Tag Archives: anti-Semitism

Intersectionality or Just Blaming the Jews?

Over the last few years, the radical Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and their primary campus agitator — Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — have developed a new strategy: forging alliances with human rights groups campaigning through social action. This technique has been labeled “intersectionality.” In most instances, worthy causes now have an additional masked message — “it’s the Jews fault,” repackaged for a modern generation by taking aim at the Jewish state.

In 2014,  when Michael Brown was shot by police in Ferguson, MO, African Americans were struggling with issues of community safety and institutionalized racism within the Ferguson police department,  the BDS movement moved to harness and leverage Black anger — hijacking the shooting to fraudulently mischaracterize Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza as racially motivated.

1The anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada (EI) wrote regarding a Ferguson protest: “Some young people responded by throwing bottles and rocks at police, prompting comparisons to Palestine, where children often toss stones at Israeli occupation forces as a means of resistance and self-defense.”

It is true that Palestinians have thrown rocks at Israelis and that here protesters threw bottles at the police. However, the insinuation by EI that — because responses to Israel and the U.S. police have similarities, therefore their underpinning issue must be the same — is highly manipulative.

EI then took the so-called link between Israel and Ferguson a step further pointing to the fact that the St Louis police department had traveled to Israel to attend a LEEP conference in 2008. Here, Israel was portrayed as an actual endemic cause of this American problem!

2Another target of the BDS movement is the LGBTQ community. Israel is without comparison the most accommodating country in the Middle East. However, BDS draws this community into its fold by cynically alleging that Israel uses its Western liberal tolerance as a diversion tactic to whitewash — or “pinkwash” — its so-called human rights violations against Palestinians.

On January 22, 2016, nearly 200 protesters, including members of SJP U of C and JVP UChicago crashed a major U.S. LGBTQ conference in Chicago and shut down a talk that featured both a Jerusalem and American LGBTQ group.

The protesters stood outside the venue yelling, “Shut it down!” and “Racists go home!” Other disruptors shouted calls for Israel’s destruction —  including “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!” and “Zionism has got to go!” Protesters eventually broke into the event room and shouted down the speakers.

At Oberlin College in Ohio, Students for a Free Palestine (SFP), an affiliate of SJP, tried to enlist the support of the Mexican community for BDS by fabricating a link between Israeli policy and U.S-Mexican border issues. The SFP Facebook page states that its goal is for Oberlin College to divest from six corporations that do business with Israel that “militarize the US-Mexico border wall, create drones and surveillance technologies in prisons.”

3BDS is also not above stepping on the trauma of sexual assault victims in order to prop up their anti-Israel agenda. At DePaul University, SJP members piggybacked on a campaign called Take Back the Dorms — a campaign concerned with issues of sexual assaults and rape on campus in Chicago. SJP protesters trying to promote a divestment resolution, held signs that read “From Palestine to our university. SJP DePaul stands against sexual violence and exploitation,” along with the hashtags #TakeBackTheDorms and #DePaulDivest.

4In spite of Israel being a welcoming home to many migrant workers from the Philippines, this did not stop the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) at San Francisco State University (SFSU) from successfully forging an alliance with Kapit Bisig Kabataan Networka “national Filipino-American youth and student led relief network built in response to Typhoon Haiyan.” This alliance came together to shout down Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, while he was speaking at SFSU.

Upon entering the room where Barkat was speaking, GUPS SFSU President Lubna Morrar led the group in yelling, “Get the f**k off our campus!” Following that, fellow GUPS SFSU member Linda Ereikat led the group in other aggressive and violent chants including “Intifada, Intifada!” as well as, “If we don’t get no justice, then you don’t get no peace” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!” — a call for Israel’s destruction.

When attempting to enlist the support of human rights groups, BDS first follow a strategy of demonization and dehumanization of Israel. They avoid stating at the outset that their goal is the end of the Jewish state, as this would be recognized as racist and malevolent by human rights-minded students. Thus, their first move is to compare “relatable evils” and package them up with Israel. Now the campaigners can sell the idea that “Israel is evil.”  The final stage is to vilify Israel with more outrageous and severe lies: genocide, ethnic cleansing, organ harvesting of Palestinians, using Palestinians as guinea pigs to test chemical weapons etc. Once the dehumanization of the Jewish state reaches a certain point, it can appear —  even to a human rights-minded student —  that Israel shouldn’t exist.

Dehumanization of Jews by accusing them of the worlds worst evils is nothing new. It can be found in classical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Renaissance blood libels of Jews poisoning water, murdering children and drinking blood have been resurrected by the Palestinian Authority and can be found across anti-Israel media and propaganda websitesThe Protocols of the Elders of Zion conjured the conspiracy of a network of Jewish power and control over governments. Modern-day anti-Semites repackage this idea — such as with John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s essay the Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy in order to push the idea that Israel is a sinister entity that doesn’t deserve existence.

Whether its capitalizing on the Black Lives Matter campaign, or through lumping Israel divestment together with fossil fuel divestment, intersectionality is the manipulative tool of the BDS movement to enlist well-intentioned, human rights-minded individuals into blaming their problems on the Jews — so BDS can continue their propaganda campaign to eliminate the Jewish state.

The Backlash

Well, it’s been about a week since Canary Mission launched and every day has been an adventure. We have seen amazing feedback, people who realize that what we’re doing is important and vital in the fight against those who seek the destruction of freedom. We have also seen the very worst of people- the screamers, the threateners, the “human rights advocates” and the hate-mongers. Of course we expected them. They run the dialogue of Twitter and Facebook, they were bound to find us as well. But the volume, the nastiness and the absolute inability to dialogue has left us dumbfounded. You see, that is the way of those who seek our fall. There is no room for dialogue, no ability to listen- there is just smash and kill, blame and shriek. It is impossible for them to believe that there are two sides to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It is unheard of that maybe anti-Semitism is creeping like a plague onto college campuses, being aided and abetted by the growing list of threatening and hate-fomenting organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. It is beyond the realm of their comprehension that maybe we are doing this not out of Islamophobia or racism, but exactly the opposite. That we are highlighting radicalism in order to end the racial divide that we see on campus and start a dialogue over how to fix things. Maybe, just maybe, the solution is not for America to be called a force for evil in this world or for Israel to be thrown into the sea. Maybe there is another way.

But, no. That is not the world we live in. People on Twitter and Facebook would rather use racial epithets (the amount of times we’ve been referred to as “nasty Jews” would astound you) and ask for us to be transparent with who we are and how we are funded. Let’s delve a little deeper into that issue for a second. Why is it so important who we are? Maybe you want to know so you can threaten us, discredit us or punish us. Many of our detractors just want to know who we are so they can physically harm us.

But then we think “That can’t be! These people seem so upset about the fact that these anti-freedom activists’ privacy is being violated…obviously they realize the hypocrisy in wanting to violate our privacy, right?” Wrong! Anyone who stands “on principle”, demanding our names and addresses is doing so for the EXACT reasons that they think we are publicizing the information on our website. Except we are doing it so that maybe it will act as a deterrent for students who want to spend their college careers demonstrating against democratic countries.

      We knew there would be a huge outcry from enemies of Israel and the US – we expected it. Canary Mission is an entirely new path in the fight for freedom and democracy. Canary Mission is part of a bigger movement- one that pro-actively seeks to protect and defend freedom and curb rising worldwide hatred and radicalism. We may be using a different angle than traditional advocacy, but the war for the hearts and minds of world opinion is multi-faceted. It’s a beautiful and important thing to project a truthful positive image of America and Israel and that no matter what, there will always be those who seek to destroy that image for their own radical agendas.

       The most important thing to remember is that Canary Mission is not making this up. We’re not weaving some horrible narrative about these wonderful and peaceful young students who just try and make their way quietly through four years of university. These are young people who align themselves with organizations who make the destruction of our Western values their goal and purpose. These are the people who then draft BDS resolutions and bring them to a vote time and time again until they’re passed – resolutions whose end goal is nothing short of the dissolution of the State of Israel. They are people who run for student government offices, so they can wield their power against the pro-Israel students on campus. They invite speakers who rail against Israel and the West, as honored guests. These are students who intimidate with mock checkpoints and “apartheid walls” and post mock eviction notices in campus dormitories. These are people who block appointments of students to positions in student government based on their “pro-Israel” status. And what does Canary Mission actually do? Do we modify their pictures, or distort their videos and words? No. We aggregate all the things they have done and they have said, and we present it to the public.

        If you are someone who thinks that being a pro-Palestinian advocate has nothing to do with any of this, that’s fine. This website wouldn’t be directed towards you. You may even be an employer who finds this distasteful behavior, positive- that’s fine too. But we think we have hit a nerve. All of you detractors who hate what Canary Mission is doing, realize how important our work is. You’re not used to us speaking up. You’re used to us being quiet and polite, talking about American values or Israeli hi-tech. Perhaps, it terrifies you that a group of pro-freedom advocates are actually calling you out on the rising tide of hatred that you are bringing to North American campuses. And if this, indeed is the case, stay tuned, we are not going away. The civilized world needs what we are doing.

It’s Only Getting Worse

While anti-Semitism is nothing new, in the years since the Holocaust it had fallen totally out of fashion. Gone were the days when you could disparage your Jewish neighbour or work associate. Many Jews mistakenly believed that the scourge of Jew-hatred had simply been eradicated, that we were safe from antipathy forevermore. This is the mindset that makes what is currently happening on North American campuses all the more jarring. While we in North America look at news reports out of Europe, where Jewish persecution is flourishing and growing unabated, we breathe a sigh of relief and whisper, “At least we are safe.” We here at Canary Mission are bearing witness to the fact that anti-Semitism does very much exist in North America, and the front lines of this fight are on college campuses nationwide. Jewish students are being targeted in disproportionate numbers. Swastikas and racist epithets are being spray-painted on Jewish fraternities. Jews are being accosted at Hillel events and while handing our Birthright flyers. Open debate is being stifled, and replaced with what can only honestly be described as hate- fueled rhetoric aimed at the Jewish people.

          Many people are quick to point out that most of the venom is directed toward Israel. They believe that Israel is the obstacle to their peaceful coexistence with their fellow students and professors, and since they themselves aren’t particularly attached to Israel, it doesn’t affect them. Yet it only takes a cursory glance at the news to realize that Israel is being used as the scapegoat for unbridled Jew hatred. It is as if the anti-Semites of North America are aware that anti-Semitic rhetoric is off-limits, so they replace it with anti-Zionism to make it more palatable. 

          This tactic masks the true alarming spread of Jew-hatred on college campuses. Along with the unwitting aid of anti-Zionist Jewish-run organisations, anti-Semites find cover in speaking their darkest feelings about Israel and by extension, the Jewish people. Images given to those who support Israel echo the darkest aspects of classical anti-Semitism- Nazi imagery and swastikas, Jews with humped backs and large noses, assertions that “the Israel lobby” controls the government, media and financial institutions. These are all well-worn anti-Semitic scripts, with “Israel” replacing “Jew” for the new millennium. 

          While the bulk of the campus Jew-hatred is coming from one camp, many other North Americans are able to air their long-held grievances against Jews, now that “enough time has passed” since the Holocaust. Jews and Israel are constantly compared to “the Goliath”, while Palestine is seen as “the underdog,” while Israel remains a tiny Jewish speck in a very unfriendly neighborhood. Students feel buoyed by the support they receive from like-minded activist professors, while pro-Israel or Jewish students feel stifled, in fear of grade retribution. Social media and online blogs and sites have replaced the mainstream media, giving a frightening anonymity to anyone who wishes to demonise Israel and Jews by extension. In this Wild West of the internet, false images are disseminated and retweeted faster than one can type. In a world where the Jewish and pro-Israel communities are dwarfed by the anti-Semitic communities in the Middle East, Europe and even North America, it’s impossible to even try and keep up with the sheer volume of online anti-Israel materials that exist. 

