The new year began with BDS inspired antisemitism morphing fully into pro-Hamas and anti-capitalist protests. Street protests aimed at institutions regarded as supportive of or supported by Jews, including the White House and hospitals, have been targeted with impunity, along with transportation hubs.
The accusation of genocide brought by South Africa at the behest of Hamas and Iran in the ‘International Court of Justice’ has further empowered demonstrators to attack Israel and its supporters at a visceral level. This has engendered overt antisemitism, where Jews are treated as the source of all evils from genocide to capitalism, to which all forms of ‘resistance’ are legitimate. These newly clarified underpinnings have changed the nature of BDS, alienating some supporters but giving it broader and more violent appeal on the far left. Embedding these doctrines in education from K-12 through the university level poses a grave threat to American society and to Jews worldwide.
Editor’s Note: The rapid growth of BDS-related antisemitism since the October 7 Hamas attack has required the BDS Monitor to be greatly expanded. Readers may need to open the monitor in their browser to see the entire report. Readers are also reminded that a shortened version appears in The Algemeiner.
BDS activities in January were characterized by increasingly disruptive protests aimed at institutions accused of supporting Israel. Accusations that Israel is undertaking “genocide” against the Palestinians have become standard and were boosted by the spurious case brought against Israel brought by South Africa in the ‘International Court of Justice.’ The intersectional pathway pioneered by BLM and climate protests legitimized protests and ‘resistance’ has now focused on Israel and Jews, along with capitalism, as root causes of global oppression.
From Christmas onward protestors have blocked bridges, highways, tunnels, train stations, airport access roads and other transportation infrastructure in major cities around the country. Disrupting travelers in major cities such as Chicago Seattle, and New York has been a goal along with tourist attractions such as Disneyland Egregiously, the entrance to the Los Angeles National Cemetery was vandalized with the words “Free Gaza.” The most dangerous incident involved releasing balloons at Kennedy Airport with the intent of disrupting flight operations.
Few arrests were made and no prosecutions appear forthcoming. Police and prosecutors are unwilling or unable to exert control over the pro-Hamas mobs. This was viscerally demonstrated as protestors attempted to swarm the White House, throwing bottles at police, yelling “fuck Joe Biden,” and destroying an outer fence. Biden was also heckled during an appearance at a Charleston church while in Dallas protestors tried to storm the tarmac and surround Air Force One.
Elsewhere the home of Secretary of State Antony Blinken was protested and splattered with fake blood, while the offices and homes of Congressional representatives have been vandalized and picketed. Protestors also gathered outside a building where Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was attending a Shabbat dinner with his daughter and chanted “free Palestine.”
A new lawsuit alleges that the Biden Administration has instructed Federal law enforcement to refrain from investigating pro-Hamas protests in order to not offend the American Muslim community.
The “Flood Manhattan for Gaza MLK Day March for Healthcare” – simultaneously usurping the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and mimicking the name of Hamas’ October 7 invasion of Israel, “Al-Aqsa Flood” – was a notable example of the protests. The march across Manhattan was aimed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center led by the communist/BDS group ‘Within Our Lifetime’ (WOL). Video of the event showed WOL’s leader, Nerdeen Kiswani shouting to the several hundred protestors “Make sure they hear you, they’re in the windows,” and “MSK, shame on you, you support genocide too.” The chants were aimed at children within the hospital.
The rationale given later by Kiswani was that “Sloan Kettering accepted a *400 million dollar donation* from billionaire Zionist Ken Griffin, the largest in their history. This was *after* he threatened pro-Palestine student activists at Harvard with revoked job offers. Our medical institutions are not innocent bystanders.” A report by WOL justifying their activities and condemning the police displayed sophisticated intelligence and analysis capabilities suggestive of state level training or support.
Later in January International Holocaust Remembrance Day was similarly hijacked with protests and marches but New York police shut down an attempt to blockade Kennedy Airport.
Pro-Hamas protests are increasingly characterized by violence:
· During the march to the Memorial Sloan Kettering a Jewish woman and her daughter were accosted by protestors who banged on their car and shouted “You murderous Jews,’ ‘Death to all you Jewish bastards.”
· A New Jersey family was verbally abused in a local mall by a group of Muslims.
· Three Hebrew speakers were attacked in central London by individuals shouting “free Palestine” and “fuck the Jews.”
