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BDS leadership distances from Boston map of Jewish, Zionist institutions

BDS leadership distances from Boston map of Jewish, Zionist institutions

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) distanced itself on Wednesday night from the Mapping Project that charted Jewish and Zionist institutions in Boston and framed them as “structurally tied” to US media, police and government.

The BNC, the leadership body of the BDS movement, said in a statement that it “has no connection to and does not endorse the Mapping Project in Boston, Massachusetts.

“Endorsement of this project by any group affiliated with the BDS movement conflicts with this affiliation,” said the BNC.

BDS ACTIVISTS in action (credit: GALI TIBBON / AFP)

However, the BNC also rejected all criticism of the project – that framed Jewish highschools and synagogues as ideological enemies – as cynical attacks on Palestinian activism.

A letter allegedly sent by the BNC to BDS Boston, who were affiliated with the Mapping Project and promoted it, was leaked by The Jewish Journal’s Aaron Bandler.

“Endorsement of this project by any group affiliated with the BDS movement conflicts with this affiliation.”

The BNC

“The project unstrategically targets and provides names and ‘physical addresses’ of institutions and individuals, and promotes messaging that includes phrases such as ‘resistance in all its forms,'” said the letter shared by Bandler, dated Monday. “By having BDS in your group’s name, and yet promoting messaging which indirectly advocates for armed resistance and associating with groups that do, you have violated a key guideline of our movement.”

The BNC criticized BDS Boston for opening the movement to criticism, and putting themselves and the BNC “in direct danger of heightened persecution and repression.” 

Last Monday, the FBI said that it was tracking the Mapping Project. 

The BNC issued several demands, that if not met, would require that BDS Boston remove “BDS” from its name and dissociate with the BDS movement.

According to Bandler’s letter, the BNC demanded that BDS Boston cease to promote and associate with groups that advocated violence, stopped promoting the Mapping Project, and would  issue a statement distancing itself from the project — But also condemning pro-Israel attacks on the initiative. 

As of Wednesday night, BDS Boston had not removed promotion of the Mapping Project, but issued a statement saying the two were separate entities.

The BNC letter leaked by Bandler noted Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA) as an example of an organization that had recently fallen in line with the BDS position

“We have no connection with the Mapping Project, had no knowledge of it before its launch, and are in no position to vouch for the accuracy of everything it says,” said MAPA’s statement last Monday. 

MAPA distanced itself from the initiative, but condemned “lies and slander” against it.

Mondoweiss, which had been supportive of the project, published an essay criticizing the map as part of “debate and discussion over critical issues.”

Jewish progressives concerned 

According to the Forward, Jewish progressives have been concerned about the map, but have felt unable to voice dissent because they didn’t want to echo pro-Israel groups and law enforcement.

In a joint statement, Boston Jewish community groups said the Mapping Project lists “virtually every Jewish organization in the Commonwealth…along with the relationships of each to civic, governmental, university and other community organizations.”

“It draws on age-old antisemitic tropes that are all too clear to our community: Jewish wealth, control and conspiracies,” said the Jewish Boston NGOs. 

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