Non-profit

Jewish Voice for Peace

Location:

Berkeley, CA

Tax ID:

90-0018359

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $2,531,296
Expenses: $2,694,328
Assets: $1,159,738

Formation:

2003

Executive Director:

Rebecca Vilkomerson

Jewish Voice for Peace is a left-wing, nominally Jewish group that opposes U.S. assistance to the state of Israel and supports allowing Palestinians to live on land within Israel vacated by Arabs during the Israeli War of Independence. The group supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to delegitimize and isolate the Jewish state.

The group “unequivocally oppose[s] Zionism.” [1]

Background

Jewish Voice for Peace is an organization highly critical of the state of Israel. It explicitly seeks to create “a wedge” within the American Jewish community to weaken broader American support for Israel. [2]

The organization’s position toward the existence of Israel as a Jewish state is hostile: In 2017, the organization produced a booklet, Confronting Zionism; A Collection of Personal Stories featuring 13 JVP members writing about their change of heart from supporting to opposing Zionism. [3] In 2019, the group adopted a declaration that says, “Jewish Voice for Peace is guided by a vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people. We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter to those ideals.” [4]

The organization states “The United States must stop supporting repressive policies in Israel and elsewhere,” and that “U.S. military aid to Israel must be suspended until the occupation ends.” [5]

Opposition to Mainstream Jewish Organizations

The organization launched a “return the birthright” campaign to push younger Jews to boycott Birthright Israel, which offers free first-time trips to Israel for Jewish students around the world. [6]

JVP targeted a number of mainstream Jewish organizations including the left-of-center Anti-Defamation League as part of its “Stop the Deadly Exchange” campaign. The campaign targets U.S. cities that have police officer exchange programs with Israeli cities and the mainstream Jewish groups that facilitate them.

The group produced a video in which the narrator says: “Who is making this deadly exchange possible? The main groups are actually U.S.-based Jewish organizations. … Who’s going on these exchanges? Officers who lead police departments that brutalize black and brown communities.” [7] In 2019, JVP claimed to have collected 21,823 signatures calling on the Anti-Defamation League to end its police exchange program with Israel. [8]

Durham, North Carolina, canceled its exchange program after demands from JVP, which blamed the program for racial profiling in both countries. [9]

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions

The JVP is a strong advocate of the movement to boycott, divest from and impose sanctions on Israel, also known as the BDS movement. The group has encouraged universities, colleges and Christian churches to endorse the BDS movement. [10]

Prior to 2015, Jewish Voice for Peace professed that it only supported boycotts of Israeli settlements in territories controlled by Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War. Since that time, the group has endorsed a boycott of all of Israel. [11]

JVP participated in a “block the boat” demonstration to prevent Israeli cargo from coming into Oakland, displaying the logo, “Zionism isn’t welcome in our town.” [12]

Funding

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is most notable identified funder of Jewish Voice for Peace. [13] The Fund provided a two-year, $140,000 grant to Jewish Voice for Peace in 2017, after Fund director Nicholas Burns resigned from Rockefeller in protest of funding BDS-supporting organizations. [14]

JVP has also received large grants from the donor-advised fund Schwab Charitable; donor-advised funds allow donors to hide the ultimate destinations of their contributions from public disclosure. [15] Other identified JVP contributors include the Firedoll Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and the Kaphan Foundation. [16]

Controversies

Anti-Semitism

Jewish Voice for Peace regularly defends statements by left-wing and anti-Israel public figures that mainstream figures consider anti-Semitic. JVP defended U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) with a social media campaign of #IStandWithIlhan[17] amid a fury over a Tweet in which Omar wrote, “Israel has hypnotized the world”[18] that culminated in the passage of a resolution denouncing “hate” by the U.S. House of Representatives. [19]

Jewish Voice for Peace likewise objected to Britain’s Jewish newspapers that were critical of far-left Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and defended the national Women’s March organizations after liberal groups began abandoning the March in protest of the controversial leaders of the March having made anti-Semitic comments. [20]

JVP hosted a Shabbat with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) after she refused to travel to Israel. Both Tlaib and the JVP have expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions approach to coercing Israel. [21] JVP has praised Tlaib as a “hero for justice.” [22]

Alignment with Palestinian Extremism

The group criticizes military action from Israel and does not condemn Palestinian terrorism. JVP Board of Directors member Phyllis Bennis said of Palestinian violence: “The problem is that if you just stop the violence you would not have justice.” [23]

Jewish Voice for Peace hosted convicted Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist Rasmea Odeh as a speaker at its 2017 national conference. Odeh, who was convicted for involvement (that she denies) in a 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket, was stripped of U.S. citizenship after it emerged that she had failed to disclose the Israeli conviction on her citizenship application materials. [24]

Leadership

Rebecca Vilkomerson is the JVP executive director. She has been a member of the organization since 2001. She lived with her family in Israel from 2006 through 2009. Forward named her one of the 50 most influential Jewish American leaders in 2010. The Jerusalem Post in 2017 named her one of the 50 most influential Jewish leaders in the world. [25]

