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Bait-and-switch anti-Semitism: NYU SJP accused of targeting Jews, or not

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Yesterday morning, students in two dormitories at New York University (NYU) woke up to find mock eviction notices slid under their doors. The notices were part of an action conducted by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at NYU to raise awareness of home demolitions in Palestine.

Such actions had taken place at other universities in the US, and as with some of these prior actions, pro-Israel groups falsely accused the NYU activists of targeting Jewish dorm rooms.

The New York Post report was headlined “Jewish NYU Students Targeted by Pro-Palestine Activists.”

CBS New York led its story with the statement, “Several Jewish NYU students say a pro-Palestinian group slipped mock eviction notices under their dorm-room doors in an attempt to intimidate them.”

The National Review Online had a post titled “NYU Jewish Students Targeted with Fake Eviction Notices.”

The Jewish Press said the action was “targeting a religious minority.”

The right-wing Arutz Sheva said, “Jewish NYU Students ‘Evicted’ By Pro-Arab Activists.”

The Times of Israel article was headlined, “Jews in NYU dorm served ‘eviction notices.’”

The New York Jewish Week claimed that a “heavily Jewish building … known for its large Jewish population was papered with fake eviction notices.”

The New York Daily News article was headlined “Pro-Palestine NYU Students Serve Fake Eviction Notices to Jewish Undergrads”—later revised to omit the word “Jewish.” Nevertheless the caption remained: “Jewish undergrads at NYU’s Palladium dormitory … received fake eviction notices,” and the revised article noted that “The Council on American-Islamic Relations could not immediately be reached for comment.”

And Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, always good for a random soundbite, was quoted by AP as calling the event “pure hate.”

Dov Hikind, pictured here in blackface, described the mock eviction notices as “pure hate.”

New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, pictured here in blackface, described the mock eviction notices as “pure hate.”

In almost all of the news reports, the only source of the accusation—that Jewish students were targeted and that the dorm targeted was a largely Jewish dormitory—was a single 19-year-old NYU student, Laura Adkins, who is also the vice president of NYU’s Israel advocacy organization, TorchPAC.

Adkins occasionally blogs for the Times of Israel, which is where she published a piece yesterday entitled “NYU Jewish Students the Target of Latest SJP Propaganda Attacks.” According to Adkins, SJP had chosen “to target Jewish students (or at the very least, a dorm brimming with Jewish students).” The dorm in question was Palladium Hall, which Adkins claims is “known across campus as one with a high concentration of Jewish residents, and is the only NYU dorm with a Shabbat elevator.”

That was the extent to which a case was ever made that Jews had been targeted, and is the whole of the argument relied upon by the media sources cited.


The Jewish dorm that never was

In response to the claim that Palladium Hall was a “Jewish” dorm, John Beckman, NYU Vice President for Public Affairs wrote:

For what it is worth, because the original blog post [by Adkins] speculated that the leafleting took place here because it was “known” as a home to a particularly large Jewish population, I checked with both the University’s Housing Office and our Jewish chaplain to see if they believed this dorm did have such a reputation before issuing my statement — neither of them did.

As for the fact that the dorm had a Shabbat elevator (an elevator that runs on autopilot during Shabbat), Beckman stated:

The presence of a Sabbath elevator is the result of a stairway that empties to the street and cannot be entered through the lobby behind the security desk, not because of a disproportionate presence of Jewish students in the building.

That is, the Shabbat elevator was necessary in order to make it possible at all for observant Orthodox Jews to reside in Palladium—rather than it being a special addition for a disproportionate number of Jews.

Additionally, Adkins had failed to mention in her blog post that a second NYU dorm, Lafayette Hall, had been targeted for flyering. Nor did she explain whether Lafayette also had a reputation of “brimming with Jewish students.”

The students of NYU SJP released a statement responding to Adkin’s and the media’s accusations, saying that “over 2,000” mock eviction notices had been distributed, affecting “every resident” of Lafayette and Palladium halls:

Accusations leveled against SJP claimed that the action targeted Jewish students; this is erroneous and no objective evidence has been cited to support these allegations. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Palladium Hall—the other Jewish homeland?

Palladium Hall—the other Jewish homeland?

“The anti-semitism lies in the content”

Following publication of her blog post, Adkins took to Twitter to offer her story to the New York Times, Tablet magazine, and, alerting them all to an “antisemitic propaganda attack at NYU.”

She also tweeted two unrequited overtures to Fox News host Megyn Kelly, offering to appear on her show.

Although I’m not Megyn Kelly (I don’t believe in Santa Claus, much less that he’s white), Adkins agreed to answer a few questions from me by email. My first email posed four questions:

1.Do you believe that SJP members were specifically targeting the dorm rooms of Jewish students?

2. Did you personally receive a mock eviction notice at your home from an SJP student? If not, how did you first learn about them?

3. Were you aware that SJP members had leafleted at another dorm building—and if so, did that dorm have characteristics that would lead one to suspect they were targeting Jewish residents there?

4. Do you believe that Palladium Hall has a disproportionately high concentration of Jewish residents? If so, outside of the Shabbat elevator, what other characteristics have led to Palladium Hall having the reputation for a high concentration of Jewish residents?

To the first question, she responded:

What troubles me most is not where the flyers were distributed, it is that the language contained in the flyers is flagrantly anti-semitic. According to [Natan] Sharansky’s widely accepted definition of anti-semitism, anything that Demonizes, Deligitimizes, and holds the Jewish state and the Jewish people to a Double Standard falls under anti-semitism. The US State Department’s working definition of anti-Semitism states “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

To the second question, she responded:

I first received notice of the distribution of the flyers early this morning from concerned friends who received the notices and felt like the statements contained therein were an attack [on] the Jewish community.

