Op-Eds do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the author(s).
Yonatan Manor (COM ‘25) is a second year Film and Television student in the College of Communication as well as a CAMERA on Campus Fellow.
At the beginning of the Holocaust, the Nazi regime kept detailed lists of Jewish businesses and institutions throughout their territory. This knowledge led to Judenboykott, or “Jewish boycott,” beginning April 1, 1933 where Germans were not to patronize Jewish-owned businesses.
These boycotts intensified and gave rise to the infamous Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in 1938 where rioters killed close to 100 Jews and destroyed hundreds of synagogues and other Jewish institutions throughout Germany and Austria.
80 years later, a new list has emerged online in the spirit of the Judenboykott.
The Mapping Project is an interactive map of Massachusetts that lists roughly 500 local companies, universities, police departments, charities, schools and synagogues connected to the Boston Jewish community.
The website lists the exact locations of every establishment along with an accusatory note. Specifically, they accuse these organizations of supporting “white supremacy” and “ethnic cleansing” due to their ties with Israel. The project also includes an alarming call to “dismantle” and “disrupt” these institutions for their connection to Zionism.
Boston University is one of the many universities listed on the Mapping Project website and is said to be complicit in “policing” and “surveillance.” These claims are based on a conspiracy characterized by many pro-Palestinian groups as the “Deadly Exchange.”
The campaign portrays the Israeli police and military as violent oppressors of Palestinians who are teaching U.S. police officers how to implement racist and discriminatory policing in the United States. In reality, the exchange program between American and Israeli law enforcement agencies is mostly centered on counter-terrorism efforts.
The architect of the U.S. Israel Police Exchange, Steven Pomerantz, debunked the myths spread by the campaign, writing, “Despite suggestions to the contrary, there is no field training involved in either the conferences or trips and no training on holds or arrest mechanics.”
The website also falsely portrays Zionism as a form of white supremacy that supports the colonization of Palestine by a settler population.
Zionists were never white imperial colonialists. Jews maintained a constant presence in the land of Israel throughout history after establishing a monarchy in the land that includes modern-day Israel, the West Bank (Judaea and Samaria), parts of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan approximately 3,000 years ago.
Fast forward to modern history, where large waves of Holocaust survivors fled to the land after the horrors of genocide. Additionally, over 586,000 Mizrahi Jews of Arab and African descent fled their home countries to Israel between 1948 and 1972. Today, nearly half of Israel’s native population descends from the Jewish refugees of the Arab world, not white Europeans, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
The Mapping Project website presents more false information, stating Zionism is the continued presence of settler colonists on land in Palestine and their dominance over land, resources and politics.
Zionism is the movement of liberation for the Jewish people. Jews are indigenous to Israel and have maintained a connection to the land for thousands of years, enduring many expulsions and persecutions.
Israel is an effort of decolonization, as it is the return to the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. How could Jews be colonial settlers if their indigenous roots are in the land of Israel?
When Jewish refugees attempted to return to their homeland, the British government prohibited their immigration to Palestine despite many refugees having nowhere to go after the Holocaust.
Later on, the United Nations created a partition plan that would divide the territory into a Jewish and Arab state. While the Jewish Agency accepted the proposed plan, Arab leaders outright rejected the proposition.
Zionism gave birth to the State of Israel, considered the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, which is unique in that it was founded to “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex,” according to the Israeli declaration of independence.
The implications of the Mapping Project’s misinformation are serious and negatively impacting campus discourse.
For example, the Wellesley News, a student-run newspaper at Wellesley College, promoted the Mapping Project on its website and featured an editorial parroting many of its claims. While the Wellesley News has since rescinded its endorsement, the editorial supporting the Mapping Project remains published on their website.
The alarming rhetoric used throughout the Mapping Project has proven what many Jews have known for a long time: anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Boston University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter is guilty of toeing the same line.
In December of 2021, SJP wrote “Long Live the Intifada” on BU’s Greek Rock in central campus, a phrase commonly used to call for violence against Jews. Amplifying this phrase on campus showcases SJP’s ignorance of its historical meaning and how its harmful rhetoric, whether intentional or not, is endangering Jewish students.
The student group also protested the Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) summit in Boston in November 2022, waving signs calling for “Palestine to be free from the river to the sea” – a euphemism for the destruction of the State of Israel.
The Mapping Project has empowered groups like SJP to be more vocal about their anti-Israel stance, causing Jewish students to feel unsafe and targeted as a result.
BU students and administrators should recognize the Mapping Project and the rhetoric of SJP at BU for what it is — bigotry against Jews.