EMAIL EXCHANGES WITH THE JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE BOSTON CHAPTER LEADERSHIP, IN WHICH THE JVP LEADERS DECLARED IT "RACIST" TO EXPLAIN THAT THE TRUE PURPOSE OF ISRAEL'S VIOLENCE AGAINST PALESTINIANS IS NOT TO MAKE JEWS SAFE 

August 14, 2021

 

 

Below is the exchange between JVP-Boston and myself (John Spritzler), in chronological order. I had planned to firmly ask at the next Thursday (Aug. 12) zoom chapter meeting that the entire membership of the chapter make the decision for the JVP-Boston chapter on the grounds that otherwise the chapter is not truly democratic. The issue is fundamentally whether to build a winning, or a losing, anti-Zionist movement, as you can tell from this email exchange. Here's what happened. The JVP leadership never sent me the zoom information for the Aug. 12 zoom meeting, and when, on Aug. 11, I emailed the chapter's leader, Marc Gurvitch, asking if there was to be a zoom meeting (they occur regularly on the second Thursday of each month) and if so what is the zoom call information, I received no reply whatsoever. This is how I was kicked out of JVP!

 

---------- Original Message ----------

From: JOHN SPRITZLER <spritzler@comcast.net>

To: jvpbostonnewsletter@gmail.com

Date: 07/30/2021 7:14 PM

Subject: Re: Newsletter: June 26, 2021

 

Hi Nicole and Marjorie,

I would like you to help me communicate a very important (for our movement) idea to the other JVP members. Here is the idea, expressed as seven related points.

First: Most of the general public, to their credit, want nothing to do with anything that they perceive to be "against the Jews," i.e., anti-semitic.

Second: The main Zionist Big Lie--the PILLAR of Zionist propaganda--is that the Israeli government is about protecting Jews from harm and that the violence it uses against Palestinians is only what is required for it to accomplish this.

Third: Because most people believe the Zionist Big Lie (about the Israeli government protecting Jews from harm) they also agree with former Harvard President Larry Summers's assertion that anti-Zionism--because it criticizes what the Israeli government does to protect Jews from harm--is antisemitic in effect if not intent.

Fourth: The only way to win over the great majority of the public to support the anti-Zionist movement is to persuasively (and truthfully!) refute the Zionist Big Lie, as my article (at https://www.pdrboston.org/israel-s-government-attacks-jews-to) has been proven to do even with Jews who were passionately pro-Israel before reading it. My article proves that the Israeli government treats Palestinians like dirt not simply to grab more land from them but FOR THE PURPOSE of making them be so angry at Israel that they will be perceived by Israeli Jews as a frightening bogeyman enemy--an "existential threat"--so that the Israeli government can pretend to be protecting Jews from their "real enemy" (Palestinians) and thereby prevent working class Israeli Jews from seriously challenging the power of the Israeli government while actually economically oppressing working class Israeli Jews horribly in order to enrich the billionaire Israeli upper class. Jews who were passionately pro-Israel change their mind after reading my article and see the Israeli government as their enemy, not the protector of Jews. And non-Jews likewise change their mind because they see that it is not antisemitic to oppose the Israeli government but is actually antisemitic to support it.

Fifth: Until we persuasively refute the Zionist Big Lie, the anti-Zionist movement will remain a minority movement that the U.S. government will therefore be able to ignore and thus continue to give enormous support to the Israeli government. The anti-Zionist movement will remain a minority movement because it asks people to choose between "supporting Palestinians" or "supporting Jews" and most, in order to support Jews and avoid doing what they believe would be antisemitic, will oppose the anti-Zionist movement.

Sixth: It is an unfortunate fact that, having done my due diligence to try to find a single prominent anti-Zionist person or organization that is refuting the Zionist Big Lie (note that merely pointing out that Mizrahi or Sephardic Jews are discriminated against in Israel does not refute the Zionist Big Lie; the truth is that ALL working class Israeli Jews are oppressed by the Israeli government, including Holocaust survivors who are Ashkenazi Jews of course) I have not found a single one. Not a single one! As long as the Zionist Big Lie goes un-refuted, Zionism will prevail. (If you know of a prominent person or organization that is refuting the Zionist Big Lie, please let me know so I can get in touch with them and help them.)

Seventh: I hope JVP will devote serious and energetic efforts to refuting the Zionist Big Lie. Otherwise Zionism will prevail.I trust you agree that the idea expressed here is extremely important for all JVP members to hear and discuss.

Thank you.

