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US Jewish leaders on Thursday urged the federal government to investigate the dissemination of a map of Boston-area Jewish institutions by advocates of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, echoing a demand from a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The so-called “Mapping Project,” released earlier this month by supporters of the BDS movement and endorsed by the activist group BDS Boston, provided an interactive database and map of hundreds of institutions, including Jewish schools and synagogues. It issued a call to “dismantle” and “disrupt” much of the Boston Jewish community over Israel’s alleged “colonization of Palestine,” police brutality in the US, and other supposed offenses.

Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called the project “part of an effort to track, target, intimidate and deliberately do harm to the Boston Jewish community.”

“The map reinforces dangerous antisemitic tropes historically used as the basis for violence against Jews, particularly egregious as antisemitic incidents reach record levels across the country,” they wrote in a statement. “We are concerned by the potential use of this BDS Movement-inspired hate map by extremist organizations targeting Jews and condemn its very creation. In addition, it is critical to provide access to immediate security resources for the organizations named in the project.”

The Conference also endorsed a Wednesday letter from 37 members of Congress, spearheaded by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Don Bacon (R-NE), that called for a federal investigation into “the use of the map by violent extremist organizations and terrorists” and boosted security for targeted organizations.

“We fear that this map may be used as a roadmap for violent attacks by supporters of the BDS movement against the people and entities listed,” the lawmakers wrote to heads of the FBI and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. “We ask that you investigate the use of the Mapping Project by extremist organizations, provide any necessary enhanced security for targets listed in the Project, and work with social media companies and internet service providers to prevent its further distribution. We must not turn a blind eye to this dangerous incitement.”

On Wednesday, the Palestinian BDS National Committee organization said it “has no connection to and does not endorse” the Mapping Project, while at the same time describing criticism of the initiative as “smears and intimidation” attempting to “shut down freedom of expression.”

“Endorsement of this project by any group affiliated with the BDS Movement conflicts with this affiliation,” the organization said in a statement. “Simultaneously, we reject and condemn the cynical use of this project as a pretext for repressive attacks on the Palestine solidarity movement by anti-Palestinian racists and apologists for Israeli apartheid, especially AIPAC and the ADL.”

Meanwhile, BDS Boston appeared unmoved by the storm of controversy, saying Thursday that the group “continues to feel that the Mapping Project is an important source of information and useful organizing tool.”

Source of original article: World – Algemeiner.com (www.algemeiner.com).
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