Grace Lile is the chairwoman of the board of directors. She works as the director of operations for the Center for Constitutional Rights, a far-left anti-war group. [26]

Linda Holtzman is the vice chairwoman. She is rabbi of the Tikkun Olam Chavurah and is on the regular faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She was previously a rabbi at the Beth Israel in Coatesville, Pa., and was a part-time rabbi at Beth Ahavah, an LGBT-focused congregation in Philadelphia. [27]

References

  1. “JVP’s Approach to Zionism.” Jewish Voice for Peace. Accessed July 24, 2019. https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/zionism/. ^
  2. Santis, Yitzhak. “Driving a Wedge: JVPs Strategy to Weaken U.S. Support for Israel by Dividing the Jewish Community.” NGO Monitor. July 8, 2013. Accessed July 24, 2019. http://www.ngo-monitor.org/reports/driving_a_wedge_jvp_s_strategy_to_weaken_u_s_support_for_israel_by_dividing_the_jewish_community/. ^
  3. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  4. “JVP’s Approach to Zionism.” Jewish Voice for Peace. Accessed July 24, 2019. https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/zionism/. ^
  5. Mission. Jewish Voice for Peace. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/mission/ ^
  6. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  7. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  8. Annual Report. Jewish Voice for Peace. Accessed July 21, 2019. http://report.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/ ^
  9. Tobin, Jonathan. “Call Out Jewish Voice for Peace for What They Are: Anti-Peace Extremists.” Haaretz. December 12, 2012. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-call-out-jewish-voice-for-peace-for-what-they-are-anti-peace-extremists-1.5448695 ^
  10. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  11. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  12. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  13. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  14. Rosen, Armin. “The Rockefeller Brothers Fund Renews Its Commitment to BDS.” Tablet Magazine. August 16, 2017. Accessed July 24, 2019. https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/243450/the-rockefeller-brothers-fund-renews-its-commitment-to-bds. ^
  15. Aggregated. “Jewish Voices for Peace Anti-Israel Narrative Exposed in Canary Mission Report.” Cleveland Jewish News. November 14, 2018. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/jns/jewish-voices-for-peace-anti-israel-narrative-exposed-in-canary/article_95c80209-b6ff-5281-ab87-8a3c297bd40a.html ^
  16. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted July 24, 2019. ^
  17. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  18. Quoted in Cummings, William. “Rep. Omar Starts Furor with Tweets on ‘compromised’ Sen. Graham, Israel ‘evil Doings’.” USA Today. January 18, 2019. Accessed July 24, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2019/01/17/ilhan-omar-tweet-controversy/2603030002/. ^
  19. Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. “House Votes to Condemn All Hate as Anti-Semitism Debate Overshadows Congress.” The New York Times. March 07, 2019. Accessed July 24, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/us/politics/ilhan-omar-anti-semitism-vote.html. ^
  20. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  21. TOI Staff. “Tlaib Attends Shabbat Event with pro-BDS Group after Rejecting West Bank Visit.” timesofisrael.com. timesofisrael.com, August 17, 2019. https://www.timesofisrael.com/tlaib-attends-shabbat-event-with-pro-bds-group-after-rejecting-west-bank-visit/. ^
  22. Peace, Jewish Voice for. “We Are so Honored to Support This Hero for Justice. ⁦@RashidaTlaib⁩ #DignityFromDetroitToPalestine⁦@JvpAction⁩ Pic.twitter.com/h1fnkz5Usj.” Twitter. Twitter, August 16, 2019. https://twitter.com/jvplive/status/1162491171752439808. ^
  23. Muravchik, Joshua. “Not So Jewish, No For Peace.” Commentary. March 2, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/not-so-jewish-not-for-peace/ ^
  24. Levitt, Aimee. “JVP Plan To Feature Convicted Terrorist As Speaker Upended By Deportation Agreement.” The Forward. March 22, 2017. Accessed July 24, 2019. https://forward.com/news/national/366799/israel-convicted-rasmea-odeh-for-terrorism-in-1970-next-week-shell-address/. ^
  25. People. Jewish Voice for Peace. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/people/ ^
  26. People. Jewish Voice for Peace. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/people/ ^
  27. People. Jewish Voice for Peace. Accessed July 21, 2019. https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/people/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2003

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Jun Form 990 $2,531,296 $2,694,328 $1,159,738 $265,676 N $2,507,450 $4,687 $-15 $90,600
    2015 Jun Form 990 $2,596,654 $2,144,994 $1,274,685 $113,884 N $2,485,928 $99,201 $578 $84,619 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $1,424,461 $1,144,079 $765,372 $56,231 N $1,407,148 $5,228 $2,186 $68,399 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $1,181,372 $1,031,138 $472,344 $43,585 N $1,147,386 $26,200 $228 $79,613 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $315,909 $411,358 $313,322 $34,797 N $310,583 $3,265 $90 $39,057 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $876,529 $861,754 $393,337 $19,363 N $871,250 $4,807 $472 $74,544 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $708,027 $609,644 $387,967 $28,768 N $705,605 $116 $846 $71,084 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Jewish Voice for Peace

    1918 Bonita Ave. Suite A
    Berkeley, CA 94704-1014