To the third and fourth questions, she responded:

While I truly believe Palladium was selected because it has a high concentration of Jewish students, I would rather focus on the content of the flyer than the location of the distribution of the flyers because the anti-semitism lies in the content. If material was spread around campus saying that, for example, homosexuals were responsible for the destruction of family values, it wouldn’t matter whether everyone or just LGBTQ students received them, the fact that they were spread would constitute an attack on their community.

In response to all my questions, her answers redirected from who had received the fliers to what was on the fliers. Although she still claimed that “Palladium was selected because it has a high concentration of Jewish students,” she opted not to qualify that statement when I asked, on the basis that it wasn’t as important. Instead for her, contrary to what the news media had been reporting, “the anti-semitism lies in the content.”

Adkins gave a similar loose interpretation of “targeting Jews” in response to criticism on Twitter:


This conflicts with how the story has been presented in the media, where the targeting of a “Jewish” dorm has taken priority over the content of the eviction notice. Adkin herself made the “Jewish” dorm the lead of her blog post, which was entitled, “NYU Jewish Students the Target of Latest SJP Propaganda Attacks.”

It was also the lead focus of much of the media coverage. Had that element not been in the story—eviction fliers targeting Jews, Donetsk-esque in its depravity—there would have been no story. This appeared to be a bait-and-switch: Eviction notices targeting Jews! Oh, not really? Well, have you seen the eviction notices?

Adkins herself quoted an anonymous Jewish student who said,

I understand free speech rights but if this was targeted solely to Jewish students then this appears to be of a more threatening nature rather than informative.

That is, the degree to which the flier was “threatening”—as opposed to “informative”—was dependent on whether the flier “was targeted solely to Jewish students.”

Adkins was also quoted in the Daily News, saying that,

It’s specifically targeting Jewish students, which makes them feel not so safe.

Contrast that statement with the tweet cited earlier:

Distributing antisemitic lies targets and endangers Jewish students, no matter which dorm is targeted.

… and you have a circular argument: It’s the “specifically targeting” of Jews that “makes them feel not so safe.” But it is the “antisemitic lies”—independent of who actually receives the mock eviction notices—that leads to the targeting of Jews. So which came first: the targeting or the content?

Three D’s and two anti-Semitisms

There’s another bait-and-switch in the story, more commonly deployed by defenders of Israel. In her answers to my questions, Adkins felt the need to define anti-Semitism, because she was applying such an unconventional definition of anti-Semitism, namely Natan Sharansky’s “Three D’s of anti-Semitism”—demonization, delegitimization, and double-standards—a definition of anti-Semitism so arbitrary that it only works in English and perhaps a few other languages where the same concepts can be expressed with words that begin with the letter D.

Moreover it defines all of anti-Semitism, “new anti-Semitism,” as relating to Israel, and says nothing about Jew-hatred, which Sharansky sets aside as “classic anti-Semitism.” In other words, it is a redefinition of anti-Semitism.

This is where the bait-and-switch comes in: The expectation is that one can employ a new definition of anti-Semitism but still maintain the connotations of the earlier definition of anti-Semitism. In other words, it’s changing the rules mid-game and hoping no one notices that it’s a different game.

Adkins further felt the need to legitimize her definition of anti-Semitism by claiming that it is the State Department’s “working definition” of anti-Semitism. Although I can go into detail about what that really means and how it originated, I will instead point out that it is not a legal definition. In fact it would be difficult to find legally exact definitions for terms such as “demonize” and “delegitimize” in this context.

Nevertheless, as Adkins switches the agent of anti-Semitism from “targeting Jews” to the content of the eviction notices, she also switches the definition of anti-Semitism from “classic anti-Semitism” to “new anti-Semitism.”

In a follow-up question, I asked Adkins to explain how the content of the mock eviction notice violated Sharansky’s three D’s. She responded:

The flyer demonizes Israel, delegitimizes Israel, and holds Israel to a double standard. It’s really that simple.

Mock eviction notice—or gag order?

I asked Adkins what she meant when she said that the mock eviction notices were “designed to silence” Israel advocates on campus.

After all, nothing in the notices prohibited anyone from speaking. In fact, Adkins has managed to exploit the notices and amplify her voice in the media, where she has given several interviews, and through which she hoped to appear on Fox News with Megyn Kelly.

I suggested that her objection to the eviction notices, based on her refutation of its arguments on her blog post, was a political disagreement, which she had contributed to by engaging in a debate. Her response:

The fact that I was able to respond [to the mock eviction notices] was lucky at best and is no excuse for these actions. That’s like saying white supremacist groups should be able to plaster the halls with racist garbage as long as a black student then is given a chance to respond. These religious or racially charged remarks should not have been made in the first place.

The problem with this analogy is that not only does it fail to provide an example of silencing, it suggests that a disagreement crosses a line once one party determines that it is too intense.

Last February, Adkins co-authored an open letter to NYU President John Sexton, expressing concern about an upcoming conference by university’s American Studies Program, which was focusing on Palestine/Israel.

She criticized the conference for being “scheduled to begin and end (almost to the minute) with the Jewish Sabbath” and for not being “constructive towards finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Although she did not explicitly call on the president to cancel or condemn the event, she intimated such:

Holding this event will undoubtedly diminish NYU’s stature as a global leader. The event will only lead to more conflict, not resolution …. [W]e respectfully ask that the administration begin to take a serious look at the upcoming event this weekend …

And to my specific question of how the mock eviction fliers silenced pro-Israel advocates, Adkin provided a similarly vague response that ignored the fliers themselves:

SJP brags that their tactics on intimidation and Jewish fearmongering make Jewish pro-Israel students afraid to speak up.

