click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​




Israel and Racism in America

Israel and Racism in America

Students for Justice in Palestine exploit the deaths of innocent Americans to further their own anti-Semitic political agenda.

by

In response to the tragic deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana, the New York University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) posted the following on its Facebook page:

"In the past 48 hours another two black men have been lynched by the police.... We must remember that many US police departments train with #IsraeliDefenceForces. The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians. What this means is that Palestinians must stand with our black comrades. We must struggle for their liberation. It is as important as our own. #AltonSterling is as important as #AliDawabsheh. Palestinian liberation and black liberation go together. We must recognize this and commit to building for it."

Even in moments of national mourning such as these, SJP bigots cannot help but exploit the deaths of innocent Americans to further their own anti-Semitic political agenda, namely to delegitimize and demonize the nation state of the Jewish people.

By implicating Israel in these killings, SJP is engaging in the old trope of blaming Jews for systemic and far-reaching societal problems. This practice was anti-Semitic when some Christian communities used it to blame Jews for plagues, poisonings, and murders; it was anti-Semitic when the Nazis used it to blame Jews for the failing German economy; and it is still anti-Semitic today. There is no more evidence that any of the police who killed Mr. Castile and Mr. Sterling were in fact trained in Israel than there was that Jews were responsible for any of the other crimes that formed the basis for traditional blood libels.

The essence of anti-Semitism is the bigoted claim that if there is a problem, then Jews – and now Zionists – must be its cause.

The oppression of black Americans long predates the founding of the state of Israel; contrary to the claims of SJP and like-minded groups, Zionism did not beget racism, nor is Zionism a reflection of racism. It is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. But the twisted logic on the part of SJP should come as no surprise, given that the same organization blamed Zionism for rising tuition costs in the City University of New York college system. The essence of anti-Semitism is the bigoted claim that if there is a problem, then Jews – and now Zionists – must be its cause.

Addressing the structural causes of racism in the United States will take more than scapegoating Israel – it will require the type of far-reaching legislative action of which our current Congress seems incapable. By morphing the discussion about criminal justice reform and systemic racism in the United States into a polemic against Israel, SJP makes progress even more difficult.

That said, the reaction by SJP is reflective of a broader trend in hard left politics. Increasingly, groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), MoveOn, Code Pink, and Occupy Wall Street have embraced intersectionality – a radical academic theory, which holds that all forms of social oppression are inexorably linked.

This radical concept has led to the linking of disparate left-wing causes, no matter how tenuous their connections. Some intersectional feminist activists, for example, insist that feminists must oppose drone strikes (and by extension, Hillary Clinton), because they negatively impact women in the developing world. Even more absurdly, Jill Stein – the Green Party candidate for president – has come out in favor of the bigoted Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, partly on the grounds that support for Israel furthers the interests of the military-industrial complex, and by extension the fossil fuel industry.

Intersectionality seems to be driving hard left activists towards a "No True Scotsman" worldview: increasingly, they insist on a package of unrelated left-wing causes that must be embraced by anyone claiming the label of progressive – including the demonization of Israel as a racist, apartheid state.

Perhaps more worryingly, intersectionality tends towards the conclusion that the existing social, political, and economic system is flawed in so many profound ways, that any attempt at remaking it through democratic means is unacceptable. Activists have become increasingly obsessed with "Shut it Down" protest tactics, and a proud politics of "disrespectability," that prioritizes resistance to a "corrupt," "rigged" socio-economic system over respectful discourse and political compromise.

This helps to explain the sympathetic attitude of Black Lives Matter activists towards groups like Hamas, which embrace terror as a mode of "resistance" (in their view) against Israel. Indeed, Black Lives Matter activists have visited Gaza to express solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by so-called racist Israeli self-defense measures. While Black Lives Matter claims to disavow violence in securing its political objectives, many of its most prominent members are far more eager to criticize the "Israeli genocide of Palestinians" than to criticize Hamas for using rockets to target Israeli civilians. Black Lives Matter and other hard left groups have been notably silent about other oppressed ethnic groups such as Tibetans, Chechens, and Kurds. The only alleged "oppressors" they single out for condemnation are the Jews. This double standard raises legitimate questions about their real motivations.

Moreover, the conflation of police actions in American cities with Israeli military actions in Gaza raises a disturbing question: if the so-called oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the oppression of people of color in the United States are two sides of the same coin – as the SJP implied in its tweet – are the violent tactics employed by Hamas, and perversely supported by many on the hard left, an appropriate model to emulate in the United States? One hopes that the answer is no, and that the intersectionalist radicals will make that clear to their followers.

This op-ed originally appeared on http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/

Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 8

(7) Anonymous, July 24, 2016 2:50 AM

What liars!

I have heard many Arab comments that Black Muslims are NOT practicing true Islam and should be considered heretics deserving of a Fatwa. Why give Arabs press coverage?

(6) Anonymous, July 21, 2016 9:22 PM

Disappointing

The author wrote: "Even in moments of national mourning...
This fails to address the point that whole assumption of the SJP. They claimed that: "We must remember that many US police departments train with IDF. The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians. What this means is that Palestinians must stand with our black comrades. We must struggle for their liberation."

The United States is a Democracy which upholds the rights of its citizens. The police force is there to serve and protect. To do so often requires specialized skills which they have a right to acquire from any source.
In fact, the police do receive training: "Israeli spokesman M Rosenfeld said the program covered topics such as border security and media response during crises as well as overviewing strategies for treating mass casualties, performing rescue operations and establishing command and control at the scene of a terror attack.
So the argument is flawed - the police receive training in response to terror attacks and counter-terrorism initiatives.
Secondly the killing of blacks in America is hardly a genocide. There is no wanton desire to forcibly wipe out a group based on ethnicity, race, religion or nationhood. Two deaths is not a genocide and it belittles those that are legitimately in a genocide. That being said, Palestinians are also not in a genocide. Israel has no intent on wiping out the terroritories. However, Hamas is intent on wiping out Israel - that is cause for genocide intent - a Crime against humanity. Furthermore, the language of comrade etc. is a language used by the communists intent on establishing socialist norms in American society. Americans have worked hard to ensure that the practices of socialist regimes have not had their influence, the SJP believes otherwise.

(5) sonny Huss, July 21, 2016 6:54 PM

"Mowing the Lawn"

Perhaps Israel and her enemies can begin speaking more favorably toward one another. Indeed, rocket launches must stop from Gaza. However, by overreacting with 100 times more deaths by implementing a "mowing the lawn" policy does not seem to help facilitate the peace process. Reaction needs to be proportional. It only breeds more hate, contempt, distrust, and ultimately more enemies for Israel.

(4) Anonymous, July 21, 2016 4:00 PM

What garbage

You've been sniffing to much glue! You prejudge all Americans and confuse reality. All the poor primitives want to take us back to their world because they can't understand civility. You as Jewish with 4,000 years of history should appreciate learning and intelligence.

(3) Anonymous, July 21, 2016 3:35 PM

Agreed

Very well written and in total agreement. A cheap way to deceive the unlearned and unwise. Nancy however, needs to get a grip on reality. Not all Jews "have done so much for so many people". Some owned slaves, some supported apartheid, some are racist; and even some helped Hitler to exterminate other Jews. Some opposed slavery, some opposed apartheid, some are not racist and some stood up against Hitler and died. You made a bad choice in a friend. that is it.
It is better to remember who the nation of Israel is, what it means to be a Jew and greater mitzvot is required of us.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub