Monthly Archives: March 2014

Yishai Goldflam Speaks at CUNY Baruch

March 31, 2014

On March 18, Yishai Goldflam, Presspectiva director, visited CUNY Baruch College in New York. He spoke to 25 engaged students about CAMERA’s Israel division, Presspectiva, as well as CAMERA and Presspectiva’s mission—to change the negative portrayal of Israel in the media. Mr. Goldflam also spoke about the two state solution.

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According to Alisa Rudy, the CAMERA Fellow who organized the event, the goals of the event were met, namely that Mr. Goldflam enabled students to think about “the factors preventing peace from being achieved” and the students were “appreciative of everything” that Mr. Goldflam said. Students also thought that Goldflam was an “amazing” speaker.

Yishai Goldflam

Yishai Goldflam

During the question and answer period after Mr. Goldflam’s talk, questions included asking for examples of inaccurate portrayal of Israel in the media. Mr. Goldflam responded by talking about a recent article in Ha’aretz which, because of factual inaccuracies, had to be retracted. Especially popular was the question and answer period, where there was much enthusiasm.

Samantha Mandeles Visits SUNY Albany’s Great Danes for Israel

March 28, 2014

Great Danes for Israel at SUNY Albany, one of our newer CCAP groups, recently had a visit from Samantha Mandeles, our Senior Campus Coordinator. Samantha spoke with students about the many opportunities and resources that CAMERA has to offer, such as our Fellowship and Israel Trip!

Samantha Mandeles with Joe and Tal from Great Danes for Israel!

Samantha Mandeles with Joe and Tal from Great Danes for Israel!

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Samantha with Israel Shlicha Keshet, who hails from the Golan Heights.

SodaStream Raffle Winner Announced

March 27, 2014

 

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The winner of CAMERA on Campus’s SodaStream raffle is Hosanna Thalhofer, the President of the Students Allied for Israel club at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington.

First Official Tabling

CAMERA Campus Regional Coordinator and CAMERAonCampus Editor-in-Chief Gilad Skolnick recently caught up with her and asked her a few questions about herself and her connection to Israel.

Gilad Skolnick:  How and why did you get involved with pro-Israel activism?

Hosanna Thalhofer: When I was 11 years old, my parents and I started going to a Messianic congregation, El Shaddai Ministries in Tacoma, WA. I was able to learn more about Israel and the Jewish people there and I started to feel my connection to the Land. When I was 17, the leadership of El Shaddai Ministries helped me with my scholarship to D.C. for the Christians United For Israel Summit. That is where I decided to go back to campus and start a pro-Israel group. I also then got involved with the local Jewish organization StandwithUs Northwest. Both organizations helped me to start my group. It took over 14 weeks to convince my school, but I did it.

I absolutely love what I do on campus. It is very rewarding to find like-minded people that have the same love for Israel and her people as I do and who want to help this pro-Israel group on campus thrive. Becoming a pro-Israel activist on my campus has changed and shaped my personality and truly changed my perspective on things. I have begun to notice all the anti-Israel students and staff members who do not like what I do. However, our group is helping change the student body on campus by personalizing Israel and the Jewish people. We have had many students come up to us with questions like, “Who is Israel, a famous person or something?” It is amazing how many students on campus have no clue about the land of Israel or the conflict and that is why I believe we are on campus, to educate students. Our presence on campus is making a change.

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GS: What has been the greatest challenge regarding advocating for Israel?

HT: The greatest challenge was getting our group started. As I mentioned, it took over 14 weeks. I started at the end of September of 2013, when fall quarter began, and it finally became an official group in January of 2014. Just about every week I would go up to the Student Government and they would make excuses on why I could not and never would be allowed to start this pro-Israel group on campus. Even after receiving two advisers and over the required amount of student signatures, the Student Government told me several times, “It is impossible, we will not fund a group like this.” The original name was going to be Christians United For Israel, as a chapter of the largest pro-Israel organization in America, but they said “Christian” could not be in the name. Later they said that “Israel” could not be in the name, either!

