Penn boycott conference is target in viral scare game

The game of “Jews Scaring Jews” is a viral smash hit! Whoever’s idea it was to take the Penn BDS conference—a conference organized by some university students to discuss a nonviolent tactic in which nobody dies, and a program featuring many Jews—and turn it into something worse than the Holocaust, is genius!

Was it a school prank gone out of control? Was it a social experiment in hysteria? Or perhaps it is just the latest in a line of inane fads—everyone’s doing it, but nobody knows why or who started it—akin to “planking” or “Bros Icing Bros.”

penn Planking
penn Bros
Bros Icing Bros

Regardless of its origins, the game has escalated, with each contestant attempting to outdo the predecessors in invoking the scariest buzzwords, adjectives, and imagery capable of triggering the deepest depths of Jewish trauma—and then associating that trauma with an upcoming conference at the University of Pennsylvania.

Let’s trace the path of escalation.

StandWithUs got the ball rolling nicely with a December 23, 2011 press release about the Penn BDS conference, deploying the following juicy buzzwords:

incite hatred
foment bitter divisions
blatantly racist
blood libels
murder of Jews
bitter divisiveness

Then on January 4, 2012, the Jewish Exponent published an editorial against the conference that attempted to convey the same meaning but in a slightly more dignified manner, in keeping with the pretense of being a reputable newspaper purporting to serve its Jewish readership:

pro-Palestinian agenda
anti-Israel rhetoric
end of Israel
blaming Israel

But leave it to David Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine to leave the others behind in a trail of trauma–triggering adjectives and evocations of genocide, in a January 20 piece:

deeply hostile
blood on their hands
Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated
push the Jews into the sea
physical violence
genocidal logic
systematic ethnic hatred
steeped in hatred and anti-Semitism

What do you do for an encore? On February 1, Sarit Catz, a rookie player from the New Jersey Jewish News, gave it a good try but was ultimately hamstrung by her limited vocabulary:

false, false, false, falsely, utterly false
hate group
political correctness

That last term was a nice touch, though.

On the same day, however, Penn professor Ruben Gur put his PhD to use in an opinion piece that left no doubt about the dark cloud hanging over the University of Pennsylvania:

Hamas and Hizballah daggers
blinded by animus
totally negative
Mein Kampf
extermination camps

Sure, anyone can invoke Hitler (or Willis Carto), but Gur’s real achievement was in the timing. He weaves subtle warning signs (“totally negative,” “unproductive”) in between the real shockers (“Mein Kampf,” “Nazis,” “extermination camps”). And the Jews participating in the conference? My god, they’re “kapos.” That is the sign of a true wordsmith. It’s crying out for an auto-tuned remix.

penn Dersh
Jews Scaring Jews: Former champion Alan Dershowitz
will take on the competition on Feb. 2.

Honorable mention goes to David Roberts of the Stonegate Institute. Although Roberts’s submission is largely flavorless, he inserts a real zinger near the end:

The conference…is outspokenly a workshop that intends not only how to wage an economic war-by-other-means against Israel, but also to hand out weapons to with which [sic] to wage it.

That’s right—according to Roberts, they’re handing out weapons at the conference.

The trick to this game is that most of the players are themselves Jewish. They know particularly well how to exploit the fears of fellow Jews with specific buzzwords and exaggerated threats in order to get them to react in a way advantageous to the players’ agenda. It’s a phenomenon that I described in a previous post. Gentiles pretending to alert Jews to a looming threat just wouldn’t have the same air of urgency.

As for the conference—what is it really about? Who cares, bro! It’s “Jews Scaring Jews!”

About Phan Nguyen

Phan Nguyen lives in New York and has a Twitter account: @Phan_N
Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine | Tagged

{ 16 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Can’t wait to see the Dersh, wearing blue and white trunks and dancing like a butterfly, come out swinging tonight at the Hillel meeting! As you show Phan, the competition is fierce!

  2. lol, thanks Phan, you never fail to entertain.

    can’t wait for the conference!

  3. Chu says:

    Good news. Keep the amen crowd whining and you know they are on their heels.
    As you said, BDS is a non-violent tactic , aimed at curbing the real criminal state behavior of Israel and it’s occupation and colonial conquests.

    But they’ve missed the intent of BDS. To them it’s another pogram
    gaining steam, which any shrink would see as bizarre. The Ruben Gur
    piece is awfully strange for a professor:
    The “explanation” itself presents a fuzzy “anti-Israel” cloak that barely conceals the Hamas and Hizballah daggers. It will deceive only those who, knowing nothing of the history, cannot tell lies from truth, or who, so blinded by animus against Israel and Jews, are willing to be deceived.

