarding the history of the partition from around 1946-47 would be appreciated before you post sophomoric jargon like “Duh!”

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avatar lori wood July 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm

…off topic, but I need to know…..”unWAShedwallmartTHONG”, is there story behind your user name????? It makes me giggle…..

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avatar unWASHEdWallmartthONG July 21, 2014 at 6:27 pm

The true meaning is shrouded in mystery, my dear, for it is bifurcated or trifurcated. The left side of my brain refuses to divulge part of its meaning, & the right side of my brain refuses or does not remember the other part of the meaning. My subconscious has only inserted a message into the moniker that sometimes appears. It’s a question. What do the caps say?
My therapist tells me that some day the true meaning may be revealed. I’m hoping to decipher the meaning, so I bought a Ouija board the other day.
Thank you for your query.

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avatar unWASHEdWallmaRtthONG July 21, 2014 at 6:29 pm

There it is again.

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avatar lori wood July 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Well done! You got me…..

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avatar Tyler July 21, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Just FYI – Jewish Voice for Peace is the most influential Anti-Zionist group in the nation. The group isn’t even fully comprised of Jews. As someone raised in a culturally Jewish household, I’m kind of shocked this was posted…. and I’m not even a champion of everything the Israeli Government does.

http://www.adl.org/israel-international/anti-israel-activity/c/backgrounder-jewish-voice.html

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avatar unWAShedwallmartTHONG July 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

In a world where the hasbara ricochets throughout the media incessantly, it is a welcome sight when another point of view is published.

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avatar Chris July 21, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Tyler, are there facts posted above that you believe are incorrect? Or is it only the source that you find troubling?

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avatar obecean July 21, 2014 at 10:42 pm

It is well known to the rest of us that we are in his world, facts, our opinions and experiences be damned.

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avatar Tyler July 22, 2014 at 7:07 am

I’ll try and elaborate best I can why I disagree with this post. The Israel-Palestinian conflict is one of the most, if not the most complex and long lasting foreign policy issue I can think of. You can study it for years and still feel like you know nothing. I’ve been lucky enough through my family to travel and spend time in Israel and the West Bank, as well as some time in Jordan at a Palestinian Refugee camp. After all that time, I still don’t feel that I understand the entire issue to its roots, and I don’t think anyone in here does. I’m not just some ra-ra fan of Israel who blindly supports everything they do, believe me. I was raised in a culturally Jewish home but I’m not in any way religious. I grew up in a largely Christian neighborhood so I wasn’t really part of a close knit Jewish community growing up. I find things like the Birthright program that sends US kids over to Israel to be nothing but propaganda…

To start – the JVFP is widely considered a fringe group, as I have said. This isn’t to say they can write and distort “facts” in an eloquent manner than makes you feel for the plight of the Palestinians (as if all other groups don’t). You know what? The KKK has written some pretty eloquent stuff as well but we all know better. This group may act peaceful in writing, but they are far from it. This group is well known for disrupting Israeli events with anti-Semitic epithets and even physical pushing. Again, this group isn’t even really comprised of a majority of Jews. It’s mostly 18-20 year olds who barely understand the issue and it’s backed by major secret donors.

“…an organization devoted to the pursuit of peace, social justice, equality, and human rights in Israel-Palestine.” No, they aren’t. This group can mascarade as being pro 2 state solution, but they are fervently anti-Israel. Everything they put out is about the divestment of Israel and Palestinian plight, as if none occurs on the other side of the coin, skewed or not. I should add that JVFP is a fan of Iran, the country that holds the anti-Zionist conference annually that is attended by groups like the JVFP. Members of JVFP can’t obviously go, though.

“While most mainstream American Jewish organizations have long abandoned moral responsibility when it comes to Palestinians, we insist upon holding Israel accountable for its crimes, which include a nearly fifty-year occupation, a denial of Palestinian self-determination, repeated war crimes, and systematic human rights abuses.” Most organizations haven’t abandoned moral responsibility at all. This whole paragraph is a joke. Notice again they say nothing about Palestinian crimes while only championing for their self-determination as if they aren’t at all at fault for the mess they’ve got themselves into? I don’t think it’s that every other group has abandoned responsibility – hell I went over there for the first time with money donated from a major Jewish Org. and we delivered $30,000 in school supplies to students in the West Bank. It’s just that JVFP wants to make it sound like they are taking the moral high ground when it couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m not denying that there have been isolated incidents of human rights abuses by individual or small groups of IDF troops, and I’m all for justice being served against them. As for the 50 year occupation – it’s cute they want to boil that down to one sentence as if that will totally serve justice to laying out the situation. They don’t even mention that Egypt was the country that held Gaza in isolation prior to Israel.