Anti-Semitic, yet erotically arousing

On Twitter, Adkins also claimed that SJP’s “action has been recognized by no less than the U.S. Supreme Court as unprotected activity.” To support her claim, she linked to an article by Lori Lowenthal Marcus in The Jewish Press, who in turn quoted almost verbatim from William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection blog (Jacobson has a knack for discovering that every type of criticism against Israel is illegal). There, Jacobson cites the Supreme Court decision in Rowan v. U.S. Post Office Dept. (397 U.S. 728 [1970]), as follows:

We therefore categorically reject the argument that a vendor has a right under the Constitution or otherwise to send unwanted material into the home of another…. That we are often “captives” outside the sanctuary of the home and subject to objectionable speech and other sound does not mean we must be captives everywhere.

Yet Jacobs omits the context of the Supreme Court ruling, which upheld a US district court ruling on the constitutionality of 39 U.S.C. § 4009 (now § 3008). Titled “Prohibition of pandering advertisements,” the section pertains specifically to

pandering advertisement which offers for sale matter which the addressee in his sole discretion believes to be erotically arousing or sexually provocative.

Although the code leaves the interpretation to the “sole discretion” of the addressee, one would nonetheless be hard-pressed to find an NYU student—Jewish or otherwise—who would claim that the source of their discomfort was the “erotically arousing” nature of the mock eviction notices.

Miss January

Miss January

There are other, less prurient, elements to the code that make it inapplicable to the present case:

1. The material must be advertising a product for sale.

2. The advertisement must be mailed.

3. The addressee must have informed the sender beforehand to refrain from such mailings.

One must be careful applying Jacobson’s quote outside the context of § 3008. The portion quoted by Jacobson refers specifically to “a vendor.” Paragraphs immediately preceding the adverb “therefore” clearly refer to “advertiser,” a “mailer’s right to communicate … circumscribed only by an affirmative act of the addressee giving notice,” and “the absoluteness of the citizen’s right under § 4009 [now § 3008].”

It is misleading, therefore, to extrapolate from such statements that the Supreme Court has declared distributing mock eviction notices to be “unprotected activity.”

Mock eviction notices—or certificates of Jewish conversion?

It must also be noted that this is not the first manufactured controversy surrounding mock eviction notices and the alleged targeting of Jewish students. Similar charges were made last October against SJP members at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Despite claims from the local Hillel chapter that Jewish students had been targeted, the Rutgers bias committee determined that such claims were untrue, finding no bias.

And two years ago, I reported on how several media outlets—primarily Jewish ones—made similar claims against Florida Atlantic University (FAU)—alleging that SJP members there had targeted “200 Jewish students.”

At the time, I compared the hoax to a game of “telephone,” in which each subsequent media outlet would embellish the story in a manner not described in the preceding outlet. Ynet, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Forward, Arutz Sheva, and the Florida Jewish Journal all participated in the hoax.

FAU Ynet

The Times of Israel joined in, too—its own contribution was in falsely claiming that the mock eviction notices were distributed on Passover, when in fact they were distributed the week before.

The Times of Israel later corrected itself, sort of: it removed claims within the article of Jews being targeted, but kept the misleading headline (“Pro-Palestinian group ‘evicts’ Jewish students”) and the false Passover reference. It made no note of the partial correction and in fact repeated the “targeting Jews” claim in another article two days later.

As with the Rutgers claim, the FAU administration investigated and determined that the “targeting Jews” accusation was unfounded—but not before explicit death threats were leveled against SJP members.

Mock eviction armies of the night

The CBS New York headline to the mock eviction story was “NYU Jewish Students: Pro-Palestinian Group’s ‘Eviction Notices’ Go Too Far.” But instead of going “too far,” it seems that the eviction notices did not go far enough—which is precisely why the story had to be embellished with allegations of targeted Jews.

To make the story even more dramatic, several reports followed Adkin’s lead and stressed the nighttime setting of the performance:

“Slinking quietly through the night” was how Adkins initially described the SJP members in the Times of Israel.

The New York Post took the cue and said that the eviction notices were “stealthily delivered in the dead of night.”

The Jewish Week quoted an anonymous NYU alum, who proclaimed,

This was done in the middle of the night, the cowards. This is NYU, NYU. It’s unbelievable.

Not to be outdone, the Jewish Press referred to “the dark of night” three times, when SJP members “crept into the building,” and it quoted Adkins describing how “people skulk around at night.”

Such emphasis on “the dead of night” and “the dark of night”—“stealthily” “creeping,” “slinking,” and “skulking”—suggests one should worry about how well the hallways are lit in Palladium Hall. One must also question whether news reports should be narrated from around a campfire.

To conclude, we must recognize the “targeting Jews” hoax as part of a broader pattern of exploitation that incorporates the recent attempts to charge Max Blumenthal for the Kansas City–area shootings and even evokes the Jewish registration hoax in the Ukraine.

If this seems like a stretch, we can look for affirmation from a recent Twitter exchange between Hen Mazzig (a StandWithUs representative) and “Volunteers for Israel”:

You can sign a petition in support of New York University SJP here.

Phan Nguyen

Phan Nguyen lives in New York and has a Twitter account: @Phan_N

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55 Responses

  1. Scott on April 25, 2014, 2:19 pm

    This is the most extraordinary story, and I thank you for reporting it in depth. I’m trying to imagine the mindset of the girl who thinks being delivered a flyer about Israeli home demolition policy is an anti-Semitic threat. Does she actually believe this? Or has she somehow been trained that shouting “racist” or “Anti-Semitic” is a politically effective tactic? In any case, I hope you can keep reporting this–it’s a telling window onto the psyche of NYU and perhaps New York City. It would be nice if the NYU president would say: “Maybe these students who profess to be so grievously wounded by an anti-Israeli flyer are a little too privileged, and need to get out in the world a little.” It would be nice (and not impossible) if the Times would say that Israeli house demolitions are a miserable policy, and Americans are right to protest it. One can hope.

    • Krauss on April 25, 2014, 3:14 pm

      I’m awed how someone can assemble this many facts in such a short time.
      I don’t know if Phan is employed by the site just yet but I sure hope so.
      He/she and Max Blumenthal are both very welcome additions to the site.

