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Anti-blackness and the core logic of Zionism

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In 2012, Pulitzer Prize winning Black author, Alice Walker, came under fire by Zionists when she refused to allow her internationally acclaimed book The Color Purple be translated, published, and sold by an Israeli publishing company. When asked about her decision, Walker compared what she’d seen on her multiple trips to Palestine to the Jim Crow south that she grew up in, stating, “the unfairness of it is so much like the South. It’s so much like the South of 50 years ago, really, and actually more brutal, because in Palestine so many more people are wounded, shot, killed, imprisoned.” Following this decision and her statements, outrage flowed as the Anti-Defamation League and other Israeli-backed organizations issued a statements against her. Several journalists, including Alan Dershowitz, referred to her as “bigoted,” and compared her choice to use her book to support the BDS cultural boycott to “the moral and legal equivalent of neo-Nazi author David Duke disallowing his books to be sold to Black and Jewish readers.”

The underlying assumption in the overwhelmingly angry responses to Walker’s decision to support BDS were ironically simple: she is ignorant, and doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Lambasted by writers and pro-Israel activists alike, the common notion dwelling underneath the responses and critiques is the assumption of Black people’s ignorance, inferiority, and lack ability to relate to Palestinians. By invoking the notion of the Jim Crow era South as a proper comparison for Israeli apartheid, Walker is making a concise comparison on violence: state violence and structured violence. During Jim Crow, much like Palestine, Walker describes having to use different walking paths than white citizens, not being allowed in certain stores and restaurants, and segregation as an extension of structured violence. Along with this similarity, we know that Jim Crow was a time of extreme police brutality and police presence, a condition easily related to the experiences of Palestinians under constant threat of violence from Israel’s military occupation.

Then once again, in 2016 and 2017, we have watched as a new wave of high profile Black leaders have come under fire for their choices to support the BDS movement. Most notably, rappers Princess Nokia and Lauryn Hill, and several NFL players cancelling tour dates within Israel. Following an open letter cosigned by several activists including Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Marc Lamont Hill, Alicia Garza, and Jasiri X, NFL players announced they refused to go on the propaganda tour of Israel. Noting Apartheid violence, segregation, and propaganda manipulation as some of these reasons, one football player stated he wants to “see how the Palestinians, who have called this land home for thousands of years, live their lives. I want to be a voice for the voiceless, and I cannot do that by going on this kind of trip to Israel.”

Much like what occurred with Alice Walker’s high profile support of BDS, the NFL players were met with harsh criticism and, unsurprisingly, the assumption of ignorance as a basis for their refusal of participation. Atlanta Jewish Times writer Michael Jacobs called the open letter to the NFL players rife with “emphasizing false parallels between Palestinians and black Americans.” He then continues to use coded language with purpose of insinuating ignorance, stating that several of the NFL players “fell for” the “anti-Israel propaganda.” What about their decision assumes they they “fell for” anything, rather they learned and were educated on the human rights violations of Israel, and the collectives struggles Palestinians and Black Americans similarly face, and made their own decision to pull out of the trip.

What we see is a clear pattern, whether it is local rabbis blasting Black Lives Matter activists as “ignorant” for including support of BDS in their demands, Zionist white feminists attacking the women’s movement for standing against Zionism, or the coded language against Alice Walker and NFL players that assumes they simply ‘don’t know what they’re talking about.’ The pattern is the use of anti-Black rhetoric and, in turn, anti-Blackness in whole, to perpetuate the assumption of Black ignorance to silence and belittle Black BDS advocates.

The idea that Black people, particularly Black Americans, can be elaborately educated on global politics and the intricacies of the Palestinian conflict seems foreign to them, because anti-Blackness is an inherent result of Zionism. To assume that folks like Angela Davis and Alice Walker, Black women who were raised in the Jim Crow South, surrounded by church bombings, segregation, police violence, and systemic poverty are unable to make clear connections between their experiences and those of Palestinians is nothing less of a racist assumption of ignorance.

The latest in this trend of anti-Black rhetoric as a means of Zionism comes from director of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) Robbie Friedmann, whose recent article is an anti-Black assault on the praxes of intersectionality and Black activism masked underneath a defense of BDS and the GILEE program. GILEE is a law enforcement exchange program, which writer Anna Simonton describes as a “Georgia-based program that has sent thousands of American law enforcement officials to Israel for counter-terrorism training.” Conjuring a fear-mongering tone in the beginning of the article by evoking remembrance of the famous September 11th terrorist attacks, his first mistake is stating that this was the “worst terrorist atrocity in the world’s history.” Given the context of the conversation Friedmann is putting forth on policing and Black activism, it seems dubious to position the events of September 11th as the “worst terrorist atrocity in the world’s history” despite the Transatlantic Slave Trade, systemic lynchings and police killings, Black church bombings, and dozens of other actions which call for us to redefine the notion of terrorism and the word’s use altogether. One must ask: in framing his piece with such a statement, is he setting up to invalidate and challenge Black and Palestinian oppression, respectively?

