A few days ago, I published an article defending the Mapping Project. You won’t find it anymore as I took it down.
After reflecting on the article and discussing it with some friends and colleagues, I decided that the piece was a flawed analysis.
I stand by some of what I said in that piece. I don’t think anyone was trying to direct violence at Jews. I also believe that it is not legitimate to support an apartheid state which is committing severe human rights violations on a consistent basis on one hand; and one the other to presume oneself immune from protest.
I noted in the piece that the Mapping Project had exaggerated the role of Zionism in the world’s ills. But I distinctly understated the case. They, in fact, put Zionism at the very heart of global problems. Again, it is important for people to understand Israel’s long history of partnership with and support for some truly atrocious forces, from Apartheid South Africa to the most criminal right wing dictatorships in Latin America, right up to today in their partnerships with Egypt and the UAE.
But while Israel has inextricably and cynically wrapped Zionism — even aside from the direct criminal acts of the State of Israel toward Palestinians and others — it is not in even the slightest way the driving force behind actions of other states. Because it is clearly untrue, there is certainly merit to such an accusation as calling on classic antisemitic tropes.
Finally, the anonymity of the Mapping Project is very troubling. There is no identifying the group behind the Project. Why? Palestine solidarity activists, not to mention Palestinians themselves, have opened themselves up regularly to criticism, personal/professional losses, and sometimes violence. This group hardly runs a greater risk than anyone else.
For all of these reasons, the article I wrote about the Mapping Project and the analysis behind it fell well short of my usual standards. I’ll make sure to do better.