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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