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.