It was a crazy process. Most of their excuses were, “all your group wants is money” and “the Israeli conflict will likely end in a year, so there is no point in starting a support group.” It seemed like their excuses would never cease. After being consistent and always going up to them and trying to change their views, they decided to allow it one day. Our name became Students Allied For Israel. My group and I were pleased to keep Israel in the name.

During the issues with the Student Government, students and officers of the groups started to give up on the mission on campus and leave the group. I was very glad though to get a group together the day that our club became official. Even now, after our club became official on campus, we have seen some hate from students. A hate letter was put up by our flier saying how Israelis murder innocent people and the like. We have had some fliers taken down around campus, but this does not stop us from putting more up. Students have been coming to our events and more students have become interested in Israel and the Jewish people. We know there will always be haters, but we also know that there will always be others who will be curious and later become warriors for Israel on campus like us.

GS: What have you heard of SodaStream before?

HT:  I have heard of SodaStream since it became a controversy. I have been a huge fan of this product and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! I am so excited to get one now because I plan to use it in my Pro-Israel club on campus. I am planning to do some tabling with the SodaStream machine and give out samples. While students sample the drinks, my club members and I will talk about how Israelis and Palestinians are working together. I really believe this will do something great on campus. A lot of students on my campus think that the Israelis and Palestinians are always at war and there is no peace. We are here on campus to show how peaceful Israel is and what they are doing to help create more peace.

GS: Where did you grow up, what year are you and what do you study?

HT:  I have lived on Vashon Island, in the Tacoma area, my whole life. I commute from the island to my classes at Tacoma Community College every day. I am a 17-year old Running Start student at TCC. I am finishing up my 2nd year of college with a General Associates degree and my high school diploma. I am planning to finish up my prerequisites for nursing at TCC in the next year and then transfer to a 4-year college.

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GS: What is your favorite thing about Israel?

HT: My favorite thing about Israel is how the people in the land have withstood so much horror through bombs, attacks, and lies. I love Israel and the Jewish people because of their strength and their unwillingness to settle for less of than who they are. Israel is a great and mighty nation, because the one and only great, mighty, and powerful God protects them. The Bible says about Israel in Genesis 12:3: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God supports Israel, so do I, and so does my group on campus.

Contributed by CAMERA intern Aaron Marks

J Street Exposed at Film Screening in Israel

March 26, 2014

The screening of “The J Street Challenge: A Seductive Allure of Peace in Our Time”, co-sponsored by Tel Aviv International Salon, CAMERA, and StandWithUs, attracted close to 300 participants at the Tel Aviv screening on March 18, 2014. According to its synopsis, “The film investigates the background of J Street and its founders, J Street’s organizational funding, and its alliances with organizations and individuals who are known to be hostile to the Jewish state.”

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Although J Street defines itself as being both pro-Israel and pro-peace, time and time again, J Street has supported organizations, bills, and individuals that contradict this message. At its 2011 Conference, J Street honored the Sheik Jarrah Solidarity Movement, an organization that falsely claims Israel is an apartheid state and supports the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement. J Street sponsored events with Students for Justice in Palestine, an organization that has made the ADL’s list of top 10 anti-Israel organizations in America, and denied they received the majority of their start-up funds from George Soros, who has stated that he is in fact not a Zionist and blamed anti-Semitism on Jews and Israel.

Aviva Slomich, CAMERA's Campus Director, Hila Volvo, Fellow for ISCA, Ariella Charny, CAMERA Consultant and Ralph Avi Goldwasser, Producer of "The J Street Challenge"

Aviva Slomich, CAMERA’s Campus Director, Hila Volpo, Fellow for ISCA, Ariella Charny, CAMERA Consultant, and Ralph Avi Goldwasser, Producer of “The J Street Challenge”

There are countless examples of incidences, statements, and sponsored events which offer good reason for one to be skeptical of J Street’s intentions. The “J Street Challenge” did an excellent job of identifying and exposing some of the most shocking antidotes provided by J Street, one of which being when co-founder Daniel Levy stated at a J Street Conference that “Israel ain’t such a good idea.”

