The BDS National Committee (BNC) is enabling pro-Israel activism and is a danger to pro-Palestinian activism due to the BDS leadership body's normalizing relations with progressive Jewish organizations and monopolizing Palestinian symbols and activism strategies, the Jisr Collective media group asserted on Tuesday, in the latest in the schism in the Palestinian activist sphere over the Boston Mapping Project.The article published by Jisr has become popular with a faction of organizations and activists that have publicly supported The Mapping Project.
"BNC is a danger to Palestinians and the liberation movement."Jisr Collective
BNC's normalization with "Zionists"
In response to the BNC's rejection of the map project that charted Jewish and Zionist institutions in Boston and framed them as "structurally tied" to US media, police and government, Jisr alleged that the BNC had rejected the initiative to appease the "the liberal Zionist camp" and to avoid scrutiny of an FBI investigation into the map.
"Whether the BNC is a form of controlled opposition, or if it began as principled and then degraded in the hands of liberal zionists, is up for debate," wrote Jisr.
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Jisr pointed to a letter from the BNC to BDS Boston explaining their ideological objection to the Mapping Project as proof of the BNC's unprincipled policies.
“The [mapping] 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 leaked by the Jewish Journal's Aaron Bandler. “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.”
According to Jisr, the BNC had been hijacked by NGOs such as J Street, committing to principles counter to their cause such as foregoing claims on "stolen lands" within the 1949 armistice lines. BDS's objectives do call for a right of return for Palestinians to Israel proper.
"J Street has re-focused on co-opting the BDS movement to diffuse its liberatory potential to safeguard the Zionist entity," said the writing collective. The objective of the use of BDS by progressive Jewish groups according to Jisr is to preserve Israel and establish a Palestinian state next to it.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Adalah Justice were also castigated for their role in "normalization" between BDS and Zionists. Former JVP executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson was described as a "zionist settler and beneficiary of zionist security technology."
"The liberal Zionist forces who claim to support the Palestinian struggle in order to manipulate it also showed their true colors," said Jisr in relation to the opposition that some Jewish anti-zionist activists had to the Mapping Project. "In crisis, a liberal zionist like [Code Pink leader Ariel] Gold will always protect their Zionism, dropping their rhetorical support for Palestine to defend their actual material interests in the occupation."
Jisr accused the BNC of monopolizing "leadership over the Palestinian struggle," trademarking the tactic of BDS in a "capitalist fashion to maintain control."
In a public statement on the Mapping Project, the BDS leadership warned that “endorsement of this project by any group affiliated with the BDS movement conflicts with this affiliation.” Further, the leaked letter threatened that if BDS Boston would have to remove “BDS” from its name and dissociate from the BDS movement if it did not cease promoting and associating with groups that advocated violence, stop promoting the Mapping Project, and issue a statement distancing itself from the project.
Jisr notes that BDS has acted on these threats before, usually in relation to groups that support violent action. Jisr claimed that BDS Boston and BDS Madrid were previously chastised by the BNC for publicly collaborating with Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner's Solidarity Network, which is recognized by Israel as being a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine affiliate.
The Canadian BDS Coalition has been told to remove "BDS" from its name and has been blacklisted by the BNC for associating with Samidoun.
BDS South Africa split with the BNC over the former's invitation of PFLP terrorist Leila Khaled to speak, leading to BDS South Africa becoming Africa4Palestine, the group shared on Tuesday. Another BDS branch was established in South Africa.
In 2015, the BNC wrote to BDS South Africa, demanding it disinvite Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled from touring SA.BDS South Africa rejected BNC'” demands, Leila's tour was successful. BDS South Africa was split & rebuilt as Africa4Palestine https://t.co/pxadtX9Xgb— #Africa4Palestine (@Africa4Pal) July 5, 2022
The BNC was also accused by Jisr of smearing Within Our Lifetime (WOL) and Palestine Action over disagreement on activism tactics.
Faction in support of Mapping Project
Samidoun, Canadian BDS Coalition, Africa4Palestine, WOL and Palestine Action were joined by over a dozen other organizations on June 23 in signing a statement in support of the mapping project and against BDS's monopolization of "movement tactics."
PFLP made a statement in support of the Mapping Project. Jisr noted that The Council of National and Islamic Forces, which is on the BNC and which PFLP is a member of, released a statement in support of the Boston initiative. Jisr said that this was hypocrisy by the BNC, as the council includes Hamas, DFLP, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations, but it was not willing to allow affiliates abroad to collaborate with groups that support the use of violence.
"Whether the BNC is a form of controlled opposition, or if it began as principled and then degraded in the hands of liberal Zionists, is up for debate."Jisr Collective
Jisr also claimed that the BNC had falsely claimed several BDS victories.
"BNC is a danger to Palestinians and the liberation movement," Jisr concluded.