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Anti-BDS Movement Smears J Street

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By Robert Jennings

This links to a post by a J Street U activist who attended the “anti-BDS summit”organized at the UN, and was shocked to find a Republican state legislator attack J Street as anti-Semitic while other participants expressed hatred toward Palestinians and Muslims.

Most of J Street’s energy is spent fighting the occupation. Any energy it spends fighting BDS is necessary to:

1) protect Jewish students on campus from losing their ability to go to Israel without academic or professional repercussions;

2) keep themselves within the Jewish communal tent, and able to cooperate with pro-peace forces within Israel.

Keep in mind that the pro-BDS movement spends a lot (if not most) of its efforts fighting the Israeli peace camp and pro-peace Israeli forces on campus. Likewise, it seems the Israeli government and its uncritical American allies insist on pegging J Street as “stealth BDS.” Both sides want to turn this into a zero-sum game in which any distinction between being pro-Israel and pro-occupation is impossible. We cannot allow that to happen.

In other words, we must oppose the occupation as if there is no BDS, and we must oppose BDS as if there is no occupation. The occupation may be the far graver wrong in absolute moral terms, but two wrongs don’t make a right, the consequences of giving up on the two-state solution will be catastrophic.

What frightens me the most is young left-wing Americans, in the wake of this catastrophe, saying that this is what the Israelis, as colonizers, deserve. But that they’re “not antisemitic,” they’re just “against what Israel represents as a settler-state,” and the Palestinians, as the “Wretched of the Earth,” are simply “exacting their natural vengeance.” They don’t “support” this vengeance, of course, but it’s “understandable.”

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