----------------------------------------------

 

---------- Original Message ----------

From: Marc G <marcovitch43@gmail.com>

To: spritzler@comcast.net

Date: 08/05/2021 10:37 PM

Subject: Fundamental Differences

 

John

 

The communication you sent to Nicole and Marjorie was forwarded to the chapter organizing team since the content was not a newsletter matter, but a political opinion piece. These were the same arguments presented in your communications with the JVP-B Jewish Community Dialogue Group in which several of these issues were addressed and JVP's position explained. It is apparent that you have fundamental political differences with JVP. The position of JVP is that the path to the end of Political Zionism requires the support of all progressive forces for justice and liberation of the Palestinian people. Only through this support can Jewish anti-zionist organizations build an effective coalition of all people, including Jews. If we build support by only addressing the impact of Zionism on Jews rather than the primary victims, the Palestinians, then we have simply built a chauvinistic(racist) movement. It would be similar to many trade union organizations in the U.S. that built a labor movement excluding the most oppressed victims of Capitalism, the Black and Brown workers. Those trade unions have been decimated and used to undermine labor solidarity.

While we are not prepared to change our practice of centering justice for Palestinians and Palestinian lives in the work we do, we urge you to find another organization to further your goals.

 

We wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors.

 

JVP Boston Chapter Organizing Team

Jill Charney, Susan Etscovitz, Lauren Jappe, Nicole Cohen, Mocha Herrup, Marc Gurvitch

---------------------------------

 

---------- Original Message ----------

From: JOHN SPRITZLER <spritzler@comcast.net>

To: Marc G <marcovitch43@gmail.com>

Date: 08/05/2021 10:59 PM

Subject: JVP Re: Fundamental Differences

 

Dear Jill Charney, Susan Etscovitz, Lauren Jappe, Nicole Cohen, Mocha Herrup and Marc Gurvitch (Marc, would you please cc this to the others?)

Let me point out to you that you have mis-characterized my article. You wrote, "If we build support by only addressing the impact of Zionism on Jews rather than the primary victims, the Palestinians..." My article does not "only address the impact of Zionism on Jews." My article starts out with the following:

--------------------------

 

Zionism is an ATTACK on ordinary Jews ( as well as Palestinianshttps://www.pdrboston.org/israel-s-government-attacks-palestinians]). It is therefore antisemitic (meaning anti-ordinary-Jewish-people) NOT to oppose Zionism. ​

As the facts recounted below make clear, Israel is not a state of the Jewish people; it is a state of--controlled by--the Jewish billionaires who have contempt for ordinary Jews, who oppress them terribly and have no genuine concern for their welfare.

As discussed below, the reason why the Israeli ruling class treats Palestinians like dirt [ https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/11/14/benny-morriss-untenable-denial-of-the-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestine/ ] is not simply to grab more land from them but to provoke their anger and violence against Israel so as to make them be perceived by Israeli Jews as a frightening existential threat, a bogeyman enemy that enables the Israeli ruling class, by pretending to protect Israeli Jews from their "real enemy," to control ordinary Israeli Jews whom it oppresses economically--severely!--to enrich the billionaires.

--------------------------

 

Please follow the links in the first and in the third paragraph, and you will see that I provide enormous documentation of Zionism's attack on Palestinians.

But what I do, that you do NOT do, is explain the true PURPOSE of the attack on Palestinians. I explain, but you do not explain, that the true purpose is NOT (as the Zionists assert) to protect Jews from harm but, on the contrary, to oppress ordinary Israeli Jews terribly.

Furthermore, as I have stated to you clearly but you seem not to want to acknowledge, unless one refutes the false Zionist claim that its violence against Palestinians is for the purpose of protecting Jews from harm, then most people in the general public will continue to believe the Zionist claim and thus believe that it is antisemitic in effect if not intent to criticize what the Israeli government does to Palestinians that is (they wrongly believe) for the purpose of protecting Jews from harm, and they will thus OPPOSE THE ANTI-ZIONIST MOVEMENT. This means that unless the anti-Zionist movement persuasively refutes the Zionist claim that its violence against Palestinians is for the purpose of protecting Jews from harm--and the only WAY to persuasively refute it is to show, as I do, what the actual purpose really is--then the Zionists will prevail by maintaining the support of a majority of the general public.

If you deny what my paragraph above says, then say why you deny it, clearly and specifically. If you think my argument is based on a false premise, then say what the false premise is. If you think my argument is based on faulty logic, then point out where the faulty logic is. But please stop evading the actual issue by using a straw man argument based on mischaracterizing what my article says. If you do not deny what my paragraph above says, then it follows that JVP will want to do what my article does--persuasively refute the Zionist Big Lie by explaining what the TRUE purpose of its violence against Palestinians is.

