The goal of a Columbia University program launched last year is “to promote radical anti-Israel rhetoric and to provide a platform for propagators of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement to spread their anti-Israel propaganda,” according to an investigative report released by a right-wing Zionist advocacy and education NGO.
Im Tirtzu published its findings earlier this month, stating that of 32 authors involved in “The Nakba and the Law” initiative — a joint effort of Columbia’s Center for Palestine Studies and the left-wing Israeli NGO Adalah — 17 “openly support the BDS movement.”
According to its website, the project has received grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research — which falls under the responsibility of the Dutch government’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and is housed in The Hague — and Columbia’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy.
The project’s most recent article — published on the site in March 2017 — was written by John Reynolds, who, according to Im Tirtzu, was formerly a legal researcher for al-Haq, a Palestinian NGO “involved in libel, BDS and ‘lawfare’ campaigns against Israel.” Reynolds wrote that Israel has continuously and routinely committed violence “on Palestinian bodies and killing of Palestinian life” since 1948.
Eytan Meir, director of external relations for Israel-based Im Tirtzu, explained to The Algemeiner that “The Nakba and the Law” was brought to the group’s attention by one of its activists who came across it on social media.
“After looking into the project, it was evident that this was not an academic program aimed at educating Columbia University students, rather a concerted and deliberate effort to slander the Jewish state,” Meir said.
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg has called the “Nakba” — the Arabic word meaning “catastrophe” that Palestinians use to describe their version of events surrounding the Jewish state’s 1948 founding — “a hypocritical attempt to rewrite history and to undermine the very existence of the State of Israel” and said “it is important to unapologetically call the ‘Nakba’ what it is: nonsense.”