· A Toronto deli with the name ‘IDF’ was burned down
· In Edmonton, security guard Bezhani Sarvar entered the city hall, fired a weapon and threw several molotov cocktails. In a now deleted Youtube video Sarzar cited Gaza as one of the motivations for his attack.
· A mob of masked individuals swarmed a Jewish charity event in North London, abused passers-by and attempted to break into the building. No arrests were made.
The targeting of Jewish supported or Jewish owned enterprises by BDS/pro-Hamas activists extends to all levels. In San Francisco Jewish and Israeli owned restaurants have been vandalized and have received negative online reviews. Even bagel shops report being harassed by telephone calls demanding to know whether the owner is a “Zionist.” In Vincenza in northern Italy riot police were called to quell violent protests against the presence of an Israeli exhibitor at an annual jewelry fair.
A variety of Holocaust memorials were vandalized, including in Berlin and Philadelphia, while more mundane means were hijacked to spread anti-Israel messages, including highway signs in Arizona which were programmed to read “Free Gaza.” The famous ‘Fearless Girl’ statue on Wall Street was also dressed in Palestinian garb.
The crossover into simple theft was also shown when an anarchist group responded to a story from the BDS movement that that the takeout chain Pret a Manger had opened branches in Israel with calls for New York area stores to be robbed.
The larger focus of unified anti-Israel/anti-capitalism protests was made clear by climate personality Greta Thunberg who has now appeared at several pro-Hamas rallies, who stated “We cannot remain silent. No one can remain silent when there’s an ongoing genocide… We must always stand up and speak against oppression, against imperialism, against war and against discrimination and racism in all forms.”
The focus was made even more clear by a speaker at “The People’s Forum” in New York City who stated: “When we finally deal that final blow to destroy Israel. When the state of Israel is finally destroyed and erased from history, that will be the single most important blow we can give to destroying capitalism.” This is a recapitulation of the classic antisemitic theme of Jewish control of capitalism.
The role of “The People’s Forum” helps bring into view relationships between various BDS, pro-Hamas, anti-capitalist, and anti-American groups, including their alliance with the ‘Democratic Socialists of America’ (DSA). The DSA’s reported financial crisis, brought about as many donors have abandoned the group precisely because of their Hamas support, still leaves an unknown number of members in elected positions, including as Democrats, and especially unelected positions, such as on school boards.
The funders of pro-Hamas/anti-capitalist protests have also come under greater scrutiny, including multimillion dollar payouts from cities including Seattle and New York to BLM activists allegedly injured by police during the 2020 riots. In addition to government funding the role of theTides Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) in supporting BDS has been long documented. Reports indicate that RBF along with the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation and donor advised funds administrated by Charles Schwab were among those supporting the January 3 protests in New York City that included the ‘Palestinian Youth Movement,’ the New York branch of the Democratic Socialists of America,’ ‘Writers Against War On Gaza,’ ‘Jewish Voice for Peace,’ ‘Al-Awda,’ and ‘Critical Resistance.’
Among those supporting “The People’s Forum” are donor advised funds administered by the Goldman Sachs Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) excoriated the firm for its role supporting “The People’s Forum,” which in turn stated that “Goldman Sachs has no relationship with The People’s Forum and does not share its values.”
The unification of BDS, Islamist, and communist/antifa groups (called in Europe the ‘red-green alliance’), including groups which share toolkits, talking points, and organizing advice on anti-Israel and anti-capitalist issues, raises the question of which faction is charge. The support given by communist millionaires, some of whom are aligned with or even assets of the Chinese Communist Party, Qatari support for Islamist groups, and the upswing in officially sanctioned antisemitism within China, suggest strategic plans to disrupt American politics and culture. This is complemented by Iranian control of Islamist organizations in Britain which have been at the forefront of pro-Hamas demonstrations, as well as Muslim Brotherhood influence operations in cyberspace aimed at Israel both internally and internationally.
The strong Iranian relationship with South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, including financial investments, as well as electoral considerations aimed at South Africa’s 900,000 Muslim voters, have been suggested to be motivations for that country’s legal assault on Israel in the ‘International Court of Justice.’
The evolution of Western anti-Israel street protests in which violence is a dominant feature suggests the intent to shape culture and politics in the months prior to the 2024 presidential election around the unique villainy of Israel and Jews. This is similar to how the George Floyd riots in 2020 helped shape the 2020 elections around the theme of police violence and white supremacy, which are also incorporated into criticisms of Israel and Jews. The fact that there is evidence at at least some protestors are paid makes the instrumental nature of the protests clearer.
