If recent analyses here and elsewhere are correct, SJP and associated anti-Israel organizations are likely to be shifting strategy to take advantage of the increase in radical political activity on college campuses and elsewhere. This activity will probably take the form of building alliances with groups protesting at schools, pressuring administrators to cave in to demands, and shutting down events held by those with whom they disagree.
The marriage of such groups and organizations like SJP makes perfect sense since (1) the tactics now being inflicted on large numbers of students (such as shout-downs of speakers) were pioneered against Israel’s supporters and (2) anti-Israel activists have mastered the technique of bending other radical groups to their will through a one-sided application of “intersectionality” (which is why feminists in “the movement” must submit to the male-dominated SJP agenda, while SJP has no obligation to even mention gender Apartheid in the Middle East).
There are number of ways to meet this threat, some more productive than others.
For instance, one poor choice would be for Israel’s supporters – Jewish and otherwise – to try to find a home in newly forming radical alliances in hope to have a say when villains and victims are selected. The problem with this approach is that our side displays little of the ruthlessness that is the ultimate source of power in such “movements.” SJP, for example, is ready to cause limitless turmoil in other people’s organizations in order to get their way. For better or worse, it is unrealistic to assume our side can effectively manage similarly destructive power grabs.
Another poor choice would be to set ourselves up in opposition to the radicals, abandoning interaction across the political spectrum and throwing our lot in with those most averse to the protestor’s agenda. While there will always be a certain logic to embracing whoever seems to most vocally support Israel at the moment (which today are conservatives), a quick glance at history or the current political landscape demonstrates the folly of assuming today’s friends will always be friendly.
This is especially so since our greatest successes have come from cultivating support across the political spectrum (exempting the radical fringes), best exemplified by the ability of AIPAC to manage the community’s relationship with Congress regardless of which party is in power. In addition, the more we can separate Jewish and Israeli concerns from domestic politics (either American or Israeli) the better.
So if joining the mob or joining the mob’s enemies are not likely to be productive options, what can we do (beyond holding the usual speaking events and hummus parties and hoping for the best)?
First of all, we need to understand each challenge we face as clearly and concretely as possible. Reading stories of rampaging mobs on campuses can boil the blood, and get us fearful that any radical group we face has similar numbers and power. But if you look at any political challenge objectively, it always boils down to understanding the enemy and his or her true numbers and resources, understanding your side in similarly concrete fashion, and being aware of the battlefield on which the fight might be fought.
SJP is made up of individuals, as are the organizations they are trying to align with or corrupt. So how many people are in each of these groups, and how many of those people know what they’re doing with regard to creating and maintaining political alliances (a tricky project under any circumstances)?
Speaking of alliances, we do have alternatives (which I describe here) to throwing our lot in entirely with either our enemies or our enemies enemies and hope they play nice with us.
So first steps are to avoid panic, get a handle on the situation as it really is (as much as possible) and create the teams that can effectively country the enemies likely next steps.
Some examples of how this can work next time.