          And if we think that this anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Western rhetoric will stay confined to the ivy-covered buildings of the university, we are fooling ourselves. One need only look over to the ill-named Arab Spring in the Middle East, or the constant wave of Islamic terror gripping Europe to realise that, uncontested, North America is not immune to the threat. Without a thorough wake-up call, and a true understanding of what we face, we are threatened by the same fate. It is true what they say about history, “We who do not learn from it are doomed to repeat it.”

         This is yet another reason why Canary Mission is such a vital tool in the war against the spread of Western hatred. It gives a face and a name to the agitators, professors, students and professionals who spend their time demonising the Jewish people, the one Jewish state in the world, and the values of democracy that the Western World holds most dear.

Imagine this scenario…

  Imagine this scenario. You’re watching a link someone’s posted to their Facebook or Twitter feed. On the screen in a huge mass of red, green and black flags, kheffiyehs of every color, and placards screaming “Apartheid!” and “Murderer!” It’s the usual scene of an anti- Israel rally, complete with chanting and an Imam whipping those assembled into an anti-Israel frenzy. The camera pans to a college- aged girl in the crowd, eyes ablaze, spittle coming from her lips, clearly enraged. She has just spotted a guy across the street in a kippa, silently holding a large Israeli flag with a proud and stoic expression on his face. She is blinded by fury at this point, and screams at him “Back to the ovens to finish the job! Allahu akhbar! Hitler was right!” It makes the blood boil to think of such a scene, let alone watch it unfold.

      Now imagine this same girl a few years later. She has finished her degree in Anthropology and is looking for a job in academia, or business, or anywhere, for that matter. She comes to her interview nicely dressed and groomed, and well-mannered, if a bit shy. Her resume reflects her impressive GPA, the time she spent teaching kids to read, and her summers visiting family in the Middle East. There is no mention of the three years she spent as president of SJP, on the board of her university’s MSA chapter, or spearheading the BDS movement on her campus. There is no link to her videos showing her spewing venom at pro-Israel students. There are no pictures of her wearing Islamic Jihad regalia or speaking at a conference entitled “Zionism is Racism.” There is no indication that she spent the better part of her college career dedicating her extracurricular hours to organizations aided, abetted and funded by internationally-regarded terrorist organizations. 

      In this day and age of the internet, researching potential employees is easy. One can google a name or search someone on Facebook and have access to a prospective employees private life. But all too often, when there are fifty prospective employees, so many resumes to wade through, and candidates that are seemingly highly qualified, intensive background research might fall by the wayside. And this is a problem. Without missions like ours, there is no accountability. There is no recourse for spending endless hours relentlessly calling for the destruction of Israel, organizing die-ins and fake checkpoints, publicly sympathizing with terrorists and posting violent and racist content to one’s wall or feed. It is all too easy to graduate from an institution and “clean house” on anything one might deem “objectionable to a possible employer.” And then these individual wipe their own slates clean. All that’s left is their time on student council, their semester as a Teaching Assistant. Maybe they’ll leave their time as a member of SJP on their Timelines, the way one would their fraternities or their involvement with the campus Hillel.

        But SJP is not Hillel, and the BDS movement is not a fraternity. They may hold bake sales and have dance parties, but they also host terrorists and organize boycotts and rallies. They leave mock eviction notices and threaten opponents. They do this with the blessing of their like-minded professors and the tremendous financial support of people they do not even know, people who are using them to make American universities unwelcoming and unsafe for Israel-supporters and Jewish students.

       Our job is to hold these people accountable. We need to ensure that the hate they espoused so freely doesn’t get swept under the rug. To show them that there are consequences to violent and hateful actions.

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