The most notable development in January related to BDS on campus was the resignation of Harvard University president Claudine Gray after disastrous testimony before a House committee investigating campus antisemitism. Gay’s resignation came as a result of plagiarism investigations. Harvard’s problems continued, however when interim President Alan Garber announced the creation of taskforces on antisemitism and ‘Islamophobia.’ The antisemitism committee will be chaired by Jewish studies professor Derek Penslar, who has opposed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and has accused Israel of “a regime of apartheid” aimed at Palestinians.
The transparent dissembling behind the strategy of creating ‘taskforces’ such as Harvard’s, Yale’s and Northwestern’s to address the inevitably paired problems of antisemitism and ‘Islamophobia’ (or ‘hate’) staffed by the same faculty and bureaucrats who created and perpetuated campus problems is unsurprising. The strategy was explicitly criticized by former Harvard president Lawrence Summers who stated that he had lost confidence in the institution’s leadership and its ability to “to maintain Harvard as a place where Jews and Israelis can flourish.”
Also transparent is the ruse of creating new Jewish studies or antisemitism studies chairs or programs, to be filled by products of the system that has downplayed campus and especially Muslim antisemitism. Similar problems extend to outsiders brought in to investigate schools. For example, at St. Andrews University a barrister appointed to investigate the behavior of the school’s rector with regard to the Gaza War resigned after it was revealed she had signed a letter attacking Israel.
In response, Congress continues to demand documents from leading universities detailing their efforts to contend with antisemitism. The tax exempt status of universities has also been question by lawmakers with respect to antisemitism and institutionalized discrimination embedded in DEI efforts.
With the return to campus universities are attempting to cope with promised anti-Israel student unrest.
· At Harvard University the administration notified students that regulations prohibit protests inside university buildings, a disruptive practice that became common in the fall semester. Similar regulations banning protests within buildings were issued at American University while a pro-Hamas demonstration inside a library at New York University was dispersed by university authorities.
· Columbia University’s “Day of Dialogue” event included University of California professor and noted BDS supporter Hatem Bazian.
· The University of California Regents tabled a proposal to limit the ability of individual departments and programs from posting political statements on their websites. A similar policy at Barnard College was criticized by the ACLU as an infringement on ‘academic freedom.’ Statements accusing Israel of ‘genocide’ have become common since October 7. These and other political solidarity statements represent in fact institutional means to control individual faculty speech.
University funding also continues to be targeted as donors reject administration handling of campus antisemitism and the ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ (DEI) ideologies and policies. Major donors to Harvard University and Rutgers University have announced they will no longer give to the institution, and donors to the California College of Arts have threatened to revoke a bequest. A major supporter of Cornell University, former trustee Jon Lindseth, announced he would no longer donate. Lindseth demanded the resignation of the university president and the removal of DEI ideology and policies. This call was rejected by the board of trustees.
In response to the now well established donor revolt, faculty members have warned that the viewpoint neutrality on Israel and other issues jeopardized ‘academic freedom’ and was a Republican political plot. For example, at the University of Pennsylvania faculty members warned that investor and Democratic fundraiser Marc Rowan was leading a “hostile Republican takeover of a distressed institution.”
Conversely, pro-BDS alumni of the University of California have also now threatened to withhold donations until the university system divests from Israel and adopts Israel boycotts.
Universities have generally been reluctant to enforce sanctions on students arrested during pro-Hamas protests, although charges remain in place against Brown University students and three University of Massachusetts students who have been prohibited from participating in study abroad programs. Faculty continue to oppose sanctions, as demonstrated as the Brandeis University faculty senate voted to request the university and local authorities drop charges against students arrest in the fall semester.
In response to the rapid spread of antisemitic incidents the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education has announced investigations of at least 42 colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota, and the University of North Carolina, Brown University Additional investigations of Arizona State University, Northwestern University, Yale University, and Abraham Lincoln University, along with Temple University, Ohio State University, and Muhlenberg College have also been announced. Catherine Lhamon, head of the OCR, professed to be “astounded” at the increase in antisemitic incidents since October 7.
Additional complaints regarding antisemitism have been filed with the Department of Education regarding American University while individual lawsuits have been filed against Harvard University and McMaster University and the school’s student union, accusing both of fomenting campus antisemitism since October.
