Rose Asaf, a co-founder of New York University’s branch of the anti-Zionist organization Jewish Voice for Peace, is one of the co-sponsors of a BDS resolution that will be introduced to the university’s student government on Nov. 1.
On Thursday, Asaf, a senior at the school, justified her resolution stance and slammed the pro-Israel community.
“As an American-Israeli Jew, I reject the categorization of BDS as anti-Semitic,” Asaf told JNS. “BDS is a set of nonviolent tactics aimed to put pressure on Israel to comply with international law and respect the dignity of the Palestinian people.”
“Criticizing a nation-state and promoting human rights is not in any way anti-Semitic,” she continued. “As someone who lives with the trauma of generational anti-Semitism, I know this well. I am in solidarity with Palestinians not in spite of my Judaism, but because of it.”
Asaf added that “the reason the vote is being by way of secret ballot are [because of] anti-democratic, McCarthyist websites like Canary Mission,” which she labeled as “an anti-democratic, Islamophobic and shameful initiative that we should all oppose, regardless of how we feel about BDS.”
She declined to comment on the specifics of the resolution, such as if it will also call for boycotting and divesting from Saudi Arabia, which is accused of murdering dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Andrea Levin, the president and executive director of CAMERA, said that her organization is “disheartened” by the BDS resolution from Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, both groups which have a history of anti-Semitism.
“Since the resolution is being introduced by organizations with a history of anti-Semitism, there can be no doubt that it aims to intimidate the vibrant community of Jewish students at NYU. CAMERA on Campus maintains the unshakable belief that the BDS movement, with its single-minded focus on the Jewish state, works exclusively to worsen conditions needed for dialogue, coexistence, and peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” she told JNS.
Levin added: “We are particularly troubled by anti-Zionist incidents taking place at NYU, which are occurring with increasing frequency and severity. It has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that instances of on-campus anti-Zionism are closely linked to a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic attacks.”
Jewish Voice for Peace has been accused of using anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery as part of its “Deadly Exchange” activities, which seeks to “end police exchange programs between the US and Israel.”
Only students with NYU IDs will be allowed to attend the meeting. The anonymous final vote, to protect student privacy, will be held on December 6.