Anti-Israel Extremists Target ADL in New Online Campaign Equating Zionism With Racism
The Anti-Defamation League’s current counter-offensive against the US far-right is facing a coordinated campaign of online “trolling” from BDS activists pushing the message that Zionism is akin to “white nationalism,” an ADL official told The Algemeiner on Friday.
The campaign began on August 17 — five days after a violent show of force by ultra right-wing groups in Charlottesville, Virginia — when a staff member of “Jewish Voice for Peace,” an extremist organization whose goal is the dismantlement of the State of Israel, penned a veiled endorsement of white nationalist Richard Spencer in The Forward newspaper.
Spencer is one of the leading figures of the so-called “alt-right,” whose views blend discredited theories about race with white pride identity politics. But after describing Spencer as possibly the “worst person” in America, the JVP staffer, Naomi Dann, hailed him for being “being right about Israel.”
Noting that Spencer — who has a talent for catchphrases — had referred to himself as a “white Zionist” in an interview with Israeli TV following the Charlottesville violence, Dann enthusiastically echoed this view, going on to describe Israel as a racially-based state built upon Jewish colonial privilege, and therefore one that Spencer would identify with.
An ADL official told The Algemeiner that Dann’s article had provoked outrage at the organization. “We felt we had to speak out,” the official said.”Here was a JVP member actually using words from the mouth of a white supremacist to make the case that Israel’s actions toward Palestinians are equivalent to white supremacy.”
The JVP-led trolling campaign began after ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote a response to Dann in the same newspaper, in which he excoriated her group for having “no hesitation to piggy-back on Spencer, and try to link his base, hate-filled and exclusionary ideology with the proactive, affirming and empowering of Jewish nationhood.”
As expected, JVP has doubled down on a messaging campaign attempting to link Zionism and Israel with white supremacist ideology, through a series of tweets and videos that used the ADL as a vehicle to equate Zionism with racism. Joined by other BDS activists from groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, the campaign has recycled Soviet Union-era propaganda themes about the alleged identification of Zionism with Nazism and racial supremacy.
Typical of the tweets was one from Yousef Munayyer, the head of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, who charged that treating Israel’s Arab citizens exclusively as a “demographic threat” was “central” to the Jewish state’s “ethos.”
Financed in the main through a rolling grant currently totaling $280,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, JVP has over the last year increasingly focused its ire on American Jews. A campaign launched by the group in July charged that US Jewish groups were promoting racism and police violence through a so-called “Deadly Exchange” involving Israeli law enforcement.
In June, JVP activists physically threatened members of a LGBTQ contingent taking part in the annual “Celebrate Israel” parade in New York City.