Jewish Voices

LevTo our Presbyterian friends,

As you decide whether to align your investments with your values, thousands of Jews from all across the United States, Israel, and elsewhere are raising our voices to offer you our support. We remind you that we share the same values–a belief in justice and equality, and a strong conviction that as long as one nation occupies another, neither can enjoy true peace and security.

We are asking you to stand by your principles and to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard, three companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.

Being a true friend to the Jewish people requires from you helping us put an end to an occupation that is neither good for the occupied Palestinian nor for the occupying Israeli.

We are proud to stand with you. These are our voices. We share with you our witness for justice of the last two years, since before the last General Assembly and up until today.

Elisha“In my opinion, the issue of Israel – Palestine is the one area in which true interfaith cooperation tends to break down. However, if we are to use the prophetic model as a guide for Jewish-Christian relations, then our communities cannot shirk from sharing hard truths with one another. Just as the Jewish community has not hesitated to hold the Christian community to task for any number of historical issues, I do not expect the Christian community to shrink from fully speaking its mind on the issue of Israel – Palestine. We cannot and should not dance around this issue. To my mind, there is simply too much at stake.”
— Rabbi Brant Rosen, read more 

“The decision to divest from the occupation is also critically important for Jews everywhere.
All too often, when a non-Jewish group or individual, speaks out against blatantly unjust Israeli policies and actions, they are accused of acting on that unreasoning hatred of Jews and Judaism that is commonly called anti-Semitism.
Anti-semitism, like all forms of oppression, seeks to lump all Jews together and assign us a set of characteristics–some negative, some positive.  In the lumping, we are made less human, no longer seen as individuals with our own individual lives and characteristics. Saying that all Jews support Israel unconditionally is in itself a kind of anti-Semitism, then, as it denies us the right to form our own opinions, beliefs, and relationships with Israel as whole people.
Issuing a moral rebuke such as a targeted divestment shows a respect for Jews, and others that support Israeli policies, that is fundamentally incompatible with anti-Semitism.  Such an act is predicated on the belief that the recipients of the rebuke are capable of reevaluating their actions and turning onto a more just path.”
— Rabbi Alissa Wise, read more

Latest Resources

  • Inside the Presbyterians’ Divestment from the Occupation of Palestine

    by Carolyn Klaasen (pictured above, left, with Union M.Div. student Emily Brewer)

    On June 20 I sat in the stands of the Cobo Convention Center in Detroit, hands gripping those of my neighbor, waiting as the votes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) were slowly tallied on screen. When the final [...] Read more →

  • No, Presbyterian Divestment Is Not Anti-Semitic

    By Elisheva Goldberg

    Yesterday, Jane Eisner, with whom I most often agree, wrote about the Presbyterian vote to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions. These are three companies that reportedly participate in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank by providing heavy equipment for the construction of the barrier-fence, the destruction of Palestinian homes [...] Read more →

  • Grapple with Reality

    Haaretz

    In response to “How a radical anti-Israel Jewish group colluded with the U.S. Presbyterian Church” (Eric Yoffie, June 23). Rabbi Eric Yoffie refuses to grapple with the reality of the occupation or to address the role Jewish American institutions play in repressing concrete actions to end Israel’s ongoing human rights violations against Palestinians. How [...] Read more →

  • The Presbyterian Divestment Vote: Toward a New Model of Community Relations

    By Brant Rosen

    Jews and Presbyterians pray together during deliberations at the 2014 Presbyterian General Assembly in Detroit

    In the wake of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s recent decision to divest from three companies that profit from Israel’s occupation, Jewish establishment leaders have been expressing their displeasure toward the PC(USA) in no uncertain terms.

