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Activists Start Calling Israel #JSIL -the Jewish State of Israel in the Levant

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Israel, Palestine, Citizen Media, Politics, Religion, War & Conflict
All that remains of 44 homes in Zafer 4, Gaza.  Taken by @dancohen3000

All that remains of 44 homes in Zafer 4, Gaza. Taken by @dancohen3000

Pro-Palestine activists have begun ‘re-naming’ Israel as the Jewish State of Israel in the Levant, or JSIL [1], in an obvious satirical allusion to the neighboring self-proclaimed ISIS, a splinter group of Al Qaeda that has brutally taken over swathes of Syria and Iraq, mowing residents and particularly minorities in its path.

This was meant to coincide with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the United Nations, a man they're calling the ‘Supreme Leader’ of JSIL. It comes nearly a month after a ceasefire was reached [2] in Gaza following the 50-day offensive, which killed at least 2,137 Palestinians, a majority of whom were civilians, including 577 children, and wounded at least 10,870 others. The attack has also had a noticeable effect on Gaza's economy, with hardly any civilian infrastructure left untouched: over 18,000 homes destroyed [3], as well as over 100 schools, 50 health-care centers and 17 hospitals damaged or 20 destroyed.

Led by known supporters of the Palestinian cause, the re-naming movement is using the same language ascribed to ISIS by the mainstream media to describe the Israeli government's policies. Independent journalist Rania Khalek [4], for example, warns of the threat posed by ‘JSIL’ to the Western world:

She also compared the financial and military aid given by the United States to Israel to the ISIS's “Jizya tax” — a tax imposed on those they consider to be non-believers:

Another similarity are the executions committed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza. Journalist Rania Khalek tweeted an excerpt from Jewish-American journalist and blogger Max Blumenthal recalling for the Russell Tribunal [10], or the International War Crimes Tribunal [11], what two International Committee of the Red Cross said they found in the Gazan town of Khuza'a [12]:

The tribunal concluded [17] that evidence showed Israeli forces had committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution, and incitement to genocide during the offensive. 

Gaza-based American journalist Joe Catron [18] pointed out how ‘JSIL’ also recruits foreign fighters — most of whom end up leading the country:

Joseph from the ‘ALeftwingBlog [22]‘ wondered about the ways in which the Jewish community could fight extremists, spoofing the pressure put on the world's Muslims to condemn or apologize [23] for ISIS:

Of notable and symbolic importance is the number of Jewish activists taking the lead in calling Israel ‘JSIL’ wishing to challenge the Zionist narrative of speaking for all Jews around the world. Gaza-based American journalist Dan Cohen [25] recalls the Zionist recruitment agencies that visited him in his synagogue as a child:

To which Max Blumenthal [13] responded by accusing Taglit, the ‘birthright’ agency that organizes trips to Israel for young Jewish adults around the world, of being a sectarian training program:

Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal were both in Gaza during the latest Israeli aggression and described the scenes of horror they saw there [28]. Both Cohen and Blumenthal lead the naming movement on Twitter, citing comparisons between ISIS and ‘JSIL’ policies:

They also accused ‘JSIL’ of using the Holocaust for its own political gain, echoing the letter [32] that was released by Holocaust survivors in August:

Finally, Blumenthal and Khalek summarized the point of the naming campaign with the following tweets: