Calls for the expulsion of Zionist Jews from the subway in New York constitute moral distortion and damage to an important cause

While the protest in the West against the atrocities in Gaza is extremely important, certain voices within it express moral distortion and pose danger to the protest’s moral voice. ABC network and other media outlets published chilling footage of pro-Palestinian protesters entering a car on the New York subway and chanting, "raise your hand if you're a Zionist, this is your chance to get out." New York’s mayor and other officials strongly condemned the incident, which is one in a series of similar incidents and statements, hence cannot be considered as a mere anecdote. While the protest against the high number of civilian casualties in Gaza is legitimate,, we must not ignore the voices within it – marginal, one must assume and hope – that express moral distortion and promote anti-Semitism, dehumanization of Israelis or persecution of Zionists.

Zionism is a broad ideological framework according to which the Jewish people have a fundamental right to national self-determination, and this aspiration should be realized in the Land of Israel, based on historical affinity to this area. Without expressing any position on Zionism, it must be understood as a broad conceptual framework, which include Jewish supremacy factions on the one hand, and factions which declare an aspiration for an equal shared life with the Palestinian collective on the other hand. This range of outlooks has been clashing in an ideational struggle, ever since the beginning of Zionism. And as with any ideational movement or ideology, it is completely legitimate to oppose Zionism and argue against it, but it is not legitimate to harm those who identify with this ideological framework or to deny their rights. In fact, even if we consider Zionism as an illegitimate ideology, the mere fact that people identify with this ideology cannot serve as a justification for denying their freedom of movement in the public sphere or for intimidating them. Therefore, it should be clear to everyone that the pro-Palestinian activists in the subway carried out an illegitimate persecution of a generalized group due to its worldview, and violated the human rights of its members.

The relative silence of the mainstream faction of the protest in the face of such actions is morally flawed, but also it helps those who want to portray the entire protest as promoting hatred and anti-Semitism, thus delegitimizing it. The right and duty to demonstrate against the atrocities in Gaza must be guarded but, at the same time, cases or expressions of moral distortion within these demonstrations should be condemned. The authorities of NYC should act against such events.

The Pro-Human Campaign works in this exact direction. We published two position papers in this vein: one on the dehumanization of Israelis in the West (especially in protests) and one on the dehumanization of Palestinians in Israel, we produce a series of webinars on these issues, and we develop public and educational activities around the principles and findings raised by these papers.

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