We’ve seen the insidious impact of singling out Jews
Zionism is the movement to create and support not only a Jewish homeland but also a refuge from antisemitism. That homeland is the state of Israel. The Mapping Project, which has been endorsed by BDS Boston, seeks to dismantle Jewish organizations that have a purported connection to the state of Israel (“Mapping project seen as call to violence against Jews,” Metro, June 16). This includes many Jewish philanthropic organizations that support the Jewish community at large.
Throughout history, we have seen these attempts to ostracize Jews. We have seen the antisemitic rhetoric of Adolf Hitler lead to the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935, followed by Kristallnacht in November 1938 targeting Jewish businesses and synagogues for destruction, and eventually leading to the murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.
Many Israelis and American Jews disagree with Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians. However, regardless of our differences on Israeli policies, it is safe to say that the threats to Jewish life in the United States posed by those who created the Mapping Project should unite us in our support for the state of Israel as a refuge from this type of antisemitism.
Mapping Project highlights harms that should be acknowledged
I share Robert Trestan’s concern about increasing hate crimes in the United States, including those fueled by antisemitism (“Mapping project by Israel critics is antisemitic and must be condemned,” Opinion, June 14). However, I cannot endorse Trestan’s call for condemnation of the Mapping Project.
The project identifies 13 well-defined “harms,” such as militarization, ecological harm, and Zionism (representing settler colonialism). The map identifies five types of “links,” such as association-collaboration, financial support, and partnership-ownership-membership, among more than 480 “entities,” such as universities, weapons manufacturers, police stations, etc., in 23 categories, only one of which is uniquely related to Israel: the Israeli consulate.
So, for example, there is no call to dismantle Harvard; rather, the call is to oppose Harvard’s relations with entities engaging in harm, such as that a board member of the defense contractor Raytheon is on the Harvard faculty. The site provides links in relation to an American Friends Service Committee report that F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters contain components manufactured by BAE Systems, and that these have been used repeatedly “in Israeli attacks on densely populated civilian areas,” killing thousands and destroying essential civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and Palestine. Trestan’s phrase “vile and sinister” is better applied to these attacks than to a website that categorizes them as “harms.”
Gary M. Stewart
Laguna Beach, Calif.
There is a purpose to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement
Let me be clear: I wholeheartedly support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement as a nonviolent way to dismantle the apartheid system in Israel. In addition, I believe that Zionism means many things to many people, and it is now rightfully being targeted as the driving force behind the displacement of the Palestinian people.
In a June 14 op-ed “Mapping project by Israel critics is antisemitic and must be condemned,” Robert Trestan, the New England regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, criticized the Mapping Project for its overreach in targeting so many Jewish organizations. But Trestan himself overreaches in suggesting that the Mapping Project shows that the BDS movement is antisemitic. In my view, the ADL consistently conflates the issue of criticism of Israel with antisemitism and uses it to deflect and to defend Israel no matter what policies the country enacts.
If the ADL were true to its mission, it would be outraged, for example, regarding the expulsion by Israel of at least 1,000 Palestinian Muslim residents of Masafer Yatta in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills who have been living there for generations. Why is the ADL silent about this issue?
The hatred in this project should be condemned by all
Re “Mapping project seen as call to violence against Jews”: The targeting of Jews because of policy disagreements with Israel is the newest iteration of the oldest hatred, antisemitism. The developers of the Mapping Project are conflating members of a particular religious group, of which I am proudly a member, with the actions and existence of the only Jewish state. This insidious bias is as ancient as the Jewish people themselves and should be condemned by all groups, both majority and marginalized. If this naked hatred against people and institutions because of their Jewish connections is shrugged off, then that will give permission to haters to target any group because of perceived flaws.