He then continues to describe terrorism in the following paragraphs in great;y opinionated detail, slipping into islamophobia to paint the anti-Semitic rants of a singular person as the voice of majority Muslims around the world. The purpose of this terrorism discussions seems to be nothing more than setting up to compare BDS to a form of terrorism, much like Republican state Senator Leah Vukmir’s reference of BDS as “economic terrorism,” and Marco Rubio’s “economic warfare” comments from last year. This positioning, which is espoused throughout the duration of the article, is purposefully steeped in facetious language, and while Friedmann mentions criticism of Israel are “valid,” not once does he list any of those criticisms or their magnitude.

The second portion of Friedmann’s piece rests solely on the same anti-Black rhetoric that was used against aforementioned Alice Walker, the NFL players, and countless other Black people who have publicly supported the BDS movement. Referring to the GILEE program, he states: “In Atlanta, as in other cities, BDS is focusing on cutting the ties between local police and the Israel Police through the efforts of a coalition of pro-Palestinian groups joining forces as strange bedfellows driven by “intersectionality.”” True to the nature of anti-Blackness, this statement is tied to the assumption that Black activists lack to intellectual agency to come to Palestine-related conclusions ourselves. I was in the room last year when Activists from the Black organizing coalition ATLisReady decided to demand an end to the GILEE program, and I can tell you with certainty it was a swiftly supported decision we’d all naturally come to agree on. We were not persuaded by any form of anti-Semitism, nor mesmerized by some ”pro-Palestinian group” as Friedmann vaguely claims; we were educated on the ways the IDF create, reinforce, and sustain violence against both Palestinians and Israelis of color. Many in the room had been to Palestine before and witnessed the police violence with their own eyes, and many of us had experienced police violence in some form here, in Atlanta, and the connection became unavoidable.

What becomes clear when proponents of Zionism and the GILEE program argue against Black activists demand their cities cut ties with the program is the extent to which anti-Blackness actually is a core result of Zionism, even for those liberal Zionists who claim to be progressive. It would be an ahistoricism to argue that US policing has not always been a constant antagonism to the Black identity, with our criminalization dating back to the slave patrol origins of policing in the US. Thus, this criminalization has been one one of both rhetoric and actions, the former often leading to the ladder; terms like ‘terrorist action’ and ‘counterterrorism’ which the GILEE programs boasts have historically been used against Black people to justify police oversight and violence. Our mistrust of the GILEE program does not lie in anti-Semitism or lack of understanding, to the contrary, it lies within our positional similarity to the violence enacted against Palestinians, and how our material conditions let us know the same violence will be used against us. To argue with this is to deny both the history and current conditions of police brutality, and to essentially slap us in the face while claiming to care about ‘human rights’ and ‘safety.’

Friedmann also manages to purposefully misconstrue intersectionality in the process of his argument, saying Palestinians and Black people are “strange bedfellows” driven by intersectionality. This seems to be in line with the recent trend of Zionists attacking intersectionality, the theory turned praxis first created by Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe the ways oppressive structures are interconnected and cannot be examined separately. In June of this year Fern Oppenheim of the Brand Israel Group named “intersectionality” and coalition-creating on campuses as responsible for young Jewish people’s waning interest in Israel, stating they need to “deal with intersectionality” by “hiring conservative professors to offset the toxic culture” of diversity-building on campuses.

Because intersectionality calls for us to examine the commonality and interconnected nature of oppressive systems, it becomes antithetical to the core logic of Zionism, which assumes Israel, as well as oppression within Israel, stands independent of other structures. Along with this logic, we are taught in such an unquestionable way that the oppression that Palestinians face also stands independent of structures of racism, islamophobia, and settler-colonialism, not relative to the oppression that Black Americans may face, and not similar to the experiences of others. This is because the reality of Palestinian oppression intersecting with the oppression of others around the world is frightening to the Zionist movement, as it marks an unavoidable full acceptance of pro-Palestinian politics into major movements all around the world.

