On May 15, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine staged a “die-in” protest to visually represent the mass expulsion and killings of Palestinians from 1947-1949. More than half of the 750,000 Palestinians who fled their homes did so under direct threat from Zionist militias. Others fled after news spread of massacres at Deir Yassin and Tantura, where Zionist militants killed 300 Palestinian civilians.
Just hours after our demonstration, Fox News’s Shannon Bream reported on the demonstration in a segment entitled “Rise of Anti-Semitic Groups on College Campuses.” Her sole guest was a Brandeis student who previously helped spearhead the smear campaign to get NYU SJP suspended over our mock eviction notice action last month.
The Fox News segment baselessly framed our action as anti-Semitic. Bream began the segment by referencing an anti-Semitic photo posted by a group at Vassar College, failing to mention that NYU SJP has no connection to this group. The remainder of the segment continued with the same lack of integrity, with Bream’s guest hurling one smear after the next, and Bream declining to request any evidence in response.
Faced with the dilemma that there was nothing anti-Semitic about our “die-in” demonstration, Bream and her guest resorted to linking NYU SJP to actions and groups to which we have no ties. The segment should be seen as part of an ongoing trend of deliberately conflating criticism of Israeli policy with hate speech and the targeting of Jews as an ethnic group.
Fox News failed to invite an NYU SJP representative onto the program, but did read the club’s statement on air. Unable to respond to the substance of our argument, which addressed current Israeli policy in its historical context, her guest launched into an impassioned testimonial of his personal investment in Israel.
Despite the segment’s accusatory title and the fact that only one side had been invited to the discussion, Bream concluded by declaring Fox’s commitment to “welcome the debate from both sides.” If Fox News actually welcomed dialogue, they would have invited NYU SJP onto the show instead of relying solely on sloppy smears and misinformation. In a political climate in which sensationalistic headlines and network ratings reign supreme, if you can’t use facts to counter criticism of Israel, cry anti-Semitism.