Faculty members continue to be at the forefront of supporting BDS and Hamas:
· At Columbia University a new branch of ‘Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine’ was formed under the aegis of the BDS movement. The group defended the slogans “from the river to the sea…” and “intifada” as having “complex histories and meanings” and demanded the “administration renew its commitment to long-standing principles of shared and transparent governance.”
· Another branch was formed at Harvard University and pledged “to support, defend, and protect our students, faculty, staff, and all Harvard affiliates organizing for Palestinian human rights, justice, and peace in Palestine/Israel.”
· A University of Pennsylvania “Penn Faculty for Justice in Palestine” group condemned the university’s “one sided rhetoric” on the Gaza War, alleged outside interference and that the “the movement for justice in Palestine has become crucial to the defense of academic freedom,” and demanded “shared governance” of the university. The group also held a ‘die-in’ on the steps of a university building.
· Individual faculty members at Cornell University, the University of California at Irvine, and other institutions canceled classes in solidarity with the ‘Global Strike for Palestine.’ An adjunct faculty member at New York University was suspended after it was reported he had denied Hamas atrocities and described New York as a “Zionist city” at an SJP event.
· The union representing York University’s teaching assistants distributed a toolkit instructing them to “collectively divert this week’s tutorials to teaching on Palestinian liberation.” The toolkit denounces Israel saying “It is a medical issue. An arts issue. A feminist issue. A society issue. A political issue. A cultural issue. A geography issue. An engineering issue. An architecture issue,” denounces “Zionist cultural institutions, and accuses the university of complicity in “genocide.”
· The University of Michigan faculty senate passed a resolution calling on the institution from to divest from corporations “with financial ties to Israel’s military” but did not call for ties to be cut with Israeli universities. The senate also condemned the administration’s cancelation of a student referendum after BDS supporters had illegally accessed a university-wide email system.
The massive upswing in expressions of antisemitism from medical professionals, including in journals and on social media, intensified in January. The leading example was Rupa Marya, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who stated that “The presence of Zionism in US medicine should be examined as a structural impediment to health equity.” She was quickly condemned by her university which called her “tired racist trope” “morally reprehensible” and “intellectually bankrupt” and she was disinvited from a ‘decolonizing medicine’ conference. Accusations of Jewish medical perfidy have now also appeared in Britain and are reminiscent of the 1953 ‘Doctor’s Plot’ in the Soviet Union.
The October 7 massacre has helped reveal the extent to which disciplines including social work have become systemically antisemitic as a function of the ‘oppressor -oppressed’ mindset explicit in DEI and ‘critical race theory.’ Protestors at the Columbia University School of Social Work and the University of Toronto celebrating the massacre and there are growing accounts of individual Jewish students and faculty being abused. A recent paper by two social work faculty members at the University of South Carolina highlighting the abuse and neglect of Israelis and Jews, founded in ‘anti-racist’ and ‘anti-oppressive thought,’ has come under fire with demands that it be retracted from BDS supporters.
The continuing radicalization of faculty and staff helps explain increasing reports that Israelis applying to American universities are being rejected without explanation.
On campus the semester began with a walkout by Yale University students decrying Israeli ‘genocide’ in Gaza, demanding divestment and additional ‘Palestine Studies,’ and the defunding of “Genocide-Denying Programming and Partnerships.” The students also condemned president Peter Salovey’s “reluctance to name Israel — as he named Russia — as the perpetrator of countless war crimes and the most intense bombing campaign in modern history” which “racist double standards.”
‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ (SJP) and ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ chapters continue to be a focal point for BDS related antisemitism:
· The Rutgers University chapter had its suspension lifted and immediately held a press conference in which three masked members demanded the university cut ties with Israel, acknowledge the “Palestinian genocide,” and establish a variety of Palestinian educational and cultural programs. The chapter received student government funding in fall 2023 despite its suspension as well as in 2024.
· The Columbia University SJP and JVP chapters remain suspended but are operating on campus unhindered They have also allied with the BDS/communist group ‘Within Our Lifetime’ to express support for Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping and to condemn the killing of Hamas leader Saleh al-Arour. Columbia students threatened a tuition strike if their demands for the university to divest from companies connected to Israel and cutting ties with the New York Police Department. Columbia protestors also claim to have been sprayed with noxious chemicals during an unauthorized campus rally.