The event included a question and answer session with the film’s producer, Ralph Avi Goldwasser.

By Aviva Slomich.

Gilead Ini speaks at UDelaware

March 25, 2014

On March 18, CAMERA Fellow Philip Chinitz hosted an event at the University of Delaware where CAMERA Senior Research Analyst Gilead Ini was featured. Mr. Ini talked about the six-month CAMERA study on bias in the New York Times. Mr. Ini explained graphs and the study overall to an audience which included members of Israel U, Hillel, Chabad, and CUFI.

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The event created awareness among the attendees of how newspapers can influence and affect readers’ impressions and opinions about a certain story. Some facts from the study include the disproportionately large disparity between the 33 articles which ignored the Israeli rationale for retaliations against Gazan rockets and the four which did (p. 47). These facts also helped show the audience why it is vital to research anything before one writes about them, especially for a newspaper.

Gilead Ini

Throughout the lecture, students were engaged and asked questions such as whether studies like the New York Times study are important for other news sources, and how the New York Times responded to the CAMERA study. Mr. Ini explained that studying other sources of journalism is important for ethics’ sake. He also answered that CAMERA is in contact with the chief of the Israel division at the New York Times and that the Times is aware that they are being monitored. Students expressed that they believe the topic of bias in journalism, especially regarding Israel, is important to look at closely.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Eli Cohn.

76% of Palestinians View America as an Enemy

March 24, 2014

In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, it was found that 76% of Palestinians view America as more of an enemy than a partner. The high percentage topped those of Pakistan (64%), Turkey (49%), and Lebanon (46%). In a study from 2010, it was found that Palestinians don’t think that a two-state solution is a likely solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, with 61% of Palestinians saying that “Israel and an independent Palestinian State” could not exist peacefully. The study also showed that many Palestinians (45%) believe that the way to achieve statehood is through armed struggle. In contrast, only 15% think that independent statehood can be achieved through negotiations, and another 15% think it can be achieved through nonviolent resistance.

Palestinian Educational Television

Palestinian Educational Television

The negative views of Palestinians towards America can be explained by Palestinian incitement, much like the Palestinian TV shows that portray Jews as “apes and pigs,” and books such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which, according to the US Holocaust Museum website, is taught throughout the Arab world as fact and is used by Hamas to justify terrorism against Israeli civilians. In addition, the Protocols are used in the Arab world as a basis for some TV shows, such as a mini-series in Egypt in 2002.

Al-Futuh, which aired on Al-Nas TV (Egypt) on August 18, 2010

Al-Futuh, which aired on Al-Nas TV (Egypt) on August 18, 2010

The fact that 45% of Palestinians think that violence is the way to gain independence is unacceptable. The fact that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership praise terrorists as “heroic martyrs” and place wreaths at their graves is unacceptable. Palestinians, living under a Palestinian government where there is no free press, see their leaders having negotiations constantly with Israelis with nothing coming of it, and then see that when Israeli soldiers are kidnapped, Arab prisoners are released. Looking at these facts, it could appear that violence is more helpful. Palestinians are more likely to have a favorable view of America and Israel if the state-controlled media of the Palestinian Authority either becomes free or the Palestinian Authority stops broadcasting anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda.

Read Spoon Feeding to learn more about Palestinian television.

Contributed by CAMERA intern Eli Cohn.

Iranium showing at Laurentian University

March 21, 2014

On February 11, the Laurentian University Jewish Students Association hosted a showing of Iranium: The Movie. The movie, a documentary, educates viewers about Iran and its nuclear program with such figures as R. James Woosley Jr., former Director of Central Intelligence, John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN, and Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN as well as current president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. In addition, the film gives a summary of the current Iranian regime’s actions towards the West. It also compares the current regime, which came about as a result of the 1979 revolution, to that of the Shah.

