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My Newsweek Op-Ed: “Arab World Delusions Fuel BDS Campaign’s Coronavirus Conspiracies”

My Newsweek Op-Ed: “Arab World Delusions Fuel BDS Campaign’s Coronavirus Conspiracies”

Based on our two-part investigation into how anti-Israel activists have hijacked the coronavirus crisis to use against Israel using age-old anti-Semitic tropes prevalent in the Arab and Islamic world.

Regular readers may remember my two-part investigation of the anti-Israel movement’s appropriation of coronavirus pandemic panic.

My first post, published Thursday, April 9th, (Investigation: How Anti-Israel Activists Are Hijacking The Coronavirus Crisis And Turning It Against Israel) demonstrated how proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel have exploited the COVID-19 crisis for their own political ends. We also published a summary of that research in an April 24 op-ed in JNS.

Part 2 of our investigation, posted on May 3, focused on how international Arab, Muslim, and especially Palestinian sources have rhetorically weaponized the virus against Israel (Investigation: The Islamist Origins of Anti-Israel Activists’ Coronavirus Narratives)—and exposed the BDS campaign’s willing participation in totalitarian political warfare from the Arab and Muslim world.

That post clocked in at over 11,000 words, so we’ve also published a second (far shorter!) column. This time, our piece has been published in Newsweek.

Here’s an excerpt:

The past two months have seen an explosion of coronavirus-related anti-Zionist discourse from across the globe. Notably, proponents of the global “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)” campaign against Israel have lost no time in exploiting the outbreak to feed their obsessive vendetta. But BDS appropriation of coronavirus is only part of a larger effort—popular within the Arab and Muslim world—to incorporate coronavirus into pre-existing anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish ideologies.

Jews have long been accused of producing or spreading diseases. Modern iterations of these charges include Nazi myths of the Jewish biological threat, Hamas’ assertions that “Zionists” use HIV-positive women to seduce and infect Arabs and the Iranian regime’s habit of terming Israel a “cancerous tumor.”

Palestinian media, government officials and activists have recycled these themes by placing coronavirus and Israel at the center of their delusions. Indeed, scapegoating Israel or Zionists enables backward, corrupt leaders to deflect attention from their own failures, project their inadequacies onto a common enemy and mobilize unity among followers by framing Israel as an existential foe.

To read the rest, head on over to Newsweek.

Samantha Mandeles is Senior Researcher and Outreach Director at the Legal Insurrection Foundation.


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Jack Klompus | May 17, 2020 at 11:13 am

I thought the renowned, award-winning scientists in the Muslim world were too busy at their internationally eminent research institutions and universities working on a vaccine for COVID-19 to be cooking up superstitious conspiracy theories about Jews and crying victim.

    Squires in reply to Jack Klompus. | May 17, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Jews have been living rent-free in the Islamic mind for fourteen centuries and counting, and that is not going to change.

    Muhammad found encouraging resentment towards the Jews of Medina among the Arabs of Medina to his advantage, so he did it. Then “revealing” that his god informed him that such-and-such a community of Jews were plotting against him became a justification for wiping them out, looting all they possessed, and taking their women and girls as salves. This extended to Jews who made preparations to defend themselves once it became clear that any treaties or promises of non-hostility from Muhammad weren’t worth spit the second he could get away with breaking them.

    It’s all about playing the victim and making excuses for resentment and evil actions, and it always has been.

Mazal Tov, Samantha!

broomhandle | May 17, 2020 at 9:16 pm

While I think it’s important to document and debunk political Jew-hating propaganda, I think it is more important than ever to go on the offensive and debunk the very concept of “Palestine.” Merely responding to these attacks leaves the Arabs in the driver seat which allows them to control the narrative. Enough staying silent about the lie that is “Palestine.” All discourse about the subject should refocus the subject on that. Keep THEM on the defensive, because they in fact have no defense when the root of the problem is talked about.

JusticeDelivered | May 17, 2020 at 9:56 pm

When will the est collectively stop putting up with Islamic horse crap? Primitive, barbaric people who have no honor.

Samantha, I’m sure there will be blowback and name calling. Be ready.