Furthermore, the constant conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism has recently been used as a gaslighting bedrock to continue the dismissal and misuse of intersectionality. In March of this year, Benjamin Goldstone wrote “It’s Time For Intersectionality To Include The Jews,” a piece in which he builds the bulk of his argument on the false notion that intersectional movements have been manipulated by anti-Zionists to “exclude Jewish issues from pro-justice movements.” To date, all organization-coalitions that have been created in Atlanta, for example, have featured various Jewish and Jewish-led groups, including Jewish Voices For Peace and Interfaith Peace Builders. Moreover, movements which claim to be intersectional identify structures of oppression based on identity and challenge them through coalition organizing, and the bulk of work underneath intersectional movements has been addressing issues of racism, religious bigotry, and where the two collide. Anti-Semitism, as a form of ethno-religious bigotry and prejudice, certainly falls underneath the confines of racial and religious oppression, so at what point has this exclusion occurred? Excluding the marginal, few anti-Semitic intersectional activists that this exist and hold power, this seems to be an inflation of intersectionality’s lack of room for Zionism, not Jewish people.

Gladstone doubles down on the misconceptions, stating:

“Finally, it must be emphasized that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, although not one and the same, are inextricably linked. It is not enough for pro-justice activists to accept Jews on the condition that we are docile, individualistic, American, and at their mercy […] When activists condemn ‘Zionists,’ they are more often than not, consciously or unconsciously, drawing on a Soviet tradition of leftist anti-Semitism that uses the term ‘Zionist’ as a code for Jews in general. Most American Jews feel attached to Israel and believe it has a right to exist, and therefore are vulnerable to the exclusion of Zionists from pro-justice action. Hatred of “Zionists” is wielded again and again as a mechanism for excluding the activists and institutions that are more representative of American Jewry from the intersectional conversation.”

I agree with Gladstone that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are inextricably linked, but only to the extent that anti-Zionism will always be silenced and dismissed due to empty cries of anti-Semitism so long as the conflict exists. And while Gladstone’s red-baiting use of drawing on Soviet-era examples and assumption that “Zionist” is used interchangeably with “Jewish” may seem sound, it falls flat of truth, and still exists within the same space of anti-Blackness that denies Black people our own agency and ability of information. When Black organizers and activists say we are against Zionism, we are not Soviet rhetoric nor perpetuating subconscious anti-Semitic dogma; we mean exactly what we say, and the assumption that we unknowingly are saying something otherwise is offensive. This assumption, and the larger assault on intersectionality as a whole, should be seen as misogynoir, as the intersectional movement is overwhelmingly lead by Black women, and intersectionality itself is a framework for praxis created for Black women.

Jaime Omar Yassin wrote recently, that “If gender is shared by all racial groups, feminism cannot be Zionist, just as it cannot be neo-Nazi—feminism that doesn’t have an understanding of how it intersects with racial and ethnic oppression is simply a diversification of white supremacy.” If Yassin is correct, then the Zionist assault on intersectionality, just like the assault on Alice Walker’s “Democratic Womanism,” is no different—it is just a new manifestation of anti-Blackness and misogynoir, tucked away within purposefully misreading and misuse of theory. As these many examples show, Zionism is a logic of anti-Blackness, with specific forms of misogynoir that accompany it, which doesn’t accept the agency of Black people who own valid critiques of its function.

Devyn Springer

Devyn Springer is an Atlanta writer, activist and artist who recently published his debut book "Grayish-Black" which is available on Amazon. You can follow him on Twitter at @HalfAtlanta.

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28 Responses

  1. hophmi on October 12, 2017, 1:48 pm

    What nonsense. Devyn, the ignorance of BDS activists has nothing to with race. No matter what race ignorant BDS activists are, they will be criticized in exactly the same way.

    Devyn, if I called a movement against affirmative action multiracial because it included a fringe rightist group called Blacks Against Affirmative Action led by Sheriff David Clarke, would you buy my logic that the Anti-Affirmative-Action movement included African-American concerns? That’s the logic you’re using when you suggest that intersectional movements encompass Jewish concerns because they include JVP.

    And Devyn, you don’t get to make a judgment about whether intersectional movements properly address and include Jewish concerns. It isn’t up to you.

    Israel is one of the most diverse countries in the world, a fact you fail completely to mention. That’s your ignorance, and it has nothing to do with your race.

    Furthermore, your attempts to define for Jews what constitutes anti-Jewish bigotry, as well as your tendency to use your radical Jewish friends as a fig leaf to cover your own biases is evidence of your own bigotry, and you should reflect upon that and think about how you can correct it.

    • festus on October 12, 2017, 2:49 pm

      -But it is up to you to tell black folks they are ignorant about matters effecting people of color?

    • Misterioso on October 13, 2017, 10:39 am

      Yes, Israel (i.e., west of the green line) is “diverse.”  It is also racist and always has been.

