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Jewish Voice for Peace targeted at-risk LGBTQ contingent

by William Jacobson Thursday, Jun. 15, 2017 at 4:39 PM

There apparently is no depth to which so-called Jewish Voice for Peace will not go in its anti-Zionist activism.

For those who are not familiar, JVP’s name itself is highly misleading, as it is not Jewish and is not for peace. Rather, JVP provides a Jewish cover for the anti-Semites and Israel-bashers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. One of JVP’s primary modus operandi is disruption — to make it difficult for pro-Israel voices to be heard without being shouted down or pushed off stage, or having their events disrupted.

The targeting of the LGBTQ pro-Israel community is becoming an obsession for JVP. During the recent Israel Day Parade in New York City on June 4, 2017, JVP activists sought out and physically disrupted a particularly vulnerable group, Orthodox Jewish youth who had “come out” and were marching openly in the parade.

The group that organized the contingent, Jewish Queer Youth (JQY), wrote what happened:

This past Sunday, over 80 people courageously marched in the LGBTQ cluster of the New York Celebrate Israel Parade. JQY believes it is an incredible act of bravery for LGBTQ youth to proudly and openly march through an audience of over 40,000 predominantly religious Jews. Marchers included teens who were kicked out of their homes, schools, and synagogues just for being who they are. These are teens who often struggle with self-harm, suicidal ideation, and internalized shame. Yet almost miraculously, they muster up the courage to face the communities that rejected them. Their message to the Jewish community is very simple: “We all belong.” As far as JQY is concerned, these youth are heroes.

However, in their moment of courage and pride, this most vulnerable cohort of the Celebrate Israel Parade was targeted for sabotage, bullying, and harassment by an organization called Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

Seven JVP “disrupters” secretly infiltrated the LGBTQ marching cluster. They pretended to be part of our group, marching side by side with our teens. As our contingent approached 72nd Street, one of the JVP disrupters lunged toward our speaker system, pulling out as many wires as she could until our music went silent. At that moment, five other disrupters removed their shirts to reveal red shirts brandished with the words “DEADLY EXCHANGE” in black. In the absence of our music, they began yelling to cause a disturbance. They proceeded to block our marching banners with their own anti-Israel signs.

The disrupters had formed a human chain, aimed at preventing our group from moving forward. Efforts to move forward were met with physical resistance, intimidation, and screaming. Finally, police and security swarmed into our group creating more disarray and fear. People were pushed, trampled, and shoved. Our marchers were terrified and shocked. In this confusion, some in our cluster thought it was a terror attempt and immediately fled the parade route. Ultimately, five JVP members were arrested. Despite this sabotage attempt, our group managed to turn the music back on and completed the march with our heads held high.
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I Am A Transgender Zionist & JVP Ambush Won't Stop Me

by HANNAH SIMPSON Thursday, Jun. 15, 2017 at 7:44 PM

I had been looking forward to New York City's Celebrate Israel Parade on June 4, as the annual event is part of my own coming out story. I am a proud young Jewish transgender woman, and the 2013 parade was one of my first public appearances as "Hannah." Queer Jewish events gave me a place to go out as a female, before this persona was ready for prime time.

I marched with Jewish Queer Youth, a nonprofit I regularly volunteer with here in New York. It does lifesaving work supporting teens and young adults coming out, often facing unaccepting families that practice the strictest forms of Orthodox Judaism. For the Celebrate Israel Parade, Jewish Queer Youth joined other LGBTQ support groups like Keshet, Eshel, Mosaic of Westchester, and A Wider Bridge, an organization that links North American LGBTQ rights advocates of all faith backgrounds with their Israeli and West Bank counterparts. It runs life-changing mission trips to bring activists to see things from both sides in person.

However, disturbingly, the LGBTQ contingency at the Celebrate Israel Parade faced a woefully misguided, assault orchestrated by a group that claims to be for progressive social advocacy. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) ambushed and blocked our members.

Deceptively named, JVP recently welcomed convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who was connected to a bombing that killed two innocent Hebrew University students in 1969. They also ardently support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which targets products, companies, academics, and even people with Israeli ties. Even political science professor Norman Finkelstein, a notorious critic of Israeli policies, has slammed the BDS movement because its aims would lead to "the destruction of Israel."

Operatives from JVP had infiltrated our group from the beginning of the parade route, putting on the free T-shirts we handed out. We admittedly suspected nothing, because welcoming new faces to into a safe space is precisely the point of the work our organizations do.

Around when we hit 73rd Street, individuals from JVP exposed red shirts and linked arms with signs directly impeding the path of the LGBTQ cluster, as well as our banner carriers and the sound system we mounted on a pedicab. They used their bodies to block us when we tried to proceed. I can best describe what I saw and experienced as a very threatening round of red rover, which thankfully did not last long. The NYPD's brave response prevented things from getting worse. Most importantly, nobody was injured.

JVP's executive director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, openly admitted the LGBTQ community was "carefully chosen target" in an interview with Tablet. Let that sink in: JVP openly takes aim at a marginalized, oppressed group and considers itself a progressive organization. Vilkomerson has gleefully implicated herself in this targeting of the LGBTQ community. JVP has also proudly posted video of the incident on its website.

According to JVP, as reported in the Jewish Daily Forward, seven of the protesters were arrested by the NYPD.
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