Understanding the Perverse Appeal of the Anti-Israel Movement

On April 29, the Harvard Crimson published an editorial endorsing boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israel (BDS). Then, on June 9—in response to a dissenting opinion piece by a student—it published an indignant letter from Omar Barghouti, the founder of the BDS movement. Gemma Schneider, a member of the Crimson editorial board who objected to the initial editorial, reacts:

Barghouti . . . repeats a host of deceptive anti-Zionist talking points, recycling references to what others have dubbed “Jewish supremacy” while highlighting reports that characterize the Israel-Palestinian relationship as a racial dispute. These declarations aren’t just wildly distorted; they’re dangerous. They paint a reductive portrait of the Jewish state, demonizing the nation and delegitimizing its very existence. But they are also provocative, evoking emotion, and are cloaked with a blanket of resonant humanitarian claims. For unknowing onlookers with a taste for justice, that seems to be all that matters.

This slick dynamic, I’ve come to realize, captures the essence—and the dangerous “artistry”—of the broader BDS movement. It is my intuition that Zionism is not what the Editorial Board—or most people backing an anti-Zionist agenda in the name of justice—believes it is rejecting, or likening to racism and cruelty. Instead, they are rejecting a false projection of Zionism—one that has been carefully constructed by movements like BDS.

Jewish people are also systematically shut down by the BDS movement’s followers when they try to speak up. According to the Anti-Defamation League, a central goal of [Students for Justice in Palestine], a leading source of BDS activism on college campuses, is to protest pro-Israel campus events by heckling speakers to the point of [silence]. As dialogue is stifled by anti-Zionist and pro-BDS students, vilifying slurs and monikers, new and old, also tend to make their way into the air—from [repeating] the trope of a “smelly Jew,” to chanting “Zionists are terrorists,” to spewing the words “f—ing Zionist.”

BDS’s strategy of ideological warfare is all the more frightening because of how well it works—after all, it has led some of the most decent, kind, and thoughtful people that I know at Harvard to become patrons and propagators of anti-Semitism.

Read more at Harvard Crimson

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Harvard, Israel on campus


Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security