      To wit: 

      Hendrik Verwoerd, then prime minister of South Africa and the architect of South Africa’s apartheid policies, 1961: “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” (Rand Daily Mail, November 23, 1961)

      Jacobus Johannes Fouché, South African Minister of Defence during the apartheid era, compared the two states and said that Israel also practiced apartheid. (Gideon Shimoni (1980). Jews and Zionism: The South African Experience 1910-1967. Cape Town: Oxford UP. pp. 310–336. ISBN 0195701798)

      “Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons. ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state”
      EXCERPT: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in ISRAEL [my emphasis] and the West Bank today ‘scream to the heavens,’ added [Alon] Liel, who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994. There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa, he asserted.” (Times of Israel, February 21, 2013)

      Shlomo Gazit, retired IDF Major General: “[Israel’s] legal system that enforces the law in a discriminatory way on the basis of national identity, is actually maintaining an apartheid regime.” (Haaretz, July 19, 2011)

      Video: Israeli TV Host Implores Israelis: Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid

      In its 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor acknowledges the “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel.” (U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)

      “Construction, Not Destruction”
      “While Israeli Arabs constitute 20 percent of the population, Arab communities’ jurisdictions occupy just 2.5 percent of the state’s land area, and the process of approving new construction in Arab towns takes decades.”  (Haaretz Editorial, April 4, 2017)

      One example of apartheid within Israel:
      “Jewish town won’t let Arab build home on his own land ”
      Excerpt: “Aadel Suad first came to the planning and construction committee of the Misgav Local Council in 1997. Suad, an educator, was seeking a construction permit to build a home on a plot of land he owns in the community of Mitzpeh Kamon. The reply he got, from a senior official on the committee, was a memorable one. ‘Don’t waste your time,’ he reportedly told Suad. ‘We’ll keep you waiting for 30 years.’” (Haaretz, 14 December 2009)

      Adi Ophir, professor of philosophy, Tel Aviv University: “…the adoption of the political forms of an ethnocentric and racist nation-state in general, are turning Israel into the most dangerous place in the world for the humanity and morality of the Jewish community, for the continuity of Jewish cultures and perhaps for Jewish existence itself.” (1998 issue of “Theory and Criticism,” published in Israel)

      To the best of my knowledge, Israel is the only country in the world that differentiates between citizenship and nationality, i.e., “Israeli” nationality does not exist, only Jews and non-Jews, and each citizen carries an appropriate identity card. While the implications of this absurdity for discrimination and racism against non-Jews are obvious, it has been upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court.

      The effect of Israel’s blatantly racist “Citizenship Law” and more than fifty other restrictions Arab citizens have to endure is well expressed by writer and Knesset member, Ahmed Tibi, “…dutifully defining the state [of Israel] as ‘Jewish and democratic,’ ignores the fact that in practice ‘democratic’ refers to Jews, and the Arabs are nothing more than citizens without citizenship.” (Ma’ariv, 1.6.2005)

      “Even in death, Ethiopian Jews face racism from other Jews”

      Middle East Monitor, December 28, 2010.                                                                                                               
      Excerpt: “An Israeli newspaper has claimed that the racism prevalent between Israeli Jews extends to Ethiopian Jews even after their death. According to Ma’ariv, graves in a Jewish cemetery are separated according to the colour of the corpses; a fence has been built between the graves of Ethiopian Jews and the others in the graveyard.”

      Haaretz, January 27, 2013 – “Israel admits Ethiopian women were given birth control shots.”

      EXCERPTS: “A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.”

      “The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community.”

      • Mooser on October 13, 2017, 1:55 pm

        Hendrik Verwoerd, then prime minister of South Africa and the architect of South Africa’s apartheid policies, 1961: “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” (Rand Daily Mail, November 23, 1961)”

        Actually, Israel and apartheid South Africa had a mutual what-aboutery treaty for many years.

    • Tigger on October 13, 2017, 10:42 am

      Hophmi – For sure, Israel is ‘diverse’, in spite of the fact that the majority of its inhabitants are designated as ‘Jews’.
      What you fail to mention, however, is the very wide disparity between citizens of white European origin and those from Africa.
      One does not have to look far to find youtube proof of anti-African riots in Tel Aviv, Israeli-government acknowledgement of the secret but enforced contraception of newly-arrived Ethiopians, etc. etc.
      There is more than enough evidence to show that black Jews are very much second-class – if not third-class – citizens in the land that purported to welcome them.
      Indeed, the position of many if not most is analagous to that of blacks in the southern American states.

  2. JeffB on October 12, 2017, 3:03 pm


    Hopmi excellent points. Devyn you should consider his points. And just to flll in the example include Jewish Voice for Peace in your coalition doesn’t make your coalition any less antisemetic than the neoconfederate militia movement including a few black members makes them any less racist. All groups have dissidents who are alienated from their group. Liking dissidents is not the same as liking the group.

