When Berkeley's Students for Justice in Palestine chapter (comprised of Jews, Palestinians, and many other diverse folks) launched a campaign to persuade the University of California student government and the UC Regents to divest from companies that profit from Israel's occupation and war crimes, we discovered that the American Jewish establishment was giving out prepared talking points to our opponents. And so young Jewish students were compelled to parrot "Israel: Right or Wrong" propagandistic distortions and outright lies during the public debate on the divestment bill.
Where does this propaganda come from, exactly?
I interviewed one of the leaders of The David Project, whose name happened to be David. He spoke to me about how the David Project is deploying "a mythic figure" named Dr. Delegitimizer (apparently an adult in a costume!) who will attack Israel on such grounds as that it prevents Palestinians from having equal rights, and thereby train young Jews to tell a pro-Israel tall tale. Check out the video, above, which would be preposterously funny if the consequences of these lies weren't such severe suffering for the Palestinian people. One key clip, which I think says it all:
Q: Critics say all of the settlements being built in the West Bank, all of the land being taken from the Palestinians, makes the two state solution impossible. That delegitimizes the whole idea that Israel is interested in a two state solution. Your response?
A: Israel has offered to not only end settlements, but to dismantle settlements. It did so at Camp David, it did so again just two years ago under Olmert. If you look at the geography, the actual [territorial] footprint of the settlements hasn't expanded in the West Bank lately...
Unfortunately I didn't capture footage of Dr. D in action -- I was too busy preparing to protest Netanyahu's speech -- but David's comments paint quite the picture.
David, I love you as a brother...even when I disagree, I do my best to maintain my feelings of respect for you as a fellow human being. So please don't take this personally: Your comment about settlements is absolutely false. Over the past decade, the footprint of the settlements has expanded massively. Just look at all the land confiscated from villages like Bil'in, to make way for the expanded settlement Matityahu East, and so many others. The Land Grab Wall is built illegally inside the West Bank, not on the green line, confiscating a significant portion of the West Bank land that the entire international community sees as rightfully and legally part of a Palestinian state. Additionally, what about all the Palestinians being ethnically cleansed, including children, in occupied East Jerusaelm? And serious journalistic investigation has thoroughly -- well, what can I say -- delegitimized the mythological narrative of the "generous offer" at Camp David.
Doctor Delegitimizer (and The David Project) needs to get his license revoked. Doctor Delegitimizer is doing the same thing as all the other "Israel: Right or Wrong" cheerleaders: enabling Israel's addiction to land theft and colonization. He needs to get into a truth telling rehabilitation program so he can help Israel to end its cruel, self-destructive policies, so we can have true equality, safety, and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.