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Author: Samantha Mandeles

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Samantha Mandeles

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)—one of the most radical and controversial anti-Israel groups in the United States —spent this past week training anti-Israel activists to send them into lobbying meetings with members of Congress. Among AMP's partners in this effort were the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace, UNRWA-USA, and even the NAACP.

Late August's surge of riots and protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, has stirred much political debate. In that debate, we should not overlook one incident during the rioting that reflects one aspect of the larger Black Lives Matter organized movement: Graffiti in front of a local synagogue proclaiming "Free Palestine."

Against the backdrop of a rising tide of anti-Semitic incidents across the country and the failure of many mainstream Jewish organizations to condemn anti-Semitism emanating from the left, communities of color, or Islamists, I've joined a group of Jewish-American millennials in founding a brand-new non-profit organization called HaShevet. It is my honor to serve on HaShevet's founding board of directors with a cadre of brilliant, ambitious, and passionate Jewish leaders.

We have seen this movie before. Whenever there is a high-profile death of a Black person in the U.S. at the hands of local police, anti-Israel activists try to hijack the anger and redirect it at Israel. The death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police is another example. We demonstrate below the background of the incitement and how it predictably has resulted in the targeting of synagogues and Jewish businesses.

In April 2020, we published an in-depth investigation: How Anti-Israel Activists Are Hijacking The Coronavirus Crisis And Turning It Against Israel. Our research demonstrated how proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic: namely, blaming the Jewish state and its supporters for as many aspects of the outbreak as possible. Now, we've taken a closer look at how international Arab, Muslim, and especially Palestinian sources have rhetorically weaponized the virus against Israel. And it's clear that the BDS campaign's appropriation of COVID-19 is only part of a larger effort to fold the pandemic into pre-existing anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish ideology.

A (now former) Gaza-based "consultant" with the 'human rights' behemoth Amnesty International has suddenly found herself in hot water after she allegedly sold out out fellow Palestinians in Gaza to the terrorist group Hamas. Self-styled "journalist" Hind Khoudary took to Facebook last week to alert three Hamas officials that a group of her fellow Gazans had had held an online chat with Israelis about the coronavirus crisis.

We have written a lot about how anti-Israel activists routinely hijack causes, events, and crises unrelated to Israel, using "intersectional" theory to turn those issues against the Jewish state. That phenomenon is playing out again with the coronavirus pandemic, providing the 'usual suspects' with yet another issue to exploit.

From March 1-3, 2020, I attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Annual Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. on a press pass. As part of my coverage of the conference, I spent nearly four hours interviewing, taping, and photographing anti-Israel protesters who had gathered outside the venue. Though their chants of "Judaism, yes! Zionism, no!" might have been meant to convey a rejection of anti-Semitism, the protesters' statements and behavior both during and after the rally shows how deeply and often anti-Jewish hatred informs anti-Israel worldviews.

In the years since our founding, Legal Insurrection has covered anti-Israel activism on our nation's campuses. Though expressions of anti-Zionism on campus are often the work of radical student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), behind many such groups and their anti-Israel messaging stands faculty support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
For a recent example, see the latest attempt by a small minority of faculty to pass a BDS resolution at the American Historical Association's annual meeting in American Historical Association Rejects Anti-Israel Resolution for the 4th Time.

In a recent post, I documented how American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) ejected me from its annual conference Thanksgiving weekend because it was afraid I would provide negative coverage. For background on the harassing treatment I received, see Fearing Negative Coverage, ‘American Muslims for Palestine’ Conference Ejects Legal Insurrection Reporter. Now we know why AMP wanted to cleanse the audience of media who could report accurately on what was going on: The AMP conference was an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hatefest, and the keynote speaker was Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib, who has worked with the group on many occasions.

Last week, we reported on the disruption of Israeli Hen Mazzig's talk by Vassar College Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in Vassar President: It was anti-Semitic to shout at Israeli Jewish speaker “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free”. In a breath of fresh air, Vassar president Elizabeth Bradley issued an admirably strong condemnation of SJP's behavior, stating that shouting "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free"—a call for the extermination of Israel and the subjugation of Israeli Jews—at an Israeli Jewish speaker was anti-Semitic:

Search for Vassar College in Legal Insurrection's archives, and you'll find scores of posts documenting Vassar students' efforts to shut down speech with which they disagree. This is a longstanding problem on today's college campuses, and it is perhaps most commonly manifested in attacks on Israeli, pro-Israel, and/or Jewish speakers. Vassar College Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has a particularly sordid history, including posting of an anti-Jewish and anti-American Nazi cartoon, glorifying terrorists, and picketing a course that involved travel to Israel.

In October 2019, CodePink took another in a long line of trips to the Islamic Republic of Iran on the premise of promoting peace. The latest trip, even more so than the prior trips, amounted to a whitewash of Iranian human rights violations, particularly towards women. The CodePink group was led by National Co-Director Ariel Gold, and included several of her Ithaca (NY) anti-Israel activist friends, including Beth Harris and Amber Gilewski. (In the featured image, these three are circled, from left to right, Harris, Gold and Gilewski.)

In early September 2019, Legal Insurrection published our half of a joint-investigation of anti-Israel groups with The Washington Free Beacon. Our research—reported in Investigation: Anti- ICE “Never Again Action” Not The Spontaneous Grassroots Group It Claims To Be—showed that the organization Never Again Action, a group claiming that Immigration and Customs Enforcement operates Nazi-esque "concentration camps" and must thus be "shut down", is not the immigration-focused coalition it purports to be.
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