Jewish Voice for Peace, a national organization that seeks to use traditional Jewish values to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, will have an official presence at AU by the end of the month.
College of Arts and Sciences senior Josh Michaels and School of Public Affairs senior Ibraheem Samirah are working with Benji Mandel, a SPA ’12 alumnus, to organize a chapter at AU. Mendel interns at Jewish Voice for Peace at the national level and began working with Michaels and Samirah to start the chapter in August.
“For Jewish Americans like myself, none of the current groups on campus that deal with this conflict properly reflect me and my values,” Michaels said. “We hope JVP will be a place where American Jews, and anyone else who cares about the conflict, can come and have an open dialogue.”
Student organizations at AU must complete a number of requirements by Sept. 30 to become a fully recognized club. This includes:
• finding an advisor,
• writing a constitution and
• forming an executive board.
Damián Fontanez, a senior in SPA and a member of Students for Justice in Palestine, has been helping JVP complete this process.
“I really hope SJP and JVP can work together because our positions on issues are not very far apart,” he said. “It’s important that JVP provide that outlet for Jews who do not agree with Israel.”
Samirah is not Jewish himself but thinks it is critical that there be a setting within the Jewish community to discuss the conflict.
“There is a cultural philosophy of not speaking negatively about Israel,” Samirah said. “But where SJP focuses on exposing Israeli crimes, JVP focuses on finding a way to end those crimes.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated JVP advocates for a two-state solution. Instead, it aims to use Jewish values to support an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The article also mischaracterized Samirah as a Jewish Palestinian. He is a Muslim Palestinian. The article also originally misspelled Mandel’s name.