Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee General Coordinator Mahmoud Nawajaa ordered BDS Boston to take down the map targeting Jewish institutions or else “remove the BDS acronym from your name” in a June 20 letter obtained by the Journal.
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.” Various elected officials and Jewish groups have denounced the map as being antisemitic since Jewish institutions are among the organizations listed on the map.
In his letter to BDS Boston, Nawajaa wrote that the committee has attempted to meet with them but hasn’t heard back, which is why he is sending the letter. Nawajaa wrote that the BDS National Committee has “deep concerns” over the Mapping Project because it “unstrategically targets and provides names and ‘physical addresses’’ of institutions and individuals, and promotes messaging that includes phrases such as ‘resistance in all its forms.’” “Promoting it by a group that is regarded as affiliated to the BDS movement inadvertently but gratuitously opens the door widely for the eager Israeli lobby to intensify to unprecedented levels its legal warfare (lawfare), smears and bullying against the movement, its activists and its support base, as we have seen over the past week,” he wrote. “This also opens up BDS Boston to potential infiltration, and puts you in Boston and us in Palestine and many others in the US and globally in direct danger of heightened persecution and repression.”
Nawajaa added that the BDS movement specifically calls for “peaceful forms of Palestinian popular resistance” and that BDS Boston’s message of “resistance in all its forms,” has “violated a key guideline of our movement.” “The association of the BDS name with such groups and activities hurts our entire movement and presents a substantial threat to our collective and individual safety,” he wrote.
Nawajaa then concluded the letter by calling for BDS Boston to “remove all forms of promotion of the Mapping Project from all BDS Boston media channels” and issue a statement “condemning smears and repressive attacks on the project, but also disassociating BDS Boston from this project in an unambiguous way.” Otherwise, “we shall be compelled to ask that you remove the BDS acronym from your name, as your activities will be outside the mandate of the BDS movement. That way we protect the worldwide movement, especially its presence in Palestine, from a real threat.” The BDS National Committee did not immediately respond to the Journal’s request for comment; requests for comment to BDS Boston’s Facebook and Instagram comments were also not returned.
I have obtained a letter that @BDSmovement sent to @BDSBoston telling them to take down the Mapping Project from their social media or else "remove the BDS acronym from your name." "The association of the BDS name with such groups and activities hurts our entire movement." pic.twitter.com/czRYWFLjRL
— Aaron Bandler (@bandlersbanter) June 22, 2022
The FBI is reportedly monitoring the Mapping Project, although they have yet to find “any direct threats of violence” stemming from the map. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on their website about the Mapping Project, explaining that the project is “threatening” because it calls “for the dismantling and disruption of the Boston Jewish community.” The ADL’s website also urges Jewish community institutions in Boston to “review your communal security preparedness” and report any antisemitic incidents to the ADL.
UPDATE: The BDS National Committee tweeted, “The BDS Movement has no connection to and does not endorse the Mapping Project in Boston, Massachusetts. Simultaneously, we reject and condemn the cynical use of this project as a pretext for repressive attacks on the Palestine solidarity movement.”
The BDS Movement has no connection to and does not endorse the Mapping Project in Boston, Massachusetts.
— BDS movement (@BDSmovement) June 22, 2022