29 January 2018

Israel bans Quaker American Friends Service Committee, the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize winners for Rescuing Jews from Nazi Germany

However Israel Extends a Welcoming Hand to Neo-Nazi & Far Right Leaders

It is one of life’s ironies that if you are a neo-Nazi and you deny that the Holocaust occurred, then you are more than welcome to enter Israel, pay homage to the dead you deny at Yad Vashem, meet government ministers and profess your joint hatred of Muslims.  However if you are Jewish and believe that Boycotting Israel is the best way to change its Apartheid economic and society then you are banned.

This is what Israel has come to.  Anti-racists are banned but racists, fascists and neo-Nazis are more than welcome.  People like Heinz Christian-Strache of Austria, who was a guest of Likud recently.  Or Geert Wilders, the Dutch bigot and parliamentarian or even Richard ‘White Zionist’ Spencer the neo-Nazi alt-Right leader. 

All of the above are welcome in Israel BUT Rebecca Vilkomerson, the leader of Jewish Voices for Peace in the United States is NOT welcome.
Israel is one of the few countries in the world who ban people not for what they do but what they think.  It is ironic that it must be the only country in the world to welcome neo-Nazis but ban the ‘wrong sort of Jews’ from entering.  I guess that is why it calls itself a ‘Jewish’ state.

Here is the list of 20 groups that have been banned – two – Palestine Solidarity Campaign and War on Want are from Britain.

Tony Greenstein 
Rebecca Vilkomerson (right) Director of Jewish Voices for Peace is now banned from Israel
Banned Groups
  • AFPS (France-Palestine Solidarity Association)
  • BDS France
  • BDS Italy
  • ECCP (The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine)
  • FOA (Friends of al-Aqsa)
  • IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • Norge Palestinakomitee (The Palestine Committee of Norway)
  • Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (PGS-Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden)
  • PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • War on Want
  • BDS Kampagne
United States
  • AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
  • AMP (American Muslims for Palestine)
  • Code Pink
  • JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
  • NSJP (National Students for Justice in Palestine)
  • USCPR (U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights)
Other groups
  • BDS Chile
  • BDS South Africa
  • BDS National Committee
Not banned - Herr Strache of the Austrian   Freedom Party visits  Yad Vashem
Philip Weiss on January 8, 2018

AFSC logo
One of the special ironies of the weekend’s news that Israel is barring 20 international organizations from entry because they support BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is the appearance on that list of the venerable American Friends Service Committee, or AFSC, which was founded 101 years ago as an antiwar organization.

AFSC earned distinction and a Nobel Prize for helping Jews and other refugees escape the Holocaust. Now it is on that list because it is helping Palestinians!

AFSC is honored at Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem. From Yad Vashem’s portrait of the American Friends Service Committee:

Relief organization established in 1917 by the Quakers, also known as the Society of Friends, as a forum for doing service to humanity in a moral fashion. The Quakers make up one of the smallest religious groups in the United States.
The Foreign Service Section of the AFSC did even more than the Refugee Division. Cooperating with Jewish relief agencies, in 1939 the organization sent a delegation to Germany to check on the situation of Jews and Christians and provide relief if necessary. They mainly assisted Christian refugees, but they also helped Jews. Among other activities, they fed and saved children in France, assisted Jews who had reached Portugal, and organized the activities of relief agencies in Spain.

In 1947 the AFSC won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping refugees during and after World War II.

Mike Merryman-Lotze of the AFSC was quoted today by IMEU on the move by Israel:
Geert Vilders, Dutch Fascist leader lived in Tel Aviv
“We will continue to stand up for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine regardless of the recent Israeli announcement that staff from AFSC and 19 other organizations may be denied entry to Israel because of our support for the grassroots Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for Palestinian human rights. 
“Our response to the Palestinian BDS call is in line with our similar support for divestment from apartheid South Africa and boycotts during the civil rights era. Our work is motivated by Quaker belief in the worth and dignity of all people, and it is that belief that has led us to support and join in nonviolent resistance to violence and oppression around the world, including the Palestinian BDS call, for a hundred years.”
Thanks to Ofer Neiman and Eitan Diamond. Oh and Haaretz also did the story. And thanks to Mondo’s co-editor Adam Horowitz– who used to do Palestinian work at AFSC.
Yad Vashem page on the American Friends Services Committee role during the War
P.S. This story feeds my spiritual understanding that Palestinians are being forced by Israel to recapitulate the history of the Jews. What we experienced in Europe, Palestinians must experience in Israel and Palestine. This time around we play the guys with the jack boots! Of course there is a big arc in that story; the group goes from being humiliated outsiders to people granted prestige by the world for their suffering. Palestinians are gaining prestige by the moment. AFSC is surely proud of being named.

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