Photo Credit: The Mapping Project
Graphic from the interactive map created by the BDS-linked group, The Mapping Project.

The Boston chapter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) endorsed earlier this month a new project called “The Mapping Project” which maps Jewish organizations across Massachusetts, and provides their exact addresses while claiming they are taking part in “the colonization of Palestine.”

The Mapping Project does not only focus on Zionist or pro-Israel groups, and includes Jewish groups, connecting them to governmental institutions, police stations, and other public and private institutions. The project claims that the Jewish Community, which is less than 2% of the population of Massachusetts, should be mapped out so the public can see the scope of their “influence,” essentially harping on old and classic anti-Semitic tropes.

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The project claims that Jewish institutions in Massachusetts “buy legitimacy and support from universities, use their influence to enable a range of oppressive agendas,” alluding to the anti-Semitic notions of Jewish power influencing and manipulating world events.

BDS Boston claims they did not create the Mapping Project website and the map in it, and that it was an initiative of a “collective” of activists. However, they are not willing to divulge what framework those “activists” belong to.

However, technological tools show that the BDS Boston Twitter account was the first account across the world to tweet the link to the Mapping Project website.

Following a bipartisan letter by 37 US House representatives urging the Attorney General and the FBI to investigate the Mapping Project, the Ramallah-based BDS National Committee (BNC) realized that the project could be framed as anti-Semitic and pressured BDS Boston to disassociate from the project and to erase posts about it on their social media accounts.

This internal fight between anti-Israel groups turned public when the BNC published on Twitter a statement condemning the Mapping Project and telling BDS groups to choose a side. “Endorsement of this [mapping] project by any group affiliated with the BDS movement conflicts with this affiliation,” BNC claimed.

Other BDS groups have responded to BNC’s statement challenging its “rule” over the movement. The Israel-designated terror group Samidoun, which has proven links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization, said in a tweet that it “fully supports the work of the Mapping Project,” claiming that the map of Jewish institutions exposes “the connections between Zionism and imperialism.”

Other groups, like the Canadian BDS Coalition and Samdioun-affiliate Masar Badil also contradicted the BNC and endorsed the project.

BDS Boston responded to BNC’s statement that it still supports the project, but that some unknown “collective that works autonomously from BDS Boston” is behind the project.

Some BDS supporting groups, who self-identify as Jewish, were not happy to find themselves placed on this map either.

It is unclear who is really behind this project and its website.

The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts of Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent protest against the so-called “Israeli occupation.” Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.