Supporters of Israel, and of armed intervention by Britain and the US in the Middle East, have taken to the tactic of attacking supporters of Palestine as “anti-Semitic”. We reject these baseless smears, and stand in solidarity with Palestine campaigners.
Sarah Schulman, pictured above, who spoke at a meeting we organised in the autumn of 2014, has faced such accusations from a group called the Zionist Organization of America. Today she attended a hearing at City University of New York (CUNY) where she is a professor.
She reports that “I was presented with a 14 page list of accusations…
“…they went after the student group to which I am the faculty advisor, Students for Justice in Palestine at the College of Staten Island. We systematically went through all of the accusations, ALL of which were fabricated or absurd. For example, SJP was accused of drawing swastikas on the walls of our college. However there is no record of such an incident ever taking place. There is no incident report of anyone ever doing such a thing at CSI, even the president of the college does not recall this ever happening.
“The letter was really a list of slanders against Muslim students. Over and over there were vague charges that ‘a Muslim student’ said something unpleasant to a Jewish student. But never was there any evidence that this composite Muslim student had anything to do with SJP. These students were never identified, and there were no details like dates.”
Sarah continues: “I detailed for the Task Force how the Zionists of America have been harassing me on twitter, sending 10-40 tweets a day to my publisher, reviewers, friends and colleagues calling me a “Terrorist”, how they sabotaged my Wikipedia page inserting a false claim that I went to Gaza as a ‘guest of Hamas’ (I have never been to Gaza and I have no contact with Hamas) and that they have been using the media to harass me because we hold different values.”
Professor Bill Mullen of Purdue University, an organiser with the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, has faced similar baseless allegations. No to Pinkwashing has agreed to sign the organisation’s statement in solidarity with him.
Similar accusations are being made in Britain. On Saturday, for example, Nick Cohen wrote an article in the Guardian claiming that “the Labour party is in danger of becoming as tainted as Ukip by the racists it attracts.” Jonathan Freedland, also in the Guardian, has written that “Labour and the left have an anti-Semitism problem”. A series of letters from Jewish readers published on Monday challenges this claim. It seems clear that Cohen, Freedland et al are concerned to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party because they disagree both with his support for Palestine and his politics in general.
No to Pinkwashing condemns all racism, including anti-Semitism. But we are clear that condemnation of Israel and anti-Semitism are two quite different things. Indeed it’s because of our opposition to racism that we continue to oppose the apartheid of the Israeli state, and its attempts to cover up that apartheid through pinkwashing.