Various individuals and groups that comprise the domestic anti-Israel movement in the United States -- who often pay lip service to principles of justice, human dignity and nonviolence -- have gone conspicuously silent in the wake of the tragic murder of three Israeli teenage boys, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, following their kidnapping by Hamas terrorists on June 12.
The bodies of the Israelis were discovered on Monday, June 30, after an 18-day search conducted by the Israeli military.
ADL reviewed the social media profiles and websites of more than 25 of the leading anti-Israel groups and individuals. All except one group failed to acknowledge the kidnapping or condemn the murders. Many had the audacity to challenge the fact that the teens were even kidnapped at all.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s National Director Anna Baltzer, for example, issued a statement in late June that condemned Israel’s searches and operation in the West Bank as “deadly collective punishment” while avoiding the term kidnapping and instead referring to the students as having “disappeared.” Other groups, including the International Solidarity Movement, described the youths as “missing” and dismissed Israel’s claim that Hamas was responsible for kidnapping the three youths.
Most of the organizations surveyed – including Students for Justice in Palestine, Adalah-NY, American Muslims for Palestine and If Americans Knew – only mentioned the kidnapping in order to condemn Israel’s alleged “collective punishment” operations in the West Bank in an effort to find the boys and their kidnappers. The Middle East Children’s Alliance, a Berkeley-based group that advocates for the rights of Palestinian children, issued a total of six statements in the past two weeks blasting Israel’s military actions. Not one mentioned the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens.
Ali Abunimah, perhaps the most prolific speaker and writer associated with the domestic anti-Israel movement, used his Twitter page to lambast Israel and call for its destruction. Shortly after news broke that the boys’ bodies were found, Abunimah wrote “Now is precisely the time to say: let all the bloodshed and horror end. Dismantle the racist regime that terrorizes millions of people.” He also wrote, “Almost every night, Israel unleashes the most advanced weaponry against a 1.7 million people caged in a ghetto because they are not Jews.”
The only organization that expressed its discomfort with the murders was Jewish Voice for Peace. A statement on June 30 posted on the group’s Facebook page includes a condemnation but then quickly cautions that Israel must not “punish” Palestinian society as a result: “JVP mourns the deaths of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach. We are opposed to any violence against civilians, which is a violation of international law and an affront to our values. We hope that the punishment of Palestinian society as a whole – itself a violation of international law - will not intensify in place of real justice in the aftermath of this tragedy.”
The group’s statement on Twitter is even more equivocal and unemotional: "3 Israeli settler teens found dead. May we honor their memories through our commitment to justice."
On June 20, JVP had published a statement that featured one paragraph on the kidnapping of the three boys and a full six paragraphs outlining all that Israel had allegedly done wrong in response. The statement flippantly claims that Palestinian terrorism is just an imitation of the “language” used by Israel and is a seemingly justifiable response to the occupation: “Israel's refusal to halt its settlement process and respond to Palestinian calls for an end to occupation has caused a small minority of Palestinians to communicate in the language that Israelis employ on a daily basis: the language of violent resistance. Without an end to the systemic violence generated by Israeli's military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, tragedies like the kidnapping of three Israeli children living in West Bank settlements, and the incarceration and killing of hundreds of Palestinian children will continue to unfold.”