The New York-based Center for Jewish History (CJH) is hosting an event for Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) on October 26th titled, “The Balfour Declaration: Support for a Jewish Homeland or Jewish State? Is there a difference?”
JVP, according to the Anti-Defamation League, is “the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States. Despite the neutral tone of its name, JVP works to demonstrate Jewish opposition to the State of Israel and to steer public support away from the Jewish State.”
Already immersed in controversy is David N. Myers, the new President of the Center for Jewish History, known as the "Jewish Library of Congress," as Myers is a known supporter of JVP, and a leader of the New Israel Fund and J Street, both supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Among the speakers at the event is Jonathan Kuttab, who has called the root of Israel’s evil “the basic premises that Israel is and was intended to be a Jewish state … rather than a state for Jews and Arabs,” according to Andrew Harrod at the Philos Project. Kuttab compared Zionists calling for a Jewish state with ISIS demanding an Islamic state, and attributed similar atrocities to both movements. He also credited Israel’s creation solely to the “evil of the Holocaust and the history of anti-Semitism in the West – not in the Arab world.”
As the ADL states,
JVP uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and to provide the movement with a veneer of legitimacy. On its website, JVP recognizes its role as such, noting that the group's Jewish nature gives it a “particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies” and the ability to distinguish “between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue.”
JVP’s positions on BDS, its willingness to partner with anti-Israel organizations that deny Israel’s right to exist, and its refusal to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, demonstrate its hardline stance. In fact, JVP has consistently co-sponsored demonstrations to oppose Israeli military policy that have been marked by signs comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and slogans that voice support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. JVP has not condemned or sought to distance itself from these messages.
This just highlights the Center for Jewish History's deeper involvement with the anti-Israel BDS movement since the recent election of David N. Myers to head the Center. A center for Jewish history should not be helping to undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish state.