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Understanding Anti-Israel Rhetoric, and BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel] (March 2017)

Rabbi Mike

As some of you are aware, I am involved in an effort with the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts to combat the BDS movement, which seeks to delegitimize and isolate Israel. I frequently encounter articles that deal with this phenomenon, and I want to share two recent pieces that came to my attention.

“The Israelization of Anti-Semitism” was the topic of a recent op-ed in the Boston Globe. The piece briefly describes the research done by the co-authors, Jehuda Reinharz and Monika Schwarz-Friesel, about how contemporary anti-Semitism is often couched in terms of criticism of Israel. The authors started their research in Germany, then expanded it to other European countries. Among their findings, and this is quite alarming, is that “contrary to popular assumptions, it is not exclusively alt-right, neo-Nazis and/or extreme left-wingers who think this way. On the contrary, the language of contemporary antisemitism, as in the past, is anchored in and spread by the educated mainstream as much as by fringe groups. Rather than physical attacks on Jews — with some exceptions — today’s assaults are verbal, ideological and cloaked in the guise of a critique of policies of the state of Israel.”

The second piece is about “Israel Apartheid Week,” which will soon be occurring on campuses around the country and beyond. This ugly charade is sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a rabidly anti-Israel group that is active on some college campuses around the country and responsible for most campus-based BDS activity. The article’s author, Seffi Kogen, is the Assistant Director of Campus Affairs of the American Jewish Committee. Kogen points to this year’s SJP tagline, “100 years of settler-colonialism” as an indication of the BDS movement’s true intent. For 100 years ago was not the 1967 Six Day War, which led to Israel’s “occupation” of certain Arab territories—that was 50 years ago. However, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the first statement by a modern government of the Jewish People’s right to a homeland in Israel and to self-determination. The true intent of BDS efforts is to negate modern Jewish history by delegitimizing Israel as a Jewish sovereign State and by denying Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State. 

Fri, July 12 2024 6 Tammuz 5784