    [...] Read more →

  • Presbyterian Divestment – A Jewish Perspective

    Monday, 16 June 2014, 5:36 pm Article: Tikkun Presbyterian Divestment – A Jewish Perspective

    by Cantor Michael Davis, Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council June 15, 2014

    The first time I wore a kippa and talit outside of a synagogue setting was four year ago outside a hotel in downtown Chicago overlooking the Chicago river. [...] Read more →

  • Why I Support Divestment—Becca Hanna

    Watch more Philadelphia videos on Frequency Read more →

  • I’m a Rabbi and I Support Presbyterian Israel Divestment

    A few years ago I was walking in the woods with a friend, a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church in Cape Town, South Africa. The Dutch Reformed Church was the leading promulgator of apartheid in South Africa, and they upheld the odious doctrine both politically and religiously almost to its end. I asked my [...] Read more →

  • Presbyterian Church to vote on divestment from companies that profit from Israeli occupation of Palestine

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Presbyterian Church to vote on divestment from companies that profit from Israeli occupation of Palestine.

    Jewish leaders support growing movement to divest from Israeli occupation.

    [June 5, 2014. New York] At its biennial General Assembly, June 14th to the 21st in Detroit, the 1.7 million-member Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) will [...] Read more →

  • First do no harm, J Street

    With nothing left to offer except hollow pep talks about the peace process, the liberal lobby is fighting BDS – together with the pro-Netanyahu, pro-occupation American Zionist right. Next stop: the Presbyterian Church USA’s General Assembly.

    What is J Street doing? Why is it acting in concert with right-wing Zionist organizations like AIPAC and StandWithUs [...] Read more →

  • An Israeli letter to the Presbyterian General Assembly

    Dear friends in the Presbyterian Church (USA),

    I am an Israeli Jew living in Tel Aviv. I will not be able to be present with you in Detroit this coming week. I volunteer my opinion with the hope that it may be of assistance to you as you make difficult decisions. I wanted to [...] Read more →

  • From Atlanta: JVP chapter’s letter to Atlanta’s Presbyterians

    May 28, 2014

    Dear Presbyterian Friends, Colleagues and Community,

    This is a response to a letter from Rev. Joanna M. Adams, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and the church session.

    We are Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) members in Atlanta who have been working with Presbyterians to support efforts for divestment and boycott [...] Read more →

  • Jewish Voice for Peace Responds to the Discussion Paper drafted by the Ecumenical and Interreligious Work Group of the Presbytery of Chicago

    Jewish Voice for Peace submitted this paper to the Ecumenical and Interreligious Work Group for inclusion as an attachment to “PCUSA Support for a Just and Peaceful Compromise,” but the Group refused to include it in the final paper, reportedly for fear that other Jewish groups would refuse to participate.

    American Muslims for Palestine issued [...] Read more →

  • JVP salutes church’s boycott of settlement goods

    Jewish Voice for Peace salutes the open letter from Gradye Parsons, Stated Clark of the General Assembly, where he reiterates the church’s support for a boycott of products manufactured in illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. He explains that this action “is a response to a call by Palestinian civil society, as well as [...] Read more →

  • Jewish Voice for Peace supports Presbyterian divestment from Israeli occupation

    Oakland, CA, Feb 5, 2014 – Jewish Voice for Peace commends the Presbyterian Church (USA) as it considers divesting its assets from three multinational companies (Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions.) that profit from Israel’s military occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands. The recommendation to divest was issued by the socially responsible investment body of the [...] Read more →

  • Join the Interfaith Coalition to Boycott SodaStream

    We are Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other people of conscience calling on all consumers and stores to stop buying and selling SodaStream carbonation devices or other products made by this company. SodaStream manufactures these machines within an Israeli settlement in occupied Palestinian territory. These settlements are illegal under international law and are obstacles to peace. [...] Read more →

  • Rabbi Alissa Wise speaks on Faith Communities and BDS

    “Top Ten Things I learned from working with Christians on Divestment,” Rabbi Alissa Wise, Chicago, IL, September 13, 2012

    Read more →

  • Independent Jewish Voices commends United Church for finalizing stand against Israeli occupation

    Ottawa (Aug 17, 2012)- “Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) congratulates the United Church of Canada for finalizing its decision to boycott goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” says Sid Shniad, the group’s spokesperson.

