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Another pro-Israel student leader offers himself as advocate for ‘the Palestinian people’ (shirtless)

Israel/Palestine
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Raphael Fils, on his twitter feed

Raphael Fils, on his twitter feed

The Israel lobby is surely entering its decadent phase. The rightwing lobby has been losing young Jews to liberal causes, and its latest effort to revive its nationalist efforts is a campus group with a happy name, JUMP, Justice and Uniting for Mideast Peace. JUMP looks like AIPAC with a kinder gentler face; though the self-portrait of founder Raphael Fils, from his twitter feed, above, is surely a misstep. Hasn’t he heard about the expression “belt and suspenders”? One method of holding up your trousers is enough, Mr. Fils!

The Boston University junior’s autobiography is not entirely convincing either:

Studying PS + PR. Founder/Pres of JUMP. Love Israel, tech, & pretty people. Follow me & help me change the world ;)

Good for his word, Fils posts racy pictures of Israeli models. But what if you’re not pretty? JUMP tries to sound liberal in its policy statements: “Two States for Two Peoples.” But it takes a hawkish stance on Iran, which it says wants to build nuclear warheads, is all for Israeli control of Jerusalem, and seeks negotiations “without preconditions”– i.e., Israeli control of the West Bank through more settlements. JUMP says people should stop talking about settlements and put the focus on human rights. Meaning, when Palestinians accept limited sovereignty in Area A we can get rid of the damn checkpoints.

“The student-led initiative, set to open on some 20 campuses this fall, is founded by Boston University junior Raphael Fils,” the Times of Israel says in a report on the new group.

Fils has worked with rightwing groups, attacked the Open Hillel movement, and savaged J Street as a “pro-war” friend of anti-Semites, for hosting Breaking the Silence and other peace groups. He wrote in May:

Indeed, its often unfair and inaccurate critique of Israeli policies frequently crosses over from what is considered reasonable analysis into demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish state…. The organization frequently hosts anti-Semitic critics of Israel, who substitute for slanderous libel, like the  Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) movement [and Breaking the Silence]. 

Now he’s got funding. JUMP “has as donors individuals whose pledges have reached some $150,000.” Is this really a student-led initiative? I doubt it. More from the latest Times of Israel report:

“J Street is set on placing the majority of the blame on Israel,” says Fils. “We put blame on both sides and support negotiations without preconditions… Instead of placing blame and leaving it at that, we want to get to the root of the problem, which we believe is human rights. Not borders or the other issues J Street claims is the issue.”…

When asked about Palestinian human rights abuses, Fils cites the PA’s curriculum, which “teaches children to hate Israel and the West, and that’s a violation of their human rights to fair education.” The Israelis, on the other hand, need to work on respecting the rights of the recent African refugees.

This group looks like AIPAC trying to market itself to liberals, because that’s where the Jews are. Fils says:

‘JUMP is for liberal people who don’t feel comfortable joining J Street, who want action for Israel and action for human rights’

“Being from California, I’m really passionate about human rights, everyone being equal and stuff like that. I didn’t see any alternative that was not biased and was fair. AIPAC’s job is to focus on the American-Israel relationship, J Street is for pushing for their version of the two-state solution. There was no alternative for people who care about human rights, care about Israel, and the Palestinian people.”

I can’t wait to hear what Palestinians think of their new advocate.

PS. Max Blumenthal wrote about Fils a few months back, in a post aptly titled, Grindr in Hebron, about his debate with pro-Israel advocates in Boston.

During the debate’s question and answer session, a gay pro-Israel student activist named Raphael Fils picked up where [Richard] Landes left off. Fils, a founder of the Safe Hillel movement, recounted a tour he took to Hebron, an occupied city in the West Bank plagued by a suffocating regime of settler terror and army repression, and complained to [Sa’ed] Atshan about the greatest horror he witnessed there: When he logged onto Grindr, a popular geosocial hook-up application for gay and bisexual men, he could not find any available men.

“What’s up with that?” Fils asked Atshan in a deadly serious tone.

Atshan was stunned. He asked Fils why the only thing that outraged him during his visit to Hebron was the absence of Grindr dates.

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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26 Responses

  1. Taxi
    Taxi
    June 5, 2014, 12:18 pm

    And American jews will actually “follow” a dude in yellow pants?

  2. bryan
    bryan
    June 5, 2014, 12:43 pm

    Great to have additional allies in the fight for peace in the Middle East – the proof will of course in the eating but surely a group with this sort of grandiose name has to deliver a little bit more than the usual jaded hasbara – Mr. Raphael Fils please elucidate – one state or two state solution or Apartheid Status Quo and enjoy a few all expenses paid trips to do some research?

  3. eljay
    eljay
    June 5, 2014, 12:53 pm

    >> JUMP tries to sound liberal in its policy statements: “Two States for Two Peoples.”

    Tries to sound liberal Zio-supremacist is more like it:

    According to JUMP, this would require a separate Jewish democratic state of Israel, a homeland for the Jewish people, and a separate democratic state of Palestine, a homeland for the Palestinian people.

