ADL asks Iceland to act against Boston Jewish, Zionist org map project

"While we deeply respect freedom of expression, this website crosses the line into specific threats against individuals and institutions," said CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

 Icelandic flags in Viðey. (photo credit: WorldIslandInfo.com/Wikimedia)
Icelandic flags in Viðey.
(photo credit: WorldIslandInfo.com/Wikimedia)

The Anti-Defamation League called upon the government of Iceland in a Wednesday letter to take action against a Mapping Project of Jewish and Zionist institutions in Boston, which is allegedly hosted online by an Icelandic hosting company. 

"An anonymous group, calling itself The Mapping Project, is threatening the Boston-area Jewish community by mapping and publishing addresses of Jewish individuals and institutions and calling for these individuals and institutions to be 'dismantled' and 'disrupted,'" wrote ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. "While we deeply respect freedom of expression, this website crosses the line into specific threats against individuals and institutions."

"We deeply regret the apparent lackadaisical attitude of Icelandic officials toward this threat to the Jewish community."

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt

Hosted in Iceland

According to the ADL, the Mapping Project website is currently hosted by the Iceland-based hosting service 1984 Hosting. According to the project's domain history, it was previously hosted by Bulgarian hosting service Siteground. The initiative transferred to these hosting services after being ejected by its original host.

The ADL says that it previously contacted the Office of the National Police Commissioner in Iceland and Iceland’s ambassador to the US about the issue, but didn't receive "a substantive response." The Icelandic US Embassy and the Icelandic Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to The Jerusalem Post's request for comment.

"We deeply regret the apparent lackadaisical attitude of Icelandic officials toward this threat to the Jewish community," wrote Greenblatt.

Jonathan Greenblatt (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Jonathan Greenblatt (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

1984 Hosting is a website hosting company that says, according to its website: "unwavering loyalty to our customers and their fundamental rights is a core value of 1984, hence the name," referring to George Orwell's dystopian sociological novel. This includes the protection of the freedom of expression.

What is the Boston Mapping Project?

The Mapping Project was first publicized last month and has raised the ire of Jewish leaders and US authorities.

The interactive map ostensibly shows a network of connections of institutions that support Israel and other "harms that we see as linked, such as policing, US imperialism, and displacement/ethnic cleansing," the activist group said on their website. These institutions include Jewish NGOs, high schools and charities.

Boston Jewish groups including the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), ADL New England and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP) have asserted that the map blames Jews for the perceived ills of the community, and acts as a blacklist against those associated with the Boston Jewish organizations. They have also charged the project with promoting classical antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories.

The project has caught the attention of law enforcement. On June 13 a representative from the FBI said that the Bureau was tracking the website and "working to identify additional information." At the end of June, 37 US members of Congress sent a letter to law enforcement heads calling for an investigation of the Mapping Project, Jewish Insider reported.

Several US politicians were named in the project, including US democratic Massachusetts senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, who said in a June statement that “at this moment of rising antisemitism, racist attacks and political violence, this ‘mapping’ of the Jewish community is dangerous and irresponsible."

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and representatives Katherine Clark and Ritchie Torres have also criticized the initiative for targeting Jewish institutions. 

The Boycott, Divest and Sanction Movement has also disassociated itself with the project, which is linked to the BDS Boston branch. BDS leadership reportedly sent a letter to the Boston branch warning them against promoting a project that promotes violence.