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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