    A Zio-supremacist calls for Israel to be a supremacist “Jewish State” of and for Jews rather than an Israeli state of and for Israelis. Imagine that.

    • Walid
      Walid
      June 5, 2014, 12:59 pm

      I can’t make up my mind if the guy is a jerk or a clown. He’s no friend of Palestinians.

      • annie
        annie
        June 5, 2014, 5:41 pm

        he’s a clown. check this out from his http://web.stagram.com/n/raphaelfils/#3DcUJ53ZKBb1S10T.99

        BU sophomore. I like technology, saving the world, Israel and pretty people! Follow me and help me change the world! But actually Sexy People Only

        my bold. ask yourself, is this the kind of person who can get an idea and have it ‘poof’ materialize on 20 campuses without some heavy lifting by those in the know? nope. and his particular profile (type) is obviously what somebody thinks will attract young people. it’s almost as if they are aiming for the bottom rung of the ladder. kids on university campuses are smarter than this today. his shallow persona is not attractive.

      • just
        just
        June 5, 2014, 5:50 pm

        He’s icky looking and sounding.

        Perhaps a Kardashian wannabe……

      • annie
        annie
        June 5, 2014, 6:07 pm

        Perhaps a Kardashian wannabe

        a modern day pretty boy

      • just
        just
        June 5, 2014, 7:09 pm

        Heh!

        the Mohammed Assaf thread is closed… I found a youtube of his song without the video.

        (welcome relief from looking at the icky Fils goon above)

      • just
        just
        June 5, 2014, 7:19 pm

        O/T– As for the Palestinian team:

        “BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian National Football team has jumped ahead 71 places in the FIFA World Rankings following a historic win and their first-ever qualification to the Asian Cup, reaching their highest-ever international ranking.

        Palestine jumped to the 94th place in the international rankings after moving up 270 points during their drive to reach clinch the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup, which pits lower-ranked teams from across Asia against each other and secures the winner a spot in the Asian Cup.”

        http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=702635

      • bintbiba
        bintbiba
        June 5, 2014, 7:25 pm

        ughgh !!!

      • MRW
        MRW
        June 6, 2014, 6:03 pm

        annie,

        “pretty?”

        Mohammed Assaf is the pretty one. Fils is probably secretly drooling.

    • bilal a
      bilal a
      June 5, 2014, 1:12 pm

      What happens to the indigenous Palestinian culture once it is subsumed under a pan Israeli government where all the financial power is concentrated in the neo colonial elite (both Jewish and Muslim) ? What happens to the self determination of both the Jewish and Muslim religious minorities under such a secular cosmopolitan construct?

      Cultural cleansing, annihilation.

      This is a worse tyranny than the occupation which at least preserved both parties right to cultural self determination.

      Yet it is the preferred tyranny of the transnational corporate order. and their liberal secularist apparatchiks.

      But some see the wisdom in human cultural diversity and seek an international legal solution:

      Self-determination and minority rights – a dead end …for national minorities in post-communist European states to preserve their cultural identity. Is there hope?
      http://www.academia.edu/2215635/Self-determination_and_minority_rights_-_a_dead_end_for_national_minorities_in_post-communist_European_states_to_preserve_their_cultural_identity._Is_there_hope

    • StCuthbert
      StCuthbert
      June 5, 2014, 2:14 pm

      I find such a concept of “Two States for Two Peoples” disgusting. There is only one solution: the Arab state of Palestine encompassing all of historic Palestine. To allow Israel to exist in its current form would be an affront to humanity.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        June 5, 2014, 6:48 pm

        Whatever you say, troll.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder
      June 5, 2014, 4:58 pm

      psychops. It’s really amazing that people seem to believe it can be solved with rebranding and PR. Even transparently bad one at that. How stupid do they think people are.

      Trying to sell hasbara in new “sexed up” bottles?

      No doubt these type of efforts are always well sponsored. Will the funds help to get support by other self-interested characters? Maybe. But many? I seriously doubt. Why should you shift from established Hillel, to the extend you haven’t left it already for Open Hillel, to join JUMP?

      “Justice and Uniting for Mideast Peace” simply tries to lure kids away from Students for Justice in Palestine, that’s were the “Justice” comes from. And Peace of course is standard by now. Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. Really daring to add justice to it. But at least they seem to have read Max. African refugees. Keeps minds away from the core issue of “the conflict”.

      Sex sells? Quite funny juxtaposition of the female Israeli pin up girl and Raphael, the son (Fils).

      Israel’s sex strategy reminds me of my earliest encounters with fights between defenders of the neoconservative world view and critics of both them and Israel. The arguments of the lovers of Zion to my utter puzzlement frequently ended with sexist slanders. Something of course all over the place concerning “the Arabs” in its diverse shapes anyway but usually in the absence of real Arabs I discovered around the same time. I can’t help, but it suddenly was on my mind. Kind of the Janus face of sex sells.

  4. eljay
    eljay
    June 5, 2014, 1:21 pm

    >> I can’t make up my mind if the guy is a jerk or a clown.

