In a new post at Minding the Campus, Jonathan Marks has some advice for aspiring BDS activists on campus.

Anti-Israel Campus Activists Could Learn Something from George Bush

In a speech delivered to a joint session of Congress fewer than two weeks after September 11th, the much maligned President Bush repeatedly distinguished between the radical Muslims who had attacked us and Muslims in general. Toward the end of the speech, he reminded Americans not to single out Arabs or Muslims for the actions of a fringe: “We’re in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.”

I was reminded of this statement as I read an account of an attack on a Jewish student at Temple yesterday. Almost everything about this incident is in dispute, and we’ll have to wait and see what an investigation reveals. What is not in dispute is this: in front of a table run by Students for Justice in Palestine, during an argument about Israel, one “pro-Palestinian” student, hit another, Jewish “pro-Israel” student.

In response to this incident, Students for Justice in Palestine has denied “right wing” charges of antisemitism and insisted that their “opposition to all forms of structural racism” includes antisemitism. Although Vassar College’s SJP clearly crossed the line into antisemitism last year, I see no reason not to believe that the vast majority of SJP student members reject antisemitism sincerely and vigorously. I just wish this acknowledgement were not always uttered from a defensive crouch, coupled with the charge, or at least the implication, that antisemitism is largely the invention of a hysterical or calculating pro-Israel right wing.