BDS Boston Criticized for Endorsing Map Targeting Jewish Institutions

June 10, 2022
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A local Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group in Boston is under fire over their endorsement of a map that targets various Jewish institutions as having purported ties to the media and police as part of the “colonization of Palestine.”

BDS Boston tweeted on June 3 that their “friends at the Mapping Project” had released an interactive map and articles that “illustrate how local support for the colonization of Palestine is structurally tied to policing, evictions, and privatization locally, and to US imperialist projects worldwide.”

According to Jewish Insider (JI), the map draws “lines between the Jewish groups and institutions the project claims they influence.” The Jewish groups “include the local Jewish Community Relations Council and Synagogue Council, the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Community, a Jewish high school, local philanthropies, an arts group and J Street,” per JI. The Jerusalem Post also noted that the map included as well as The Boston Globe and Boston’s Jewish Journal.

Various members of Congress denounced BDS Boston’s endorsement of the map.

“Not only is BDS counterproductive and destructive to Middle East peace, this is an extremely dangerous use of antisemitic tropes that could lead to violence,” Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tweeted. “This group should apologize and take down this reprehensible, grossly antisemitic ‘project’ immediately.”

Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) similarly tweeted, “The BDS movement put together ‘a mapping project’ that accuses Jewish and ‘Zionist’ institutions of various evils in American society. Scapegoating is a common symptom of Antisemitism, which at its core is a conspiracy theory. If you think ‘Zionists’ are to blame for the ills of American society, you are as much of a conspiratorial crackpot as Marjorie Taylor Greene, with her sick fantasies about Jewish space lasers.”

Representative Jake Auschloss (D-MA) told JI that the map is “chilling” since it invokes “millennia-old antisemitic tropes about nefarious Jewish wealth, control, conspiracy, media connections and political string-pulling. To name names and keep lists, which has a very sinister history in Judaism, in terms of how we are targeted, is very irresponsible. [The group] needs to take this down and apologize.”

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lior Haiat tweeted, “This whole project is reminiscent of a dangerous antisemitic pattern of activity known from antiquity through the horrors of the 20th century: a pattern which has led to violence against Jews and their institutions.” He added in a subsequent tweet that BDS Boston revealed their “true, ugly face” by endorsing the project, calling them “a conspiratorial antisemitic organization.” “We call on all decent people to come out against this publication, and to condemn the organization and those behind this racist campaign,” Haiat wrote.

Jewish groups also denounced BDS Boston.

“.@BDSBoston call for the ‘dismantling’ of Boston’s Jewish community [institutions] because of the purported ‘devastation’ they cause is intimidation rooted in #antisemitism,” Anti-Defamation League New England Regional Director Robert Trestan tweeted. “This call to action against our community is dangerous. We will not be intimidated!”

Jeremy Burton, CEO of the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), similarly tweeted: “@BDSBoston is calling for the ‘dismantling’ of the Boston Jewish community’s institutions. It is unacceptable & dangerous. It is being amplified by orgs like [Massachusetts Peace Action] – which has ties to some political leaders… It needs to be denounced by all decent people.” JI noted that Massachusetts Peace Action is a local affiliate of Peace Action, which endorsed Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). Pressley told JI reporter Marc Rod: “It is not acceptable to target or make vulnerable Jewish institutions or organizations, full stop.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “The Mapping Project makes BDS’ hostility toward Jews and Jewish institutions crystal clear. This is a vile attack on American and Jewish-American institutions and interests, painting our nation and the Jewish people as propagators of evil.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted, “Welcome to the 21st century update of the ‘Protocols of Zion,’” referencing the early 1900s book that promulgates antisemitic conspiracy theories of Jews scheming to rule the world. “Demonizing American Jews for the crime of supporting Israel,” the Wiesenthal Center added. “A roadmap for #Antisemitic hate crimes and worse.”

StandWithUs tweeted, “Jewish communities in the United States and in other parts of the world are extremely vulnerable at the moment as anti-Jewish bigotry becomes increasingly more commonplace. #BDS: Your #antisemitism is showing.”

Stop Antisemitism tweeted that BDS Boston’s endorsement of the map shows that BDS is “the new Nazis.”

Human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum, tweeted that BDS Boston “is mapping out Synagogues and Jewish owned business, properties and institutions as targets for incitement to racial hatred and violence. In other words, they are laying the groundwork for Kristallnacht 2.0.”

BDS Boston has retweeted numerous defenses of their support for the project. One such retweet was a statement from the Boston Young Communist League (YCL) that read in part: “Reactionary attacks on the Mapping Project have falsely claimed that mapping entities complicit in Zionism and other forms of racism and imperialism is somehow ‘antisemitic’ or creates a ‘hit list’ of Jewish institutions. Equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism is itself antisemitic, and institutions that support the genocide of Palestine deserve to be rebuked.” The Boston YCL statement went onto state that the “onslaught of Zionist attacks” reflects “how effective the BDS movement is.” “These attacks aim to isolate BSD and the Mapping Project, but we will not let them. We know that BDS works as a strategy and the Zionists will isolate themselves the longer they continue to defend the genocide of Palestine.”

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