  4. yourstruly says:

    as for jews scaring jews, what could be scarier than idf soldiers attacking peaceful arab and jewish demonstrators in w.b. villages? then there were the false flag operations that israeli agent provacateurs carried out in order to frighten jewish-arabs of several north african countries into fleeing to the zionist entity, not to mention the uptick in worldwide antisemitism attributable to israel’s oppression of the palestinian people. israel & its legions of israel firsters, today’s foremost inciters of antisemitism.

  5. Dan Crowther says:

    And this is how Palestinian rights becomes a “jewish issue” in America. Might as well have Linda Richman (mike myers from SNL) tell the crowd to “talk amongst yourselves”…..

    Just fucking Boycott, enough with the “lets have everyone — Jews– understand where we are coming from” nonsense. Go to a Bed Bath and Beyond and hold signs that say “F Sodastream” (or something) and tell the Zio’s your going to encounter to F themselves.

    Go to a trader joe’s and say loudly enough for the person next to you to hear, ” Im definitely NOT buying Tribe Hummus, I dont support Apartheid”

    I see any actions like the ones I mentioned as being much more productive than sitting in a auditorium listening to a bunch of american jews talk about BDS, their feelings about BDS, their feelings about “their people” and all the other nonsense that is sure to be ever-present at this “conference”

    The only thing that needs to happen at this conference is for Ali Abunimah to get up and say, ” We are here to call on all people of conscience to boycott Israel in its entirety, and we (I) dont give a rats ass about what world jewry thinks of it”

    And you would be able to tell immediately who is for real and who is full of it.

  6. pabelmont says:

    Gad, hoping the conference happens, what a let down! Borrrrringggggg.

    No daggers, no Nazis, just talk, talk, talk. Yechhhhh. Who’d go to such a thing?

    BTW, who is the audience for this VIRAL trash? Does anyone with the power to cancel the conference see this stuff? What do they make of it? Can the conference use this material to trash the trashers?

    Maybe make a video with Mozart for the sound track interspersing the PARAGRAPHS of this viral trash trash with EPISODES OF West-Bank murderous Israeli soldiers and settler thugs. MAYBE T*H*A*T would beconme viral, too! Get a real crowd to the conference?

  7. Bumblebye says:

    The disgusting Gur piece gets a workover in the EI, with some very heartwarming comments after:
    link to
    And Prof Gur is a former Israeli soldier.

  8. Cliff says:

    So Gur served in the IDF.

    That piece of information adds some context to his hatred of Palestinians and their supporters.

    What disgusting rhetoric. The EI article nails it:

    It’s a form of Holocaust denial, in that it trivializes the Holocaust by comparing a conference on a tactic of protest against a country entering it’s 45/46th year of military occupation and colonization against a virutally defenseless people to Nazism, concentration camps, etc.

    These people are psychotic.

  9. patm says:

    Here are the contact addresses for Dr. Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania.

    Email: [email protected]
    Snail Mail: President’s Office, 1 College Hall – Room 100,
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6380

    Website: link to
    Work tel: 215-898-7221

    She’ll be getting an earful these days. Letters of support would be helpful.


    Another great post, Phan.

  10. bangpound says:

    On Tuesday, Andrew Sullivan declared that he would stand up for anyone who is smeared or silenced because they speak up about Israel’s occupation.

    Skip to 6 minutes 50 seconds in the video here: link to

    Just a week ago, progressive and liberal bloggers were tripping over themselves to defend people at the Center for American Progress from unfair accusations of anti-semitism.

    For PennBDS, a university professor has singled out Jewish students and called them kapos. This is an attempt to silence non-violent solidarity organizing. Where is Andrew Sullivan? Where are the liberal bloggers?

  11. Chespirito says:

    Another great post from Phan Nguyen. Write more!

  12. Shunra says:

    Gur did not, in fact, call the Jews involved in the UPenn BDS conference Kapos.

    He went one better and called them Capos. I actually wrote a blog post about it.

    You’d think he’d know how to spell his own chosen libelous claim – but, apparently, not.

  13. grinhoyz says:

    Still waiting on that auto-tuned remix, Phan.

  14. “The trick to this game is that most of the players are themselves Jewish. They know particularly well how to exploit the fears of fellow Jews with specific buzzwords and exaggerated threats in order to get them to react in a way advantageous to the players’ agenda.”

    This skill seems to be demanded for most positions in Israeli government and many Jewish organizations. Nothing more profitable than scaring your own people and using their psychosis for personal gain.

  15. seafoid says:

    Jews scaring Jews (and assaulting them)

    link to

    If any of the US hasbaradim really believed in Israel they’d move there. But what would be the point ?