'ANTI-ISRAEL': A CAMOUFLAGE PLATFORM FOR ANTISEMITISM.

Author:Bitran, Alamea Deedee
 
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INTRODUCTION

"Anti-Israel" has become a camouflage platform for expressing antisemitism (1) under a more socially acceptable umbrella. (2) There is no "legal" solution to combat antisemitism and all of its ripple effects. Instead, educating the general public with the knowledge necessary to discern antisemitic rumors from reality and passing remedial legislation are important steps to combatting bigotry and hatred. (3)

  1. ANTISEMITISM'S NEWEST WAVE: THE BDS MOVEMENT

    "Antisemitism" is the making of "stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective--especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions." (4) Additionally, "antisemitism" includes "[h]olding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel." (5) Anti-Israel is no longer a distinct concept from antisemitism, because the two concepts are so intertwined that they have fused into the same monster. (6) There are narrow instances where anti-Israel sentiment is wholly distinct from antisemitism, but that is limited to legitimate criticisms of Israel's policies, not rationale grounded in antisemitic notions of Jewish power or influence. (7) In response to the latest wave of antisemitism, the conduct associated with the "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" ("BDS") movement, (8) numerous state legislatures are enacting, or have already enacted, wholly constitutional remedial legislation such as "anti-BDS laws." (9) Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Tennessee, Arizona, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, California, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, and Louisiana have passed anti-BDS laws or are in the process of passing such laws. (10) Pitched as a peaceful movement, "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" ("BDS") calls for boycotting brands that are Israeli-invented or sold within Israel to destroy Israel's existence. (11) California Assemblyman Travis Allen cautioned,

    BDS poses as a peaceful movement interested in "social justice" for Palestinians. The reality is more sinister: The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize Israel's very identity and existence and ultimately bring about its destruction and replacement with a Palestinian state, which would be dominated by the terrorist group Hamas. (12) The strongest predictor of campus antisemitism is a local BDS campaign. (13) BDS founder, Omar Barghouti, shared, "I clearly do not buy the two state solution... if the refugees were to return, you would not have a two state solution.... You'll have a Palestine next to a Palestine, rather than a Palestine next to Israel." (14) Stanley Tate, a founding member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) (15) and Florida's Prepaid College Program explained,

    Passing state resolutions against BDS is the quickest and most effective way of dealing a deadly blow to this "disease" before it is allowed to metastasize. The movement's strongest breeding grounds are university campuses, and state legislators carry great weight with the state university faculties and governing boards, which must eradicate BDS from their institutions. Make no mistake--BDS isn't just about Israel, it is the new form of politically correct anti-Semitism that has led to intimidation and attacksagainst [sic] Jewish students nationwide. (16) The two concepts, antisemitism and anti-Israel, frequently go hand in hand and have become intertwined on many college campuses. In December of 2015, during celebratory pre-Hannukah Jewish holiday festivities, Jews were interrupted by protestors' anti-Israel chants and blocking of hallways at York University. (17) Fusing the two concepts of antisemitism and anti-Israel, people defaced bathroom doors with swastikas and drew graffiti "413 feet from the UC Berkeley Hillel house," a place for students to celebrate Jewish holidays, stating, "Death to Israel" and "Kill all the Jews." (18)

    Further equating antisemitic hatred for Jews with anti-Israel sentiment, some attempt to justify Palestinian terrorist attacks on Jews due to the Palestinian's disagreement with Israel's actions. (19) Such "justifications" boast,

    Young Palestinians do not go out to murder Jews because they are Jews, but because we are their occupiers, their torturers, their jailers, the thieves of their land and water, their exilers, the demolishers of their homes, the blockers of their horizon. Young Palestinians, vengeful and desperate, are willing to lose their lives and cause their families great pain because the enemy they face proves every day that its malice has no limits. (20) Anti-Israel sentiment has become so intertwined with antisemitism that the two concepts are frequently inseverable, as shown by terrorist attacks targeting Jews to protest against Israel's policies. The dangerous combination of anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism has morphed into the BDS movement, which delegitimizes Israel's right to exist, seeks to cripple Israel's existence, and reinjects traditional antisemitic rumors into the mainstream media to justify and fuel hatred.

