Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Nathan Thrall

Nathan Thrall is a Jerusalem-based author and current visiting faculty member at Bard College, poisoning the minds of the upstate New York, liberal arts college with his lies of Israeli apartheid and promotion of the antisemitic Boycott Divest & Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Thrall’s new course – ‘Apartheid in Israel Palestine’ – appears to center around bashing the world’s sole Jewish nation while ignoring the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, struggles with Palestinian terror, and the refusal to accept the right of Israel to exist. Claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor is deemed antisemitic by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

Before taking the teaching semester at Bard, Thrall spent a decade as the Director of the Arab-Israel Project at the International Crisis Group (ICG) covering Israeli and Palestinian affairs. When looking into the funding of ICG, we discover that the NGO raised approximately one million dollars from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundations, a prolific and outspoken funder of the BDS movement across the United States, specifically on college campuses. 

BDS is a Palestinian-led movement promoting boycotts, divestments, and economic sanctions against the State of Israel, often calling for its destruction. Thrall has openly expressed his support for the BDS movement and claims that the sole purpose of pro-Israel groups is to stifle pro-Palestinian speech; in reality, BDS has not sought any reconciliation with the Jewish state, but rather refuses to support negotiations or talks of a two-state solution. Instead of pushing for peace, BDS often campaigns to raise tensions in communities – particularly on college campuses – that result in dangerous harassment of Jews and Israel supporters. 

In addition to the Rockefeller Foundation, more than five million dollars came from the Open Society Foundation, which funds dozens of pro-BDS organizations. 

On top of these foundations, ICG received four million dollars from the Qatari government in 2018 alone; Qatar is one of the largest state funders of Hamas. In 2008, the former ICG president Robert Malley was fired from Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign after it was made known that he met with the Hamas terror organization. We can all agree it’s not the best look for an educator to be funded & backed by antisemitic and pro-terror organizations. 

Nathan Thrall’s thought process is deeply clouded by an extremist mindset. His influence from the organizations that supported and funded him casts a dark shadow in many of his reviews, journals, and literature. In one of his more famous works, “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama,” Thrall paints a picture for the reader through the lens of radical Palestinians, blaming Zionism for its colonialist mindset in 1948. However, Zionism and the longing for Jews to have their homeland reestablished predated 1948. Thrall also fails to mention that any attempt towards peace by the Israelis has been fiercely rejected with the infamous phrase at the Arab League, ‘no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel.’

We know how quickly antisemitic speech turns into violent expressions and interactions. This is why it is imperative that the courses taught on college and university campuses should be unbiased and truthful. We often find that false claims about Israel translates into violent actions against Jewish students. In 2021, Bard student, Ben Mulick, a former ‘Antisemite of the Week’, threatened gun violence against the Jewish students on campus, ultimately leading to his exiting from the College after outrage ensued.

If Nathan Thrall truly believed the State of Israel actively practices apartheid, how could he, in good conscience, live and raise a family there? Because hypocrites like Thrall know perfectly well Israel is a robust democracy but recognize what big bucks antisemites can rake in, hence, he enthusiastically participates in the ‘apartheid’ charade.

How can YOU help Bard’s Jewish students? Email President Leon Botstein and voice your concern about Nathan Thrall and the damage he is doing on this well-respected campus.