It’s time to de-normalize ‘Palestinianism’

Jews can no longer afford to tolerate the erasure of our identity, our ethnicity, our people and our nation.

Karen Lehrman Bloch
Karen Lehrman Bloch
Karen Lehrman Bloch is editor in chief of White Rose Magazine.

Last year, there were nearly 3,000 anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S., an increase of 34% over 2020. In New York City, attacks increased by 409%. This is mirrored in the daily incidents on campus involving blatantly anti-Israel professors, speakers, students and resolutions. And it entered politics with Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s introduction of a “Nakba” resolution in Congress, which sought to enshrine in law that Israel’s creation was a “catastrophe.”

Anti-Semitism’s dramatic surge has been largely unopposed because it has hitched itself to various Woke causes in the potent form of “Palestinianism.” This new form of the old hatred is an ideology of lies about the land of Israel combined with a complete erasure of Jews’ Judean identity. While it builds on age-old anti-Semitic themes of world domination, Palestinianism has effortlessly merged with today’s ascendent Woke ideologies. Although it is every bit as violent, deceitful and dangerous as older forms of Jew-hatred, it has gone unchallenged to a shocking extent.

This is the only way to explain the lack of significant backlash when, on June 2, an interactive map of 483 Jewish and other institutions in Massachusetts—including a Jewish high school, a Jewish disabilities group and a synagogue—came online. Innocuously called the “Mapping Project,” the 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 anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish manipulation 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 collaborating with their nefarious plans.

The map is the natural next step for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to “de-normalize” Israel and end its existence. Published by an anonymous group of BDS supporters, the map identifies a “web of connections,” including the names and addresses of Jewish and non-Jewish leaders. 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 U.S. 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 enemy oppressors who must be “dismantled” have been immediately decried and shut down?

Unfortunately, Palestinianism has thus far prevailed. The BDS National Committee issued an unconvincing and inconsequential criticism of 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 the Mapping Project’s Palestinianism is the foundation of the BDS movement itself, whose end game is to ostracize and eventually “dismantle” Israel. Nerdeen Kiswani of the group Within Our Lifetime, for example, 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’ 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!”

The BDS campaign has used intersectional Palestinianism to great effect. BDS Boston tweeted: “Imperialism, racism, militarism & Zionism are systemically connected in our communities.” The mappers spoke of “highly militarized forces that share resources and information to enforce the intersecting systems of white supremacy and capitalism.”

Now that the Mapping Project has thoroughly unmasked anti-Zionism as blatant anti-Semitism, will this mark a turning point in the endless battle to “de-normalize” Israel? Unfortunately, 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. 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, though it is unclear whether such an investigation will take place.

But clearly, the Mapping Project is just the latest—if especially blatant—manifestation of a stream of virulent ideas that is connected to the staggering rise in actual anti-Semitic attacks. What needs to happen is a de-normalization of “Palestinianism.”

Honest journalists, professors and politicians need to begin pointing out that there was never 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, colonized Jerusalem and Judea and renamed the country “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.” In the 1950s, however, the KGB and, later, the Egyptian Yasser Arafat fabricated a “Palestinian” Arab people as a tool to destroy Israel. It was “academically” formalized by Columbia University professor Edward Said in the 1970s.

And now, finally, disastrously, this “Palestinianism” has reached its pinnacle via Woke ideology.

Jews have no desire to compete in the Woke victimization Olympics. But our identity will no longer be erased. At “White Rose Magazine,” 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 a reason to fight for our land and our people.

Karen Lehrman Bloch is editor-in-chief of White Rose Magazine.

This article was originally published by White Rose Magazine.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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