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June 7, 2022 2:55 pm

Israel Denounces BDS-Linked Group Connecting Zionism to Racial Tensions in America

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign. Photo: Alex Chis.

Israeli public officials condemned an American pro-BDS organization for promoting an antisemitic conspiracy theory purporting to show a connection between Zionism, police brutality, and “the colonization of Palestine.”

The claims were first published by the “Mapping Project,” a Boston-area group claiming to be a “multigenerational collective of activists” from “tribal nations,” last Friday. The initiative, which provides a searchable database and map of hundreds of American and Jewish institutions, was subsequently endorsed by Boston BDS, a regional group affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

“Our interactive map illustrates some ways in which institutional support for the colonization of Palestine is structurally tied to policing and systemic white supremacy here where we live, and to US imperialist projects in other countries,” Mapping Project says. The group also claimed that “extensive links between police agencies and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)” contribute to “colonial policing.”

In response, Lior Haiat, spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Friday the group is holding Jews responsible for “anything and everything wrong in Greater Boston.”

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“This whole project is reminiscent of a dangerous antisemitic pattern of activity known from antiquity through the horrors of the 20th century: a pattern which has led to violence against Jews and their institutions,” Haiat continued. “This publication reveals the true, ugly face of BDS Boston which is nothing but a conspiratorial antisemitic organization. We call on all decent people to come out against this publication, and to condemn the organization and those behind this racist campaign.”

Mapping Project’s assertion is based on a conspiracy theory alleging that ADL’s Leadership Seminar in Israel, which brings police officers to Israel for training in countering extremist violence and terrorism, is to blame for racial tension between Black Americans and law enforcement. The group  also builds on the strategy of making the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “intersectional” by blaming American Jews for racism and other issues related to racial inequality in the US.

The ADL has repeatedly countered similar accusations about its police seminar. In 2020, during debates over policing that followed the death of George Floyd, ADL San Diego regional director Tammy Gillies argued in an op-ed for the San Diego Tribune that they draw an “absurdly illogical connection.”

“Seeking to link Israel to US police misconduct excuses the centuries-long history of racism and injustice that has plagued our nation since its inception,” she added.

Last July, George Selim, an ADL senior vice president told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency the conspiracy is a “bizarre excuse.”

This March, rumors emerged that the ADL considered ending the program, but no decision was announced.

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