      As for the incidence itself, it actually surprises me how willing the echo chamber of the media is perpetuating these stories. Even so-called left-wing papers like NY Daily News all the way to National Review Online. The Zionist concensus is still thick and robust. But not as thick and robust as it used to be, and increasingly less so.

      • MHughes976 on April 25, 2014, 3:46 pm

        I think that shouting ‘Anti-Semite!’ is actually still quite effective rhetoric. I agree with Krauss: things are changing but the change is still slow and partial.

    • Pixel on April 25, 2014, 6:26 pm

      “Does she actually believe this? Or has she somehow been trained that shouting “racist” or “Anti-Semitic” is a politically effective tactic?”


  2. Marshall on April 25, 2014, 2:21 pm

    Bwahahaha so much good stuff here. Googling “whiny, dishonest entitlement” should lead directly to this article.

    According to Marshall’s widely accepted definition of a just wealth distribution, any distribution that does include $50 million for Marshall is not just.

  3. wondering jew on April 25, 2014, 2:28 pm

    I’m not a fan of Dov Hikind, but featuring his infamous Purim picture as his photo marks Mondoweiss as a propaganda site.

    • Woody Tanaka on April 25, 2014, 2:43 pm

      “I’m not a fan of Dov Hikind, but featuring his infamous Purim picture as his photo marks Mondoweiss as a propaganda site.”

      Nonsense. It puts his quote — that this event is “pure hate” — in context. How credible is a complaint of “hate” from a racist who, in the 21st century, happily dresses in blackface in public??

      In fact, I would say that not only is using this photo acceptable, but that this is the only appropriate photograph to accompany any statement by this bigot in which he accuses another of hate or prejudice, and that any media outlet who does not accompany any quote on these subjects by this person without including or at least discussing the blackface photo is acting irresponsibly. To fail to include Hikind’s blackface photo would be like printing a criticism of the Southern Poverty Law Center voiced by David Duke without noting that he’s a former Grand Wizard of the KKK.

      • wondering jew on April 25, 2014, 5:50 pm

        Woody- I have come to the conclusion that you are out to lunch. An episode on Halloween purim costume is equivalent to being a grand wizard of the KKK??! I think you’re out to lunch, supper and breakfast.

      • Woody Tanaka on April 25, 2014, 6:13 pm

        “An episode on Halloween purim costume is equivalent to being a grand wizard of the KKK??! ”

        Perhaps you could learn to read for comprehension. I never said that the two activities were equivalent; I was comparing the media’s treatment of the two. The point was about the responsibility of the media to inform its viewers of evidence of bigotry.

        Saying that a media source quoting Hikind when discussing allegations of bigotry without pointing out the clear evidence of his own bigotry is like a media source quoting some other bigot discussing bigotry without disclosing that bigot’s bigotry is not a comparison of the bigots, but a comparison of the media’s actions.

      • tree on April 25, 2014, 6:45 pm

        I’m sure you are aware that Hikind’s racism was well on display years prior to his blackface costume (made even more racially offensive by his defense that he was just dressing up as a basketball player.)

        His attempts at legislative demands for the NYPD to engage in racial profiling against Arabs, his membership in the JDL, his disgraceful defense of NY Jewish youths who beat up a Pakistani man (he said the victim “provoked” the youths), his demand that only Jews killed by the Nazis should be honored in a Brooklyn Holocaust Memorial, his pro-settler extremism all clearly illustrate his racism. The photo simply provides a visual short-cut to his attitudes.

      • wondering jew on April 25, 2014, 7:18 pm

        tree- I must be doing something wrong. Last week I was eating matza with right wing cousins of mine defending Al Sharpton. (My cousin’s husband implied that Sharpton had contributed to the Crown Heights riots of 91, whereas he merely took advantage of the tumult in my estimation.) Here I am eating chometz (the opposite of matza) defending Hikind.

        (By the way- on one aspect there is something to defend about the JDL, as in: in the 60’s the richer Jews escaped the inner city and left their older poorer brethren to put up with the crime that engulfed their old neighborhoods. The only ones who came to their defense were Curtis Sliwa types, that is Meir Kahane and his teenage vigilantes. Vigilantism is not something that I can favor without realizing that the damages usually outweigh the advantages. Yet when those richer Jews condemn the vigilantes they somehow cannot find the time for a paragraph or two, let alone a civic policy or two, to help their abandoned brethren deal with the crime that was turning their lives into nightmares.)

        Yes, the photo is a short cut to the attitudes that if one would take a long cut, would bear witness against Hikind’s world view. Yet it is a short cut and a cheap short cut, emblematic of the propaganda that exemplifies this web site rather than its fake credo (a real credo that belongs to someone else): the war of ideas. The credo should read: the war of short cuts.

      • eljay on April 25, 2014, 7:42 pm

        >> y.f.: Yes, the photo is a short cut … and a cheap short cut, emblematic of the propaganda that exemplifies this web site …

        He knows whereof he speaks.

      • Woody Tanaka on April 25, 2014, 9:54 pm

        “a cheap short cut”

        You’re the worst kind of fool, yonah: someone who thinks that if he thinks long enough and talk long enough about it, he can turn crap into cookies.

        Hikind chose to offer himself to the world this way. There is nothing cheap in taking him up on the offer.

    • talknic on April 26, 2014, 7:44 am

      @ yonah fredman “I’m not a fan of Dov Hikind, but featuring his infamous Purim picture as his photo marks Mondoweiss as a propaganda site”

      Very funny. It’s not featuring his infamous Purim picture “as his photo”. It’s showing the kind of insensitive bigoted person he is.

  4. pabelmont on April 25, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Great story. It is basically a story of the massive hasbara (using a large number of news outlets) to spread a false story, a story apparently not only shown to be false (the predominantly Jewish dorm) by an official but known to be false to the hasbarista herself, who switched gears into 3D and so forth.