“We oppose Israel’s latest offensive on the Gaza Strip, labeled Operation “Protective Edge.” As of July 18th, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights released figures that estimated more than 80 per cent of the 260 Palestinian victims to have been killed so far were civilians. They also reported that a further 1,920 Palestinians had been wounded as a result of the conflict that began on July 8th.” Again, a tragedy, but I find these numbers and where the blame lies to be different. First of all, and this is fact – no one, and I mean NO ONE aside from the Palestinian Authorities know how many ACTUAL civilians are killed/wounded. Their numbers are always inflated. On top of this, Hamas isn’t a recognized army – Hamas = civilians. So even though true civilians are being killed, the numbers don’t accurate reflect this. Many of those civilians killed are actually Hamas fighters. Secondly, let’s talk about why so many civilians are killed. Hamas was VOTED into power by Gaza. They sealed their fate when they elected a group whose mission statement explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of all Jews. Fatah had made so much progress, particularly in the West Bank after Arafat’s death, and all that progress was destroyed with Hamas’ rise to power.

Now what does Hamas do in a dense area like Gaza? They use their own people to their advantage. We are talking about a place where their childrens programming (look it up if you don’t believe me) teaches children they will become heros and martyrs if they become a suicide bomber. They treat their own lives as just a little cog in the machine to destroy Israel. They have no qualms with using the density of Gaza to their advantage by shielding their ammunitions, tunnels and rocket launchers with their own people, something disgusting beyond nature. And why not? Rather than just letting Israel destroy their infrastructure every few years, they make sure civilians die at the same time so that they can report it to the media and try to make Israel just look like a bunch of heathens to groups like JVFP, where they can further skew the conflict. Rinse and repeat every 2 years.

“The collective punishment of the Palestinian people carries the full support of the US government, which supplies much of Israel’s highly sophisticated weaponry. In Israel a mob in Tel Aviv recently sought vengeance by physically assaulting the few Israelis protesting the current assault on Gaza.” Way to take a completely isolated incident and use it as if the status quo. There are PLENTY of people, several I know personally, who live in Israel and do not agree with all government policies. Many protest. There are plenty of papers and news sources in Israel that publish criticisms of the government. That’s what you are allowed to do in a civil democracy. Let me know how that goes statistically in Palestinian controlled territory. Those people were attacked by radicals on the Jewish side of the coin. Those radicals even unfortunately have about an 8-10% representation in the Knesset as well, but they don’t really hold much sway. They are the an even crazier version of our own Tea Party. A lot of their base is comprised of the Ultra Orthodox Jews and the settlers in the West Bank. Just to throw it out there – I’m NOT a fan of the settlements. That is one aspect that I do agree is a obstacle to peace. But you know what? The Knesset also has Arabs. As for US support of Israel – no shit. Even with the current conflict, Israel is the only stable nation in the middle East, save for MAYBE Jordan. No shit we are going to back them. Simple foreign policy. The divestment of Israel would be terrible for the entire world economy.

“Gaza residents have lived under a brutal occupation for 47 years and a devastating Israeli siege for the past 7 years. The International Committee of the Red Cross denounces the siege as illegal ‘collective punishment.'” Again, they conveniently left out the fact that Egypt kept Gaza isolated before Israel did. They also left out the fact that Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 and even removed their settlements. What did they decide to do? Elect Hamas! Continue firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel…. many of them not even making it over the border and falling on their own people. What’s Israel going to do? Protect it’s people the best it can. Have any of you seen a rocket flying across the sky in your own presence? I have. It’s terrifying. Luckily, Israel now has the Iron Dome, a near totally effective way of making sure the rockets explode before hitting soil in Israel. The Iron Dome, as well as technology in general is what skews the numbers so much. Of course you aren’t going to see as many Israeli deaths, but that doesn’t take away the terror of living with rocket barrages going above your head and landing in random areas. It’s terrifying, and EVERY time this conflict ramps up, it’s because Hamas starts firing rockets into Israel. Over the course of Protective Edge in particular, the Israeli’s have offered cease fires and it’s been Hamas that has attacked during the cease fire EVERY time. Most of the cease fires didn’t even last 5 hours. It’s a classic boy who cried wolf scenario. You keep instigating and then crying that the “big bully” is attacking you unfairly.

“Operation Protective Edge has brought the crisis to new heights. Gaza’s hospitals face shortages of essential medicine and equipment and the International Red Cross delegation warns of a water shortage. Israel’s boast of providing warnings before bombings offers small comfort as the population is boxed in by Israeli and Egyptian forces with no place to go.” Here’s one paragraph I can actually side with. I do find it terrible that aid groups can’t get in to deliver enough basic essentials and medical supplies. Again, though, it’s a never ending cycle of tit for tat that landed them in this situation. They feel oppressed (which they are), but they attack in a barbaric manner than only brings on more fire power from Israel. You know what area hasn’t had nearly as much trouble lately? The West Bank. I wonder why? Maybe it’s because Hamas doesn’t have a stranglehold on that territory.

