Nov. 21, 2017
In the wake of its controversial decision to host a panel discussion on anti-Semitism that includes Linda Sarsour and Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the New School chose to defend its choice of panelists, saying, that engaging in “debate” is critical to its role as an academic institution and that there are “differing views on the issue of anti-Semitism.”
In order to deflect from the criticism, the New School is offering to have a second panel, to be organized by Tablet Magazine, whose writer Liel Leibovitz had criticized the Sarsour panel, and featuring ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who had tweeted, “Having Linda Sarsour & head of JVP leading a panel on #antisemitism is like Oscar Meyer leading a panel on vegetarianism.”
Of course one would have thought that anti-Semitism, bigotry against Jews is a bad thing, not something that is subject to debate.
Going by the widely-accepted definition of anti-Semitism which includes applying double standards to Israel and “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist,” Sarsour and Vilkomerson fit the definition of “anti-Semite,” as they are both advocates of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
While BDS proponents, like JVP, couch their advocacy for boycotting Israel in terms of promoting peace, by embracing the movement they are embracing the the vision set out by its leading advocates, who are not so circumspect.