  2. SOCIAL MEDIA & NEWS FUELING ANTISEMITISM

    Courts cannot adequately address all problems fueled by antisemitic rumors that spiral out of control quickly. (21) On social media, anything can spread at lightning speed, be deemed credible, and incite violence. (22) In response to Facebook calls for imminent violence against Israelis, 20,000 individuals sued Facebook. (23) Resorting to the courts is ineffective because a game of "whack-a-mole" (24) ensues: when one website vanishes, dozens more emerge with identical agendas.

    In one incident, a Facebook user posted, "I could have annihilated all the Jews in the world, but I left some of them alive so you will know why I was killing them"; yet, an Austrian prosecutor ruled that this antisemitic post was merely a legitimate way to criticize Israel. (25) In another incident, an anti-Israel post sparked the following antisemitic comment: "Jews are born to create problems, just like they tried to create in Germany. But Hitler cleared all that trash. Likewise same is needed to be done by Palestinians. Eradicate and operate out this Jewish cancer." (26) Many images that were uploaded on social media with the hashtags "#GazaUnderAttack" and "#GazaUnderFire" that purported to depict atrocities Israel committed in Gaza were subsequently confirmed as recycled photos taken years earlier in Syria and Iraq. (27)

    News sources rarely acknowledge that, since 2007, Hamas determines what, if any, of the funds and materials entering Gaza actually makes it to its residents. (28) Annually, Hamas invests approximately $25,000,000 on terrorism. (29) Hamas confiscates and prevents United Nations (UN) aid from reaching Gaza's residents. (30) Hamas uses human shields, operates within civilian homes, "prohibits or deters civilians from leaving areas likely to be targeted, and fires rockets from schools, mosques, United Nations facilities, and civilian residences." (31)

    While the media underemphasizes Hamas' role in Gaza, it frequently distorts headlines covering terrorist attacks on Israelis. A New York Times headline stated, "Israeli Police Officers Kill Two Palestinian Men." (32) That headline infers to a reasonable cursory reader that Israeli officers maliciously targeted and killed in cold blood two innocent Palestinian bystanders. The real story: one Palestinian carrying a knife "ran toward" an Israeli officer attempting to stab the officer, and the other Palestinian successfully stabbed an officer "in the head and chest." (33) In response to the stabbing attacks and in self-defense, the Israeli officers in the vicinity subsequently shot the terrorists. (34)

    France's Prime Minister Valls equated antisemitism with anti-Israel sentiment, stating, "'Anti-semitism, this old European disease'... has taken 'a new form. It spreads on the Internet, in our popular neighborhoods, with a youth that has lost its points of reference, has no conscience of history, and who hides itself behind a fake anti-Zionism.'" (35) Combining both antisemitism and anti-Israel into the same monster, social media posts circulate dangerous rumors that Israel and the Jews own the media. (36) Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has explained,

    Yes, there are many individual Jews in positions of influence in Hollywood, in network television, in sports and entertainment, and in many other areas of American public life. These individuals, who happen to be Jewish, do not act together in any kind of conspiratorial manner. There is no "Jewish control" of any of these areas--or of the many other areas, such as medicine, law, academia, finance--where there are large numbers of individual Jews in high positions.... .... ... So let's stop all this nonsense about Jewish control over the media and praise those individual Jews who, by dint of hard work and talent, have earned their place, as individuals, in so many areas of American life. I always thought that was the American dream. (37) In response to Stanford allowing for similar antisemitic rumors to circulate and go unaddressed, a Stanford alumni stated:

    People who have faced death for the crime of being Jewish will be more than happy to tell you that "Jews run the world" is the oldest trick in the book. It predates the rise of Hitler. It predates the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. As long as Jews have been minorities in the world around them, they have been dealing with this garbage. (38) The Wall Street Journal reported a study that exposed the harsh truth of antisemitism permeating social media. (39) The individuals conducting the study created two Facebook pages: one Facebook page was anti-Israel and the other Facebook page was anti-Palestine. (40) Both Facebook pages had nearly identical content displayed calling for the destruction of either Israel or Palestine. (41) Both...

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