‘Palestinianism’ Leads to Violence and Conspiracies Against Jews
Last year, there were nearly 3,000 reported antisemitic attacks in the US, an increase of 34 percent over 2020. In New York City, attacks increased by 409 percent. This comes amid daily incidents on campus of blatantly anti-Israel professors, speakers, and resolutions, as well as Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)’s introduction of a “Nakba” resolution, essentially stating that Israel’s creation was a “catastrophe.”
Antisemitism’s dramatic surge has been unimpeded in part because it has been hitched to the tidal wave of woke causes in the potent form of “Palestinianism.” This new movement represents lies about the land of Israel combined with a complete erasure of Jews’ Judean identity. While it builds on age-old antisemitic themes of world manipulation and dominance, Palestinianism has seamlessly melded into the ascendant ideas of the moment. And even though it is every bit as violent, deceitful, and dangerous as older forms of Jew-hatred, it is going shockingly unchallenged.
This is the only way to explain how, with so muted a backlash, on June 2, an interactive map came online of 483 Jewish and other institutions in Massachusetts, including a Jewish high school, a Jewish disabilities group, and a synagogue. Innocuously called the “Mapping Project,” its website unabashedly states: “Our goal in pursuing this collective mapping was to reveal the local entities and networks that enact devastation, so we can dismantle them. Every entity has an address, every network can be disrupted.”
Tapping into millennia-old antisemitic tropes about Jewish control and political string-pulling, the map is essentially a 21st century version of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the 1903 fabrication purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination, which helped to inspire brutal Russian pogroms and the Holocaust.
Jews, according to the Mapping Project, are responsible for everything bad in the world, and have manipulated other groups into following their nefarious plans.
The map is a natural next step for the international campaign of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to “de-normalize” Israel and end its existence.
Published by an anonymous group of BDS supporters, the Massachusetts map identifies a “web of connections,” including the names of leaders and addresses. The project seeks to demonstrate that “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.” The map is “a resource for gathering intelligence on the aspects of oppression,” including “medical apartheid” and “land theft.”
Shouldn’t a map pointing out where all the Jews are and targeting them as the oppressing enemy to be “dismantled” be immediately decried and shut down? Palestinianism thus far has prevailed.
The BDS National Committee made an unconvincing and inconsequential push back against the site, which still operates and is still being promoted by BDS Boston. In a June 20 letter, General Coordinator Mahmoud Nawajaa ordered BDS Boston to take down the map or “remove the BDS acronym from your name.” Nawajaa wrote that the National Committee has “deep concerns” over the project because it “unstrategically targets and provides names and ‘physical addresses’ of institutions and individuals and promotes messaging that includes phrases such as ‘resistance in all its forms.’”
Sadly, this letter is deceptive because similar Palestinianism undergirds the entire thrust of the BDS movement, whose end game is to ostracize and eventually “dismantle” Israel.
Nerdeen Kiswani of Within Our Lifetime recently claimed that Jewish community organizations “are Zionist organizations hiding behind Judaism. So every single organization on that list is a legitimate target.” Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR’s) San Francisco Chapter, said, “We need to pay attention to the Zionist synagogues. They are your enemies.” The New York group Decolonize This Place was even more explicit, posting online: “Find targets nearby, find where these Zionist fools live, and where there [sic] offices are, and act!”
Indeed, the BDS campaign has used intersectionality to great effect. BDS Boston tweeted: “Imperialism, racism, militarism & Zionism are systemically connected in our communities.” The mappers call them “highly militarized forces that share resources and information to enforce the intersecting systems of white supremacy and capitalism.”
Now that anti-Zionism has been thoroughly unmasked as blatant antisemitism, will this mark a turning point in the endless battle to “de-normalize” Israel? Sadly no. The map is still up, and most national media haven’t even bothered to cover it.
The FBI is reportedly monitoring the project, although they have yet to find “any direct threats of violence” stemming from the map. Also, to unclear effect, on June 21, a bipartisan group of 37 House members urged Federal law enforcement agencies to investigate the potential use of the project, which it called “dangerous incitement,” by extremist groups.
But clearly the Mapping Project is just the latest — if especially aggressive — manifestation of a stream of virulent ideas that is connected to the staggering rise in actual antisemitic attacks. What needs to happen is a de-normalization of “Palestinianism.”
Honest journalists, professors, and politicians need to begin pointing out: there never was a country called “Palestine.” Israel is not a “settler, colonial” state occupied by “white Europeans.” Jews hail from Judea and are indigenous to the land of Israel. Despite centuries of persecution, we have remained a people, a nation, an ethnicity — which is not “white,” European, or “privileged.”
In fact, before 1948, the term “Palestinian” referred to Jews. In the 2nd century, the Romans crushed a Jewish revolt, conquered Jerusalem and Judea, and renamed Judea “Syria-Palaestina (a name probably taken from the Philistines, an Aegean people historically unconnected with Arabia). Because of a continual Jewish presence and connection to the land, up until the State of Israel’s rebirth, the Jews living in the region were still called Palestinians. Until, in the 1950s, the KGB and the Egyptian Yasser Arafat launched the concept of a “Palestinian” Arab people in order to decimate Israel. It was “academically” formalized by Columbia University professor Edward Said, among others.
And now finally, disastrously, this “Palestinianism” has perhaps reached its pinnacle through woke ideology. Jews have no desire to compete in the woke victimization Olympics. But our identity will no longer be erased. We have created the Judean Ethnicity Project to reclaim Judean identity as well as our indigenous ties to the land of Israel. Will this end the hatred and persecution that Palestinianism has fomented? Sadly no. But it will give every Judean more of a reason to fight for our land and our people.
Karen Lehrman Bloch is editor-in-chief of White Rose Magazine, where a version of this article first appeared.