    “Facing charges of bias and anti-Semitism for even considering such action, Church members assembled at [...] Read more →

  • Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb’s letter to the commissioners at the United Church of Canada Conference

    August 13, 2012

    Dear Commissioners of the UCC,

    I have enjoyed spending time with members of the United Church of Canada these past few days. Your devotion and commitment to peace and justice is a beautiful witness to your faith. I am writing you to encourage you accept the full report of the ME Committee [...] Read more →

  • JVP endorses AMP’s boycott of settlement dates

    Jewish Voice for Peace fully endorses the campaign by American Muslim for Palestine to make a date with justice by boycotting dates produced in Israeli settlements. We endorse boycotting of all settlement goods since the settlements are segregated communities, built on Palestinian land in contravention of international law, and the goods produced there often exploit [...] Read more →

  • Targeted Boycotts and Divestments Are Pro-Israel

    Coauthored by Michael Zigmond and Naftali Kaminski

    Last week we attended the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) at the Pittsburgh Convention Center to listen to presentations and discussions of two resolutions of great relevance to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: namely, the boycott of products produced in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and [...] Read more →

  • An Open Letter to Presbyterian Clergy

    An Open Letter to Presbyterian Clergy by: Rae Abileah on July 11th, 2012

    From Two Jewish Social Justice Advocates

    Dear Reverends and Church-goers,

    Interfaith delegation including young Jews and rabbis with Jewish Voice for Peace who advocated for boycott and divestment at the Presbyterian General Assembly.

    We are writing to you as two young American [...] Read more →

  • JVP statement on Presbyterian vote at the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

    More about JVP’s campaign for divestment here: http://bit.ly/JVPdivest4peace

    Jewish Voice for Peace Statement on Presbyterian Church (USA) Vote on Boycott and Divestment from Companies Profiting from the Israeli Occupation

     

    Contact: Sydney Levy, sydney AT jvp.org Rabbi Alissa Wise, alissa AT jvp.org

    NEW YORK- July 6th, 2012

    Jewish Voice for Peace is heartened [...] Read more →

  • JVP’s Estee Chandler in Mondoweiss for divestment

    The occupation is extreme by Estee Chandler on July 5, 2012

    For the past couple of weeks I have been reading articles and letters written by leaders of Jewish organizations and activists urging the US Presbyterian Church not to vote to divest from three companies that profit off of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, [...] Read more →

  • Presbyterians boycott Ahava Cosmetics and Hadiklaim dates

    For Immediate Release: July 3rd, 2012 Contact: Rev. John Anderson and Rae Abileah, rae[at]codepink.org Presbyterian Church (USA) Middle East and Peacekeeping Committee Votes to Boycott Israeli Settlement Products

    Boycott Specifies Ahava Dead Sea Cosmetics and Hadiklaim Dates

    On Tuesday, July 3, the Middle East and Peacekeeping Committee (Committee 15) of the 220th Presbyterian General Assembly [...] Read more →

  • Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel supports divestment

    To the delegates of the Presbyterian church General Assembly,

    We at the Coalition of Women for Peace, Israeli citizens who are Muslim, Christian and Jewish grassroots activists, would like to thank you for considering your investments in companies that are part of the Israeli occupation industry. We express our support for the recommendation of the [...] Read more →

  • Israeli Woman Says Divestment Is Part of Her Jewish Identity

    “No one should have their money in this. Espe­cially not a church.”

