The paper draws a moral equivalency between peaceful advocacy for human rights and violent hate speech.
You start out framing JVP as so bad that when you say white nationalists are bad, you say it by saying they are as bad as the JVP. So JVP becomes the standard of badness against which to measure just how bad neo-Nazis are.
Here is a clever but repellent variation of hasbara, or propaganda for Israel: New York Times columnist Bret Stephens equates Jewish Voice for Peace with white nationalists, because JVP supports Palestinian rights. In “Steve Bannon Is Bad for the Jews,” Stephens sets out to condemn the Zionist Organization of America for welcoming Steve Bannon to its gala the other night. Why? Because Bannon is an anti-Semite, just like JVP.
Here’s Stephens’s logic:
[W]hen a far-left group such as Jewish Voice for Peace makes common cause with someone like Linda Sarsour — the Palestinian-American activist who advocates the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state and publicly praised a convicted terrorist — it disqualifies itself as an advocate of any Jewish interest save its own. To deny Israel’s right to exist, as U.N. Secretary General António Guterres noted in April, is “a form of modern anti-Semitism.”
It also means that when a right-wing Jewish group such as the ZOA chooses to overlook Bannon’s well-documented links to anti-Semitic white nationalists, it puts itself on a moral par with JVP.
Did you see that sequence? Stephens is saying that JVP’s support for Sarsour is the same as Steve Bannon’s support for white nationalist Richard Spencer. So if you think Palestinians are human beings with equal rights to live in their own homeland, you are the same as neo-Nazis. That is racist.
It is also brilliant, PR-wise. You start out framing JVP as so bad that when you say white nationalists are bad, you say it by saying they are as bad as the JVP. So JVP becomes the standard of badness against which to measure just how bad neo-Nazis are. While many commenters at the Times criticize Israel in the comments, nobody seizes on this underhanded twisting of JVP.
And Stephens gets away with it.