Following sharp criticism from concerned community members, Wellesley College’s student newspaper Wellesley News claims to have reversed its endorsement of The Mapping Project, but the paper has little to show for its alleged disavowal.

As of November 22nd, 2022, Wellesley News continues to feature an editorial penned by the paper’s editorial board that spreads libels about the Jewish state and New England Jewish community.

It is appalling that the Wellesley News would falsely accuse members of the Jewish and pro-Israel community of harming Palestinians and engaging in “settler colonialism” when Jews are indigenous to Israel because of their deep cultural and historical ties to the land. 

Zionism has nothing to do with Palestinians. It is the movement in support of Jewish self-determination in their indigenous homeland, nothing more, nothing less. Zionists exist across the political spectrum. One can, for instance, support the establishment of a Palestinian state and be a Zionist. The notion that support for the world’s only Jewish state is somehow equivalent to prejudice against Palestinians or ethnic minorities is illogical and a flagrant double standard.

It is interesting, then, that Wellesley News also accuses members of the Jewish and pro-Israel community of “creating an environment on campus where students who support Palestine, specifically those on student visas, cannot express their views without consequences.”

Not only do they fail to provide an ounce of evidence to prove this outlandish statement, the Wellesley News and Wellesley Students for Justice in Palestine are, themselves, guilty of  directing hostility toward Jewish students.

Can the editorial board earnestly affirm that “Jewish people have a right to feel welcome and secure at Wellesley and around the world” when they feature such blatant antisemitism in their editorial and endorse Wellesley SJP?

In the editorial, Wellesley News also claims to “stands with those who have been subject to inhumane treatment and denied fair trials, those who have been forced to leave the homes their families have lived in for generations and those who have been jailed for merely drawing attention to the cruelty of the Israeli government and the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF).”

While the paper fails to provide a specific example of “inhumane treatment,” the example linked to “denied fair trials” could not be any worse. As NGO-Monitor notes, the case against Mohammad El-Halabi, who embezzled funds from World Vision to the U.S. designated terrorist organization Hamas included evidence and testimony from several witnesses.

When it comes to the issue more broadly, CAMERA Associate Director Alex Safian puts it aptly “under Israeli criminal procedures, when a person claims that his confession was extracted via torture, a ‘trial-within-a-trial’ is immediately held (in Hebrew mishpat zuta) in which the prosecution must disprove that torture or other illegitimate means were used.”

Wellesley News does not mention that IDF soldiers are prosecuted under Israeli law for unethical acts. In 2016, an IDF soldier was sentenced to 9 months in prison for torturing Palestinian suspects through electric shock. On the other hand, Palestinian terrorists are encouraged to become “martyrs” and kill as many Israeli civilians as possible, paying out hundreds of millions of dollars through a Palestinian Authority-sanctioned “Pay for Slay” program.

Wellesley News also fails to inform readers that the situation in Sheik Jarrah is not a territorial dispute but a civil dispute involving tenants who have refused to pay rent to the legal owners of properties in East Jerusalem.

As Alex Safian notes, “While in recent years some Palestinians have come forward claiming to be the rightful owners of the land, their silence for so many years, especially when the land was first taken by the Jordanian Custodian, makes their claims extremely dubious, and Israeli courts have consistently found against them.”

The October 12th disavowal also affirmed the paper’s support for the BDS campaign, a malicious crusade whose founders call for the end of the world’s only Jewish state and disseminate age-old antisemitic tropes about Jews—calling them colonialists, baby killers, and white supremacists.

As CAMERA’s Ricki Hollander points out, “The BDS campaign serves as a propaganda tool to delegitimize the Jewish state in the eyes of the world and as a vehicle to mainstream anti-Semitism in the form of anti-Zionism, or, as one scholar has described it, BDS is a form of ‘ideological polemical warfare.”

Pro-BDS groups like Wellesley College’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter demonize Israel and the Jewish people. A statement published on October 7th, 2022, called for Palestine to be free “from the river to the sea,” effectively calling for the end of the State of Israel. The group also called the State of Israel “illegitimate” in the same letter.  It isn’t difficult to understand that Wellesley SJP and the Mapping Project’s published goal to identify and dismantle “local entities and networks that enact devastation” is fundamentally the same idea.

If the Wellesley News is sincere about their commitment to “document the truth” and statement condemning antisemitism they should update the editorial to entirely rescind their support for the Mapping Project and Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign.

A slightly modified version of this editorial appeared in the Algemeiner.

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