· The University of Washington ‘United Front for Palestinian Liberation’ disrupted a Board of Regents meeting with demands for divestment and for the university to drop charges against students who had illegally occupied a building.
· The “MIT Coalition Against Apartheid” has threatened “to make sure that there is no business as usual at MIT until Palestine is free! From the river to the sea.” The group did not specify what measures it would take.
· The Arizona State University SJP chapter held a march on campus and presented a list of demands to the administration. Speakers at the protest included members of the Communist Party USA and the ‘Party for Socialism and Liberation.’
· The University of Wisconsin’s Students United for Palestinian Equality and Return (SUPER) held a campus prayer vigil “Honoring Our Martyrs.” A petition organized by the UW Students for a Democratic Society, Muslim Students Association, and the Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine also demanded the university rename the main Golda Meir Library. Meir had been described by a pro-BDS protestor as “a Zionist known for her crimes against Palestine.”
· At the University of North Carolina the SJP chapter walked out of an event featuring author Bari Weiss. One protestor held a sign saying “If I get killed by Israeli bombs or my family is harmed, I blame Bari Weiss and her likes.”
· Protestors at Stanford University disrupted a session on antisemitism led by the university president and provost which featured Israeli envoy Michal Cotler-Wunsh, whom they accused of representing “a government actively committing genocide, … one who personally expresses explicitly genocidal rhetoric.” Students who attended reported threats and insults including “We’re going to find out where you live,” “Go back to Brooklyn,” and “Our next generation will ensure Israel falls, and America too, the other terrorists” from pro-Hamas protestors.
· The Florida State University SJP chapter was suspended until 2025 after students disrupted a board of trustees meeting.
Pro-Hamas campus vandalism was reported at Princeton University, Boston University, while reports of campus antisemitism and harassment increased, including at the New School and the University of Michigan where Jewish students were called “kikes” and “dirty Jews” by pro-Hamas activists. Pro-Hamas students at New York University distributed an email designed to appear like an official university communication. At the University of Central Florida a Palestinian-American student was arrested for threatening to shoot three Jewish students.
A massive upswing in anti-Israel bias and antisemitism has been reported in social media, especially the Gen Z favored Chinese propaganda platform TikTok, which has been programmed to inundate users with anti-Israel content, as well as on dating, commerce, and communications platforms such as Grinder, Amazon, WhatsApp and Facebook.
Students now report that the anonymous message posting app Sidechat has also been inundated. After complaints from Harvard University administrators regarding celebrations of the Hamas massacre posted on the site, the app’s owners promised to increase moderation and restrict participation to undergraduates. Concerns are also growing regarding social media driven radicalization of children in Britain.
The persistent unwillingness of university administrations to protect Jews was reflected at Concordia University where Jewish students were forbidden to set up a table supporting the release of Israeli hostages with the excuse that it was for their own protection from “radical groups.” At Queen’s College, Cambridge University the administration refused to discipline students who had proposed a motion calling for a “mass uprising” and “intifada’ against Israel.
Anti-Israel students suppressing pro-Israel organizing and activities was also evident in January:
· At Columbia Law School where the senate voted against the formation of a “Law School Against Antisemitism” group on the grounds that the proposed group supported the IHRA definition. The proposal had been opposed by the pro-BDS group “Concerned Jewish Students at Columbia Law School.”
· An outspoken pro-Israel Jewish student was removed from the New York University student government after procedures were secretly modified.
· The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union voted to adopt an official “pro-Palestine stance” which legitimized defunding pro-Israel groups.
· Student newspapers which have adopted DEI guidelines including at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania have dramatically shaped reporting and commentary on Hamas and Israel and limited pro-Israel perspectives.
The radicalism of Western students, propelled by outside actors, also continues the historical pattern of the Palestinian cause being manipulated by others. This was demonstrated at SOAS London when Husam Zomlot, the ‘Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom,’ was heckled by members of the school’s ‘Palestine Society’ who described him as “complicit in Zionist aggression in Palestine.”
The spread of BDS, pro-Hamas and anti-capitalist ideology in K-12 education was further documented in January. The problem was illustrated in New York City where controversy emerged regarding a map of the Middle East displayed in an elementary school classroom labeled the region the “Arab World” and noted “Palestine.” The map was part of an “Arab Culture Arts” program funded by the Qatar Foundation International and taught by a Palestinian-American teacher.