    Aren’t they having a world of fun! A whirl of fun! And even if SJP gets those newspapers to publish any sort of retractions, the damage is done.

    It’s very much like the letter to NYT Book Review telling the lit’ry world that all Palestinians desire to kiil all Jews (or whatever falsehood was printed by the careless Gray Lady).

    Lesson: Get the Harm Done First, repent in secret and out of the spotlight later. (Haram!).

    And, of course, the idea that telling the truth about Israeli behavior is anti-semitic has a certain charm in and of itself!

  5. MHughes976 on April 25, 2014, 3:29 pm

    I can’t deny of myself that since I think Israel constituted to Zionist specifications is morally illegitimate I am ‘anti-Semitic’ under the definition used by Ms. Adkins and others. So are lots of other people and lots of activities, including these spoof ‘eviction notices’. That’s how Sharansky, Adkins and others have framed their dictionary and that’s the result: I can’t evade it. People may use words as they like.
    But do Ms. Adkins and her supporters freely admit that people who are opposed to Zionism may well not be ‘anti-Semitic’ in the ‘classic’ or traditionally accepted sense? That would be quite a step forward.

    • JeffB on April 25, 2014, 9:07 pm


      But do Ms. Adkins and her supporters freely admit that people who are opposed to Zionism may well not be ‘anti-Semitic’ in the ‘classic’ or traditionally accepted sense?

      Yes I do think that it is possible to be anti-Zionist without being an anti-Semite. Ali Abunimah is even a BDSer whom I consider to not be anti-Semetic. That being said I think most anti-Zionists are anti-Semeitic in the classic / traditional sense. What confuses the issue is that new-Antisemitism people have tried to define “classic” anti-Semitism so narrowly that anything short of genocidal nazism wouldn’t qualify.

      Let’s take Cliven Bundy’s recent statement:

      “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro… recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids—and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch—they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

      And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

      Everyone even the hard right in America agreed this was racist. So let’s look at the analogy


      anti-Zionist version:
      I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Jew…recalled visiting Israel and there was discrimination and …. because of Israel the Jews do bad things.

      Because Israel was founded on another’s people’s land what do they do? They raise their kids in a militaristic environment, they put people in settlements on Palestinian land. Because those Israeli Jews never learned how to live as subordinates in Christian countries. And I’ve often wondered, are the Jews better off as slaves, living in Christian or Muslim Countries where they didn’t have self determination or are they better off now under their own rule ? With Israel they didn’t get no more security. They got less security.

      Somehow now with that analogy we are supposed to believe it is entirely different.

      • talknic on April 25, 2014, 10:54 pm

        @ JeffB “Somehow now with that analogy we are supposed to believe it is entirely different”

        Except it ISN’T an analogy JeffB! You immediately changed “Zionist” to “Jews”

        When asked to do an essay on bread, JeffB submitted an essay on ovens. His failure led to a job as a fully qualified propagandist for Israeli intransigence

      • RoHa on April 26, 2014, 2:15 am

        Let us suppose, for one dizzy moment, that each and every anti-Zionist was a card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wool, anti-Semite, cloned from and brainwashed by Julius Streicher himself. Would that mean that their criticisms of Zionism were untrue or unfounded?

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on April 26, 2014, 6:26 am


        I’ve said much the same thing in some of the many, many instances where hasbarists like to play the anti-semite card as a diversionary tactic.

        Instead of putting myself on the defensive, and diverting the discussion, by explaining why I am not an anti-semite – which of course is the purpose of such accusations – I have said something similar to what you’ve said.

        ”’OK, for the sake of argument let’s say I am indeed a virulent anti-semite. Now, can you explain why you support house demolitions/bombing refugee camps/ besieging a civilian population.”

      • SQ Debris on April 26, 2014, 1:32 pm

        Excellent point RoHa. Ad hominem rhetoric is not an argument.

      • Shingo on April 25, 2014, 11:04 pm

        What confuses the issue is that new-Antisemitism people have tried to define “classic” anti-Semitism so narrowly that anything short of genocidal nazism wouldn’t qualify.

        On the other hand, we have people like Abe Foxman who’s concept of anti Antisemitism is so broad he refuses to even provide a definition, opting instead to employ motorized goal posts as he sees fit.

        That Zionists also refuse to consider is the possibility that one can be an Antisemite and still be a Zionist.

        Everyone even the hard right in America agreed this was racist. So let’s look at the analogy

        The irony is that everyone on the hard right in America would agree that speaking of demographic threats and discussing demographic engineering is racist, yet even left win Zionists discuss such topics without any sense of shame or guilt.

      • tree on April 26, 2014, 5:46 am

        Cute, Jeff. You make up a bogus “anti-zionist” quote, complete with the fanciful idea that Jews are slaves in any country except Israel. If you are so lacking in “self-determination” in the US then why not just move to Israel, and then you can “self-determine” yourself a bonafide bigot and no one will criticize you for it? You’ll fit right in.

      • Shingo on April 26, 2014, 5:51 am

        Awesome comment Tree

      • libra on April 26, 2014, 7:05 am

        Jeff’s analogy is a lemon.

      • MHughes976 on April 26, 2014, 9:11 am

        Just to add that there is no reason why someone who fits the picture of a traditional anti-Semite should not also be a Zionist. Someone who thinks that the Jewish presence in the West is very harmful could well think that the best result would be the return of Jewish people to somewhere in the East, where they rightly belong – rightly enough for there to be no wrong in the dispossession of other eastern peoples.

      • Shingo on April 26, 2014, 9:21 am

        Just to add that there is no reason why someone who fits the picture of a traditional anti-Semite should not also be a Zionist

        As one of the commenters here once said, Zionism and Nazism both share the same philosophy that Jews do not belong in society.

      • American on April 26, 2014, 10:05 am

        Well I’m going to stick with the classical definition of anti semitism.
        Which says All Jews should be hated,shunned, whatever, because they are bad, devious, blah, blah, blah…
        Instead of the new anti semitism which says you cant criticize or oppose the actions/agendas of a single Jew or any Jewish group or the Jewish State for any reason.
        That is completely ridiculous. Its cult thinking.

      • Stephen Shenfield on April 26, 2014, 1:28 pm

        MHughes976 says: “There is no reason why someone who fits the picture of a traditional anti-Semite should not also be a Zionist.” Indeed.

        Right from the start it was a central part of Zionist strategy to “sell” Zionism to powerful anti-Semites who wanted to rid their countries of Jews. Herzl first went to Russia to win the support of tsarist interior minister von Plehve. Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Zionists established close relations with the Polish anti-Semites on the same basis. The Zionists regarded Jews as an alien element in the midst of other peoples and anti-Semitism as a natural and inevitable response to that alien presence. They respected and “understood” anti-Semites. All this is an irrefutable part of the historical record.

        The use of false accusations of anti-Semitism by the Zionists is another of their double standards. There is no need to respond in a defensive mode. The best response is to turn the tables and expose the close historical and conceptual relationship between Zionism and anti-Semitism. Zionists have no right to complain about anti-Semitism (even where it really exists). People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

      • wondering jew on April 26, 2014, 4:32 pm

        Stephen- Zionists took a realistic point of view towards the antiSemitism that they found in society. Their ideation of the alienation of the Jew from the settled nationalists of their host countries came after the facts that they learned in the streets, that there were many who hated them because they were Jewish and not a part of the nation. Zionism was a form of nationalism and it went to the nationalists of the home nations and said, “we are on the same page. let us talk”. Zionism was not a form of universalism, which was the other movement gaining currency among the doomed Jews of Eastern Europe, and therefore they had nothing to discuss with the nonhaters, except what concept of assimilation and destruction of their culture the “nonhaters” had in store for them.

        But the cause and effect tone that you take: that the Zionists had this idea of themselves as alien and they found kindred spirits among the Jew haters is cart before horse. They were born in the societies that hated them and had their cultural or physical deaths in mind. They reacted to the facts.

      • annie on April 26, 2014, 10:42 pm

        anti-Zionist version:…. I’ve often wondered, are the Jews better off as slaves….

        jeff’s always good for a laugh. ha.ha.ha.

  6. Sumud on April 25, 2014, 3:43 pm

    Best. captions. ever.

    …and a great article of course.

  7. DaveS on April 25, 2014, 4:04 pm

    An amazingly comprehensive analysis by Phan, as usual. This smear, spread so widely by a single 19-year-old with minimal integrity, is reminiscent of the lies perpetrated about ISM conferences at Duke and U Michigan nearly a decade ago. There were multiple reports of the crowd chanting “Death to Jews,” which eventually were reduced to a single student claiming that he heard one student say that to another in Arabic. Even if the culprits are exposed, as Phan does so well here, the misinformation is disseminated and will stain the cause of Palestinian rights with a bogus association with anti-Semitism. For Laura Adkins, shameless as she is, it is mission mostly accomplished. And next time, she and her ilk won’t be stupid enough to correspond with Phan.

  8. tree on April 25, 2014, 5:25 pm

    Great reporting as usual, Phan. I do have a few suggestions, though for possible questions to Adkins.

    Number one, I see that the mock eviction notice credits ICAHD, an Israeli human rights group, for its information on Palestinian house demolitions. Does Adkins think that ICAHD is an “anti-semitic” organization engaged in the “3 D’s”?

    Number two, I note that on her blog she excuses the Israeli government action as a necessary deterrent to suicide bombing and other violence, even citing a report from NBER that makes the case for the effectiveness of punitive house demolitions. However, as ICAHD points out ( ), punitive house demolitions only account for 6% of all Palestinian house demolitions from 1967 through February 2012. Why did she bring up punitive house demolitions when they are such a small percentage of the total and the Israeli policy of punitive demolitions ended in February 2005 and yet house demolitions for reasons related directly to Palestinian ethnicity continue unabated?

    In her blog she cited the NBER report that stated: “By exploiting spatial and time variation in house demolitions and suicide terror attacks during the second Palestinian uprising, we show that punitive house demolitions (those targeting Palestinian suicide terrorists and terror operatives) cause an immediate, significant decrease in the number of suicide attacks.” However, in reading the report, which is beyond my expertise to evaluate as to its statistical analysis, I noticed that it also makes the point that this “immediate, significant” decrease only lasts for one month, and becomes statistically insignificant within two months or longer. Why did she not mention that in her blog post?

    Also the same report evaluated so-called “precautionary demolitions”, those not directed at any individual but used for so-called military “clearing operations” or the like. Its statistical analysis of those types of demolitions (which were much greater in number than “punitive” demolitions) showed that such demolitions actually INCREASED the likelihood of Palestinian violence. Why did she not report that finding in her blog?

    Another suggestion for both SJP, and for Phan:

    For SJP, when delivering mock eviction notices, include a second sheet under the notice itself. Make the second sheet a reprint from BTselem or ICAHD, going into some detail about the home demolitions. I suggest either of those two organizations because they both have good data on demolitions and, because they are Israeli human rights groups, are more immune to accusations of “anti-semitism” and thus more likely to be believed by those who would question the information.

    This would be one good report from BTselem to include with the mock eviction notice:

    and this from ICAHD, which is the source of the notice’s figures would also be good:

    It includes the pie chart that shows that “punitive” house demolitions make up a very small portion of the total.

    There are many more that would also be informative inclusions to oppose the dishonesty, or willful ignorance, of those like Adkins who misrepresent the reality in Israel/Palestine.

