JVP Bay Area is hiring an organizer!




The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace is looking for an experienced and energetic Local Organizer to support our members in their activism and expand our chapter’s potential.  The Local Organizer will be a part of the National JVP Organizing team, but will be focused on organizing in San Francisco and the East Bay. This is a full-time position.


For more details and to apply, click here.

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JVP Bay Area denounces anti-Semitic flyers at UC Berkeley




Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area firmly denounces the antisemitic flyers found at UC Berkeley during the week beginning Monday, September 19, 2016. As JVP has outlined in its statement on antisemitism115:

Contemporary expressions of antisemitism include treating Jewish people as a monolithic group, stereotyping Jewish people as rich or greedy, or demonizing Jews as all-powerful or as secretly in control of political events.[6] These tropes are evident when the U.S. is exempted from responsibility for its unconditional support of Israeli apartheid, and instead the U.S.-Israel relationship is blamed solely on Jewish power.

These flyers clearly use the trope of “all powerful Jews” to claim that “Jewish bullies” are behind the censoring of free speech at UC Berkeley, and also to blame the US-Israel relationship on Jewish power. It was pro-Israel, Zionist groups - not “Jewish people” - who attacked academic freedom at UC Berkeley. The university has an obligation to educate their community on the critical distinction between terms like Zionist and Jewish.

We state in the strongest possible terms that expressions of bigotry have no place in the movement for Palestinian human rights, a movement committed to justice, peace, and respect for international law.

All too often such incidents of antisemitism are wrongly blamed on the thoughtful and committed students who advocate on this issue, or even on those who seek to explore political solutions in the classroom. The accusation that students and scholars who seek to engage in open critical discussion on Israel and Palestine are contributing to a hostile climate for Jewish students only allows this hateful rhetoric to continue.

We note that the students enrolled in DeCal class Ethnic Studies 198 “reject any attempt to construe our movement to reinstate the course and restore our academic freedom as anti-Semitic, rhetorically or in practice. We denounce these deplorable posters as well as the racist coward(s) who put them up in an attempt to use our course as an avenue for proliferating their anti-Semitic rhetoric.” 116

We stand with all those at UC Berkeley who are fighting for justice and freedom for all people.

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JVP Bay Area working to Stop Urban Shield

This summer, JVP Bay Area will be involved in Stop Urban Shield (http://stopurbanshield.org/), a local and diverse coalition of progressive groups campaigning to end Urban Shield (http://urbanshield.org/), a police training program that teaches military style tactics, using racialized scenarios to do so, and also includes a high tech weapon exposition and trade show for police departments. In previous years it has been held in Oakland, but the community stood strong against it so it was moved to the suburbs and, this year, will be held in Pleasanton.


We read almost daily in the news about the killings ofpeople of color such as Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police hands, and it has become increasingly clear that we should be investing in projects that strengthen communities, address structural racism, and support more rehabilitative forms of justice, rather than spending approximately two million dollars (http://bordc.org/news/bay-area-organizes-to-stop-urban-shield/) on the further militarization of the police force.


Because of our own experiences with injustice, many Jewish communities have made an effort to support those who are oppressed. As a progressive Jewish voice that focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there are many reasons that this movement relates to the work JVP does. On a practical level, many of the weapons sold at Urban Shield are Israeli designed, and made by companies that have been targeted by BDS movements. Furthermore, it is well known that Israel has on many occasions trained American police forces in riot control and other operations, teaching techniques that have been “tested” on the Palestinian and Bedouin population. This has led to an increasingly militarized police presence in America that the public has seen on a number of occasions, ranging from the response to hurricane Katrina to more recent protests in Ferguson and Baltimore. This trend of militarization, supported by programs such as Urban Shield, disturbingly has many parallels with Israel’s occupation.


One of the main ways that Stop Urban Shield addresses this problem is through the education of the community of Pleasanton, because the campaign will rely heavily on local opposition. There are many ways to get involved:


1) JVP is organizing an educational flyering effort at the Pleasanton farmers market. We will meet somewhere in Oakland, and this time frame includes an hour for training before leaving for the market. We will carpool together to the market. For those of you in SF, we can arrange to pick you up at an East Bay Bart station.


