Last Sunday the New York Times ran a front-page attack on campus BDS campaigns–boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel–by characterizing BDS as a movement driven by minorities’ “hostility” toward privileged Jews, in a word, anti-Semitic.
The article again and again said that BDS targets Jews– “Where can I send my kids that will be safe for them as Jews?” asks one college administrator — and never quoted a Jew who supports BDS. Though there was a mention of Jewish Voice for Peace, which does.
Well, showing up the Times, the Forward, the Jewish publication, has not one but two pieces saying there are Jews in BDS.
First there’s this long piece, called, “Birthright paves path to BDS for some Jewish participants.” Lots of Jews who go on the free indoctrination trip to Israel (funded by Sheldon Adelson and Norman Braman) observe outright racism there and wind up boycotting the place. Naomi Daron of Haaretz wrote:
[Sam Sussman’s] group didn’t meet one Israeli Arab or Palestinian, and met maybe one or two Israelis who didn’t espouse right-wing views.
Sussman isn’t the only American to visit Israel on a Birthright or similar program and return filled with questions that morph into criticism. Many of these young people I spoke with say that after Birthright they became activists in left-wing organizations. They reflect the way some people see Israel when visiting for the first time — as well as young American Jews’ changing relationship with the land of their ancestors…
When [Chris Godshall] returned to the United States he volunteered for Jewish Voice for Peace, which works against the occupation and seeks to expand Jewish organizations’ dialogue with Israel. It supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel…
As Godshall puts it, “I need to thank Birthright for the understanding that Israel is connected to me, but I’m sure they didn’t intend to push me into supporting BDS.”
He says he’s not happy with the idea that Israel represents him in its actions. “My goal is still to identify with my Jewish identity, but to do so I have to take part in a movement that excludes Israel from this Jewish identity,” he says.
The article could also have mentioned Max Blumenthal, whose path to writing Goliath and leadership in the BDS movement included the promotional trip when he was in his twenties.
Then there’s a second piece in the Forward talking about Jews in BDS, that is actually inspired by the NYT article on BDS: “How American Jews Can Fight the Academic Intifada,” by Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin. The rabbi expresses great alarm over the New York Times report, but he at least recognizes the Jewish presence in the movement– Jews who have “capitulate[d]” to the bad minorities.
This is nothing less than an ethnic and class war. It uses Israel and the Palestinians as a backdrop and an excuse, but its target is clear — Jewish students — some of whom capitulate and join the battle against Israel. These verbal and political attacks cannot help but morph into anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism.
The rabbi says these Jews need an inoculation of Jewish education to survive the ideological onslaught.
Will our young people be prepared for the conversations that they will encounter this fall, right after they start unpacking their bags in their dorm rooms?..
When our young people get to college, they will need to intellectually defend the existence of the state of Israel. If we allow our teenagers to leave our homes without that knowledge and values base, they will enter the world without the inoculation they need against the ignorance and hatred that they will encounter.
It’s Phil’s estimate from attending dozens of campus events that about one in five BDS supporters is Jewish, and the inoculation failed. Shouldn’t the Times have acknowledged as much?
Meantime, the Washington Post practices the same sort of deception in a piece on Christian Zionist efforts to launch a “birthright” program to send young Christian Americans to Israel and Palestine and tell them it’s their inheritance, with the help of the Israeli Embassy:
“As young adults experience Israel firsthand, their faith is strengthened, their knowledge of the Bible is increased and their understanding of the connection between the Bible and the Land of Israel is put on solid ground,” said Steve Green [a sponsor of the trips, from the Hobby Lobby family]
There is not one word in the piece about why Israel feels this need to create ambassadors in the U.S., no mention of the occupation or Israel’s cratering international image, conditions that are turning a lot of young people off and leading many of them to endorse BDS. The Jewish press, the Forward and Haaretz, are giving a far more accurate picture of the world. When will American newspapers trust their readers to hear the facts?