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“The longest seven minutes of my life”

“The longest seven minutes of my life” July 1, 2021

The following account was written by the theologian Tricia Miller about our mutual friend Dexter Van Zile who endured anti-semitic hatred and was on the verge of being physically attacked for his support for Israel.

Gerry

 

Last week on the streets of Boston, CAMERA’s Dexter Van Zile experienced intense, raw, in-his-face hatred and attempted intimidation similar to what Jews are subjected to frequently as vile antisemitism intensifies across the US.

However, Dexter is not Jewish! BUT, he is a Christian who unashamedly stands with Israel and the Jewish people. And as a CAMERA analyst, he attended a rally in Boston on June 24th, organized by the UMASS Boston Chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), in order to observe and report on the event. In so doing, he put himself in harm’s way. 

In the course of the rally, one of the speakers announced to the participants that Dexter Van Zile, “a rabid Zionist,” was present. As a result of that revelation, Dexter was humiliated, scapegoated, and surrounded by a threatening crowd screaming vulgarities.

When it appeared that the name calling, spitting and shoving was about to escalate to the point of physical harm, one of the leaders of the rally began telling the crowd to leave Dexter alone. Unfortunately, this intervention was not done for any of the reasons we might hope, but out of fear that an actual physical assault would harm the cause of SJP.

“Don’t give them the ammunition. They will use this against us,” the rally leader said. “One Zionist is not worth it. They will use this against us.”

Only then did the hate-filled mob reluctantly move away, bringing an end to an ordeal that Dexter describes as “the longest seven minutes of my life.” To see the last two minutes of this intense encounter, watch this video, recorded by a fellow CAMERA colleague.

For more information about the events of June 24th in Boston, please read the following article, published in The Times of Israel on June 30th, for Dexter’s chilling account and incisive analysis.
Seven Minutes of Hate Courtesy of SJP and UMASS Boston
Dexter Van Zile

Last Thursday, June 24, 2021, I was publicly humiliated and scapegoated at a rally organized by the UMASS Boston Chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, (SJP). More to the point, I was shoved, spit at, called a bitch, a Nazi, a pig, and doused with water at a rally organized by a student organization supported with funds collected and distributed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. SJP has been organizing rallies like this on college campuses throughout the U.S. for years, but now, SJP is moving off campus, with the powers that be taking little notice.

The ordeal was the longest seven minutes of my life, but I have nothing to complain about. Jews throughout the world have been subject to much worse abuse at the hands of their fellow citizens in episodes that lasted a lot longer than what I endured.

And even during the most frightening moments of my ordeal, I was comforted by two people who stood up for me out of principle, telling the mob assailing me I had done nothing wrong and that I should be left alone. Very rarely have Jews enjoyed such solidarity from their fellow citizens, even in the most enlightened polities.

Throughout history, people have been voyeuristic bystanders to anti-Jewish violence. These days, people who engage in antisemitic attacks are egged on, sometimes implicitly, sometimes explicitly, by people who declare they are on the side of peace and justice.

I am not a Jew, but what happened to me last week on the streets of Boston, my home for the past 20-plus years, is part of an ongoing campaign designed to drive Jews out of civic life in the U.S. This is not about Israel, but Jews. And it’s not just about Jews, but about undermining the rule of law and poisoning inter-group relations throughout the country — using public funds. It’s a recipe for disaster and the people who run the city are asleep at the switch.

On June 17, the UMASS Boston chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine started promoting a rally that begins on the steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston and then proceeds to the separate offices of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Boston.

According to SJP’s narrative, the ADL brings American police officers to Israel, where they are trained to oppress and murder people of color in America, and the JCRC brings Massachusetts lawmakers to Israel to brainwash them into supporting Zionism, which is a form of white supremacy.  They call this “investing in the infrastructure of white supremacism.” It’s an age-old tactic — blame the Jews for the great evil of the day.

With these accusations, which are the poisonous fruit of critical race theory, the rally organizers cast the ADL and the JCRC as the public face of what Bernard Harrison describes in his book Blaming the Jews: Politics and Delusion (Indiana University Press, 2020) as an “evil, conspiratorial organization of an essentially impenetrable kind [with] vast power to harm any non-Jewish society that harbors Jews.”

The SJP narrative, which clearly falls into what Harrison describes as “political antisemitism” had been showcased at a “Day of Rage” that took place on July 1, 2020.

At this rally, Nino Brown, a Boston school teacher associated with the Jericho Project, an organization that promotes a black radical separatist agenda in the U.S., demonized the United States and Israel, shouting, “F—k your police state, America was never great,” and referring to Israel as a “parasitic entity” during his speech.

I wrote a number of articles about Brown’s rhetoric in the weeks after last year’s rally and it was clear that these articles were on the top of his mind during his talk at last Thursday’s demonstration on the steps of the State House.

 


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