Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Silencing Dissent in the American Jewish Community: What’s happening there, and why it matters here

Yisrael Medad

January 2nd, 2011

7:30 pm.

Coalition of Women for Peace, 3 Yegia Kapayim St. Tel Aviv

In parallel to the growing de-legitimization of dissent here in Israel, the American Jewish community has become increasingly hostile to groups and individuals expressing political and social criticism of Israel: a Boston-area synagogue recently cancelled an appearance by J-Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami due to pressure from members; Hillel, the organization of Jewish centers on college campuses, recently banned groups who actively support BDS; and in November, a group of Jewish Voice for Peace activists were pepper sprayed by right-wing Jewish protestors at a meeting in San Francisco.

These are merely a few examples of a much wider trend has been noted both in the Jewish and popular press, and which is heating up the progressive blogosphere and activist circles. Join us for a discussion with Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson, journalist and activist Joseph Dana, and Jewish-American activist Rachel Bergstein (bios below) to learn more about what is happening among American Jews and the implications it has on our struggle here.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a grassroots, left-wing activist group. JVP played a leading role in a handful of high-profile campaigns to oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and has been criticized for its support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. JVP has a mailing list of 100,000 people and more than 4,000 financial supporters.

Joseph Dana is a writer and filmmaker. A contributing writer of the Israeli web magazine +972, Dana’s writing has been featured in the Nation, Electronic Intifada, Le Monde, New York Times, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Alternet, Huffington Post and Haaretz.

Rachel Bergstein moved to Tel Aviv from Washington DC in 2009, originally under the auspices of the New Israel Fund’s Social Justice Fellowship. She is part of a fledgling network called “Activist Potluck,” which aims to bring together young, English-speaking Jewish progressives living in Israel.

Eilat Maoz
General Coordinator
Coalition of Women for Peace
3 Yegia Kapayim Street, Tel Aviv 67778
Tel/Fax: 972-3-5281005
Mobile: 972-508575729

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