The students who attended this event watched the movie, got free food, and engaged in a discussion following the movie. Many of the students were sociology or political science majors, but the event did attract some science majors as well. The event was also a good pre-IAW event. As a result of the discussion, not only did people discuss the movie with everyone there, but people discussed the film later as well.

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Contributed by CAMERA intern Eli Cohn.

Letter to the Editor: A Response to the Gavel’s Reflection on AIPAC

March 20, 2014

This piece was originally published in the March 12th 2014 edition of The Gavel. It was written by Michael Woodbury, a member of the CCAP (CAMERA supported) group Eagles for Israel.

Author’s note: I too spent the first weekend of spring break in Washington DC for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2014 Policy Conference. Below is my reflection on, and response to, the atrocious article by Evan Goldstein published on March 10, 2014 under the title: “Opinions: A Reflection on the AIPAC Policy Conference.” The content is my own, and does not reflect the opinions of the Gavel or any organizations with which I am affiliated.

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When I returned from the AIPAC 2014 Policy Conference, I was both excited and suspicious upon learning that at least one Boston College student also attended the conference, unbeknown to me. Last night, my suspicions proved legitimate when the Gavel published Evan Goldstein’s reflections on the conference. The article had a strong, accurate introductory sentence, but then immediately plummeted into the abyss of anti-Zionist arguments, never to return.

Indeed, the Arab-Israeli/Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is incredibly complicated, and as such, neither ‘side’ is entirely free from criticism. That being said, it is illogical and even reprehensible to claim that AIPAC is obliged to foster the growth of sentiment that demonizes Israel, meanwhile ignoring the efforts of other lobbying organizations. Think about this: do you expect AIPAC to host a blatantly anti-Israel speaker, thus supporting the circulation of his/her message?

Goldstein claims that AIPAC’s efforts impede peace without mentioning government-sponsored incitement against Israel and the Jewish people that is ever-present within the Palestinian Authority. Naturally, there are Palestinians who hope for a fair and peaceful resolution to the Conflict, but their numbers are quickly diminishing due to incitement in their children’s schoolbooks and media. If you wish to learn more on this specific issue, please consider attending Eagles For Israel’s event, ‘Incitement: An Obstacle to Peace’ next Tuesday, March 18th at 7:00 PM in Gasson Hall Room 202.

Contrary to Goldstein’s claims, Israel’s construction of housing within Judea and Samaria (the ‘West Bank’) is not illegal, nor is it done within a ‘sovereign land of the Palestinians.’ Judea and Samaria encompasses locations with the most ancient Jewish connections to the region, where stories from the Old Testament are believed to have transpired. In recent history, J&S passed from control by the Ottoman Turks to the British Mandate for Palestine in 1917, transitioning to Jordanian control from ’48 until ’67 when the Israeli military removed Jordanian authorities from the area in the defensive 1967 Six-Day War. Jordan forfeited claim to J&S under the terms of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. To this day, Judea and Samaria has never been part of a sovereign nation, nor has a sovereign nation of Palestine ever been internationally recognized in this land or elsewhere.

These facts aside, I am not saying that Israel’s construction of housing within Judea and Samaria is a great decision. But in order to pass judgment on the situation, one must understand the history of the land and the facts about this construction. Jewish housing areas comprise less than 3% of the land in Judea and Samaria. Most of the construction highlighted by the media is actually taking place within the confines of ‘settlements’ that have existed for years. These areas can hardly be described as settlements any more than American towns and small cities could.

Goldstein continues, mentioning “the displacement of Palestinians by Israeli paramilitary groups in 1948,” ignoring the calls by Arab leaders for the complete evacuation of Arabs from the lands of the former British Mandate. These leaders anticipated a quick and decisive victory of the five-plus-nation invasion of Israel, allowing these Arabs to return to the land now Judenrein.

