In yet another display of internecine progressive political protest, the pro-Palestinian movement hijacked a Cornell University #TakeAKnee rally, essentially sending a message that one cannot display one’s contempt for the United States without displaying an equal contempt for her ally, Israel.
The #TakeAKnee rally was designed to gather students and faculty to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and other athletes who feel the need to kneel during the national anthem.
According to organizers:
We, the undersigned faculty, invite the Cornell and Ithaca communities to join us this Wednesday at 12:30 pm to #TakeAKnee against racism by kneeling down in the Arts Quad for a moment of silence to show our solidarity with the fight against racism, white supremacy, and state-sanctioned violence against people of color. We kneel not only with the black athletes who are risking their careers to protest racism, but most importantly with the black students and other people of color here on campus whose civil rights and human dignity have been demeaned and violated in recent weeks by the actions of racists, nationalists, and white supremacists within our own community.
However, as the crowd of approximately 300-400 protestors began to take a knee to show their “solidarity with the fight against racism, white supremacy, and state-sanctioned violence against people of color,” Cornell history professor Russell Rickford — described as a “an anti-capitalist, anti-Israel activist and supporter of the BDS movement” — suddenly began leading the crowd in a chant of “Free Palestine.”
Who has enslaved Palestine? To whom we should be directing our demand that it be freed? Professor Rickford is not real clear on that point.
For several years, anti-Israel activists have sought to hijack other causes in order to turn them against Israel.
A key component of these hijackings is so-called “intersectionality,” the concept that Israel is the unifying evil force in the world that ties together problems far distant from Israel, including alleged police brutality against and inequality among non-whites in the U.S. Israel thus serves the organizing purpose that Jews historically served in international conspiracy theories.
This intersectionality has had a long history of success:
The Black Lives Matter movement, for example, released a policy platform called “A Vision for Black Lives” which states that the “US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people” — which, if true, would make the Palestinians the first people to see a population increase while undergoing a genocide.
Anti-Israel groups were also visible during the Occupy Wall Street movement a few years back.
What this all elicits most is an important question: can one be a good progressive without also being anti-Israel?
Perhaps. But there are plenty of loud voices in the progressive movement today intent on making that distinction as difficult as possible.