Pro-Palestine mapping website sounds alarm in Jewish groups | New

BOSTON — The Jewish community in Massachusetts is on edge after the launch this month of a mysterious pro-Palestine website listing the names and addresses of dozens of local institutions — a number of which are Jewish — and calling for them to “dismantle” and disrupt them.

The Mapping Project is an interactive map of Massachusetts that lists nearly 500 local colleges, police departments, businesses, and nonprofits, and accuses them of complicity in a range of “prejudices,” from ethnic cleansing to colonialism and more. by “surveillance” and Zionism, or the Jewish community. nationalism.

The list includes some of the most recognized institutions in the state, from Harvard and MIT to Raytheon, General Electric, Moderna and Fidelity Investments.

But dozens of smaller Jewish organizations are also named, including Gann Academy, a Jewish high school in suburban Boston, and New England Yachad, the regional branch of a national organization for Jewish people with disabilities.

Jewish advocates complain that many non-Jewish organizations appear to have been eliminated simply because of their ties to Jewish groups.

“Jewish institutions are like the pin in the middle of the map, and everything spreads from there,” said Robert Trestan, head of the Anti-Defamation League’s New England bureau, speaking at the of an online briefing on Wednesday highlighting concerns about the site.

The ADL, a group that opposes Jewish discrimination and bigotry, is among those named in the Mapping Project.

“It plays into this trope that powerful and wealthy Jews have a disproportionate influence on world affairs,” added Justin Finkelstein, an extremism expert at ADL, noting that 30 of the 38 nongovernmental organizations named on the site are Jewish.

US attorney Rachael Rollins of Massachusetts, who was also among the speakers at the event, promised to speak with the FBI to find out if the site crosses the line between free speech and being dangerous and criminal.

“This language is dangerous for sure,” she said. “We have to see what we can do to eradicate this.”

Last week, a bipartisan group of 37 members of Congress called the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to investigate, provide “enhanced security” to organizations listed on the website, and work with social media companies and internet service providers to prevent further distribution of the site.

“We must not condone this incitement,” wrote U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey, and other lawmakers.

Spokespersons for the FBI and other federal agencies declined to comment, as did the site’s creators.

But in a statement posted on the website, the creators say it merely illustrates how “institutional support for the colonization of Palestine” is tied to “the police and systemic white supremacy,” as well as the “American imperialist projects” and other injustices. .

“Our goal in pursuing this collective mapping was to reveal the local entities and networks that are causing the devastation, so that we can dismantle them,” the statement said. “Each entity has an address, each network can be disrupted.”

Internet company GoDaddy, where the website’s domain name is registered, has reviewed the website and concluded that it has not violated its domain name registration agreement, spokesman Nick Fuller said. in a press release.

The 1984 Hosting Co., of Reykjavík, Iceland, which hosts the site, said in an email that it facilitates freedom of expression but does not host those who advocate violence, terror, repression or hatred. The company declined to comment when specifically asked about Jewish community concerns.

Local Jewish leaders say the website launch comes as anti-Semitism rises in New England.

More than 100 anti-Semitic incidents such as vandalism, harassment and assaults were recorded in Massachusetts last year, up 48% from the previous year, according to the ADL. Annual Report. Incidents rose more than 40% overall in New England, excluding Connecticut, according to the report.

Among the incidents last year in Massachusetts was the stab a rabbi near a Jewish day school in Boston and the Duxbury High School football team’s use of antisemitic terms in his piece calling.

Jeremy Yamin, vice president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a Boston nonprofit named on the Mapping Project, said local Jewish groups have been reaching out in recent days to see how they should respond.

He encouraged them not to overreact, but also to make sure their safety plans, equipment and staff training are up to date.

“We’re really focused on long-term preparation,” Yamin said. “That’s serious anti-Semitic rhetoric, but it’s also part of a range of issues that we’ve been dealing with for some time.”

Rabbi Ron Fish, who has a son entering Gann Academy, said he was confident Waltham Private School was taking the necessary precautions and would not hesitate to send his son to lessons when they resume in autumn.

“The targeting of children is horrible,” said Fish, also the ADL’s anti-Semitism education and advocacy director. “The Mapping Project is guilty of committing such an outrageous and dangerous act. But hiding is not a solution.

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