“While each has been justified in the name of security, top Israeli security officials concede that these operations have not made Israel more secure. They have simply inflicted massive suffering on an impoverished densely populated community. Collectively, these assaults amount to crimes against humanity. Such attacks provoke hate and calls for revenge, making all Israelis and Palestinians less safe.” That is categorically false. The security wall, while ugly and terrible that it has gone up, has made Israel much much safer. There’s a reason that Hamas attacks largely cease for several months up to several years every time there is an incursion. It’s because they completely take out the Hamas infrastructure. A more accurate depiction would be that the ongoing conflict creates short term solutions but also shoulders terrible collateral damage. The cycle ends up repeating itself, but Israel becomes slightly stronger and Gaza (specifically) becomes slightly weaker each time.

“Collectively, these assaults amount to crimes against humanity. Such attacks provoke hate and calls for revenge, making all Israelis and Palestinians less safe.” And why are these attacks that provoke hate happening? Is it maybe because Hamas is provoking Israel to attack them so they can portray themselves as the victims over and over again? They both provoke hate and call for revenge. Should Israel just say “gee, those silly folks in Gaza keep firing rockets over here. Let’s just let sleeping dogs lie. Hell, let’s just let them go and take down the border, they’ve shown their good for it. I certainly don’t have the answer to this situation, but I’m trying to portray that it’s so complex that I’d laugh at you if you told me you have figured it out.

“We do not excuse Hamas or other Palestinian militants for their attacks on civilians. But our unshakeable belief in justice – as Jews and as human beings – compels us to acknowledge that the root of the violence lies in the Israeli government’s commitment to the occupation of Arab lands in the West Bank and Gaza for over 47 years. The US has enabled this occupation. For real change to occur, here and in Israel, we must all speak out forcefully.” Again, most aren’t actually Jewish. Kind of laughable they decide to write this as if it’s written solely by Jews. They decide to throw in the Palestinian side of the violence into half of a sentence, but then go right back in to placing blame at the foot of the Israeli’s. Why not bring up the fact that Palestinians aren’t really wanted anywhere? I’ve been to Jordan and Egypt. They really don’t want them there. They don’t like them. This isn’t just on Israel, but it’s a convenient argument. For change to occur, it’s needs to be collective – not just Israel and Palestine. Until Hamas is ousted, I don’t see anything changing.

I realized by the end that I’m only scratching the surface. There are other topics within this argument I’d love to go into further detail with, but I don’t really have the time today. I just felt compelled to respond with my own opinions developed through a decent amount of time spent in the Middle East.

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avatar Aging Hippie July 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Never buy anything with a UPC code starting with 729. Some of these products are sold in shops in Seaside Village.

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avatar unwashedwallmartThong July 22, 2014 at 8:13 am

This sounds like one of those student volunteers paid by Israel’s habara unit to deflect criticism.
Simply put:
Israel wants all the land; the Palestinians are in their way; I am an anti-Semite for stating thus.

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avatar Tyler July 22, 2014 at 8:40 am

Oh please. Your best retort is to try and label me a shill without even trying to debate? No one is calling you an anti-semite. Stop straw manning this.

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avatar Tyler July 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

Again, no one has the answers. I certainly don’t, but I know that I’m at least decently versed on the subject and have visited both areas. Can you say the same?

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avatar Tyler July 22, 2014 at 8:44 am

And frankly calling me some sort of propagandist as if my thoughts weren’t my own and they were crafted by the Israeli Gov’t PR machine is pathetic. I’ve read that garbage and my post isn’t even close to that crap.

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avatar Aging Hippie July 22, 2014 at 9:13 am

Much of this conflict might have been avoided if the Balfour agreement had simply specified that a new name must be chosen, a name not found anywhere in any scripture or historic documents, an original name. This would make it very clear to everyone that the new nation is in no way connected to any ancient nation, and is not automatically entitled to any territory once held by any ancient nation.

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avatar kingofnyct August 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

What I want to know is why isnt Hamas firing rockets into Egypt? They also have locked up the borders and could easily take care of their arab brethren by opening their borders. But you dont see rockets going into Egypt. So it is obvious that they just want to destroy Israel because they dont like Democracy and freedom. Their leaders are islamic fanatics

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 5, 2014 at 9:26 am

Hamas and the new ruler of Egypt are bitter enemies. What the Palestinians don’t want is the barbaric encirclement of their communities by Israeli military forces. So the “Arabs and their brethren” don’t like “freedom”? That is so near-sighted it doesn’t deserve a response. Whose freedom is being curtailed?

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