Video Activism is a Jewish Agency sponsored trip that brings Jewish college students and young professionals to Israel. The trip is a 6 week experiential education internship based in Jerusalem that blends Israel, Judaism and movie production. Recently, Video Activism published an apolitical promotional video via social media to promote the upcoming trip and the response has been beyond shocking. From remarks of “Murderous state” to “Israel is a piece of $h!t” and even going as far as posting a picture of Adolf Hitler with the caption “I did Nazi that coming, did Jew?”
The video seemed pretty standard. Quick cuts of students in a classroom, students using video equipment and beautiful views of the Israeli landscape, set over a booming baseline from a popular song. There were no allusions to “the conflict” in Israel whatsoever. So what could have caused people watching to this seemingly innocuous video to unleash anti-Israel and even more worryingly, anti-Semitic rhetoric in the comments section? And how on earth did the video even wind up on the screens of those so hostile to its’ message?
We are living in a world where the internet is king and kingmaker. Where a viral video has the ability to empower, embolden and even incite it’s viewers in a powerful way. One group who has used this power to incite hatred toward the Jewish state is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, whose goal is to put pressure (financial, political, in the media,etc) on anyone or any company with ties to Israel. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been quoted calling BDS, “Classical anti-Semites in modern garb.” Recently, BDS has picked up steam on university campuses across North America, in a coordinated, organized and well-funded campaign. There is no reason to believe this dangerous movement will remain contained within the walls of liberal college campuses. As we have seen in recent years, as BDS spreads throughout academia at an alarming pace, it will be sure to spill over to other avenues at the first opportunity. And for those who argue that Israel is the only target, one need only pay attention to the rhetoric and imagery being used by the movement, with swastikas and caricatures of Jews with hooked noses, to see that this is just classical anti-Semitism being trussed up for the modern world.