    An inter­view by (Rev.) Patrick David Heery of Elisha Baskin (pic­tured above), an Israeli young woman and mem­ber of Jew­ish Voice for Peace, on the topic of divest­ment in the occu­pa­tion of Palestine Source: http://justiceunbound.org/action-alerts/action-news/israeli-woman-says-divestment-is-part-of-her-jewish-identity/ (Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice) [...] Read more →

  • Young, Jewish, and Proud video shown to Presbyterians

    Based on their moral and spir­i­tual Jew­ish val­ues, young Jews from Jew­ish Voice for Peace, urge Pres­by­te­ri­ans to sup­port the res­o­lu­tion for selec­tive divest­ment from Cater­pil­lar, Motorola Solu­tions, and Hewlett Packard because of their prof­i­teer­ing from Israeli occu­pa­tion and human rights abuses.

    “Fol­low your Con­science: A mes­sage to Pres­by­te­ri­ans from their young, Jew­ish allies”

    [...] Read more →

  • Jews say: Divest for peace.

    View this document on Scribd Read more →

  • Noah T Winer speaks for boycotts

    Good morning.

    My name is Noah Tatelbaum Winer, and I am a religious Jew from Philadelphia. This overture is about growing dates, and my family’s name is Yiddish for “date tree.” My family’s name embodies our historical connection to the date trees of biblical Israel. But my ancestors would be shocked to see how Israeli [...] Read more →

  • Rae Abileah speaks for boycotts

    My name is Rae Abileah. I am an American Jew with family in Israel and I support this overture. While in the West Bank three years ago I visited the Ahava cosmetics factory and was shocked to see that it is located in an illegal settlement in the Occupied Territories. Ahava means love in Hebrew, [...] Read more →

  • Lev Hirschhorn speaks for boycotts

    My name is Lev Hirschhorn. My father is a Rabbi, my mother is a Cantor, my sister leads a Jewish youth group and I am a member of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps.

    Now, in my family we don’t always see eye-to-eye. I have been at countless passover meals which have turned into heated debates [...] Read more →

  • Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb speaks for divestment

    Shalom Aleichem, asalaamu aleikum. I am one of the first ten women rabbis in history. I’ve served the grassroots American Jewish community for 40 years. I speak for hundreds of thousands of Jews who oppose Israeli Occupation and want to see real change.

    My rebbe, Everett Gendler, convinced Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel to walk with [...] Read more →

  • Elisha Baskin speaks for divestment

    My name is Elisha Baskin, born and raised in west Jerusalem, Israel. I am here to ask – why are Palestinian children afraid of a yellow tractor?

    Throughout my life I have witnessed weaponized Caterpillar bulldozers tearing down civilian homes in the holy city of Jerusalem, leaving its inhabitants homeless, uprooting decade old olive trees [...] Read more →

  • Rabbi Alissa Wise speaks for divestment

    לֹא-תִשְׂנָא אֶת-אָחִיךָ, בִּלְבָבֶךָ; הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת-עֲמִיתֶךָ, וְלֹא-תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְא.

    Lo tinaseh et achicha bil’vavecha

    You shall not hate your fellow human being in your heart. Rebuke your fellow human being but incur no guilt because of this person.

    Leviticus 19:17

    I am Rabbi Alissa Wise, from Jewish Voice for Peace, leading a divestment campaign on [...] Read more →

  • Hedy Epstein speaks for divestment

    My name is Hedy Epstein. I am a German born, Jewish American. I was 8 years old when Hitler came to power and when the boycott of Jewish businesses occurred. My father owned a business and I saw a Nazi standing in front of our store.

    That boycott was to prevent gentiles from shopping in [...] Read more →

  • Liza Behrendt speaks for divestment

    My name is Liza Behrendt, and I am a Jewish volunteer corps member. I recently joined Christians, Muslims, and fellow Jews in Jerusalem to rebuild a Palestinian family’s home destroyed by Palestinian bulldozers. As we labored side by side, learning the Arabic words for “brick” and “mortar”, we knew the military could demolish our hard [...] Read more →

  • Ariel Vegosen speaks for divestment

    My name is Ariel Vegosen and I am a Jew who supports divestment. I live at the Stony Point Presbyterian Retreat Center in NY where I am part of a multi-faith community committed to nonviolence. I am proud and excited to say that everyday we are building strong relationships around difficult questions as Christians, Jews, [...] Read more →

  • Carolyn Klaasen speaks for divestment

    My name is Carolyn, and I am a Jew who is excited to have Presbyterians among our allies as leaders in ethical investing. You will be joining the Quakers, who divested their largest retirement fun of Caterpillar shares because they consider their armored bulldozers to be weapons. You’ll be joining TIAA-CREF, which recently divested 72 [...] Read more →

  • Bekah Wolf speaks for divestment

    Good Afternoon.

