When Zionism becomes co-extensive with Jewishness, Jewishness is pitted against the diversity that defines democracy, and if I may say so, betrays one of the most important ethical dimensions of the diasporic Jewish tradition, namely, the obligation of co-habitation with those different from ourselves. Indeed, such a conflation denies the Jewish role in broad alliances in the historical struggle for social and political justice in unions, political demands for free speech, in socialist communities, in the resistance movement in World War II, in peace activism, the Civil Rights movement and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. It also demeans the important struggles in which Jews and Palestinians work together to stop the wall, to rebuild homes, to document indefinite detention, to oppose military harassment at the borders and to oppose the occupation and to imagine the plausible scenarios for the Palestinian right to return.

From Judith Butler’s comments last Thursday at Brooklyn College, at what was a highly controversial event on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement co-sponsored by the political science department and Students for Justice in Palestine. A core challenge brought by those, like Dov Hikind and Alan Dershowitz, who vehemently opposed the panel (which also featured Omar Barghouti) and went to great lengths to try and prevent it from happening, was that the BDS movement (and, by extention, pro-Palestinian sentiment and Palestinians themselves) is a purveyor of hate speech and anti-Semitism. Butler very smartly (no surprise there) addresses this in her statement as reprinted in The Nation

Definitely read it in its entirety.

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