Quakers to hold anti-Israel 'thought camp' in New York State

Quakers to hold anti-Israel 'thought camp' in New York State

BoycottIt’s bad enough that the event, which teaches hatred, is sponsored by a religious order that calls itself “Friends.” But must the organizers attempt to whitewash it by giving it a sterile name like “Boycott Divestment Summer Camp”? The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the political arm of the Quaker movement, will be holding its invidious anti-Israel summer institute the last week in July in New York State (h/t reader Steven).

The website for the planned hate-fest carries no specific reference to Israel or the Palestinians, but some of the skills to be fostered (which sound straight out of the Obama community organizing handbook) leave little room for ambiguity. They include:

  • Extensive campaign development coaching
  • Grassroots organizing skill building
  • Media & Messaging trainings
  • Anti-oppression analysis workshops
  • Nonviolent direct action planning
  • Historical overview of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions
  • Relationship building with activists on campuses nationwide
  • Strategy sessions with BDS movement leaders
  • Two tracks for existing and new campaigns

Writing at The Washington Free Beacon, Alana Goodman provides some historical perspective on the event:

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was officially launched by a network of pro-Palestinian groups in 2005 and seeks to use economic and cultural boycotts to isolate Israel, force the government’s hand on Palestinian negotiations, and evoke comparisons between the Jewish state and South Africa’s Apartheid regime.

Goodman notes that the event is co-sponsored by the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace.

Pro-Israel groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, have expressed opposition to the BDS movement, calling for a boycott. Wiesenthal’s Abraham Cooper is quoted as saying:

It doesn’t help a single Palestinian. It doesn’t improve the quality of life for Palestinians. It is simply anti-Israel. Unfortunately, the community of the people associated with this particular church have embraced [the BDS campaign] completely, so much so that they are using up whatever moral capital they have to do training for an immoral, hypocritical, and anti-Semitic undertaking.”

Cooper said students attend these events “thinking their actions are doing the equivalent of the folks that [participated in] the Montgomery Bus Boycott, or following the route of Martin Luther King Jr.” He added that such thought is “complete and utter nonsense.”

The AFSC’s Michael Merryman-Lotze objects to the characterization of the event as anti-Jewish:

We see nothing inherently anti-Semitic in the use of these proven nonviolent tactics nor in the BDS movement as a whole. Are BDS opponents next going to argue that these same tactics were anti-White in the Jim Crow south and apartheid era South Africa?

If the shoe fits…

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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