“It is not acceptable to target or make vulnerable Jewish institutions or organizations, full stop,” wrote Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) in a statement.
By Dimitriy Shapiro, JNS
Condemnations from members of Congress continue over a Boston-area interactive map created by a radical left-wing organization calling itself “The Mapping Project.”
The map ties numerous organizations and companies in Massachusetts to Jewish organizations, schools, charities, universities, police departments and weapons-systems manufacturers and other industries, and accuses them of being complicit in colonialism, U.S. imperialism, ethnic cleansing, ableism, ecological harm and other offenses.
The group, which refers to Massachusetts as “the land of Massachusett, Pawtucket, Naumkeag and other tribal nations,” stated on its website that it was a collective of activists and organizers that “wanted to develop a deeper understanding of local institutional support for the colonization of Palestine and harms that we see as linked, such as policing, U.S. imperialism, and displacement/ethnic cleansing.”
“Our work is grounded in the realization that oppressors share tactics and institutions—and that our liberation struggles are connected,” wrote members. “We wanted to visualize these connections in order to see where our struggles intersect and to strategically grow our local organizing capacities.”
The focus on Jewish institutions and individuals—and publishing details such as addresses—has led to many criticizing the map as an anti-Semitic “Jew list.”
“Our interactive map illustrates some ways in which institutional support for the colonization of Palestine is structurally tied to policing and systemic white supremacy here where we live, and to U.S. imperialist projects in other countries,” the organization behind the map wrote on its website. “Our map also shows the connections between harms such as privatization and medical apartheid, which are often facilitated by universities and their corporate partners.”
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.)—one of two Jewish Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus—slammed the map as dangerous, false and anti-Semitic, associating them with the greater BDS movement.
“The so-called ‘Mapping Project’ is an anti-Semitic and dangerous attack on the rights and freedoms of American Jews,” Zeldin wrote in a news release. “The BDS movement, which this group embraces, is vile and enflames anti-Semitic hate and violence in the United States and around the world. The sick and twisted lies being pushed by the Mapping Project are part of an anti-Semitic movement that must be identified, called out and crushed in all forms.”
‘This is just chilling to me’
Jewish Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), who represents a suburb of Boston with a large Jewish population, told Jewish Insider that previous efforts to keep lists of Jews throughout history were “sinister” and often precluded violence. He noted that, especially during the current time, it can be enough to “inflame the deranged among us to take the next step from contemplating to acting upon violence.”
“This is just chilling to me. It is tapping into millennia-old anti-Semitic tropes about nefarious Jewish wealth, control, conspiracy, media connections and political string-pulling,” he said. “To name names and keep lists, which has a very sinister history in Judaism, in terms of how we are targeted, is very irresponsible. [The group] needs to take this down and apologize.”
Auchincloss told Jewish Insider that he plans to bring up the issue with his colleagues and groups in the area that have promoted the project.
“[The organizers] need to recognize actions that have the potential to incite violence, especially in a moment of heightened anti-Semitism and gun violence,” said Auchincloss. “I will give direct and stark feedback about how inappropriate and unacceptable this is.”
Auchincloss’s colleague, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), who represents suburbs north of Boston, tweeted on Wednesday that “targeting the Jewish community like this is wrong, and it is dangerous. It is irresponsible.”
“This project is an anti-Semitic enemies list with a map attached,” he wrote.
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) said on Twitter that the map accuses Jewish and Zionist organizations of various evils in American society.
“Scapegoating is a common symptom of anti-Semitism which at its core is a conspiracy theory,” he wrote. “If you think ‘Zionists’ are to blame for the ills of American society, you are as much of a conspiratorial crackpot as [Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Greene [R-Ga.], with her sick fantasies about Jewish space lasers.”
“This is horrific and dangerous, and will imperil people,” tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
Boston-area representative Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) also released a condemnation of the map, despite having been endorsed by an organization promoting the map, Massachusetts Peace Action, and being a member of the group of progressive Democratic members of Congress known as “The Squad,” which is highly critical of Israel.
“It is not acceptable to target or make vulnerable Jewish institutions or organizations, full stop. There is no doubt that anti-Semitism and organized, violent white supremacy are at a boiling point in this nation and threaten our communities, so we must be vigilant when it comes to keeping each other safe,” she wrote in a statement.
“I know what it is like for my safety and that of my family to be under threat, and I take concerns about the safety of our faith houses and community organizations very seriously,” said Pressley. “Our community is reeling from acts of targeted violence, including the assault of a visiting rabbi just last summer. We are at our strongest when we are building a diverse, intersectional coalition dedicated to peace and justice for all marginalized communities.”