Website policy

We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.


BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine

JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



Occupy Wall Street movement branded as antisemitic

Pernicious Attempt To Brand Protest as Anti-Semitic

GOP Tries To Raise Campaign Bucks by Tarring Occupy Wall Street

Eric Alterman, 28 October 2011

See also: Message of support from members of the British Jewish community for ‘Occupy London’

Is the Jewish congressional representative from heavily Jewish Long Island, Steve Israel, “standing with those calling for the killing of Jews”? Does the Jewish representative from heavily Jewish Florida, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, “agree with various calls for Jews to be ‘run out of the country’ and to oppose and ‘destroy’ the State of Israel”?

Sean Spicer, who holds the title of communications director of the Republican National Committee, apparently thinks these are reasonable questions. Or perhaps he merely thinks that some Jews are sufficiently stupid to think that they might be. But most likely, he thinks that if he can tar the protesters at Occupy Wall Street with the taint of these anti-Semitic statements, and condemn certain Democrats as guilty by association, he can gin up contributions to the Republican Party as he simultaneously weakens Jews’ instinctive identification with the Democratic Party.

Spicer is joined in this effort by something called the Emergency Committee for Israel, a group co-founded by neoconservative William Kristol, conservative Christian agitator Gary Bauer and Rachel Abrams, wife of disgraced neoconservative politico Elliott Abrams (convicted of lying to Congress during the Reagan administration), daughter of neoconservative activist Midge Decter and stepdaughter of Decter’s husband, former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz. They have produced and distributed a video that asks, “What is happening at the Occupy Wall Street protests?” only to cut to a gentleman who is holding a “Hitler’s Bankers” sign and can be seen screaming, “Jews control Wall Street.” This is followed by a shot of a nasty kid shouting at a Jewish man, “You’re a bum, Jew,” with another protester explaining that “the small ethnic Jewish population in this country, they have a firm grip on America’s media.

Interestingly, none of the above comments pertains to any Israeli emergencies, but let’s leave that aside for the moment. Clearly, conservatives both in and outside the Republican Party believe they see an opportunity to score political points with Jews by pretending that the Occupy Wall Street protests are shot through with anti-Semitism.

This is obviously false, and one suspects that the Jews are not so thick as to fail to notice it. When neoconservative (and former managing editor of the Forward) Ira Stoll took a stroll through the march after attending Occupy Simchat Torah services across the street with a yarmulke on, he was greeted by nothing but friendly responses. I enjoyed much the same experience after my family and I attended an extremely moving Occupy Kol Nidre service. In order to try to tar OWS as his comrades had, Stoll was forced to turn completely to the conditional tense, as in, “If the Occupy Wall Street movement does turn against the Jews…” it would resemble, in his opinion, America’s civil rights movement, the anti-war movement and perhaps even the Bolshevik Revolution. (I swear I am not making this up: “In the Soviet example, there were communists with Jewish backgrounds, but they eventually turned violently on the Jews in the Soviet Union,” Stoll writes on his blog, Future of Capitalism. “Here in New York, there are Jews both among the bankers and among the protesters against the bankers….”)

That the anti-Semitism charge against OWS is errant nonsense is evidenced by the fact that not even Abraham Foxman and his organization, the Anti-Defamation League, will sign on. Evidencing again the intellectual confusion that lies at the center of this misguided effort, Commentary’s Matthew Ackerman is worried that the movement is too Jewish. Rarely, he wrote, “has a movement so radical in its aims been tied so explicitly to a religious tradition….” And I suppose this, too, will somehow provide aid and comfort to the anti-Semites.

Conservatives, whether neo or otherwise, obviously believe they have cleverly seized a political opportunity with their neo-McCarthyite tactics, tactics that served them well when they sought to smear the opposition to George W. Bush’s disastrous war in Iraq with the insistence that its opponents were somehow responsible for the views of every nutty organization that joined its protest marches. Given OWS’s purposefully inchoate organizational structure — to say nothing of the heavy participation of proud and committed Jews — this latest effort takes on some of the absurdity of a Monty Python sketch. The fact that a few anti-Semites have congregated among the protesters is no more significant than the fact that they also tend to congregate in Times Square or Grand Central Station, often operating on orders from space aliens who send them messages through the fillings in their teeth. Should Jewish Democrats condemn them, as well? You can find anti-Semitism in a lot of places: on Fox News, in National Review, at Mel Gibson’s house. And conservatives seem to get on pretty well with those folk. The question to ask about anti-Semitism is not whether it exists, but whether its existence has any significant political or cultural implications.

Regarding OWS, much less the Democratic Party, the crazies with the silly signs are easily ignorable. Despite the worries of those like Stoll, this movement is not going to turn on Jews any more than it is going to storm the Tsar’s Winter Palace. But the recklessness of these conservative agitators to agitate against an obviously nonexistent threat can only backfire. It’s not that I worry that genuine anti-Semites will be let off the hook; I don’t think anti-Semitism has any significant following in the United States or enjoys any cache whatsoever, save in certain swamps where all forms of prejudice and xenophobia — like, for instance, Michele Bachmann/Rick Perry-style “birtherism” — also thrive. Rather the problem is that these Jews give gentiles the impression that everything has to be about them. The vast majority of Americans support the goals of OWS, according to all recent polling. The problems of “the 99% ”are clearly occupying the minds of millions of Americans, even if these people chose not to occupy Wall Street or their local bank plaza. If conservatives insist that these groups should be shunned because they can pick out a few possibly anti-Semitic crazies in the group, then wouldn’t it be fair for the rest of America to conclude that these people are willing to put their own narrow political agenda ahead of the good of the entire country?

And would they be entirely wrong?

Eric Alterman is a CUNY distinguished professor of English and journalism at Brooklyn College and at the City of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. He also writes a column for The Nation.

Here is our message of Jewish support for Occupy London:

“As members of the British Jewish community, we wish to support the ‘Occupy London’ movement and its current bases at St Paul’s and Finsbury Square. We welcome the movement’s openness, pluralism and commitment to imagining a more just world. We see this as fulfilling many of the precepts of Judaism, such as the imperative: ‘Justice, justice shall you pursue’. Our history calls for us to speak out than remain silent in the face of injustice, and our religion emphasises that justice is found in the concrete acts of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and giving help to the oppressed. Our spirituality must be grounded in these, which are not merely acts of occasional charity, but a fundamental daily ethical imperative.

“Our Jewish heritage includes a long tradition of reshaping society to help the least fortunate, from the teaching of prophets like Amos and Jeremiah, to Rabbi Hillel, to modern figures such as Abraham Joshua Heschel and Naomi Klein. It also includes a long history of secular Jewish activism, in the struggles for fair treatment for workers, human rights and environmental justice. It is in this tradition that we add our voices to the movement demanding accountability, honest and ethical practices from banks and global corporations, and a restructuring of financial regulation to ensure transparency and strict legality.

“We wish Occupy London success in furthering and deepening the debate in the country, and hope it will be a catalyst towards a more sustainable, just and equal society.”

Occupy Judaism London

Rabbi Judith Rosen-Berry
Rabbi Howard Cooper
Rabbi Sheila Shulman
Rabbi Mark Solomon
Rabbi Margaret Jacobi
Rabbi Judith Levitt
Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah
Rabbi Richard Jacobi
Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.