JCCSF singlehandedly solves the “who is a Jew question”! Not, apparently, JVP!
In May 2005, Jewish Voice for Peace held a sold-out fundraiser at the JCC of San Francisco, the crown jewel of the Jewish community here in the city. Turns out that in February, shortly after it became public that we’d be holding our shindig there, but before the event was actually held, they rewrote their rental agreement to keep us out. It wasn’t until a year later when we went back to rent a room that they told us we might first want to check out the, ahem, new agreement. (Reportedly, at least one board member who was in the room when the change was pushed through was appalled, but no one has gone on record about what happened.)
Now, sandwiched in between minor contractual details about things like cleaning or leaving a deposit, there is a paragraph which states:
It is the right and responsibility of the JCCSF to determine eligibility, in part, based on a group’s mission and activities. Groups that…engage in Israel-related activities without an explicit commitment to Israel’s right to exist as an independent Jewish State would fall outside of the JCCSF’s rental eligibility requirements.
It wasn’t that long ago that a majority of Jews were opposed to Zionism. Many still oppose the idea of a Jewish state for a multitude of reasons.
The funny thing is, JVP is not even anti-Zionist. But our crime is that we’re not Zionist either. We have members who span the spectrum. We support the rights of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination, and keep our focus on international human rights and ending the occupation. You can read why we don’t endorse either a one or two-state solution–it’s up to Israelis and Palestinians, not us, to negotiate what will work for them. So, we don’t pass the new litmus test.
Oh yeah, and we’re Jewish. We’re very Jewish. Many of our supporters are members of the JCCSF. But apparently, we’re not Jewish enough.
In a few days, I’ll post the words of poet Adrienne Rich at a recent Hannukah reading, sitting on the very stage that we can never return to, calling out the JCCSF for making us “unwelcome”.