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Friday, July 7, 2017

Antisemitism or media bias?

Antisemitism or media bias?

No, I'm not asking this in general, so please don't take the gloves off yet. Relax. There has been a specific controversy lately and very little pushback on a large scale. There was an excellent discussion on this in the FB group for a podcast I love, Radio Dispatch, they considered the charge and as new facts were brought to light, people didn't double down on the original position or throw around baseless personal attacks, which was refreshing and productive.

NYT smear piece:

Another, rather worse, smear piece I became aware of through a supposedly liberal organization online:

Always a good resource, here's what Mondoweiss had to say on the whole thing:
Anti-Semitism accusations against ‘Dyke March’ prove pro-Israel lobby will torch LGBT rights for marginalized people

This TIME article is particularly bad because it is not only devoid of facts, but also makes wild baseless accusations. First, it asserts that Jews were denied expressing their intersection of religion and sexuality, which is false - others with stars of David on shirts, signs and flags were welcomed and not ejected. Which begs the question, what did these three individuals do differently?

Greenblatt of the ADL in the TIME piece pointed to these things as examples of intolerance

Last summer, a plank in the platform of the Movement for Black Lives bizarrely accused Israel of genocide.
Linda Sarsour, a leader of the women’s rights movement, has lambasted Zionism as incompatible with feminism and advocates for the exclusion of pro-Israel Jews from activist groups. And some in the anti-Israel movement have accused Israel of “pink-washing,” claiming that Israel and its supporters celebrate freedoms enjoyed by the LGBTQ community in Israel to divert attention from Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Genocide? Bizzare? It's a frequent consideration due to the indiscriminate use of deadly force and talk of "demographic threats." Here's one example of Holocaust survivors' concern for Israel's genocidal tendencies:

The TIME piece ends by saying they, the ADL,". . . demand that our allies observe those fundamental values that we also seek to live by: equality, fairness and respect for all."

This is a noble goal, but when you try and whitewash history and ignore Palestinian suffering at the hands of the oppressed turned oppressor, you are no longer heading in the general direction of these ideals; you're going the opposite direction.

Zionism is to many, by definition, a colonial and genocidal undertaking. Maybe we need to be asking what do YOU mean by Zionism? What do you mean by a Jewish homeland? The right simply to exist in peace with equal representation such that all peoples' rights are protected? Great! Or do you mean the right to exist as a Jewish entity protecting Jewish rights, thereby necessitating the ethnic cleansing of another group, namely Palestinians? The right to continue the Occupation until a (suitable to you) government emerges from the rubble of the starved open air prison you created? When a person objects to Zionism, you cannot charge antisemitism automatically.

A few notes and facts can be found in the links to the official statements of several groups below, facts which are missing in the TIME and NYT articles that only seem to quote one woman who was kicked out and no other witnesses or organizers or Palestinian groups that may have been involved to make this grand pronouncement of antisemitism. From what I gathered, one or all of the three ejected were members (one was a director, possibly?) of A Wider Bridge, a problematic organization in support of various IDF actions against Palestinians that go against the anti-colonial position of the March and violate human rights more broadly. They weren't just there as LGBTQ Jews, they were loudly anti-Palestinian and increasingly belligerent when asked to be respectful of the March's aims and others marching.

Chicago Dyke March Collective's statement:

JVP statement: If Not Now statement:

More on A Wider Bridge and why these individuals as opposed to other Jewish participants were asked to leave:

Among problems with A Wider Bridge are (from EI article above):

+ In 2016

+ "In 2014, A Wider Bridge sponsored rallies addressed by Israeli government officials in support of Israel’s 51-day bombing campaign that devastated the Gaza Strip and left 2,200 Palestinians – more than 550 of them children– dead."

 + And at the March-  "the altering of chants to erase the word “Palestine,”" among other things.

+ In general- "A key goal of Israel and its lobby groups in recent years has been to inoculate Israel against criticism by obscuring the line between anti-Jewish bigotry, on the one hand, and criticism of Israel and its state ideology Zionism, on the other."

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