by Shiri Moshe
Israel was branded as a “white dominant empire” and a “settler colony,” whose government seeks to maintain “a majority of … white Jewish people.”
Members of Students for Justice in Palestine speak at the “Palestine Without Borders” session at the 2018 United We Dream National Congress. Photo: Youth Empowerment Alliance.
A pro-Israel group on Thursday denounced an “antisemitic” session recently hosted by an immigrant youth organization, which compared Israel with Nazi Germany and equated the movement for Jewish self-determination with white supremacy and genocide.
Handouts distributed to attendees at the “Palestine Without Borders” presentation at the 2018 United We Dream National Congress — which took place in Miami, Florida between October 5-7 — featured a number of disputed allegations, among them that Zionism seeks an “exclusively Jewish state that necessitates the wiping out” of Palestinians.
They also branded Israel as a “white dominant empire” and a “settler colony,” whose government seeks to maintain “a majority of … white Jewish people.”
According to a video of the workshop, which was led by activists from the Houston, Texas chapter of the anti-Zionist group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), one speaker described Zionism as “genocide and colonization” for “the indigenous people of Palestine,” and accused Israel of practicing “ongoing apartheid.”
“It’s basically a racialized law system,” akin to Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa, and Jim Crow, he said.
He further argued that Israel — which collectively brought in tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews during major airlift operations in the 1980s and 1990s, and where the majority of Jews from Middle Eastern communities that were decimated by antisemitic violence and persecution during the 20th century found refuge — is “for white Jews only.”
Audience members were also shown a set of widely-contested series of maps purporting to depict “Palestinian loss of land” from 1946 to 2000. The maps contend that all of the territory that comprises modern-day Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip was originally “Palestinian land,” with the exclusion of small tracts of privately-owned “Jewish land.”
These allegations “slandered countless Jews and others who believe in both Jewish and Palestinian rights to self-determination,” the group StandWithUs warned, and effectively denied that Jews were indigenous to the Levant — a long-standing historical claim backed by genetic evidence.
They likewise “demonized Israel as a symbol of white supremacy” — an ideology that is “partly driven by racism towards Jews,” StandWithUs noted. “Blaming Jews, who have time and again been victims of racism and genocide, for an ideology that has led to atrocities against them is beyond offensive, as is erasing the fact that most Israelis would be considered people of color in America today.”
“At a conference about a crucially important domestic issue, spreading hate related to a conflict abroad is utterly reprehensible,” the group added.
“American Jews have a long history of supporting immigrants, making it particularly shameful that SJP brought anti-Semitism into this conference,” said Talia Lerner, SWU’s southern campus coordinator. “At a time when Americans are so divided, we should be coming together against hate instead of having groups like SJP fan the flames.”
Nofar Salman, a Jewish Agency Israel fellow at the multi-campus Houston Hillel, shared a photo of the SJP handout on social media on Saturday, writing, “We are not scared of your lies and accusations. We will not be shut down. We will keep our head high with pride because truth and justice are on our side.”
“SJP is targeting the Jewish students on campus and we will NOT be victims of anti semitism and twisted lies,” she added.
United We Dream and SJP did not immediately answer requests for comment.
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