Protest at UC Irvine after a speech sponsored by the Muslim Student Union entitled "Israel: The Fourth Reich," Feb. 2016. (Photo/JTA-Mark Boster-Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Protest at UC Irvine after a speech sponsored by the Muslim Student Union entitled "Israel: The Fourth Reich," Feb. 2016. (Photo/JTA-Mark Boster-Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

How Jewish Voice for Peace gives voice to antisemites

It’s about time that social-media giants cracked down on influencers disingenuously calling for peace while simultaneously fanning the flames of hatred. By offering a public platform encouraging people to speak their mind, the level of discourse has plummeted and antisemitic speech has increased.
No, I’m not talking about President Trump on Twitter.

I’m talking about Jewish Voice for Peace on Facebook.

If the stated intent of the Oakland-based nonprofit is to promote peace and fight anti-Jewish bigotry, why does this group not only allow, but fail to actively discourage, antisemitic comments on its Facebook page, one “liked” by 575,000 people and “followed” by 594,000?

Reading user comments on the Jewish Voice for Peace Facebook page is like going for the low-hanging antisemitic fruit.

I admit it — I am a proud Zionist, desire a two-state solution (2 States for 2 Peoples) and am opposed to JVP’s calls for boycotts, sanctions and divestment of Israel.

But there’s value in learning about opinions from people with whom you don’t necessarily agree. Sometimes there’s also horror, combined with a sense of urgency in these increasingly crazy times.

This year, I’m calling out antisemitism where I find it.

A cursory scan of the hundreds of user comments on the JVP Facebook page turns up these classic antisemitic tropes: Zionists control the media and our politicians, suckle on the hard-earned tax dollars of the American public, are responsible for the ills of the world, and are themselves the cause of antisemitism, by “exploiting” the Holocaust and “amplifying” it (whatever that means).

In previous forays into the fan comment sections, I even found the modernized version of the ancient blood libel in the form of specious allegations of Jews — excuse me, Zionists — kidnapping/killing Palestinians to obtain their organs, or poisoning their water.

Swapping “Zionists” for “Jews” isn’t a terribly clever disguise for rank antisemitism.

What a strange coincidence it must be that these libels against “Zionists” mirror the same ancient tropes against the Jews.

It has become very evident in our recent U.S. history that bigoted words can and do lead to violent actions.

Ironically, Jewish Voice for Peace states in its latest annual report, “we have a crucial role in resisting the weaponization of antisemitism” ( and expresses outrage over the alleged conflagration of anti-Zionism with antisemitism. Apparently Jewish Voice for Peace has not read its own fans’ comments.

Not actively discouraging antisemitism on its own Facebook page has the effect of actually encouraging antisemitic speech. And just to be clear: These offending posts are not critiques of the State of Israel’s policies, but of Israelis (read: Jews) as people, which, under the Facebook terms of use, are prohibited.

One might think that there would be a “terms of use” on the JVP Facebook page about appropriate vs. inappropriate comments. One might think that posted antisemitic comments would be deleted.  Or that other JVP Facebook fans would self-correct the antisemitism by calling it out for what it is.
But if you think any of that, as far as I can tell, you are wrong.

In late December, Jewish Voice for Peace posted a link ( to an article about Israelis being allowed access to the Temple Mount. Soon after, a fan posted a GIF of an unending stream of scurrying vermin (garnering four “likes”). Not to be outdone, a Jewish Voice for Peace “Top Fan” immediately posted a GIF of an insect being gassed. (So much for self-regulation on social media).

I’ve emailed Jewish Voice for Peace, including the date of the original post, a video of the GIFs and a request that these be deleted. I also messaged the organization through its Facebook page with the video, and I requested the comments be deleted. Shortly thereafter, I received a response that JVP would “look into it.”

The video comments have yet to be deleted.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of J.

Anastasia Torres-Gil
Anastasia Torres-Gil

Anastasia Torres-Gil is a former Assistant District Attorney for Santa Cruz County, served as the Santa Clara County District Attorney's first Hate Crimes Unit Coordinator and is a national board member of Hadassah. She is the creator of the pro-Israel comic strip “Zionist Pugs.”