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December 26, 2013

Anti-Semites Take Credit For Mainstreaming Anti-Israel Sentiment

Anti-Semite Patrick Slattery and anti-Semitic professor Kevin MacDonald have asserted that mainstream figures have adopted their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views in end-of-year fund-raising appeals.  david-duke-anti-israel

Slattery, who made an appeal to supporters on behalf of his close associate David Duke, claims that Duke influenced mainstream figures like Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and musician Roger Waters in their views on Israel and the “Israel lobby.” 

Slattery asserts that Waters sounded like Duke when Waters talked about a powerful “Jewish lobby” in the U.S. in an interview in CounterPunch Magazine.  In that same interview, Waters also claimed that the Jewish lobby prevented more celebrities from joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Likewise, Slattery argues that Mearsheimer and Walt sounded like Duke when “they published their book on the power of the Israel Lobby.” The two professors wrote a 2008 book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, in which they assert that the “Israel lobby” uses pressure to stifle criticism of Israel and to ensure America’s pro-Israel policy, against America’s true interests.

In the appeal, Slattery writes, “These people sound like Dr. Duke because, directly or indirectly, they are getting their information, their examples, their sources, their ideas, their narrative from him.”

In MacDonald’s fund-raising letter to supporters of Occidental Observer, an anti-Semitic online magazine he edits, he also cited Waters’ statements in Counter-Punch and the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions as proof that more mainstream groups have accepted his view that Israel is a “pariah state.”

MacDonald writes, “There has been a noticeable increase in criticism of Israel,” and takes credit for attacking the Jewish state and the “Israel lobby” in various columns in the Occidental Observer.

While certain anti-Israel campaigns have occasionally received mainstream attention, there is no linkage between these campaigns and white supremacists like MacDonald and Duke.

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September 18, 2013

San Diego State SJP Launches Recruitment Effort Comparing Israel To Nazi Germany

The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at San Diego State University (SDSU) recently unveiled an online slideshow and ad campaign to advocate for the Palestinian cause and recruit new members to join SJP which “enables you as a student to act on the truth.”sjp-sdsu-right-side-campaign

The campaign, “The Right Side: A Guide to the Moral High Ground,” repeatedly compares Israeli policy to the Holocaust, including analogizing a supporter of modern-day Israel to a “grandson of a Nazi” and claiming that the international community’s willful ignorance of Israel’s transgressions is comparable to the Europeans’ obliviousness of the horrors of the Holocaust in the 1930s and 40s.

The recruiting tool – which is available on SJP’s website as a slideshow and has been displayed on flyers around campus – is rife with extreme propaganda and claims that Israel is guilty of apartheid and “war crimes” against the Palestinian people. It further alleges that American politicians turn a blind eye to these injustices because they “receiv[e] money in exchange of a political stance.” One of the slides even repeats UN Rapporteur Richard Falk’s infamous line: “Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment with Palestinians with the criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.”

The first slide, titled “The Racist Grandpa,” claims that “no grandson of a Nazi, or a KKK clansman or a supporter of apartheid in South Africa can be proud of their grandfather. The last thing you want to be is that racist grandpa in the future.” The slide then warns: “Today, many of us could be racist grandpas or grandmas in the future if we continue to let ourselves be fooled by politicians, lobbyists and the media” with regard to Israel.  

The web page featuring the slideshow also contains images of well-known figures who have expressed anti-Israel views in recent years, including Alice Walker, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, former president Jimmy Carter and Lupe Fiasco, a rapper who is critical of Israel.

The SJP chapter at SDSU is very active on campus and has existed since at least 2009. In the past year, the group has sponsored speaking appearances by Norman Finkelstein, a for­mer pro­fes­sor at DePaul Uni­ver­sity and noted critic of Israeli policy, and organized events with Mexican student groups like MEChA that sought to compare the U.S.-Mexico border fence to the security fence in the West Bank.  The group refuses to dialogue or meet with the pro-Israel organization on campus, Aztecs for Israel, an anti-Israel tactic predicated on a rejection of “normalization” of the pro-Israel position.

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February 7, 2013

Free Speech Is A One-Way Street For The BDS Movement

In response to the controversy surrounding a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) event taking place tomorrow at Brooklyn College, numerous pro-BDS public figures, activists and groups have labeled concerns about the event as a “smear campaign” designed to get the event canceled and suppress the expression of legitimate viewpoints.

A statement by the national coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) referred to opposition to the event as an “onslaught of intimidation.” Al-Awda and American Muslims for Palestine, two off-campus anti-Israel organizations, condemned the pro-Israel community’s reaction as a “smear campaign” designed to suppress free speech. Jewish Voice for Peace went so far as to call for Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz to be fired for arguing that Brooklyn College’s political science department should not sponsor anti-Israel events.

Similarly, Roger Waters, the founder and lead singer of Pink Floyd, issued a statement of solidarity with the SJP chapter at Brooklyn College, the group organizing the event, that conspiratorially claimed: “That you have come under attack from powerful political and media forces for trying to shed light on the predicament of the good peoples of Palestine and Israel is wrong. I stand with you. Sadly, none of us knows what lies behind the closed doors of government, even though we should for we have a right to know, to speak, discuss, still not your voice, be not afraid. More power to you.”

Other more mainstream commentators have also used abrasive language to lambast those who disapprove of the department’s sponsorship of the event. Glen Greenwald, in a piece over the weekend on The Guardian’s “Comment is Free” site, described those urging the political science department to drop its sponsorship as an “ugly lynch mob” and claimed that elected officials in the U.S. support Israel for less than earnest reasons: “It is all but impossible to succeed in New York City politics – or US national politics – without faithfully embracing pro-Israel orthodoxies. That’s the nature of politics in general: it requires subservience to empowered factions and majoritarian sentiment.”

It is the BDS movement, however, that is inherently predicated on the suppression of speech and “free exchange of ideas,” which Greenwald claims to vehemently support in his article. Supporting boycotts of Israeli academics, diplomats and performers is simply not consistent with free speech values.  Furthermore, anti-Israel students cannot legitimately claim to support a “free exchange of ideas” when they regularly disrupt and heckle pro-Israel speakers on campus. One anti-Israel student who heckled Israeli soldiers at an event at UC Davis last February flatly admitted, “My only purpose today is that this event is shut down.”

In fact, an increasing number of anti-Israel groups do not support a free exchange of ideas and explicitly argue that the pro-Israel voice does not even deserve to be heard. The tactic, known as anti-normalization, is increasingly being felt by pro-Israel groups on campuses across the country whose counterparts refuse to engage in dialogue with them and often try to disrupt or shut down pro-Israel events. It seems that the BDS movement’s commitment to free speech and an open exchange of ideas is only a one-way street.

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