The teacher had previously touted the curriculum saying “Diversity in education and every area of life is now valued more than ever.” The map and curriculum were defended by a New York City Board of Education spokesman and by some parents who said it celebrated the “diversity and Arab heritage of the Boerum Hill neighborhood.” Reports also noted that the foundation donated over $1,000,000 to the city’s Board of Education between 2019 to 2022.
Also in New York City public schools it was revealed that two elementary school teachers used the song ‘Wheels on the Bus’ to indoctrinate students: “The bombs in the air go whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, all through the skies. From every river to every sea the people cry, cry, cry. Free Palestine till the wheels on the tanks fall off.” The song comes from a “Woke Kindergarten” curriculum which describes Israel as a “made up place” with “settlers called Zionists who are harming and killing the Palestinian people.”
Other reports have documented Qatari influence on K-12 education through support for professional education trips in exchange for access to lesson plans. The DSA’s ‘Educations for Palestine Summer Series’ and other programs are also explicitly anti-Israel. This is part of their anti-capitalist, anti-Western, and anti-family pedagogy which includes the ‘Green New Deal,’ ‘sexuality justice,’ defunding the police, and efforts to dominate school boards and teachers unions.
Responding to earlier incidents, including one where a Jewish teacher was chased through a public school, the New York Department of Education announced a plan consisting of workshops to addressing rising antisemitism. The US Department of Education has also opened investigations of the Teaneck (NJ) school district and the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District in Orange County (CA).
The centrality of Israel in the ‘oppressor-oppressed’ concept of “ethnic studies” was also seen in reactions to the delay in implementing “Ethnic Studies” in California high schools as a requirement for admission to the state’s universities. The delay was decried by the requirement’s supporters in the ‘UC Ethnic Studies Council,’ who are also the core of the ‘Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism’ and the subject of a new in depth analysis detailing their violations of university regulations and state law. The group had previously applauded the Hamas attack and stated that describing it as terrorism was a “colonial narrative that seeks to have the world believe that history began on October 7, 2023.” The crisis surrounding “ethnic studies” antipathy toward Israel prompted the University of California regents to vote on a proposal to ban individual departments and programs from posting political statement.
But as in New York, evidence continues to emerge detailing how “ethnic studies” targeting Israel as the epitome of ‘racism and colonialism’ are already being taught in California schools. A new report indicates that high school teachers are devoting weeks describing Palestine as “Arab lands currently occupied by Israel,” Hamas as “a political party which is continuing to fight against Israel,” Gaza as “an open air prison,” and Jesus as having lived in “Palestine.”
The role of teachers in disseminating anti-Israel ideologies had been highlighted when the Oakland Educators Association issued a statement in October condemning the “75 year long illegal military occupation of Palestine” and calling Israel “apartheid state” employing “genocidal rhetoric and policies.” Since then reports have emerged that dozens of Jewish families have withdrawn children from the public schools, citing safety fears and evidence of anti-Israel bias, including “Free Palestine” posters in elementary school classrooms.
Other reports have documented the involvement of well-known BDS activists in Bay Area schools including teach-ins and teacher trainings sponsored by the ‘Middle East Children’s Alliance’ and CAIR. In response to complaints the Department of Education has now launched investigations of the San Francisco and Oakland school districts.
The manner in which anti-Israel and antisemitic ideologies have already been transferred to students was apparently demonstrated in New York when a girl’s basketball team from a Jewish day school were taunted by opponents including with “I support Hamas, you fucking Jew.” The school board condemned the incident and the Yonkers basketball coach resigned. The NAACP, however, denied that any harassment took place.
The Gaza War has fully exposed the schism within the Democratic Party over Israel. Progressives led by the ‘Squad’ continue to be at the forefront of criticism and support for Hamas.
The willingness of California governor and putative Biden challenger Gavin Newsom to appear with the head of CAIR’s state chapter, Hussam Ayloush, who had praised Hamas’ October 7 attack, suggests the lengths to which the mainstream party will go to assuage the American Muslim Brotherhood power structures.
This was also demonstrated by the appearance of Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) at an event with anti-Israel activist Norman Finkelstein at an Islamic center in Yonkers. Bowman described himself as “starstruck” by Finkelstein, who had stated the Hamas massacres “warms every fiber of my soul” and expressed disbelief regarding Hamas atrocities, Bowman later apologized on social media for appearing with Finkelstein but a review of a recording showed he made no comment during the event itself.