    As for your basic thesis you probably are being condescended to because right now Jews don’t believe blacks are really long term opponents of their interests. Politicians are the best example. Faced with a black candidate who had a well thought out carefully considered opposition to Zionism, Jewish voters and donors would back their primary opponent, back the Republican in the general, and keep going at them for the rest of their career. By Jews giving Blacks the “ignorance” out Black politicians don’t permanently lose the support of a key constituency.

    So right now your activists backpedal on their opposition to Zionism as they move to go mainstream politicians. They are the ones who publicly assert that anti-Zionism is based in ignorance. Let’s take some Keith Ellison statements for example:

    * It was difficult for me to see that the struggle for equality for African Americans could be subverted into hatred of others, specifically anti-Semitism. I focused on Farrakhan speaking to concerns of Black men. When I became aware that he made hateful statements about other groups, including the Jewish community with whom I was so close, I knew that I must reject his teachings. And I rejected them completely.

    * In my mind, confident that the Iron Dome funding that I have always strongly supported would pass, I cast a vote reflecting my commitment to restoring calm and quiet at a moment of violence. My voice was not being heard and I felt in the moment that casting my vote was a vital way to amplify my message. It was the wrong way to speak out and it was the wrong way to vote. I regret it deeply.

    The problem with claiming ignorance is coming from your community. I don’t have any doubt a majority of Blacks who understand the issue would identify with the Palestinians. But I don’t think the Black community wants anti-Zionism more than it wants Jewish votes, Jewish money, Jewish activism. For much the same reason Jewish politicians don’t want to lose Black votes and Black activism. Israel is for the Jew’s collectively the #1 issue. That’s not to say individually, I’m a strong Zionist and it comes in #3, but collectively it is #1. If the Black community becomes institutionally anti-Zionist then there is a split between two constituencies in the Democratic party who refuse to support each other’s candidates. Ultimately if it lasts the Blacks win the battle and lose the war because Jews become Republicans. They can leave, Blacks can’t. I think most Black activists are ignorant of the priority. And so when they need broader support that’s what they suddenly discover. Its just a political trade for most black politicians. They back the side they disagree with in a tribal war in the middle east that they don’t care much about and in exchange they keep an ally they care a great deal about.

    • festus on October 12, 2017, 3:22 pm

      “But I don’t think the Black community wants anti-Zionism more than it wants Jewish votes, Jewish money, Jewish activism”

      What goes on in these Zionist infected heads?

      They speak for black people and are all experts on Islam (with no knowledge of the language or actual religious dogma).

      This upbringing they experience has really compromised their common sense and clarity of thought.

      You read the stuff they say and just shake your head in disbelief.

    • Emory Riddle on October 14, 2017, 5:43 pm

      Quote Keith Ellison, who needs Big Jewish Money and Media to keep his career.

      Let’s see what perhaps the leading American intellectual of the 20th century, James Baldwin, had to say on the topic. Perhaps a little more independent black voice:

      “One does not wish, in short, to be told by an American Jew that his suffering is as great as the American Negro’s suffering. It isn’t, and one knows that it isn’t from the very tone in which he assures you that it is.”

  3. [email protected] on October 12, 2017, 5:36 pm

    Can one have opposite views on the “should this voice be included” debate and still be morally consistent? Here is my take. On the Hillel excluding Jewish non-Zionist voices, they are wrong because Hillel is supposed to represent ALL Jews on campus. An ideological litmus test on Zionism is therefore illegitimate because many Jews say it is, not because Zionism is inherently wrong or right. If Jewish ideas are banned at Hillel, it can not claim to be universally Jewish. On the other hand Black Lives Matter, Feminism, Palestinian call for BDS as examples are not trying to represent all people. They are representing marginalized people knowing full well that most power and in many cases majority opinion are not on their side. Social Justice movements by definition are working to change and challenge power and by definition those who are oppressed don’t need to make room for those who already have all the cards and power. Excluding for example Zionists and White Nationalists from social justice movements makes sense as their presence serves little purpose but to distract and destroy the very fabric of the change that is sought. So all in all yeah, I won’t loose any sleep over advocating both the inclusion of non-ZIonists in Hillel while making the case that a litmus test that excludes white supremacist views and Zionism is quite appropriate for Black Lives Matter and all anti-opression networks.

    • JeffB on October 13, 2017, 6:04 am

      @[email protected]

      they are wrong because Hillel is supposed to represent ALL Jews on campus.

      When does Hillel ever say they represent anyone? It doesn’t have formal membership and doesn’t have a lobbying arm (though the parent organization does). Hillel is a student group that provides services. It is a means for B’nai B’rith to “promote Jewish unity & continuity”. That is the goal not representation.