    To Phan, with your great reporting skills and your thoroughness, this might be a good time for you to publicly refute Adkins false characterization of house demolitions as purely a response to violence, directed only at perpetrators of violence. Adkins has opened the way with her blog post. If she really wants to be “engaged” in a “dialogue” about Palestinian house demolitions, why not oblige her with the facts?

    • tree on April 25, 2014, 5:37 pm

      I came up with the idea of including an info sheet from ICAHD or BTSelem after reading this from Adkin’s blog:

      In the words of another Jewish sophomore and Palladium resident I spoke with anonymously, “It’s disturbing to wake up to a flyer like this. Nobody should have to be homeless, but this paper fails to mention other horrible things like the thousands of innocent Israelis who have been murdered.”

      Adkin’s mischaracterization of the extent and purpose of house demolitions feeds directly into this kind of feeling. Her mischaracterization needs to be refuted, preferably right from the beginning. There is so much ignorance of the real situation, some of it willful, some of it naive.

      • DaveS on April 25, 2014, 7:51 pm

        tree, I think that’s a great idea, both because it would include valuable information for those students who are interested in learning more, and because it would make the charge that the eviction notices look real even more absurd than they already are. Great points on the house demolitions as well, though Adkins looks well on her way to some diplomatic post where prevarication expertise is a job requirement.

      • Sibiriak on April 25, 2014, 10:08 pm


        including an info sheet from ICAHD or BTSelem

        Excellent idea.

    • ritzl on April 25, 2014, 5:46 pm

      @tree- MRW suggested this a while back. QR codes can be used for more information as well. I just did one for the ICAHD link you listed. It is my avatar at the moment. I just scanned it (on the screen) with my phone (app fittingly named “Barcode Scanner”, but there’s probably a bunch of ’em) and it enabled me to go right to the ICAHD/The Facts page. Great stuff for kids and other “folks on the go who stay in the know”…

      The how to is here:

      I did this particular QR in Google’s URL shortener, There are other options.

    • Phan Nguyen on April 26, 2014, 12:14 am

      Tree, you’re correct that I didn’t directly address Adkins’s arguments in support of house demolitions. I felt that would have made the article much longer, and since so much material on house demolitions is readily available, I decided to focus on matters specific to this case.

      I had actually removed some material criticizing Adkin for citing the NBER study, which she obviously hadn’t read, while ignoring the IDF’s own determination that punitive house demolitions are ineffective (to say nothing about how it’s immoral). The NBER study was written by three Israeli economists, wasn’t peer reviewed, and employed unique methodology that I felt left open too many variables while providing such narrow conclusions. I pretty much share the same concerns about the study that you cite.

      And of course Israeli house demolitions performed today are not even alleged to serve a deterrent purpose. It hasn’t been the case for years, so her argument is moot.

      • tree on April 26, 2014, 5:03 am

        My apologies, Phan. What I meant to convey was that I think a follow up report by you on the statistics and racist rationale for house demolition would be a great addition to the reporting that you did above. I didn’t mean to imply that you should have included that in this report. Your report above stands on its own quite well.

  9. bilal a on April 25, 2014, 5:37 pm

    an Islamaphobe alleges antisemitism in france in her own untrustworthy transcription:

    Then JTA/commentary twists the dodgy transcription to the following:

    “According to the news site, Ramadan said during his address: “All the evil in the world originates from the Jews and the Zionist barbarism.”

    [notice the israeli source reference is dropped:]

    Before the delegates Ramadan insisted in his speech that, “All the evil in the world originates from the Jews and the Zionist barbarism.

    We cannot verify the first transcription, and the second telling is a twisting of the first. Very disturbing how little true News pro Israel readers get.

  10. Baldur on April 25, 2014, 6:30 pm

    How can these flyers even be described as “threatening” to begin with?

    Imagine you’re in the 1930s Nazi Germany. Then you get a mock flyer of the same type in your mailbox which says you’re scheduled to be deported to a camp. Bet then it goes on to say that it is only fake, but that Jews live under the threat of actually being deported. That would be an exact analogy of what happened at NYU. We need to explain that to all the rabid bigots out there. I think some people, those who feel threatened, might be confusing the feelings of “guilt” and “fear”.

    In my own opinion these “mock eviction notices” are one of the best campaigns for justice out there today. It generates immediate understanding for what is happening to the Palestinians. Ideally, these mock eviction notices should be handed out at all universities – with a line to the reader which urges to help stop the gradual ethnic cleansing in the West Bank.

  11. Dan From Away on April 26, 2014, 12:12 am

    Would it have had the slightest impact on Ms. Adkins/Times of Israel, Ynet, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Forward, Arutz Sheva, et. al. if it were to be revealed that all the members of NYU/SJP who organized and carried out this leafleting action…were Jewish? Would this information have diminished the action’s hasbaritic value?

    Would it have made any difference to Ms. Adkins/Times of Israel, et. al., if it were to be revealed that the leafleting was carried out late at night specifically to emphasis the fact that the Israeli Defense Forces carry out many of their arrests/seizures of Palestinian children late at night?

    Would it have made any difference if the leafleting took place in broad daylight in Washington Square Park? Would that too have been threatening?

    Would it have been acceptable to Ms. Adkins/Times of Israel, et. al., if the NYU/SJP had used an actual Israeli eviction notice (Hebrew and/or Arabic translated to English) — one that had been received by an actual Palestinian family? Are those somehow non- threatening?

    • wondering jew on April 26, 2014, 4:21 am

      Dan Walsh- No, it would not have made the slightest difference if all the members of NYU SJP are Jewish. If they targeted Jews for their leaflets it is just as bad if they themselves are Jewish or not.

      And for sure, if they had leafleted in Washington Square in broad daylight that would not have been too threatening.

      And you seem to be very impressed with your own rhetoric.

      • tree on April 26, 2014, 4:58 am

        If they targeted Jews for their leaflets it is just as bad if they themselves are Jewish or not.