Saturday, August 6th, 9:00am-1:00pm

Saturday, August 20th, 9:00am-1:00pm

Saturday, September 3rd, 9:00am-1:00pm


2) The Stop Urban Shield coalition is also organizing canvassing in Pleasanton on some Sundays. They meet in Oakland, and include training, food and travel to and from Pleasanton.


Sunday, July 31st, 9:30am-6:00pm

Sunday, August 21st, 9:30am-6:00pm

Sunday, September 4th, 9:30am-6pm


3) All of these efforts are leading up to a very important, large demonstration on September 9, 2016 in Pleasanton at the start of the Urban Shield exposition.


4)  In preparation for the September 9 demonstration, we will also be holding a sign making party on the evening of August 31st so we can show the support of the Jewish community and make the public connection to Palestine!


It is critical for as many JVP-Bay Area members as possible to get involved in this effort! If you are interested in helping out this summer, please RSVP by email to izzy@jewishvoiceforpeace.org for and provide info on the days you can come to help with the flyering effort, the canvassing, the sign-making and, most importantly, the September 9 demonstration!


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Israel / Palestine 101 Workshop Series

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Register for a 6-session course, hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace -  Bay Area, starting 9/15/2016.





Do you want to become a more effective advocate for justice, equality and peace in Israel/Palestine, but feel you lack knowledge on the subject? This course is designed to give what you need. It is not intended for those who already have an extensive background on the issue.

Jewish Voice for Peace Boston’s education working group spent months developing a curriculum intended to prepare people of all ages for Israel/Palestine activism, and debuted the course Fall 2013. The course has been so popular that it has been offered five times. Now for the first time it is being offered by JVP- Bay Area!

Location: Berkeley City College, 2050 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704 (near Berkeley BART)  

Time: Thursday evenings 6:30 - 9:00 pm

Dates and topics:

Sept 15. Israel's Founding and the Nakba (up to 1948)

Sept 22 The Ongoing Nakba (post 1948)

Sept 29. U.S. Role in the Peace Process

Oct 6 Resistance

Oct 13 BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement)

Oct 20 Last Class, Wrap Up

Applicants are asked to commit to attending ALL six sessions.

Fee: $40 ($25 student or unemployed). No one turned away for lack of funds. (Fee covers room rental, cost of materials, etc.)

Click here to apply. We are limited to 20 spots, so register soon!

After registration, you will receive confirmation and payment information via email. If you have questions please contact bayarea@jvp.org and someone will respond to you within 2 days.


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Stop AB 2844!


Help Stop AB 2844 - Contact the CA Senate now!

 AB 2844 seeks to chill activism opposing the Israeli government’s well-documented abuses by stigmatizing  and threatening with criminal sanctions any contractors with the state -- including companies, churches, nonprofits, and individuals -- who choose not to do business with Israel.

Tell our state legislators that our tax dollars should not be used to defend Israel’s abuses and they should not be bullied by the Israel lobby to defend Israel’s abuses.


See the ACLU statement119 and the California Council of Churches statement120 opposing AB 2844, and the LA Times editorial Boycotts of Israel are a protected form of free speech121.

Tell the Senate Appropriations Committee to vote no on AB 2844 when it is heard Aug 1, 2016: 916-651-4101; sapro.senate.ca.gov122

Write to your state senator.

Lonnie Hancock (district 9) - Senator.Hancock@senate.ca.gov

Mark Leno (district 11) – Senator.Leno@senate.ca.gov

For other CA senators:


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Disruption of Tzipi Hotovely's speech at Zionism 3.0 conference

JVP-Bay Area activist Ellen Brotsky reports:
Members of JVP-Bay Area  collaborated with members of  IJAN (International Jewish Anti-Zionist network)  and QUIT (Queers undermining Israeli Terrorism)   to symbolically serve a citizen's arrest warrant on Tzipi Hotovely, right-wing Israeli deputy foreign minister.   Hotovely  was a keynote speaker at a Zionism 3.0 conference taking place in Palo Alto  sponsored by the JCRC.  
Hotovely has stated publicly:  My position is that between the sea and the Jordan River, there needs to be one state only - the state of Israel, which has an Arab minority.  There is no place for an agreement of any kind that discusses the concession of Israeli sovereignty over lands conquered".  
We disrupted because we wanted to send a clear message to the world and the conference participants that someone like Hotovely, who incites violence against Palestinians and supports it apartheid policies, , should not be given an audience in the United States.  We also wanted to build on the momentum of others round the world (Spanish courts, South African police) who have issued warrants for the arrest of Israeli officials.   
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JVP-Bay Area Press Statement on Islamophobia and efforts to block Syrian refugees

