Continuing insanity: Koret Foundation up in arms about Cindy Corrie, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Quakers

Jewish Voice for Peace, the sponsor of Muzzlewatch, has about 85,000 supporters; an advisory board that includes some of the best known Jewish thinkers and artists in the world; a program staff and board that is 100% Jewish; members who are rabbis, Holocaust survivors, Jewish educators, yeshiva graduates, Israeli military veterans and more; and an incoming director who has just spent the last three years living in Israel with her family.

And we’re dedicated to justice and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians.

But none of that, apparently, qualifies Jewish Voice for Peace to be part of the Jewish community as defined by….funders! In fact, the experts at the Koret Foundation have determined that we are, yes, here it comes, you never heard this one before………. “anti-Semites!” How cliche! How funny! How completely unoriginal! (OK, to be fair, that’s not exactly what they called us. What they actually said was “virulently anti-Semitic.” )

In more of the continuing insanity – and that’s the only way to put it – about the showing of the film Rachel (Corrie), the Koret Foundation, major funders of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, seems to have plagiarized a far-right viral email and turned it into an official, um, “attack-statement.”

(As Muzzlewatch and also JJ Goldberg, former Forward editor has observed, it is conservative funders in the donation-dependent Jewish institutional world who increasingly wield power to define Jewish identity and community moral standards. The economic crisis seems to be fueling this phenomenon. Another theory is that the increasing crackdown on  dissent in Israel is now spreading here – something out of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s playbook? After all, the festival has featured anti-occupation films for years. JVP has sponsored many of them. Nary a peep about that, until this year. Why?)

The Koret Foundation is worth something like $400 million. They give to a lot of great programs as well as significant amounts to the right-or-wrong-Israel-advocacy programs.  Their CEO is Tad Taube, so for all intents and purposes, the statement below is from the same person.

(And to just add just more delicious irony, two key staffers of the AFSC’s Middle East program here in San Francisco are Jewish, including Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb. Apparently they’ve been excommunicated by the Koret Foundation as well. Well, everyone knows how mean pacifist Quakers are. Mean! Especially the Jews who work with them!)

Statement from the Koret and Taube Foundations:

As staunch champions and allies of Israel, the Koret and Taube Foundations do not support any organization that promotes or provokes anti-Israel sentiment; nor do we provide funding to any organization whose mission runs counter to our position. In this instance, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has made three egregious errors in its upcoming presentation of the film, “Rachel”:

  • It is partnering with Jewish Voice for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee, two virulently anti-Israel, anti-Semitic groups that support boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. Both are closely associated with the International Solidarity Movement and other groups that aid and abet terror against the Jewish State. These groups cross the line for inclusion in the Jewish community.
  • The film festival made a conscious choice to present a film that lays blame for the accidental death of a civilian at the door of the State of Israel. We are deeply saddened by loss of life, most notably the countless Israeli lives lost and interrupted by virtue of service to their country. Presenting the story of a girl who put herself in harm’s way in no way advances our community dialogue. In fact, it threatens our community purposes.
  • Finally, we are appalled at the film festival’s decision to invite Cindy Corrie into our community. This bereaved mother cannot help but have a negative bias toward Israel. Why would a Jewish organization hand her a microphone and a soapbox from which to condemn Israel as Jewish audiences are expected to sit and listen politely? There is no possible counterbalance to an emotional, grieving mother.

Those who cavalierly fling Israel’s future into the grasp of those who would destroy it betray a mainstay of the mainstream Jewish community to support Israel and to counteract anti-Israel propaganda events, speakers and organizations. In this case, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has aligned itself with the wrong side.

How stupid do they think Bay Area Jews are?
-Cecilie Surasky

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