      If some Jewish ideas are banned at Hillel, it can not claim to be universally Jewish.

      I think you are confusing ideas promoted by Jews and Jewish ideas. Those are not the same thing. For example Santa Muerte is believed in by some Catholics. The Catholic church considers it a form of devil worship and a heresy. The fact that Catholics do it does not make it a Catholic in the religious sense. It does make it a part of some Catholic’s culture.

      Anti-Zionism is clearly something that some Jews do. It is not something that Hillel considers a legitimate part of Judaism.

      Israel is at the heart of Hillel’s work. Our goal is to inspire every Jewish college student to develop a meaningful and enduring relationship to Israel and to Israelis. We know that engaged and educated students can become committed Jewish adults who are passionate supporters of Israel. Hillel welcomes, partners with, and aids the efforts of organizations, groups, and speakers from diverse perspectives in support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

      Hillel is quite specific they consider the following 4 activities to be anti-Jewish even while acknowledging Jews engage in them:
      * Deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders;
      * Delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel;
      * Support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel;
      * Exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.

      BTW non-Zionists are fine for Hillel. Certain forms of anti-Zionist activity are prohibited.

      • eljay on October 13, 2017, 9:28 am

        || JeffB: … Anti-Zionism is clearly something that some Jews do. It is not something that Hillel considers a legitimate part of Judaism. … ||

        So…according to Hillel, Judaism requires Jews to engage in oppression, colonialism, (war) crimes and religion-based supremacism. Huh.

        || … Hillel is quite specific they consider the following 4 activities to be anti-Jewish … ||

        Since anti-Zionism is not something that Hillel considers a legitimate part of Judaism, Hillel should consider those four activities to be anti-Judaism, not anti-Jewish.

      • JeffB on October 13, 2017, 11:42 am


        So…according to Hillel, Judaism requires Jews to engage in oppression, colonialism, (war) crimes and religion-based supremacism. Huh.

        No that’s according to Eljay not Hillel. Hillel has a positive view of Israel and doesn’t agree with your belief they do any of those things. It is anti-Zionists who pretend that Israel is some sort of one dimensional country and all they do is oppress Palestinians.

        Hillel understands that Israel is a thriving democratic state with a range of opportunities and a rich culture. Hillel does israel travel programs, professional education and training in partnership with Israeli educational institutions and companies, and Israeli cultural events. I’ve lived in America approaching 50 years. There are 8.66m highway miles in the United States. I’ve built 0 of them.

      • eljay on October 13, 2017, 12:46 pm

        || JeffB: @Eljay … No that’s according to Eljay not Hillel. … ||

        No, that’s according to you: “Anti-Zionism … is not something that Hillel considers a legitimate part of Judaism.”

        IOW, Zionism is something that Hillel considers a legitimate part of Judaism. And Zionism comprises colonialism, (war) crimes and supremacism.

        || … It is anti-Zionists who pretend that Israel is some sort of one dimensional country and all they do is oppress Palestinians. … ||

        Israel isn’t one-dimensional – it just happens that its primary dimension involves being a colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State”. I wish it weren’t so, but them’s the facts.

      • kev on October 13, 2017, 9:52 pm

        JeffB block quotes (without source info) a claim that he apparently attributes to Hillel:

        “Israel is at the heart of Hillel’s work. Our goal is to inspire every Jewish college student to develop a meaningful and enduring relationship to Israel and to Israelis. We know that engaged and educated students can become committed Jewish adults who are passionate supporters of Israel. Hillel welcomes, partners with, and aids the efforts of organizations, groups, and speakers from diverse perspectives in support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

        OK, I haven’t looked this up, but if this is indeed an accurate attribution to Hillel itself, the immediate question that comes to my mind is whether Hillel has registered as an agent or representative of a foreign power in the United States. Everything in this statement indicates that Hillel, if they so describe themselves and act accordingly, are working in the US for the benefit of a foreign state, Israel. Are they receiving tax exemptions while working for a foreign power?

      • JeffB on October 14, 2017, 9:38 am


        Link to source:

        As far as registering as a foreign agent: Hillel doesn’t lobby (its parent does) those laws don’t apply. You can freely work on behalf of a foreign country’s culture in the United States. Anime book stores, Symphonic metal websites and Latino music stores all do that. The purpose of registration laws is to disclose hidden ties. Hillel’s ties are open and explicit.

  4. pabelmont on October 12, 2017, 8:17 pm

    The Zionist twits (above) are correct that including JVP in a movement doesn’t make that movement a Jewish movement. But they are twits because they suggest that animus against Zionism (or Zionists) is by its very nature antisemitic (that is, animus against all Jews because they are Jews).