I look forward to having a sincere and fruitful conversation about this matter, so that we can build an anti-Zionist movement that wins over to its side a majority of the general public and thereby can defeat Zionism.

John

-----------------------------------

 

---------- Original Message ----------

From: JOHN SPRITZLER <spritzler@comcast.net>

To: Marc G <marcovitch43@gmail.com>

Date: 08/06/2021 11:30 AM

Subject: Re: JVP Re: Fundamental Differences

 

Dear Jill Charney, Susan Etscovitz, Lauren Jappe, Nicole Cohen, Mocha Herrup and Marc Gurvitch (Marc, would you please cc this to the others?)

I am asking the JVP to persuasively refute the Zionist Big Lie that enables Zionism to maintain the support of a majority of the U.S. public. The Zionist Big Lie says Israeli government violence against Palestinians is for the purpose of protecting Jews from harm. To persuasively refute this Big Lie one must show that the real purpose of the Israeli government's violence against Palestinians is to enable the billionaire ruling class of Israel to control Israeli working class Jews whom it oppresses terribly in order to enrich itself at their expense.

Here are some simple yes or no questions that I would like to hear your answer to:

Question #1. Do you agree that the purpose of Israeli government violence against Palestinians is to enable the billionaire ruling class of Israel to control Israeli working class Jews whom it oppresses terribly in order to enrich itself at their expense?

Question #2. If you answered No to Question #1, then Do you agree that the true purpose of Israeli government violence against Palestinians--whatever it actually is--is NOT to protect Jews from harm?

Question #3. If you answered No to Question #2, then Do you agree with the Zionist claim that Israeli government violence against Palestinians is for the purpose of protecting Jews from harm?

Question #4. If you answered Yes to either Question #1 or #2, then Do you want JVP to directly and persuasively refute the Zionist Big Lie by showing that the purpose of Israeli government violence against Palestinians is NOT to protect Jews from harm?

Question #5. If you did not answer Yes to either Question #1 or #2, then Do you agree that JVP's opposition to Israeli government violence against Palestinians is opposition to violence the purpose of which is to protect Jews from harm? (Note: If you answer No here, then I challenge you to defend your answer because, after answering No to both Question #1 and #2, it is illogical. If you answer Yes here, then you are essentially agreeing with former Harvard President, Larry Summers, who said that anti-Zionism is antisemitic in effect if not intent; this argument is what keeps a majority of the U.S. public in the pro-Israel camp, of course, and if it is not refuted then Zionism will prevail.)

Question #6. If you answered Yes to Question #5 (after answering No to both Question #1 and #2), then Do you intend to win over a majority of the U.S. public to the anti-Zionism side in spite of the fact (that you agree with) that the anti-Zionism side opposes the violence that the Israeli government uses to protect Jews from harm?

I look forward to hearing your answers to these very relevant (for building the anti-Zionism movement) questions.

 

Sincerely,

 

John

----------------------------

On August 21 I received a postal letter from Samantha Brotman, Director of Operations of the National JVP. The letter was dated August 16 and it was a standard "welcoming" letter from the national organization to new members such as myself. I replied to Ms. Brotman with the following email. If and when I hear back from Ms. Brotman or anybody at the national JVP I will post that reply here. So far (it's August 24 as I type this) I have not heard back.

---------- Original Message ----------

From: JOHN SPRITZLER <spritzler@comcast.net>

To: "samantha@jewishvoiceforpeace.org" <samantha@jewishvoiceforpeace.org>

Date: 08/21/2021 9:42 PM

Subject: A question about my membership in JVP

 

 

Hi Samantha,

 

Today I received your letter in the mail dated August 16, which began: "Dear John, We are honored to have you as a member of Jewish Voice for Peace!"

 

I am writing to you to ask if you approve or disapprove of the leadership of the Boston, MA chapter removing me from membership of the chapter, which they recently did. I ask you to read the email exchanges between myself and JVP-Boston individuals that led to my being removed from the chapter against my will; the emails are online at my website at the following URL: https://www.pdrboston.org/jvp-email-exchange .

 

It seems to me that my proposal to have a point of view--about how to defeat Zionism!--should have been discussed by the full membership of the chapter, and by removing me from the chapter to avoid permitting this discussion to take place, the leadership of the Boston chapter has made a mockery of the idea that it is a democratic organization. Is JVP a democratic organization?

 

I look forward to hearing back from you about this. 

