Zac Schildcrout

There is a deeply disturbing pattern within the anti-Zionist movement of devaluing Jewish and Israeli lives.

Wholly convinced of the irredeemably evil nature of the Jewish state, many anti-Israel activists display a callous indifference toward antisemitic violence perpetrated between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The ensuing devastation to Israeli society is downplayed or dismissed as an understandable result of “pushback” against the “worse” Israeli efforts to defend itself against unending terror and violence.

Consider these examples:

-After Israeli-American Ari Fuld was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist at Gush Etzion Junction, The New School’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) wrote that “Colonialism comes with consequences.”

-On July 19, 2014, Harvard professor Cornel West wrote that Hamas’ attempts to indiscriminately murder Israeli civilians “pale in the face of the U.S. supported Israeli slaughters of innocent civilians.”

-On January 21, 2004, British Liberal Democrat party member Jenny Tonge asserted during a meeting with the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign that she “might just consider” becoming a suicide bomber if she lived in Israel/the disputed territories, citing Israeli “killings” to justify this repulsive sentiment.

Sometimes, however, anti-Israel activists need not passively rely on suicide bombings, rockets, and stabbing attacks to further their cause. Why? Because a global pandemic does the trick just fine.

On March 20, 2020, former president of New York University’s SJP chapter Leen Dweik posted this now-deleted tweet:

Notably, the Israeli death that Dweik so proudly scoffs at was that of an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor.

To the uneducated observer, such sociopathic contempt for the value of human life might be difficult to understand — but it makes perfect sense in the context of a movement that so brazenly tolerates, excuses, or even encourages the murder of Jews in Israel. 

Those who espouse bigotry and encourage violence against certain groups of people often tout “reasons” for their beliefs — shifting blame to supposed misbehaviors and shortcomings of the targeted demographic.

For example, racists who target African-Americans may justify white supremacist ideology by calling blacks “criminals.” Those who denigrate Latinos might point to an alleged cultural, ethnic, or political takeover of America. Those who hate all Muslims may justify their bigotry by referencing Islamic terrorism.

In his infamous screed Mein Kampf,  Adolf Hitler supported his abhorrent ideas by lamenting, among other things, supposed Jewish “commercial cunning,” “international swindling and cheating,” “predominance in the stock exchange,” and total control of the press.

Looking through Dweik’s Twitter profile, it becomes painfully clear that her hateful tweet was fueled by her perceptions of Israel’s alleged actions.

She absurdly charges that Israel is “openly committing genocide,” echoing an oft-repeated trope of anti-Israel propaganda.

She cites Israel’s “ramping up” of house demolitions in the West Bank, falsely charges its government with “severely restricting Palestinian medical supplies and capabilities”, vaguely laments “human rights violations”, and demands Israel ”lift the blockade” meant to keep weapons and dual-use items from terror groups in Gaza.

Like the British politician who lionized the suicide bombing of civilians as an understandable military tactic to right Israeli wrongs, the New School SJP students who supported Ari Fuld’s murder to fight “colonialism”, and the founder of Nazism who based his fanaticism on purported Jewish misdeeds, Dweik’s indifference (bordering on outright glee) towards the tragic death of an Israeli Holocaust survivor highlights a common pattern displayed by bigots everywhere.

If Israel and its government can be successfully painted as an unrelenting enemy of human decency, why wouldn’t violence against it be justified? And why wouldn’t the coronavirus-induced deaths of civilians who choose to live there be some kind of divine retribution for their decision to live in such a villainous nation-state?

Indeed, one commenter echoed this very sentiment, by asserting that every Israeli citizen’s presumed participation “in the oppression of Palestinians” renders them unworthy of empathy.

No amount of disapproval of Israel’s actions, whether real or imagined, can justify Dweik’s behavior. Such blatant devaluation of life fans the far-reaching flames of hatred, as evidenced by the more than 2,000 “likes” the post received.

In today’s online age, information travels quickly. We must speak out against mindless hatred, make an effort to correct inaccurate information, and keep toxic ideas marginalized in the public realm. Our society’s well-being depends on it.

Originally published in The Algemeiner.

Contributed by CAMERA’s campus advisor and online editor Zac Schildcrout.

Correction: an earlier version of this article stated that Ari Fuld was murdered in Efrat. He was murdered at Gush Etzion Junction – the article has been updated.

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