Bowman now faces a strong primary challenge from Westchester County Executive George Latimer, who appeared at a rally in Scarsdale (NY) after two local businesses were vandalized with anti-Israel graffiti. J Street has also rescinded its endorsement of Bowman saying his accusations that Israel is committing ‘genocide’ have “certainly crossed the line.”
Overall the Democratic Party fortunes continues to be imperiled by American Arabs and Muslims who reject the Biden Administration’s support for Israel and by difficult to quantify threats of Gen Z voters abandoning the party, both ostensibly as a result of support for Israel. The leadership of several large unions including the UAW and SEIU have also demanded a ‘ceasefire’ seemingly as part of a generational shift.
At the same time comments by former House speak Rep. Nancy Pelosi that Russian president Putin may be behind some of the protests both recognized that pro-Hamas demonstrators in the US are not organic and possibly to deflect attention from more likely backers. Fears are also growing the anti-Israel protests will mar the Democratic national convention, to be held in Chicago in August.
The continuing impact of the Gaza War was also seen in city council resolutions calling for a ceasefire, such as in San Francisco Ann Arbor (MI) and Minneapolis after raucous debates which featured overt antisemitism and support for Hamas. The Burlington (VT) city council, however, voted against a resolution that would have put a referendum condemning “Israel’s apartheid regime, settler colonialism, and military occupation” on the November ballot.
Reports indicate that these resolutions are often brought about with the help of pro-Palestinian activists and by ‘Democratic Socialists of America’ (DSA) representatives who use anti-Israel politics as an entryist tactic to gain local legitimacy and votes. In a letter to the city council San Francisco mayor London Breed excoriated and refused to sign the resolution but declined to veto it. Richmond (CA) mayor and DSA member Eduardo Martinez also walked off the job in solidarity with the “global strike for Palestine.” Internationally, throughout Ireland efforts are being made to force local councils to adopt Israel boycotts.
More pernicious were resolutions in local school boards, including Ann Arbor, which were supported by demands especially from Arab and Muslim Americans that local schools teach about the conflict. The growing crisis in British schools brought about by Islamist students and parents using Gaza as a wedge issue to undermine secular education is also an ominous precedent.
Conspiracy theories blaming Israel for all manner of domestic conditions have also increased since the Gaza War, including overt denialism regarding the Hamas massacres from pro-BDS, Islamist, and far right sources, including faculty members. In New York City BDS advocates have blamed Israel for budget cuts aimed at the public library system when in fact the city’s budget woes are a result of reallocating resources to support illegal immigrants. At Harvard University posters of Israeli hostages were defaced with messages such as “I’m blind and even I can see Israel did 9/11.”
At the international level, reports indicate that Israel is facing a ‘silent boycott’ by shipping companies due to Houthi attacks from Yemen on commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea. This has causes a number of firms to state that they will not carry cargo to and from Israel, rerouted ships, and dramatically raised insurance rates. The economic impact remains unclear. The admission that the Chinese shipping firm COSCO is boycotting Israel at the behest of the Houthis sets up a confrontation with US and state level anti-BDS laws.
Calls for Israel to be banned from international sports and cultural life have also dramatically increased:
· Icelandic and Nordic artists have demanded that Israel be banned from the Eurovision song contest.
· The International Ice Hockey Federation banned Israeli participation on the basis of ‘safety’ but then reversed its stance after threats of lawsuits and pressure from the National Hockey League.
· An Israeli rock climbing team was banned from an international competition over ‘safety concerns.’
· An Israeli playing for a Turkish soccer team was arrested, fired, and then fled after displaying a message in support of Israelis held hostage by Hamas.
· Fearing backlash, a South African cricket squad removed a Jewish player from the captaincy after he expressed support for Israel. A South African sportswear manufacturer then stated it would not sponsor any games in which the player participated.
· Reports indicate that international and US television development projects involving Israelis have slowed or been halted.
While polls continue to show strong support for Israel in the US, with some 80% of Americans backing Israel in its war against Hamas. This figure dropped to only 43% of 18-24 year olds.
In Britain, however, one third of the public believes Israel treats Palestinians worse than the Nazis treated Jews, a belief shared by half of 18-24 year olds, while 20% of the public believes that Jews control the media. These and other classically antisemitic concepts form part of the background to reports on soaring rates of antisemitic incidents including bomb threats and violence.