OverviewJack Snyder has supported terrorists and condemned the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, a bipartisan bill drafted in response to growing anti-Semitism in the United States.
He also protested the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman and demonized Israel in the Columbia University (Columbia) student newspaper The Daily Spectator.
Snyder has promoted the #returnthebirthright initiative, a campaign launched by the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) organization to slander the Birthright Jewish heritage tour.
Snyder is an activist with IfNotNow (INN), an organization that uses disruptive tactics to drive a wedge between American Jewry and Israel.
As of October 2017, Snyder is a sophomore studying Jewish Literature and Middle Eastern, South Asian and African studies in the Jewish Theological Seminary and School of General Studies joint program.
Supporting TerroristsOn May 13, 2017, Snyder participated in a “Saltwater Challenge" in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.
The initiative was launched by Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) — a campus organization, comprised of JVP and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) members, who joined forces in February of 2016 to promote the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement at Columbia.
The hunger strike was initiated by Marwan Barghouti, who was serving five consecutive life sentences for his role in suicide bombings and shooting attacks that killed five Israelis during the second intifada. Barghouti led the the Palestinian Authority (PA) terrorist Tanzim force and founded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Barghouti also financed the guitar-case bomb used in the Sbarro Cafe massacre where 15 civilians were killed and 130 injured.
More than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners participated in the hunger strike — most of whom were also convicted for acts of terrorism.
Opposing the Anti-Semitism Awareness ActIn December of 2016, Snyder signed a JVP-launched petition opposing the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (AAA), which was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate on December 1, 2016.
The AAA directed the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to use the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism when evaluating hostile environment complaints.
JVP’s petition asserted that anti-Semitism did not warrant its own bill, but should rather be considered equal to other forms of bigotry. The petition also purported that “real anti-Semitism" came from the “white supremacist movements in this country" and contended the bill did “little to protect us, as Jewish students, from these dangers."
The petition also claimed that BDS was “not inherently anti semitic," and called the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism “problematic."
Demonizing U.S. Ambassador David FriedmanIn February of 2017, Snyder participated in an IfNotNow (INN) protest against the nomination of David Friedman for the post of United States Ambassador to Israel.
INN accused Friedman of supporting Israeli settlements in the West Bank and defending “the occupation."
On February 21, 2017, Snyder and the group from INN NYC stood in the lobby of the building hosting Mr. Friedman’s confirmation hearing, holding placards and reading prepared statements.
The group conducted a mock press conference, with one activist portraying a caricatured Friedman. Several individuals, including Synder, posed questions to “Friedman" and berated his scripted responses.
At one point, “Friedman" recited [00:04:24]: “ The best way for there to be a strong Israel is to prevent Arab citizens from killing us. And if we need to kill them to that, so be it." Snyder then responded [00:04:44] “You just supported killing Palestinian citizens. That’s disgusting and racist and stands in direct opposition to our Jewish values."
After the skit, the group left the building while singing.
Demonizing IsraelOn March 5, 2017, Snyder co-authored an opinion piece for the Columbia Spectator titled “Unlearning apartheid apologism: A Jewish response to Israeli Apartheid Week."
In the op-ed, the authors argued that Jews on campus “had been lied to and deceived by [their] teachers, parents, camp counselors, role models, and community leaders."
They repeatedly referred to Israel as enacting a system of “apartheid" and “ethnic cleansing" and insisted “that Judaism could flourish" without “the supremacy of Jewish ethnic identity in the State of Israel."
The authors concluded by claiming “the Jewish community" has chosen to wilfully ignore “any mention of human rights violations, apartheid, state violence, expulsion, or ethnic cleansing, and has chosen to label the people who do make those claims as anti-Semites and self-hating Jews."
Condemning Jewish Heritage TourOn October 12, 2017, JVP featured Snyder in a photo on Twitter promoting JVP’s #returnthebirthright campaign.
The photo’s caption read: “Students from @ColumbiaJVP tabling to #ReturntheBirthright. Are you 18-26? Sign the petition: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/returnthebirthright/ …"
Columbia/Barnard JVP and CUAD also shared the photo on Facebook with the caption: “We're tabling for #returntheBirthright here in the Diana center! Come thru until 2:00pm to learn about the Jewish Voice for Peace national campaign to #returnthebirthright!"
Return the Birthright CampaignIn September of 2017, JVP issued its #ReturntheBirthright campaign manifesto, calling on American Jews to boycott the Birthright Israel (Birthright) program. Birthright was founded by Jewish philanthropists “in 1999 to address the growing divide between young Diaspora Jewish adults and the land and people of Israel."
After decades of demographic decline in the American Jewish community, Birthright set out “to strengthen Jewish identity, build a lasting bond with the land and people of Israel, and reinforce the solidarity of Jewish people worldwide." The program offers “the gift of a life-changing, 10-day trip to Israel to young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26."
JVP’s anti-Birthright campaign was launched precisely to coincide with “the very moment that college students across America are returning to campus and registration for Birthright winter visits are underway."
The #returnthebirthright manifesto accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing" and alleged “the modern state of Israel is predicated on the ongoing erasure of Palestinians."
The text claimed: “We reject the offer of a free trip to a state that does not represent us, a trip that is only ‘free’ because it has been paid for by the dispossession of Palestinians."
The manifesto concluded: “And as we reject this, we commit to promoting the right to return of Palestinian refugees… Israel is not our Birthright… Return the Birthright."
On June 22, 2017, just prior to the launch of JVP’s #returnthebirthright campaign, JVP received a $140,00 two-year grant for general support for its operations from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF).
Since 2015, JVP has received $280,000 from RBF, which has a history of supporting anti-Jewish causes, including BDS campaigns and various organizations that promote BDS campaigns throughout the United States.
JVP was founded in Berkeley, California in 1996, as an activist group with an emphasis on the "Jewish tradition" of peace, social justice and human rights. The organization is currently led by Rebecca Vilkomerson and its board members include controversial Israel critics Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky and Tony Kushner.
JVP, which generally employs civil disobedience tactics like disrupting pro-Israel speakers and events, consists of American Jews and non-Jewish "allies" highly critical of Israeli policies. A staunch supporter of the BDS movement, JVP claims to aim its campaigns at companies that either support the Israeli military (Hewlett-Packard) or are active in the West Bank (SodaStream).
Although several Jewish groups critical of Israeli policies, like J Street and Partners for a Progressive Israel, make efforts to operate within the mainstream American Jewish community, JVP functions outside. The group is often criticized for serving as a tokenized Jewish voice for the pro-Palestinian camp and is widely regarded as the BDS movement's "Jewish wing."
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused JVP of being "the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States," and said the group "exploits Jewish culture and rituals to reassure its own supporters that opposition to Israel not only does not contradict, but is actually consistent with, Jewish values... JVP consistently co-sponsors rallies to oppose Israeli military policy that are marked by signs and slogans comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, demonizing Jews and voicing support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah."
According to the ADL website, JVP "uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide it with a greater degree of legitimacy and credibility."
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