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Lauren Feldman

Overview

Lauren Feldman has perpetuated an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and promoted the #returnthebirthright initiative launched by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) against the Birthright Jewish heritage tour.

Feldman has also tweeted that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) should be a target of “Jewish Resistance."

Feldman is an activist with IfNotNow (INN), an organization that uses disruptive tactics to drive a wedge between American Jewry and Israel.

As of September 2017, Feldman’s Facebook page said she was pursuing a PhD at Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins) in American History. She is also a 2013 graduate of Harvard.

Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theory

On September 2, 2017, Feldman retweeted a JVP tweet that read: “HAPPENING NOW: ADL-funded trip to Israel for US cops. Sign the petition to end these now. http://DeadlyExchange.org @ADL_National."

The tweet promoted a JVP campaign titled “Deadly Exchange" that accused American Jewish organizations of promoting human rights abuses.

JVP also released an video that blamed “US-based Jewish organizations" for violence that occurs against Black and Brown communities, immigrants and activists in the U.S.

The video accused mainstream Jewish organizations in the United States of coordinating exchange programs between American and Israeli security personnel, to advance “worst practices" and “racist policies."

The campaign page claimed that these “policies" included: “extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, police murders, racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance, deportation and detention."

Condemning Jewish Heritage Tour

On September 2, 2017, Feldman tweeted support for the #returnthebirthright campaign launched by JVP.

Feldman’s tweet read: “Signal-boosting @jvplive's #ReturntheBirthright campaign to support justice for Palestinian people."

Return the Birthright Campaign

In September of 2017, JVP issued its #ReturntheBirthright campaign manifesto, calling on American Jews to boycott the Birthright Israel (Birthright) program. Birthright was founded by Jewish philanthropists “in 1999 to address the growing divide between young Diaspora Jewish adults and the land and people of Israel."

After decades of demographic decline in the American Jewish community, Birthright set out “to strengthen Jewish identity, build a lasting bond with the land and people of Israel, and reinforce the solidarity of Jewish people worldwide." The program offers “the gift of a life-changing, 10-day trip to Israel to young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26."

JVP’s anti-Birthright campaign was launched precisely to coincide with “the very moment that college students across America are returning to campus and registration for Birthright winter visits are underway."

The #returnthebirthright manifesto accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing" and alleged “the modern state of Israel is predicated on the ongoing erasure of Palestinians."

The text claimed: “We reject the offer of a free trip to a state that does not represent us, a trip that is only ‘free’ because it has been paid for by the dispossession of Palestinians."

The manifesto concluded: “And as we reject this, we commit to promoting the right to return of Palestinian refugees… Israel is not our Birthright… Return the Birthright."

On June 22, 2017, just prior to the launch of JVP’s #returnthebirthright campaign, JVP received a $140,00 two-year grant for general support for its operations from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF).

Since 2015, JVP has received $280,000 from RBF, which has a history of supporting anti-Jewish causes, including BDS campaigns and various organizations that promote BDS campaigns throughout the United States.

Demonizing AIPAC

On March 26, 2017, Feldman attended an INN-organized protest against the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

That same day, Feldman retweeted a tweet by INN that read: “For decades #AIPAC2017 has preyed on our community's trauma. But Islamaphobia & occupation are not our values. Shonda (shame)! #ResistAIPAC."

Feldman also tweeted on March 26th from the protest: Let's keep #JewishResistance trending! #AIPAC2017."

The INN demonstrators joined with other groups protesting against AIPAC that day, including Al-Awda — The Palestine Right to Return Coalition.

The rally demonized AIPAC and featured a lineup of speakers who have spread anti-Semitism. Among them was the rally’s lead organizer, Al-Awda co-founder Abbas Hamideh.

Another speaker at the rally was Ryan Dawson — a denier of Nazi gas chambers. Dawson mocked ancient Jewish Scriptures and attacked Jewish historical claims to the Land of Israel. His comments were greeted with cheers.
Dawson also said: “If I can give something across to the scumbags inside… AIPAC is a virus… AIPAC is a parasite." Dawson’s comments were a greeted with shouts of approval.

JVP

JVP was founded in Berkeley, California in 1996, as an activist group with an emphasis on the "Jewish tradition" of peace, social justice and human rights. The organization is currently led by Rebecca Vilkomerson and its board members include controversial Israel critics Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky and Tony Kushner.

JVP, which generally employs civil disobedience tactics like disrupting pro-Israel speakers and events, consists of American Jews and non-Jewish "allies" highly critical of Israeli policies. A staunch supporter of the BDS movement, JVP claims to aim its campaigns at companies that either support the Israeli military (Hewlett-Packard) or are active in the West Bank (SodaStream).

Although several Jewish groups critical of Israeli policies, like J Street and Partners for a Progressive Israel, make efforts to operate within the mainstream American Jewish community, JVP functions outside. The group is often criticized for serving as a tokenized Jewish voice for the pro-Palestinian camp and is widely regarded as the BDS movement's "Jewish wing."

JVP denies the notion of "Jewish peoplehood" and has even gone so far as to refer to its own Ashkenazi (Jews who spent the Diaspora in European countries) leadership as supreme inside of JVP."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused JVP of being "the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States," and said the group "exploits Jewish culture and rituals to reassure its own supporters that opposition to Israel not only does not contradict, but is actually consistent with, Jewish values... JVP consistently co-sponsors rallies to oppose Israeli military policy that are marked by signs and slogans comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, demonizing Jews and voicing support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah."

According to the ADL website, JVP "uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide it with a greater degree of legitimacy and credibility."

Social Media and Web Links



Occupation:
Student

University:

Organizations(s):
INN,
JVP

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Last Modified:
02/24/2020

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