Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jewish Voice for Peace: A New Beginning

On March 11-13, a small conference of around 200 gathered on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia with potential significance extending far beyond its modest attendance.  This was the national membership meeting of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a group founded in San Francisco in 1996 that, in the wake of the siege of Gaza in late 2008, has aggressively grown into a national organization with 27 local chapters and seven full time staff.

The meeting and its discussions were closed to the press (though this writer was in attendance), but this only highlights the newsworthiness of the meeting in itself.  Late last year, the Anti-Defamation League named JVP on a list it released of the “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in America,” and since then well-known members of the group have in some cases been met with violence or threats of violence, particularly on the west coast, and lesser forms of intimidation from various Jewish community leaders.

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