“BDS should spend less time on anti-Israel propaganda theatrics and more time urging Palestinian regimes to devote resources to Palestinian well-being” —My column at JNS
Regular readers may remember my Thursday, April 9th research post, Investigation: How Anti-Israel Activists Are Hijacking The Coronavirus Crisis And Turning It Against Israel. Though the original post clocked in at close to 10,000 words, we managed to distill it down; the short version was published today in JNS.
JNS’s title is “Activists push idea that Israel’s behind the coronavirus pandemic”.
Here’s an excerpt:
(April 24, 2020 / JNS) While much of the world languishes in coronavirus quarantine, anti-Israel forces around the globe scheme to exploit the crisis to attack the world’s only Jewish state. From official Palestinian media to American Islamist activists and their enablers on the radical left, illiberal propagandists have come together to exploit the pandemic panic.
Those allied with the BDS movement against Israel are using COVID-19 as a rhetorical cudgel to delegitimize the Middle East’s only thriving democracy. After spending years bashing the Jewish national home and hoping to force the Jews who live there to subsist as a defenseless minority, BDS proponents have predictably turned their attention to the coronavirus, seeking to manufacture links between the pandemic and Israel.
They have adapted the current crisis to the standard BDS narrative: exceptional Palestinian victimhood and complete lack of agency. And their messaging gains credibility from the influential voices that spew it, unfazed by the meritless and anti-Semitic origins of their conspiracy theories.
Linda Sarsour, former co-chair of the Women’s March and a surrogate for Bernie Sanders’s now ended presidential campaign, served as the keynote speaker for a Zoom meeting hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that, despite its name, is widely documented as anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. In her remarks, she portended Gaza’s COVID-wrought demise, calling the virus a potential “entire death sentence for over 2 million people.”
Several anti-Israel writers, like Ben Norton, have echoed Sarsour. Complaining that Israel has “bombed to pieces” Gaza’s “health infrastructure”, Norton recently tweeted, “Every Palestinian death caused by COVID-19 is blood on Israel’s hands.”
Naturally, Norton did not acknowledge Israel’s considerable efforts in transferring medical supplies to Gaza, nor did he mention Israel’s productive partnerships with Palestinian health-care providers, despite the fact that even the United Nations, hardly a friend of Israel, has applauded the “excellent” Israeli-Palestinian cooperation in fighting the pandemic.
No facts about how Israel’s humanitarian aid has slowed the conflation of COVID-19. Israel’s detractors justify their disregard of Israeli-related suffering by drawing an equivalence between new lockdowns and the conditions of Palestinian daily life.
To read the rest, head over to the original on JNS.
Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) is “the fastest-growing news agency covering Israel and the Jewish world. We provide news, features, opinions and analysis to as many as 100 print newspapers and digital publications each week.”
JNS has graciously featured several of my columns in the past. The site has also published reviews of two documentary films about campus anti-Israel activism in which I appear (The J Street Challenge and Hate Spaces).
For more of JNS’s excellent selection of topical columns, visit the agency’s op-ed section here.
Samantha Mandeles is Senior Researcher and Outreach Director at the Legal Insurrection Foundation.DONATE
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