    I am anti-Zionist, but not antisemitic, and many of my friends are (darn! it hurts so) Zionist Jews, who, being 80-plus y.o., like to spout their Yiddishisms. One friend, an anti-Zionist, a mere 50-plus y.o., can say his ultra-fast prayer before meals (at least to show that he CAN do so). So, among my friends, some Zionists, some anti-Zionists, several Jews. Gosh!

    But we all know what the Zionist twits above seem not to, that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are two quite different things. And black people are just as capable of seeing this evident truth as anyone else

    And another thing. No-one wants to define antisemitism for Jews, even though quite a few Jews would profit from listening to a good definition. The definition of anti-semitism is not a private preserve for Jews alone, much as many Zionists (who wish to conflate it with anti-Zionism) would have it so.

    • JeffB on October 13, 2017, 5:51 am

      The definition of antisemitism is a cluster of beliefs that assert that Jews are knowing agents of the forces of evil. It is rather specific in its theories:

      • Jews are behind a plan for global conquest,
      • Jews work through Masonic lodges,
      • Jews use liberalism to weaken church and state,
      • Jews control the press,
      • Jews work through radicals and revolutionaries,
      • Jews manipulate the economy, especially through banking monopolies and the power of gold,
      • Jews encourage issuing paper currency not tied to the gold standard,
      • Jews promote financial speculation and use of credit,
      • Jews replace traditional educational curriculum to discourage independent thinking,
      • Jews encourage immorality among Christian youth,
      • Jews use intellectuals to confuse people,
      • Jews control “puppet” governments both through secret allies and by blackmailing elected officials,
      • Jews weaken laws through liberal interpretations,
      • Jews will suspend civil liberties during an emergency and then make the measures permanent.

      • Mooser on October 13, 2017, 11:41 am

        Gee, with a list like that, it is very clear that any and all charges of malfeasance directed at a Jew or Jewish organization can only arise from anti-semitism.

        Bang! Case dismissed! And I further asseverate the defendant leaves the courtroom without the slightest stain on his character.

        (BTW “Jeff”, you forgot the one about Jews putting red food dye in matzohs)

      • Mooser on October 13, 2017, 12:27 pm

        Oh, sorry, “Jeff b”. It took me a while to see the point of your list. But I get it now. All of that stuff about currency manipulation and clever political moves and confusion-causing intellectuals, and (ROTLMSJAO!) Masons (!) is a much, much higher class of stereotypes than are commonly applied to African-Americans.

  5. DaBakr on October 13, 2017, 11:28 pm

    Such bullsht. Who does the author think we’re the first American progressive thinking white people’s who integrated willingly and unapologetically with black mates of both sexes. All the children of these sixties progressive pioneers are coming of age as politically connected social activists. Their own bi- racial children have forged ahead to continue and blur the lines between what constitutes ‘blackness’ , race, whiteness, privilege versus adversity. To deny that Jews were a large part of these first out and public integrated pairings would be a lie. There were Christian progressive groups too as well as other open minded people of all stripes.

  6. Emet on October 14, 2017, 5:00 am

    Devyn, the more you lie and more you distort, the more Palestinians will lose support. Keep up the “great” work. There are very few similarities between the Black and the Palestinian struggles, not matter how many times you try to concoct them .

  7. JLewisDickerson on October 14, 2017, 12:03 pm

    RE: “Black women who were raised in the Jim Crow South, surrounded by church bombings, segregation, police violence, and systemic poverty . . .” ~ Devyn Springer

    MY CONCERN: Granted as to all those undesirable qualities associated with the Jim Crow South, but would it be asking too terribly much to hope there might be at least a smidgen of appreciation for our legendary mint juleps, s’il vous plaît?

  8. Krendall Mist on October 15, 2017, 9:18 am

    So much pretentious and noisome hot air over whether “anti-Zionism” is “anti-Semitic.” The “anti-Zionist”, the anti-BDS movement, will never be able to prove their motives pure or free of anti-Semitism–even if every “David Duke” were purged from their midst. Why step into this Zionist word-trap? Who with any intellectual self-respect and appreciation of basic logic gives a crap? Come now–treat the Zionist argument with the response it merits: Ignore it.

    • MHughes976 on October 15, 2017, 12:48 pm

      I agree that it’s only when we are able without causing scandal to avoid defensive responses, which are very weakening even when entirely sincere and well-founded, to accusations of anti-S that we can level the rhetorical playing field.

  9. JLewisDickerson on October 15, 2017, 9:46 am

    RE: “In Atlanta, as in other cities, BDS is focusing on cutting the ties between local police and the Israel Police . . .”

