Screenshot of The Mapping Project's interactive map of Boston Jewish institutions. (Screenshot) (Screenshot)
BDS Boston map

“Our goal in pursuing this collective mapping was to reveal the local entities and networks that enact devastation, so we can dismantle them,” claims the anti-Israel Mapping Project’s website.

By Pesach Benson, United with Israel

A group of BDS activists published an interactive map on Friday it says exposes the connections between “Zionist leaders and powerhouse NGOs” in the Boston area. But angry local Jews say the map is nothing more than an effort to intimidate.

The map was put together by The Mapping Project, whose website describes itself as “a multi-generational collective of activists and organizers … who 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, US imperialism, and displacement/ethnic cleansing.”

The map includes Jewish and Israeli institutions running the gamut of Israel’s Consulate in Boston, the Ruderman Family Foundation, Israeli-American Council Boston, the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, Elbit Systems, the Harvard Center for Jewish Studies, AIPAC, J Street, the Anti-Defamation League, two Jewish newspapers, and more.

Staffers at the Jewish organizations are often identified by name.

The map also features Boston-area police stations, hospitals, universities, U.S. military sites, financial and pharmaceutical businesses, the AFL-CIO, various federal, state and local government offices among other institutions.

And with a few clicks, viewers can see the insidious attempt to reveal so-called interconnections, such as, for example, that the local Harpoon Brewery “has partnered with the Israeli company Desalitech, which specializes in water reuse and purification, to filter water from the Charles River.”

Intersectionality Run Amok

The “intersectionality” approach claims that it seeks to examine how gender, race, social class and other individual characteristics “intersect” or overlap with each other, especially in terms of their relationship to power and oppression.

By invoking intersectionality to make spurious comparisons, Palestinian supporters have managed to insert their agenda into movements such as The Women’s March and Black Lives Matter.

“Our work is grounded in the realization that oppressors share tactics and institutions – and that our liberation struggles are connected. We wanted to visualize these connections in order to see where our struggles intersect and to strategically grow our local organizing capacities,” the Mapping Project’s website said.

“Our goal in pursuing this collective mapping was to reveal the local entities and networks that enact devastation, so we can dismantle them. Every entity has an address, every network can be disrupted.”

But local Jews and community leaders described the map as a BDS effort to intimidate.

“They are choosing, in their desire to be intersectional, to essentially point the finger at the Jewish communal infrastructure of Greater Boston as responsible for every evil under the sun that they can think of,” Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “They make no bones about it.”

He warned that publishing the names of staffers — even at the junior level — was an invitation to violence.

“I have no question that, in this particular case, these radical anti-Zionist activists are deliberately choosing to put a target on the bodies of the Jewish community in Boston,” Burton said.

Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), whose district includes a large Jewish population, called on the Mapping Project to take down the map.

“This is just chilling to me. It is tapping into millennia-old antisemitic tropes about nefarious Jewish wealth, control, conspiracy, media connections and political string-pulling,” Auchincloss told Jewish Insider. “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.”

A joint statement issued by the Jewish Community Relations Council, ADL-New England and Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston said the Mapping Project’s “underlying messages are clear: Jews are responsible for the ills of our community and if you maintain your relationship with Jewish organizations, you will share that responsibility.”

The statement said the map, “draws on age-old antisemitic tropes that are all too clear to our community: Jewish wealth, control and conspiracies,” then stressing, “but we will not be intimidated and we will not be silent.”

The map also drew criticism from Jerusalem, where Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat tweeted, “This whole project is reminiscent of a dangerous antisemitic pattern of activity known from antiquity through the horrors of the 20th century: a pattern which has led to violence against Jews and their institutions.”