The Democratic Party Is Becoming The Party Of BDS. Will Liberal Jews Speak Up?

Will the Jewish left ever speak up for Israel?

The Intercept recently reported that Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib would forego the traditional AIPAC trip to Israel, choosing instead to lead a delegation to the West Bank. “I want us to see that segregation and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region,” she said.

And, she added, she supports the campaign to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. In this, she joins Ilhan Omar, another freshman Congresswoman who was the first to support BDS.

The campaign, once a fringe movement to marginalize the only Jewish state, has been gaining prominence on the left. No longer is it the position of politically impotent college professors and their brainwashed students; now it is an acceptable stance of two newly elected Democratic Congresswomen.

The continuing silence, or actual approval, from liberal Jews is wretched. The targeting of Israel, and only Israel, in this manner is going ignored by Jews who are too meek to stand up to their political side. Instead, they make excuses for the hatred of their peers.

They argue that BDS is not anti-Semitic or that “criticizing” Israel, as if that’s what’s happening in a movement to destroy Israel’s economy, is ok. They pretend that the goals of BDS is simply to have equal rights for Palestinians.

If they believe that, they haven’t been paying attention.

Say the BDS movement gets its wish. Israel “ends the occupation” and a Palestinian state is established. Will Jewish people be able to live in this Palestine? Of course not. No one believes that any Jews will be able to live side-by-side with Palestinians in a Palestinian-controlled West Bank.


Yet no one wrings their hands over this. It’s a completely acceptable fact that any area under Palestinian control will be judenfrei.

Beyond that, the left has ever so casually moved from the position of a two-state solution to a one-state one — and that state won’t be Israel.

Yet another Democratic Congresswoman-elect found herself on the wrong side of this issue. Congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has a tenuous grasp of the issues she supports, was cheered when she slammed the Israeli occupation during an interview with host Margaret Hoover on The Firing Line. Ocasio-Cortez also said she “believes absolutely in Israel’s right to exist” and that she supports a “two-state solution.” Yet the very next day she was asked about her position and would not restate her support. “Well, you know I think this is a conversation that I am engaging in with activists right now because this is huge,” she said instead.

This move, from criticizing Israeli policy toward taking away Israel’s right to exist is happening all over the left right now. And Jews stay quiet.

Last week, after CNN fired Marc Lamont Hill for telling the U.N. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and supporting armed resistance, Tlaib tweeted her support.

“Calling out the oppressive policies in Israel, advocating for Palestinians to be respected, and for Israelis and Palestinians alike to have peace and freedom is not antisemitic,” she wrote.

She’s right; those things are not anti-Semitic. But none of that is what Hill said and everyone knows it.

Tlaib wants to give him a pass because he’s on her political side, same as liberal Jews want to continually give a pass to Democrats and liberal leaders who say abhorrent things or promote detestable movements like BDS.

Hill’s firing was due to his comments promoting “armed resistance.” “Armed resistance” in Israel has meant teenagers slaughtered at discos and mothers killed in their beds. When Hill said “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea,” he had to know that would include Tel Aviv. Tlaib chose to ignore what he actually meant. That liberal Jews close their eyes and do the same is devastating.

At an AIPAC conference last March, Senator Chuck Schumer spoke out against BDS, saying, “Let us call out the B.D.S. movement for what it is. Let us delegitimize the delegitimizers by letting the world know when there is a double standard, whether they know it or not, they are actively participating in an anti-Semitic movement.”

His political side is leaving him, and all Jews who support the very existence of Israel, behind.

The Israel-haters are winning on the left and liberal Jewish silence is helping.

Karol Markowicz is a writer living in Brooklyn. Follow her on Twitter: @karol.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.
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The Democratic Party Is Becoming The Party Of BDS. Will Liberal Jews Speak Up?

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