    MY COMMENT: An excellent idea! We have a constitution, including the Bill of Rights. Israel does not. Consequently, we do not necessarily want our police to take their cues from the Israeli police (especially where it would result in police procedures that are unconstitutional in this country.)

    SEE: “Sheriff Ortiz goes to Israel”, by Eva Ruth Moravec | | July 07, 2011

    [EXCERPTS] . . . For one week last month, Bexar County Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz swapped his cowboy hat for a yarmulke as he visited Israel on an organized trip with other law enforcement leaders.

    “I’ve always had an interest in Israel,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “It was a great conference.”

    Ortiz joined 16 other sheriffs, police chiefs and organization heads, including Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland, on a week-long trip, courtesy of the Jewish Institute for National Security’s Law Enforcement Exchange Program.

    The group toured a hospital’s trauma unit, Israeli Arab villages, sites of terrorist attacks, border crossings, police offices and the country’s security fence. Based on the itinerary, most of the sites and speeches focused on terrorism and security.

    Ortiz said he was impressed by Israel Defense Force soldiers, who he said are trained as soldiers and as police officers.

    “If we ever deploy troops along the Texas border, they should have training in being a soldier and in law enforcement,” he said. . .

    . . . The junket was Ortiz’s second organized trip to Israel: last year, Bexar County footed the bill to send him to an international conference on homeland security, he said. . .

    SOURCE –

    • JLewisDickerson on October 15, 2017, 10:12 am

      RE: Ortiz said he was impressed by Israel Defense Force soldiers, who he said are trained as soldiers and as police officers. “If we ever deploy troops along the Texas border, they should have training in being a soldier and in law enforcement,” he said. . .

      MY COMMENT: There are some very good reasons why we prefer not to mix law enforcement and military functions in this country, beginning with the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps Sheriff Ortiz really would be much happier in Eretz Israel.

      Posse comitatus
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –
      [EXCERPTS] Posse comitatus is the common-law or statute law authority of a county sheriff, or other law officer, to conscript any able-bodied man to assist him in keeping the peace or to pursue and arrest a felon . . .

      . . . In the United States, a federal statute known as the Posse Comitatus Act forbids the use of the United States Army, and through it, its offspring, the United States Air Force, as a posse comitatus or for law enforcement purposes without the approval of Congress. A directive from the Secretary of Defense prohibits the use of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps for law enforcement.

      No such limitation exists on the United States Coast Guard, which can be used for all law enforcement purposes (for example, Coast Guardsmen were used as temporary Air Marshals for many months after the 9/11 attacks) except when, as during World War II, a part of the Coast Guard is placed under the command of the Navy. This part would then fall under the regulations governing the Navy in this matter, rather than those concerning the Coast Guard.

      The limitation also does not apply to the National Guard when activated by a state’s governor and operating in accordance with Title 32 of the U.S. Code (for example, National Guardsmen were used extensively by state governors during Hurricane Katrina response actions). Conversely, the limitation would apply to the National Guard when activated by the President and operating in accordance with Title 10 of the U.S. Code.[9] . . . </blockquote

  10. yourstruly on October 15, 2017, 5:20 pm

    Why the solidarity between Black Lives Matter & anti-Zionists?

    Has to do with one’s having to decide on whose side, the slave/oppressed/occupied or the slaveholder/oppressor/occupier.

    Plus knowing that until the last chain is broken none of us will be free.

    What’s this got to do with Zionist Israel’s occupation of Palestine?

    Only that taking over another people’s homeland, thereby subjugating its people, is an act of enslavement, the enslaved here being the Palestinians (the indigenous people of Palestine), with the slaveholder, therefore, the Israeli occupiers.

    Which brings us back to deciding on whose side, the slave or the slaveholder.

    Such a decision depends in part upon one’s personal experience as well as the experience, both historical and contemporary, of one’s particular group.

    The black experience, of course, with slavery and oppression is ongoing.

    The Jewish experience with slavery is problematic, based as it is on bronze age tales, but our oppression, especially in Eastern Europe is indisputable,continuing as it did until the end of WW II.

    The relevance of these experiences is that those who have been in chains or otherwise persecuted for no other reason than the color of their skin or their religion are more likely to identify with their modern day counterparts, among whom are the Palestinian people.

    Said identifying with begets siding with, ergo, Black and Jewish solidarity with the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and justice, along with their anti-Zionism and support for BDS.

    Not all Blacks nor all Jews, but increasing numbers of both. Indeed many Jews who side with the Jewish Zionist occupiers of Palestine are progressive on other issues of freedom, justice and equality. Such individuals,some of whom are regular contributors to this web site, are therefore tagged with the label PEP, progressive on everything but Palestine.

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