A coalition of Sephardi and Mizrahi groups — Jews who came from the Middle East and Africa — condemned a recent statement by the anti-Israel group, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), saying that it expressed “racist exclusion,” in a statement released Wednesday.
The coalition’s statement was published at the website of JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa), and stated, “we reject JVP’s framing of the Mizrahi and Sephardic experience as a driving force of their anti-Zionism and we request that JVP remove all references to Mizrahi and Sephardic history in this document and in all other organizational literature.”
The JIMENA statement asserted that “most Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews are and continue to identify as Zionist,” noting that a majority of those communities currently lives in Israel. Moreover, the statement emphasizes that for the Sephardi and Mizrahi communities, “Zionism is an embedded religious principle of our faith.”
The JVP statement, which portrays the Sephardi and Mizrahi communities as victims of Zionism, “perpetuates a history of racist exclusion where Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews are spoken for and spoken over,” the JIMENA statement charged.
JIMENA further criticized JVP’s Western and Ashkenazi — European — leadership for failing to deal with the “deeply-embedded anti-Mizrahi and Sephardic orientation inside the anti-Zionist movement.”
The JIMENA statement recalled that under state-sanctioned anti-Semitism — often cloaked as anti-Zionism — an estimated one million Jews were forcibly chased from the lands their families had lived for millennia. It was Israel where 650,000 of them “regained freedom, rights and a sense of personal security.”
JVP, which was described by JIMENA as “a (now-publicly) anti-Zionist organization,” claims to be for Palestinian rights, but is often involved in activities that are hostile to Jews and Israel.
In October of last year, student groups at Columbia University charged that JVP and other anti-Israel groups created “an unacceptably hostile environment for those who wish to exercise their constitutionally protected rights in ways that differ from the narratives of these groups.”
In 2017, JVP featured convicted terrorist Rasmeah Odeh at its national meeting. Odeh was convicted of killing two Jewish university students in a 1969 supermarket bombing in Jerusalem.
[Photo: World Jewish Congress / YouTube ]