For Immediate Release                                        
Contact:  Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, 805-259-5030, rabbilynn@earthlink.net

Jewish Voice for Peace-Bay Area mourns loss of lives, opposes Islamophobia, and welcomes Syrian refugees.

The horrific slaughter of innocent lives in Paris and Beirut breaks our hearts. Our hearts also break for lives cut short in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Israel, the United States, and in every country where innocent people are murdered.

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Interfaith delegation meets with Barbara Lee

Interfaith delegation and Barbara Lee 

On Wed, 8/19  chapter members Larry Hendel, Susannah Nachenberg and Ellen Brotsky participated in a meeting with Rep. Barbara Lee as part of an interfaith delegation.

The purpose of the meeting was to:

1) express our support and appreciation for her strong stand in favor of the Iran treaty and for her support of several other issues related to Israel/Palestine:  Skip the Speech, the letter to John Kerry regarding detention of Palestinian children, calling for an end to the Gaza blockade, and the proposed Susiya demolitions.
2) explain why those in the delegation supported BDS and to ask her not to support any legislation which attempts to suppress BDS.
3)  find out from her how we can support her on Israel/Palestine issues as well as in general

The delegation also provided her with JVP national congressional office backgrounders on Iran and BDS, as well as the recent statement by 1,000 African American activists on Palestine solidarity.

The participants were:

  •     Larry Hendel, JVP Bay Area member and Interfaith Peace Builders local representative
  •     Rabbi Shifra Tobacman, member of the JVP Rabbinical Council
  •     Gerald LeNoir, Board Member of Interfaith Peace Builders and organizer of the African-American Heritage Delegation to Palestine
  •     Michael Yoshii, Senior Pastor, Buena Vista United Methodist Church
  •     Ashara Ekundayo,  educator and community activist, co-founder of Oakland Impact Hub, visited  I/P last year with the IFPB African Heritage delegation.   
  •     Angela Blackwell,  music educator and community activist in Oakland, also visited I/P last year with the IFPB African Heritage delegation
  •     Rochelle Gause, representing North American Friends of Sabeel
  •     Ellen Brotsky, Coordinating Committee member, JVP-Bay Area
  •     Susannah Nachenberg, JVP Chapter staff
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Vieux Farka Toure: Would You Have Played Sun City?


JVP Bay Area members at the SF Jazz Center

Several members of our chapter were at the SF Jazz Center Sunday night, Aug 16, with signs and flyers to ask Malian musician Vieux Farka Toure to cancel his performance at the Red Sea Jazz Concert on Aug 25 in Eilat, Israel. As part of the Palestinian BDS call, international artists are being urged not to perform in Israel.   We were glad to have been there and had some very positive conversations with people coming to attend the concert.

This is the flyer we handed out, and it includes the email address of Toure's manager. Please write him an email!

Also, check out this report from Stuttgart Germany about their experience meeting him at the concert there.


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Open Shuhada Street!

I was welcomed into the world of Bay Area Israel/Palestine activism with a taser gun and pepper spray. Two years ago, my friend Deppen, who I went on an Interfaith Peace-builders trip to Israel/Palestine, and I organized a flash mob in downtown Berkeley. It was organized as part of the global day of action in solidarity with the Palestinians of Hebron. Hebron is one of the largest cities in the south of the West Bank, an economic center and home to one of the most vibrant markets in the area, and oldest in history.

Hebron is unique to Palestinian cities because there are around 600 Jewish Israeli settlers located inside Hebron near the city center by the holy site known as the Caves of the Patriarchs, or the Ibrahimi Mosque among 250,000 Palestinians. There are also around 800 Israeli soldiers deployed in the area at any given time to “protect” these settlers, who are often violent towards Palestinian residents.


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