 

Sincerely,

 

John Spritzler

-------------------------------------

---------- Original Message ----------

From: Samantha Brotman <samantha@jewishvoiceforpeace.org>

To: JOHN SPRITZLER <spritzler@comcast.net>

Date: 08/30/2021 9:44 AM

Subject: Re: A question about my membership in JVP

 

 

Hi John,

 

Thanks for writing. Chapter leadership are able and encouraged to set boundaries around their membership and around what strategies they prioritize in their organizing. It seems that you and the chapter have fundamental differences of opinion about how to approach our work, and in this case, from what I can tell, it is absolutely reasonable for the chapter leadership to set this boundary. 

 

Thank you,

Samantha Brotman

----------------------------------

---------- Original Message ----------

From: JOHN SPRITZLER <spritzler@comcast.net>

To: Samantha Brotman <samantha@jewishvoiceforpeace.org>

Date: 08/30/2021 11:36 AM

Subject: Re: A question about my membership in JVP

 

 

Hi Samantha,

 

Let's put aside the question of the Boston Chapter leadership's "setting boundaries" on chapter membership and discuss something FAR more important.

 

Here is a question for the NATIONAL JVP that I would like you to answer please.

 

Should JVP tell the public (implicitly or explicitly) that the actual purpose of Israeli government violence against Palestinians is to make Jews safe?  Or should JVP refute this FALSE Zionist assertion?

 

Let me call to your attention that currently the JVP says that the Zionist assertion is true.

 

The JVP website [ https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/conversations/ Part 1, in "Tips for Getting the Conversation Started"] has a section about how to talk to people who support Israel. This is what JVP says:

 

----------------------

 

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN AGREE ON AND THEN STEER THE CONVERSATION IN THE DIRECTION YOU WANT TO GO

 

Start by asking what their vision for justice in the region looks like. If they say “a place where Jews can be safe,” great, affirm that and then explain that Jewish safety should not come at the cost of Palestinian lives and freedoms. If they say “two states for two peoples,” you don’t necessarily need to affirm or reject that, but you can say that with continued settlement construction, displacement and the network of checkpoints dividing up the land, Israel is making that impossible in the near term, so we need to talk now about respecting Palestinian equality, dignity and human rights.

 

​----------------------

 

Notice this key sentence:

 

“If they say 'a place where Jews can be safe,' great, affirm that and then explain that Jewish safety should not come at the cost of Palestinian lives and freedoms.”

 

​Do you see the problem, the FATAL problem for any anti-Zionist movement?

 

Here's the problem. This sentence CONFIRMS, rather than refutes, the PILLAR of Zionist propaganda, namely the Big Lie that the PURPOSE of the Iaraeli government's violence against Palestinians is to make Jews safe. The truth is that the purpose of this violence is to enable the Jewish billionaire ruling class of Israel to control (with a Palestinian bogeyman enemy) Israeli working class Jews whom it oppresses horribly to enrich the billionaire Israeli ruling class, as I prove in my article, “Israel's Government Attacks Ordinary Jews As Well As Palestinians.”

 

Once one accepts, as JVP does, the false Zionist assertion that Israeli violence against Palestinians is for the purpose of making Jews safe, then it necessarily follows, just as former Harvard President Larry Summers said, that anti-Zionism is antisemitic in effect if not intent because it opposes what the Israeli government does to make Jews safe. This "anti-Zionism is antisemitic in effect if not intent" argument is why a majority of the U.S. public supports Israel--they, to their credit, do not want to support anything that they perceive to be against the Jews because of sympathy for Jews as survivors of the Holocaust.

 

​As long as JVP fails to refute the Zionist Big Lie and thereby accepts the false framework that says the conflict is "Jewish safety versus Palestinian safety," it will NEVER win over the majority of the U.S. public to opposing Zionism, and Zionism will hence prevail. This must not be allowed to happen.

 

Samantha, I use my Facebook account (with 5000 friends) and my website to tell people about this failure of the JVP to refute the Zionist Big Lie. JVP has an important decision to make now: either continue to endorse the Zionist Big Lie, or refute it. Your call. What will JVP do now?

 

--John

-----------------------

As soon as I hear back from JVP (or Samantha) I will post its (or Samantha's) reply here. Until then (it's Sept. 8, 2021 as I type this) it means that as you are reading this there has still been no reply. As long as the JVP refuses to refute the Zionist Big Lie, it means that the organization is not truly opposed to Zionism. From what I have learned during my brief membership in the organization, the JVP purpose is to enable Jews who are appalled by Zionist violence against Palestinians to feel good about themselves--even self-righteous--by engaging in activities that seem to--but do not really--challenge the power of Zionism.