Next, Goldstein asserts a “legitimate claim to a right of return for Palestinian refugees” without any discussion of the complications of the question of Palestinian refugees. He ignores the unique classification of Palestinian refugees by the United Nations under the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). A Palestinian’s refugee status lasts despite gaining citizenship to another nation and passes down to all descendants for several generations. As a result, the estimated 650,000 original Palestinian Refugees now amount to over 5,000,000. All other factors aside, how can you expect a nation whose population is just under 8,000,000 to accommodate for an additional five million people? Finally, Goldstein ignores the 700,000 Jewish refugees from Arab nations after the founding of the State of Israel.

Now for the fun part…let’s briefly talk Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas recently began his tenth year of a four-year term, and does not have control over Gaza. Goldstein considers Abbas to be a ‘partner in peace’ who supports a two-state solution. Why, then, does the Fatah party flag feature a map of ‘Palestine,’ a single state comprised of Israel, Gaza, and J&S? Why, then, does Abbas refuse to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a Jewish state while demanding Israel recognize the right of the Palestinian people to a Palestinian state?

We cannot lose focus of the issue at hand. The Israeli and Palestinian peoples are not at fault. Instead, we must blame their leadership and urge leaders to revise their policies. For instance, do not blame the Israeli people for the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. Rather, advocate against the terrorist organization, Hamas, which rules over Gaza and misuses given resources in their devout campaign for the destruction of Israel.

Goldstein closes his piece by addressing a common tool of anti-Zionists, the claim that Zionists use the Holocaust as justification for Palestinian suffering. In truth, Zionists suggest that if Israel existed at the time of World War II, the Jewish people would not have known the Holocaust. Moreover, studies of European anti-Semitism reveal a distinct similarity to anti-Zionism today.

I have issued a challenge to Evan Goldstein to a public debate, and extend this challenge to any other Boston College student who propagates misguided antagonism of the State of Israel.

For more information on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, please check out the Facebook ‘Like’ Page for Eagles For Israel (EIBC): www.facebook.com/EaglesForIsraelBC. Next week marks EIBC’s second annual ‘Israel Peace Week @ BC,’ and event information can be found on the FB page.

-Michael Woodbury, Boston College Class of 2014

Michael is a senior from Lexington, Massachusetts graduating with a concentration in Accounting and minor in Philosophy. He has received countless hours of training and education in activism and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, most notably as a Hasbara Fellow. He has travelled to Israel and Judea and Samaria four times totaling around 2 ½ months, and will be returning for a fifth visit in June.

 

Disclaimer: The photo and content related to this letter have been provided by the writer and are not the property of Gavel Media.

A Manipulative Campaign

March 19, 2014

This piece was originally published on March, 11th 2014 in The Link by CAMERA Fellow Michelle Soicher.

Michelle Soicher is second year Theatre student at Concordia University.

Michelle Soicher is a second year Theatre student at Concordia University.

This week, Israeli Apartheid Week events will be mounted all across the city with participation from McGill University, the Université de Montreal, and Concordia.

Concordia has a long and troublesome history with Israeli affairs. In 2002, pro-Palestinian student activists rioted when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to speak.

Determined to keep him from his lecture, the students became violent, breaking windows and damaging property until the event had to be cancelled due to safety concerns. Fortunately, the discourse around the Israeli-Arab conflict at Concordia has become less violent in the past 12 years, but there is still a war of information on campus. It is important students seek out the truth of the situation.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is dense; it is riddled with political, cognitive arguments as well as emotional and historical events. As with any long-standing international conflict, there are multiple sides to the story. Israeli Apartheid Week denies that, and presents a clear story: the Arab Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are suffering and it is Israel’s fault.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Israeli Apartheid Week is a manipulative campaign that capitalizes on students’ bad habits, namely laziness.