    Jerky the Clown – it’s perfect! :-D

  5. marc b.
    marc b.
    June 5, 2014, 2:23 pm

    Being from California, I’m really passionate about human rights, everyone being equal and stuff like that.

    yes, and stuff like that.

    I can’t make up my mind if the guy is a jerk or a clown. He’s no friend of Palestinians.

    anyway, you don’t have to choose, walid. in garcon fils’ world, you can have coke and pepsi. (even in the WB! just no cardamom in Gaza.) I’d say that he’s a jerk-clown, or a clown-jerk. or maybe just mildly retarded.

  6. Zach S
    Zach S
    June 5, 2014, 2:24 pm

    He wants peace and human rights for *everyone,* not just Palestinians?! Burn him! Burn him!

    • pjdude
      pjdude
      June 5, 2014, 4:35 pm

      No he claims he wants to but he supports a country that actively opposes such things. One can claim anything weather or not it’s true is what matters. I bet he is lying

    • eljay
      eljay
      June 5, 2014, 5:25 pm

      >> Zach S: He wants …

      …what your average hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist wants – namely, Israel as a supremacist “Jewish State”, retaining most of what it has stolen, not accountable for its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes, not accountable to refugees from within its borders, next to a de-militarized Palestine.

      B.F.D.

      And you gotta love how he blows off the entire issue of Israel’s existing and on-going colonization of Palestine:

      We recognize that settlements can cause many difficulties for Israelis and Palestinians alike. In order to achieve a two-state solution, JUMP believes that focus must be shifted from the settlements to the other issues aforementioned in the JUMP philosophy.

      IOW: The answer to the settlement problem is…hey, look over there!!!!

      It’s a bad joke only a Zio-supremacist could love.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      June 6, 2014, 2:35 am

      Zach S: He wants peace and human rights for *everyone,* not just Palestinians?!

      No. He doesn’t support human’s right to return to their country, if they are Palestinians. He’s deligitimizing them based on double standards and probably demonization. In other words, he’s just an inhumane racist like you who put’s Jews above humanity.

  7. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes
    June 5, 2014, 5:33 pm

    Looks like a new Brand Israel campaign to reach out to apolitical Jewish students who have neglected to like Israel on facebook recently. Like popular pinkwashing, greenwashing and bluewashing campaigns, it uses culturally liberal images and buzzwords to appeal to students who haven’t given Israel much thought (and may not want to give it or anything too serious or political, like even JStreet, much thought). Vague “human rights:” good. Specific human rights laws or violations: too political. Look for it at a Jewish Frat Party near you!

  8. annie
    annie
    June 5, 2014, 5:52 pm

    and this is classic BS:

    When asked about Palestinian human rights abuses, Fils cites the PA’s curriculum, which “teaches children to hate Israel and the West, and that’s a violation of their human rights to fair education.” The Israelis, on the other hand, need to work on respecting the rights of the recent African refugees.

    iow, palestinian human rights are violated because of their own parents and teachers and israelis have to work on their relationship w/african refugees.

    and of course there is NO criticism of israel’s treatment of palestinians. this is ‘jumps’ idea of being a human rights org. it’s laughable.

    and note how the time of israel article can’t bring itself to say “jewish voice for peace”, as if they were a non entity on campuses! :

    Sure, there’s a plethora of programs already, from the conservative StandWithUS and Aish Hatorah’s Israel Hasbara Fellowship on the right, via the bipartisan AIPAC, to the liberal J Street U and extremist Students for Justice in Palestine (which has a high concentration of Jewish students) on the left.

    notice how the oldest running, progressive and arguably the most threatening (to them) liberal jewish group on campuses is not even mentioned?

  9. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    June 5, 2014, 5:55 pm

    The Times of Israel article from which a lot of the Fils quotes are derived here is actually fairly good and informative.

    My first thoughts on Fils: It shows more than a bit about the desperation of the people trying to update hasbara on campus that they would shower $150K and counting on a guy who is so obviously lacking in spatial awareness. A PR-poli sci major wearing that lame, strange outfit….?

  10. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    June 5, 2014, 8:26 pm

    “We recognize that settlements can cause many difficulties for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

    I hear ya! You can walk for hours around downtown Hebron and never find a Starbucks!

    Idiot.

  11. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    June 6, 2014, 6:54 am

    Fils posts racy pictures of Israeli models.
    I just had a look at the linked pic. Interesting to see what Phil considers “racy”. It’s obvious that Phil grew up in the prudish USA.

    But what if you’re not pretty?
    Well, Raphael is quite unpretty himself. Therefore, it’s dangerous for him to judge people by how they look.

    crosses over from what is considered reasonable analysis into demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish state
    In case of the settler-colonialist state, demonization and delegitimization ARE reasonable analysis.

    we want to get to the root of the problem, which we believe is human rights. Not borders
    Here, I agree with him. The root of the problem are human rights, not borders. However, he misleads people about what the real human rights violations are. Is he actually this stupid or does he only pretend not to know?

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