The Message of IfNotNow

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Dear Colleagues:

As we enter the summer months, we have been observing how the hostile environment on campus pertaining to Israel has trickled down into summer programs such as Jewish overnight camps and birthright trips.

In particular, the IfNotNow (INN) group that has employed a reverse guilt trip from kids to grown-ups. The organization’s “You Never Told Me” campaign has idealistic young people saying, “We were never told the honest truth about the Occupation.” As Gil Troy recently wrote about the individuals involved in INN, these ideologues are spreading Jewish guilt. They kill the conversation — and three-dimensional, truly critical thought — with apparent kindness, but often mask the harsh, one-sided political agenda they push.

Further, this “kindness” is where the appeal is found as our colleague Miriam Elman correctly explains, “it’s easy to confuse IfNotNow with other left-wing Zionist groups because it doesn’t officially endorse BDS, claims to be merely anti-occupation, and doesn’t overtly and consistently trade in classical antisemitic tropes and canards in the way that JVP does. But looks can be deceiving, and in the case of INN it’s important not to be fooled. Like JVP—whose activism and talking points it largely reproduces—INN legitimizes hostility toward Israel, emboldens its enemies, and ultimately has the potential to put fellow Jews at risk.”

Finally all of the above, stems of a simplistic interpretation of Judaism and by extension Israel suggesting that Judaism is tikkun olam, which is social justice, which is liberalism.

As always, we welcome your feedback and article submissions.



Asaf Romirowsky, PhD

The Message of IfNotNow

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Asaf Romirowsky

Asaf Romirowsky PhD, is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). Romirowsky is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Professor ​[Affiliate] at the University​ of Haifa. Trained as a Middle East historian he holds a PhD in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King's College London, UK and has published widely on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and American foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as on Israeli and Zionist history.

Romirowsky is co-author of Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief and a contributor to The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel.

Romirowsky’s publicly-engaged scholarship has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, The American Interest , The New Republic, The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Ynet and Tablet among other online and print media outlets

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