Presenting information without context and presenting a conclusion without the backstory eliminates the need for students to do research on things like death tolls, for example. Thousands of Arabs and Jews have lost their lives in this ongoing conflict. Every human life is a loss, but by showing that more Palestinians die than Israelis, Israeli Apartheid Week presents Israel as the aggressor and the Palestinians as victims. The campaign “Visualizing Palestine: Infographics Display,” which is on display now at the McGill Faculty of Law, presents synthesized, oversimplified and manipulated statistics that enforce these narratives without presenting a larger picture or reasoning behind the numbers.

Israeli Apartheid Week campaigns rely on media sources that have also presented statistics that include known terrorists as civilians in their lists of casualties. This presentation of facts hides and thereby excuses Hamas’s brutal, human-shield tactics. Hamas’s military centers are in highly populated areas often near schools and hospitals, deliberately endangering the lives of civilians.

Students should be wary of the information presented at Israeli Apartheid Week events; many statistics and “facts” are manipulated or changed to create alarm.

Israeli Apartheid Week is very closely linked to the Boycott Divestment and Sanction campaign, supported by the Graduate Student Association at Concordia. The GSA has stated in some of their BDS publications that one of their goals is to eradicate the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies at Concordia, as well as to cut academic and economic ties with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. These actions would affect many students at Concordia as they would sever ties with some of the leading scholars in Technological, Middle Eastern, and Religious Studies.

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This campaign again capitalizes on students’ affinity for not doing anything. BDS states that by not buying Israeli goods or supporting Israeli academics, students can help improve the lives of thousands of Palestinians. The truth is that supporting BDS cuts off Israeli aid and support for Syrians and Palestinians to be treated in Israeli hospitals.

Israel is not an apartheid state. Apartheid South Africa implemented laws that discriminated against black people to suppress them and create a racial hierarchy. Israel is a democracy where Arabs and Jews (as well as Christians, women and LGBT persons) have equal rights and can be educated, given medical treatment, serve in the military and work in government positions. Because of safety concerns brought upon by suicide bombers, checkpoints, fences, and other security measures have been implemented.

These hindrances inconvenience Arabs and Jews, though they are not in place to discriminate but rather to keep Israeli citizens safe from terror. To make the comparison of Israel to South Africa is an insult to the people who suffered through true apartheid in South Africa and those who fought against it worldwide.

Above illustration is by Sarah Lazarovic of Tablet Magazine

Above illustration is by Sarah Lazarovic of Tablet Magazine

Israeli Apartheid Week aims to give students a shortcut to a complicated affair, but ends up presenting falsehoods, only hindering the prospect for peace in the Middle East. Like cram sessions and SparkNotes, shortcuts are not a long term solution and they do not create lasting results.

Time needs to be invested into creating lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel has given land for peace before and has since suffered almost 3000 missile attacks from that same land in the last two years alone. To imply that it is only Israel that needs to make concessions and changes implies that the Palestinian Liberation Organization, who encourages armed acts of resistance, is faultless.

Regardless if the ultimate solution is one state, two states, a bi-national state or something else entirely, students need to understand that the process of creating lasting peace takes time. Rushing to peace based on misinformation is harmful to everyone. It’s like putting a band-aid over a wound without washing it first, ignoring the severity of the injury and allowing it to become infected and spread diseases to the entire body.

Israeli Apartheid Week does not present a true path to peace or healing, but instead simplifies and distorts the conflict.

In these upcoming weeks I encourage students to be vigilant, attentive and critical of Israeli Apartheid Week and to be smart enough not to be manipulated by their tactics or fall victim to misinformation.

Michelle Soicher is a Committee for Accuracy for Middle East Reporting in America fellow.

Providing Dreams in an Age of Electronic Journalism

March 18, 2014

This piece is by Beata Samel. Beata is the CCAP Liaison for the Israel Club (The New York State Israel Public Affairs Committee) at Brooklyn College. This piece was originally published in The Excelsior.

