Students for Justice in Palestine Crosses over to Pure Anti-Semitism

While those who loathe the Jewish state are often quick to insist that they are “anti-Zionists” rather than anti-Semites, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a prominent campus anti-Israel group, seems to have dropped all pretenses by condemning a radical ultra-Orthodox group for settling in Central America. Lev Tahor, a fiercely anti-Zionist group—whose practices are considered extreme even by ḥaredi standards—relocated to Guatemala after running afoul of the law in the U.S., Israel, and Canada. Jonathan Marks writes:

National SJP urges its followers to “sign [a petition] to support the community of Xe’ Kuku’ Aab’aj as they resist colonial/Zionist land occupation and exploitation!” What does the community of Xe’ Kuku’ Aab’aj (San Juan La Laguna) in Guatemala have to do with Zionists? Nothing. But it is engaged in a dispute with Jews, and that is all that seems to matter to SJP. . . .

These “settler-colonialists” first attempted to “colonize” Israel, Canada, and the United States, leaving each of these places amid allegations of child abuse. They have not been in San Juan la Laguna since 2014, when they were forced out by local authorities. SJP is evidently bringing this up now because the former mayor of the town has been jailed for his part in the expulsion. That expulsion may, in fact, have been motivated as much by what the mayor himself called a “clash of cultures” and what others would call religious discrimination as by whatever allegations the elders of Xe’ Kuku’ Aab’aj may have caught wind of. . . .

[T]he petition actually ties itself in knots trying to explain why Lev Tahor, though anti-Zionist, is actually Zionist. “Any and all anti-Zionist work,” it states, must also be anti-colonial, and the community of Lev Tahor cannot be anti-Zionist, due to their “threatening of and lack of respect for indigenous peoples.” Not ignorance, then, but malice, is behind the petition. . . .

Students for Justice in Palestine has thrown its weight behind a petition that blames Jewish nationalism for the ills of all indigenous peoples and includes even anti-Zionist Jews among the Zionists. There is no definition of anti-Semitism so narrow as not to include this repulsive petition.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Israel & Zionism, Students for Justice in Palestine, Ultra-Orthodox

Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli democracy, Media, New York Times