    My name is Bekah Wolf. I grew up in congeregation Temple Beth Shalom in Santa Fe, NM. I’m also in an interfaith relationship. In 2006, on my 4th trip to Israel/Palestine as an advocate for peace with Justice I met the man who would become my husband, a Palestinians farmer who was trying [...] Read more →

  • Sydney Levy speaks for divestment

    My name is Sydney Levy. I am for 15-11. I am Jewish, a graduate of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Those that say that divestment will harm interfaith relations fail to recognize that American Jews are not a monolithic block and in fact positions are changing. Here’s an example. Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, who used to be [...] Read more →

  • Rae Abileah speaks against war in Iran

    My name is Rae Abileah. My family is from Israel. In March, on the 9th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, an Israeli father – Ronny Edry -posted an image on facebook of himself with his daughter and this banner that says “Iranians We Love You. We will never bomb your country.” Immediately, hundreds [...] Read more →

  • Ariel Vegosen speaks against war with Iran

    My name is Ariel Vegosen and I support the overture for peace with Iran. In 2008 I traveled to Iran on an interfaith peace delegation with the Fellowship of Reconciliation. I found the people of Iran are kind, generous, and passionate about peace just like all of us. I prayed with Christians, Jews, and Muslims, [...] Read more →

  • Support Presbyterian Overture 15-2 laser-beam boycott of Ahava cosmetics

    Dear Presbyterian Delegates,As a Rabbi, for reasons deeply rooted in Torah, I am writing to support Overture 15-2 “On Boycotting Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories.” You have an opportunity to stand for human rights, peace and justice by supporting the overture to boycott Ahava cosmetics, which are made in a factory on occupied land with illegally [...] Read more →

  • Rabbinical Letter to Presbyterian Commissioners: On Stolen Beauty

    Dear Presbyterian Delegates,

    We are writing as Jewish clergy to show our support for Overture 15-2 “On Boycotting Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories and Hadiklaim (an Israeli Date Growers Cooperative).” You have an opportunity to stand for human rights, peace and justice by supporting the overture to boycott Ahava cosmetics, which are made in a factory [...] Read more →

  • Why I Support Kairos USA

    By Rabbi Brant Rosen Posted on June 27, 2012

    Last week a group of US clergy, theologians and laypersons unveiled Karios USA, a powerful and important American Christian spiritual call for justice in Israel and Palestine. As a religious Jew, I am inspired by its prophetic courage, its unabashed call for justice and its [...] Read more →

  • Honor the courage, clarity and sensitivity of Kairos USA

    The mission of Kairos USA is to take a bold, prophetic stand in support of our Palestinian sisters and brothers, as well as our Jewish brothers and sisters in the State of Israel who suffer from the social, psychological and spiritual costs of militarization and war itself. There is an urgent need to [...] Read more →

  • Israeli group New Profile calls on Presbyterian Church to divest

    To Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk PCUSA

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Dear Friends at PCUSA,

    Every organization and individual that wishes peace for Israelis and Palestinians needs to work towards ending Israel’s Military Occupation of Palestine–which is dastardly for the Palestinians and injurious for Israelis. To this end we encourage non-violent means of pressuring Israel’s [...] Read more →

  • Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb Responds to JCPA Letter to Presbyterians

    The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, a pro-Israel public relations organization, recently published a letter to the Presbyterian church in advance of its general assembly, to warn them against supporting divestment from companies supporting the occupation.

    Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb responds:

     

    June 8, 2012 Dear JCPA,

    I cannot sign this letter opposing PCUSA’s effort to [...] Read more →

  • JCPA Letter to Presbyterians: JVP, Sabeel Member Responds

    The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, a pro-Israel public relations organization, recently published a letter to the Presbyterian church in advance of its general assembly, to warn them against supporting divestment from companies supporting the occupation. David Glick, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and Northern California Friends of Sabeel, responds:

     

    I am [...] Read more →

  • Final post from young Jews who urged the Methodists to divest

    Brother, Can You Buy Me a Beer? May 3, 2012.

    This is the final post from our guestposters, Rae Abileah and Ariel Vegosen, Jewish Voice for Peace volunteer youth activist members on the ground at the United Methodist general conference leading up to the divestment vote.-ed.

    When it comes to the nonviolent tactic of [...] Read more →

  • Jewish Voice for Peace Statement on the United Methodist Church Efforts to Divest from Companies Profiting from the Israeli Occupation

    May 2nd, 2012

    JVP is disappointed that the resolution calling for divestment from three companies that profit from the Israeli Occupation (Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions) failed to pass at the United Methodist Church’s 2012 General Conference on May 2nd.

    In many ways, this effort was a success even though the resolution did not pass. [...] Read more →

  • Palestinian and Jewish op-ed for divestment in Tampa Tribune

    Ending the Occupation By Michael Berg, Hala Abdelaziz, Sandra Tamari | Special To The Tampa Tribune Published: May 01, 2012

    The United Methodist Church (UMC) has been holding its General Conference in Tampa Bay. One of the most important, and unfortunately controversial, resolutions to be taken up is the Palestinians’ request for the world [...] Read more →

  • Young Jew Speaks on Methodist Divestment from Israel (via JewsSchool)

    The Jews Are Going to Florida – So What’s New?

    This is the second of a three-post series from Jewish Voice for Peace volunteer youth activist members on the ground at the United Methodist general conference leading up to the divestment vote. The second post is from Rae Abileah. -ed.

    On Tuesday morning just [...] Read more →

  • Why I signed a letter in support of church divestment

    by Rabbi Mordechai Liebling

    Last week I signed a letter, together with other Jewish clergy, supporting the Methodist and Presbyterian efforts to initiate phased selective divestment from corporations which profit from or support Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

    I suspect that this may have raised a few eyebrows, since in 2004 I wrote an [...] Read more →

  • Stand with Jews. Stand with Palestinians. Stand with Justice.

    A letter from Jerusalem

    Dear friends,

    Next week starting on April 23, representatives from the United Methodist Church will gather in Tampa, FL, to participate in a historic vote on whether to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. I hope you and everyone you know will join me now in asking them [...] Read more →

  • An open letter from Jeff Halper, of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

    As the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), I have been proud to support the efforts of the Presbyterian Church to address Israel’s 45-year Occupation, and especially those of the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI), in translating a courageous moral stand against oppression into concrete actions.

    [...] Read more →

  • I support the Presbyterian Church (USA) divestment resolution

    As a Jew, a rabbi and a person of conscience, I am voicing my support of the divestment resolution being brought to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) this June.

    [...] Read more →

  • Why I Support BDS

    I find the details of the occupation to be emotionally wrenching and morally challenging to me as a Jew and as a rabbi.

    [...] Read more →

  • God is in this place

    Rabbi Alissa Wise

    This sermon was given Sunday, January 23, 2012 at St. Johns Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. Many thanks to St. Johns for the invitation and exceptionally warm welcome. The ideas within are in part thanks to the good thinking of JVPers who came before me and the work I did with my [...] Read more →

  • Jews/Christians and Israel/Palestine: Rediscovering the prophetic

    Here is the sermon that Rabbi Brant Rosen delivered January 15, 2012 at St. James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago. If you would like a copy of “Steadfast Hope,” the study guide to which he refers in his remarks, click here.

    [...] Read more →