Ali Abunimah views his creation—the Electronic Intifada, a non-mainstream news website established in 2001, aimed at providing a perspective of the Palestinian people—as being professional and high standard. I beg to differ. This new wave of predatory electronic journalism preys upon college students and seeks to sell a defamed view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of its mainstream political processes. At the Students for Justice in Palestine’s event with Abunimah on March 6, 2013, called “The Battle for Justice in Palestine,” I witnessed firsthand the kind of consequences these civic projects have.

Beata at the CAMERA student conference in Boston. Front, 2nd from right.

Beata at the CAMERA student conference in Boston. Front, 2nd from right.

It’s easy for college students to be attracted to online news sources, like the Electronic Intifada, and activists, like Ali Abunimah. After being sold a bleeding heart during their formative years in college, all grassroots organizations become legitimate simply for being grassroots. That’s where the Electronic Intifada and Ali Abunimah come in. Much of their readers come from the political fringes of society—or the mainstream of college campuses. The calculated, non-threatening tone of the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine are traded in for the “professional” headlines of “How the Israel Lobby is Courting Latinos” in Electronic Intifada, accompanied by photos of teary-eyed Palestinian women and angsty-looking teenagers lining the site.

What many of the readers of Electronic Intifada—and therefore many of the attendees of the March 6 event—cannot admit to is that Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) have no place in mainstream Israeli-Palestinian politics. Simply reading any New York Times, Economist, or Al Jazeera article about the current talks being waged reveals no inclination for boycotting Israel to budge a one-state solution—as if that were even being considered at all. The true callings of the people, of the grandchildren of “Nakba” victims, which always have to be radical, are the unattainable.

A blunder of “bleeding heartism” is that the one-state solution is somehow viable. I would describe this as the ultimate strategy of the even on March 6—that a one-state solution, and by association, BDS desired against Israeli products and institutions—is a realistic goal. The whole strategy, BDS and all, of a one-state solution has absolutely no place in the current discussions being waged between Israel and Palestine. Almost half of Palestinians support a two-state solution under the provisions of the current talks, in addition to more than half of Israelis. Even among the quarter of Palestinians who support a one-state solution, there is no presence of the BDS movement within the West Bank or Gaza, with an advisor to the PA stating, “we have agreements with Israel… we are not asking anyone to boycott products of Israel.” There is no desire on the side of the Palestinian Authority, the governing body of the West Bank, to endorse BDS to budge a one-state solution. Despite this, the bi-national, “la-la land” articles on Electronic Intifada and claims by Abunimah that there are BDS initiatives within Gaza and the West Bank are common reading subjects.

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While many of the attendees were bigoted in their adamancy of Israel as an apartheid state, Abunimah’s talk and website reveal more than just a desire to help the people of the West Bank and Gaza. Articles on the Electronic Intifada crudely describe the domestic problems within Israel, involving the supposed mistreatment of illegal African immigrants and refugees, with one example headline beginning with “Israeli Jewish hate rally against Africans.” An attendee in the event chose to speak out “in concern with the… African refugees in Israel,” saying “there are DVD’s, there are videos, there are videos online” of the violence.

This leads us to wonder how far advocate journalists can go in criticizing “the oppressor.” For example, what would activists fighting for Tibet’s rights or autonomy have to gain from criticizing workers’ rights within Chinese sweatshops? A suspicious alarm can be raised when activists go outside the boundaries of their prescribed cause, which results in bigotry. Abunimah and his website cross these suspicious lines, expecting the whole of Israel to be embarrassed and brought to its knees in the hopes that this somehow creates a one-state solution.

Bigotry and, above all, absurdity are fast becoming the track of grassroots media in the United States. Websites like Electronic Intifada and even Mandoweiss.net convey a message to young, highly impressionable college students: that since the mainstream media is out of touch and against you, you may as well put all your effort into more rewarding causes.

The supportive students at SJP’s event on Thursday night may be putting all their passion into the dream of a one-state solution, but the Palestinians are yet to have the actual desire to see this turned into a reality, or a bi-national nightmare. But that’s another topic.