        But, as Phan pointed out, they didn’t target Jews with their leaflets. So the question remains, would Adkins have falsely accused fellow Jews of targeting Jews?

      • talknic on April 26, 2014, 5:28 am

        yonah fredman“If they targeted Jews for their leaflets….etc etc”

        They didn’t.

  12. talknic on April 26, 2014, 5:39 am

    Busy propagating hatred. Just another attempt to slur folk who point out the ghastliness of occupation. There are no depths to which some people will sink. That they lie, falsely accuse, breaking the basic tenets of Judaism on behalf of the Jewish state’s ongoing usurping of the people of Palestine, is quite telling. Zionist expansionism is toxic

  13. Dan From Away on April 26, 2014, 3:51 pm

    yonah fredman-

    I encourage you to stay involved at this site and also to take more time reading the posts for comprehension.

    You answered a question I did not ask. You said: “No, it would not have made the slightest difference if all the members of NYU SJP are Jewish.”

    My comment had only to do with “the members of NYU/SJP who organized and carried out this leafleting action”. There might be hundreds of NYU/SJP members but it might be the case that only a handful of them were available to do the actual leafleting. I was only asking about the actual leafleteers because they would be the ones doing the alleged “targeting”. See the difference?

    You followed this misreading by including a gratuitious follow-on comment that was clearly refuted earlier. The only way your charge could stand is if of the thousands of students who live in the dorm, only Jewish students received the leaflets. This is clearly not the case so your point is…well, pointless. Do you get that? Do you get that you are speaking about an event that did not occur?

    You said “And for sure, if they had leafleted in Washington Square in broad daylight that would not have been too threatening.” I would love to know the logic underpinning your response. I really would. WSP is like the lobby of NYU…students come out of the dorms in their jammies to sit in the park it is that close…why would it have been less threatening to see the leaflets there? And more to the point, may I ask you to elaborate on what it means (to you) to not be “too threatening”? You could add much to the discourse here because at the root of many of the Zionist/hasbara criticisms of Palestine solidarity actions lies the claim that they generate an unsafeness/unwelcoming atmosphere for Jewish students on campuses where these solidarity events take place.

    So even if we could learn from you merely how to make Palestine solidarity and educations events “not too threatening” that would be of enormous value. It might be a seminal opening: from you we might learn some refinements/changes that might soon result in Palestine solidarity actions/events becoming completely positive and unthreatening to anyone.

    You completely ignored my questions about the possible relationship between late night leafleting at NYU and late night arrests of Palestinians by the IDF and the use of real, as opposed to clearly fake, eviction notices. I am sure you have something of value to add on these points. I urge to share your thoughts.

    Finally, I ask how it is that you can know me so well, to the point of knowing my inner emotions about my self…when we have never met or communicated before. How can you know that I am “very impressed with my own rhetoric”?

    Surely you can engage without descending to the ad hominem.

  14. Ecru on April 26, 2014, 4:37 pm

    Considering Zionist trolls have no problem naming and trying to destroy the lives of those they “claim” are anti-semitic (they know they’re not but Pro-Justice doesn’t have the same ring and they know it), is it not time pro-Palestinian activists started naming and shaming those who stand by the denial of basic human rights to people based on their not being Jewish, i.e. “people” like this girl?

  15. JeffB on April 26, 2014, 5:10 pm


    Stephen- Zionists took a realistic point of view towards the antiSemitism that they found in society. ….

    Very well said, couldn’t agree more.

  16. lysias on April 26, 2014, 7:05 pm

    If distributing these fliers counts as anti-Semitic even though it’s pretty clear that they’re a stunt and have no legal force, what does that make posting such notices on Palestinian homes in Israel/Palestine where they have all the legal force in the world?

    • JeffB on April 27, 2014, 8:20 am


      what does that make posting such notices on Palestinian homes in Israel/Palestine where they have all the legal force in the world?

      Governing. In particular regulating construction in territory under your control.

      For example in New Jersey where I live, if I do construction illegally a regulator will determine whether to make me go through a long complex permitting process or that failing the construction will likely be demolished. I was at an office last week where someone had laid consumer grade cable on an workplace ceiling (a fire hazard since consumer grade cables can release much higher levels of toxic fumes at lower temperatures when they burn) and he was given 30 days to get it corrected or the state was going to shut the room down and rip the cable out.

      It is perfectly natural, proper and common for governments to regulate construction in their territory. The fact that Israel is regulating construction in parts of the “occupied territories” is one of the hundreds of reasons they aren’t occupying but full on governing.

      The place where these orders happen the most frequently is area-C. Area-C Israel governs but the Palestinians don’t recognize Israel as their government. Same as the Cliven Bundy situation where he doesn’t recognize the Bureau of Land Management’s authority and is going to lose his cattle because whether he recognizes Federal Authority of not they have the authority.

      A legitimate objection is that the Israelis use the permitting processes in a discriminatory way. An illegitimate objection is that Israelis are using a permitting process.

  17. Shmuel on April 27, 2014, 7:52 am

    In her answers to my questions, Adkins felt the need to define anti-Semitism, because she was applying such an unconventional definition of anti-Semitism, namely Natan Sharansky’s “Three D’s of anti-Semitism”—demonization, delegitimization, and double-standards—a definition of anti-Semitism so arbitrary that it only works in English and perhaps a few other languages where the same concepts can be expressed with words that begin with the letter D.

    I love alphabet games (and “3 shall be the number and the number shall be 3”)! I give you the 3 Ps of attempts to silence Palestinian advocacy on campus: projection (especially cool, because it includes all 3 Ds), posturing and politicking.

    • LeaNder on April 27, 2014, 9:54 am

      Shmuel, concerning “the other side of the street”, I realized that was the core problem. Connected for me, somewhat associatively admittedly. One could argue that Max in fact fights his core stereotype in his book. Never mind to what extend the few he concentrates on have been pushed towards the fringes by mainstream discourse.

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