Over the last few years, the radical Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and their primary campus agitator — Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — have developed a new strategy: forging alliances with human rights groups campaigning through social action. This technique has been labeled “intersectionality.” In most instances, worthy causes now have an additional masked message — “it’s the Jews fault,” repackaged for a modern generation by taking aim at the Jewish state.
In 2014, when Michael Brown was shot by police in Ferguson, MO, African Americans were struggling with issues of community safety and institutionalized racism within the Ferguson police department, the BDS movement moved to harness and leverage Black anger — hijacking the shooting to fraudulently mischaracterize Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza as racially motivated.
The anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada (EI) wrote regarding a Ferguson protest: “Some young people responded by throwing bottles and rocks at police, prompting comparisons to Palestine, where children often toss stones at Israeli occupation forces as a means of resistance and self-defense.”
It is true that Palestinians have thrown rocks at Israelis and that here protesters threw bottles at the police. However, the insinuation by EI that — because responses to Israel and the U.S. police have similarities, therefore their underpinning issue must be the same — is highly manipulative.
EI then took the so-called link between Israel and Ferguson a step further pointing to the fact that the St Louis police department had traveled to Israel to attend a LEEP conference in 2008. Here, Israel was portrayed as an actual endemic cause of this American problem!
Another target of the BDS movement is the LGBTQ community. Israel is without comparison the most accommodating country in the Middle East. However, BDS draws this community into its fold by cynically alleging that Israel uses its Western liberal tolerance as a diversion tactic to whitewash — or “pinkwash” — its so-called human rights violations against Palestinians.
On January 22, 2016, nearly 200 protesters, including members of SJP U of C and JVP UChicago crashed a major U.S. LGBTQ conference in Chicago and shut down a talk that featured both a Jerusalem and American LGBTQ group.
The protesters stood outside the venue yelling, “Shut it down!” and “Racists go home!” Other disruptors shouted calls for Israel’s destruction — including “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!” and “Zionism has got to go!” Protesters eventually broke into the event room and shouted down the speakers.
At Oberlin College in Ohio, Students for a Free Palestine (SFP), an affiliate of SJP, tried to enlist the support of the Mexican community for BDS by fabricating a link between Israeli policy and U.S-Mexican border issues. The SFP Facebook page states that its goal is for Oberlin College to divest from six corporations that do business with Israel that “militarize the US-Mexico border wall, create drones and surveillance technologies in prisons.”
BDS is also not above stepping on the trauma of sexual assault victims in order to prop up their anti-Israel agenda. At DePaul University, SJP members piggybacked on a campaign called Take Back the Dorms — a campaign concerned with issues of sexual assaults and rape on campus in Chicago. SJP protesters trying to promote a divestment resolution, held signs that read “From Palestine to our university. SJP DePaul stands against sexual violence and exploitation,” along with the hashtags #TakeBackTheDorms and #DePaulDivest.
In spite of Israel being a welcoming home to many migrant workers from the Philippines, this did not stop the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) at San Francisco State University (SFSU) from successfully forging an alliance with Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network — a “national Filipino-American youth and student led relief network built in response to Typhoon Haiyan.” This alliance came together to shout down Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, while he was speaking at SFSU.
Upon entering the room where Barkat was speaking, GUPS SFSU President Lubna Morrar led the group in yelling, “Get the f**k off our campus!” Following that, fellow GUPS SFSU member Linda Ereikat led the group in other aggressive and violent chants including “Intifada, Intifada!” as well as, “If we don’t get no justice, then you don’t get no peace” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!” — a call for Israel’s destruction.
When attempting to enlist the support of human rights groups, BDS first follow a strategy of demonization and dehumanization of Israel. They avoid stating at the outset that their goal is the end of the Jewish state, as this would be recognized as racist and malevolent by human rights-minded students. Thus, their first move is to compare “relatable evils” and package them up with Israel. Now the campaigners can sell the idea that “Israel is evil.” The final stage is to vilify Israel with more outrageous and severe lies: genocide, ethnic cleansing, organ harvesting of Palestinians, using Palestinians as guinea pigs to test chemical weapons etc. Once the dehumanization of the Jewish state reaches a certain point, it can appear — even to a human rights-minded student — that Israel shouldn’t exist.
Dehumanization of Jews by accusing them of the worlds worst evils is nothing new. It can be found in classical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Renaissance blood libels of Jews poisoning water, murdering children and drinking blood have been resurrected by the Palestinian Authority and can be found across anti-Israel media and propaganda websites. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion conjured the conspiracy of a network of Jewish power and control over governments. Modern-day anti-Semites repackage this idea — such as with John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s essay the Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy — in order to push the idea that Israel is a sinister entity that doesn’t deserve existence.
Whether its capitalizing on the Black Lives Matter campaign, or through lumping Israel divestment together with fossil fuel divestment, intersectionality is the manipulative tool of the BDS movement to enlist well-intentioned, human rights-minded individuals into blaming their problems on the Jews — so BDS can continue their propaganda campaign to eliminate the Jewish state.