Jennifer Sabin has an article at Huffington Post titled, “The Ugly Reality of American Anti-Semitism.” A lot of what she talks about unquestionably is anti-semitism and deserves condemnation, notably a range of attacks on Jewish journalists in recent weeks for being Jewish. But as usual with this sort of confused liberal commentary, Sabin brings in Palestinian solidarity, and says that Palestinians only have those rights which do not conflict with the “right” that Israeli Jews had to steal most of their land.
You see this in the paragraphs about pro-Palestinian activism, where she talks about support for Palestinians’ supposed right to “control” all of the territory, thereby exposing her own unconscious bigotry.
It’s not just Oberlin, but schools like UC Berkeley and UC Irvine, Northwestern, University of Michigan and some of the Ivy League schools, among others, where students are reporting an uptick in threats, intimidation, and distribution of anti-Semitic literature. Much of it is an outgrowth of the movements BDS, which calls for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
It is one thing for students and professors to question and debate and disagree with Israeli politics, Israeli settlements and the level of Israel’s responses to Palestinian attacks – and in fact some of the BDS and SJP protestors are Jewish students. But too often, those students and professors are not talking about a two-state solution, but rather the right of Palestinians to control all of Israel. And once people say Israel has no right to exist, or when they conflate the politics of Israel with all Jewish people, when they shout “Nazi” and “fascist” at students who support Israel, when they downplay the horrors of the Holocaust, or purport that all Jews are white and privileged and therefore unentitled to claim their oppressive history or even the current anti-Semitism, then they have entered another realm – the realm of pure, unadulterated bigotry…
“The right of Palestinians to control all of Israel” has never been part of Palestinian solidarity. Sabin can’t imagine someone advocating for equal rights for Palestinians unless it is really about hatred for Jews. It never crosses her mind how dehumanizing this is towards Palestinians. Their whole struggle for equal rights is equated with anti-Semitism. She expresses the same bigotry with this statement:
When a Palestinian or Iranian spews hatred for Jewish people, it’s de rigueur. But to hear it, and read it coming from Americans in 2016 is another thing.
And as for Nazis, she fails to note that it is an Israeli military leader who has lately compared Israel to Nazi Germany.
It’s not enough to explain that BDS isn’t antisemitic. It actually reinforces the idea that it is antisemitic when people patiently explain why it isn’t, as though the accusation is reasonable. We think BDS advocates have to turn things around and point out constantly, repeatedly, that articles like this are actually bigoted against Palestinians.