July 24, 2019

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David Collier’s "Americans in Palestine Live" report destroys idea that anti-Zionists are against antisemitism


Last week, the indefatigable David Collier released a book-length report on “Americans in Palestine Live,” a closed Facebook group that is a major gathering place for big-named Israel haters.

I see the daily news in the US and it reminds me of the UK a few years ago. There are signs they are on a similar divisive path. Antisemitism rises and Jewish anti-Zionists leap into action, claiming it is about ‘criticism of Israel’. Creating an industry of antisemitism denial that legitmises antisemites. They write articles, they sign petitions, they appear on TV. In the States they have vocal anti-Zionist Jewish activists running organisations such as JVP and Codepink. Did you see the way they ran to protect Ilhan Omar? They create an environment within which antisemitism is given protection. Just like the anti-Zionists of Jewish Voice for Labour did in the UK. Only in the US, both anti-Zionist Jews and antisemites are more numerous.

News outlets such as Mondoweiss push their propaganda at an alarming rate. This air of legitimacy is attracting people. Yet I know the truth.

I know that these people ally themselves with hard-core antisemites. I have watched as they have organised petitions, events and demos with people who share neo-Nazi and white supremacist material.

Ariel Gold, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Medea Benjamin, David Mivasair are just some of the key American activists who have played inside the antisemitic swamp that is Palestine Live. A group that contains other members such as Greta Berlin, Cynthia Mckinney, Miko Peled and Alison Weir. Daniella Ravitzki, Larry Derfner, Ofer Neiman, Pam Bailey, Jonathan Ofir, Jennifer Loewenstein, Mark Levine, Seth Morrison and many more.

I’ve watched people like Codepink’s Ariel Gold deploy her Jewish identity, time after time, just as she aligns with people who push the ideology of the Renegade Tribune in a fight against Israel. Several key JVP figures are inside the group, people from the Rabbinical council, academic council and the JVP Board. Almost the entire front line of Codepink are inside too. Why are Amnesty personnel inside a secret antisemitic Facebook group?

In public they put pretty profile pictures up suggesting they stand ‘together against antisemitism’. They adamantly suggest they fight against it. In private the bitter truth is revealed. Time after time, these actvists are found alongside people who share rabid white supremacist or neo-Nazi material. Not once, not twice, but EVERY time. These people have created an industry of antisemitism denial to protect their precious cause, no matter who they need to align with.

David Mivasair, from the JVP Rabbinical council was in one thread with FIVE people who share material from neo-Nazi or white supremacist websites. FIVE. He conspires with them to weaken Israel, jokes about antisemitism with them and then in public he sings a different tune. Almost NONE of the activists were EVER seen confronting any antisemitism, inside a group that is overburdened with hard-core antisemites. All they did is engage in joint initiatives to attack the Jewish state. The antisemites and the anti-Zionist Jews. Attacking Israel together.

To say that the report is damning is a huge understatement. Major figures in the anti-Israel movement, from CodePink and Mondoweiss and Jewish Voice for Peace to Amnesty International, consistently post in this group and yet are silent when the most vicious antisemitic material gets shared, or when antisemitic material is used in responding to their posts. (Amnesty’s Edith Garwood, among others, is an active member of the group, and never says a negative word towards any of the Jew-hatred shared.)

Moreover, the people who post in Palestine Live often directly posts the most vile Jew-hatred in their own timelines. In Facebook, they are “friends” with the Jews and supposed “progressives”  who are in the group, their opinions are known and they remain friends.

Even Richard Falk, formerly of the UN, has commented on posts in the group and remained silent when antisemitic material was shared. As was virtually everyone else.

What this research shows is that when these these anti-Israel groups claim to be against antisemitism, they are lying. The antisemitic materials shared by members of Palestine Live come from right wing websites, often with direct links. Yet the only opposition comes from people who think that this is not the right venue for, say, Holocaust denial, or a Jew who helpfully suggests that the words “Jew-Nazi” be replaced with “Zio-Nazi” so the message can go further.

The private anti-Israel groups as a cesspool of anti-Jewish hate, but the people who claim that they are so brave for speaking out against Israel in public are not brave at all in fighting antisemitism – more often than not, they are enabling and spreading it, as Collier shows masterfully.

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