The Mapping Project, a website listing Jewish organizations and other institutions in Massachusetts that its creators claim harm Palestinians, has provoked concern and fear among some members of Boston's Jewish community. Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, joined GBH’s Morning Edition host Jeremy Siegel to talk about why he sees the website as an incitement to violence. GBH's Morning Edition reached out to The Mapping Project requesting an interview or comment multiple times but did not hear back. This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Jeremy Siegel: Earlier this month, an anonymously produced map popped up online. It's called The Mapping Project, and it claims to illustrate organizations and institutions in Massachusetts that they say are responsible for harms against Palestinians. The graphic shows a series of dots and lines in different colors, connecting not just pro-Israel organizations, but schools, cultural centers, disability groups. Since it went up, the map's been promoted by the anti-Israel group Boston BDS and the left-wing nonprofit Massachusetts Peace Action. It's prompted the FBI to monitor the situation in Boston, and it's drawn swift condemnation from lawmakers across the ideological spectrum and from Jewish leaders like Jeremy Burton.

Jeremy Burton: I'm not terribly surprised to see something like this. It is the natural continuation of a very dark trend that we've been heading [to] in our society. We are living in a time where people become inspired or agitated by things that they see online. And this is clearly putting a target on day schools, cultural centers, disability services groups and saying, "Here's their address. Here are the names of their staff. Here are the names of their board. Dismantle them." And that's the word they use: dismantle.

Siegel: When you hear or read a word like dismantle, what does that mean to you? What comes to mind?

Burton: Well, I'm not going to pull out a dictionary, but they are clearly saying take apart the Jewish community, our infrastructure, our engagement with civic society in Boston. That's clearly what they are trying to make it impossible for us as a community to do, is be a part of the greater civic fabric of this city.

Siegel: Let's talk about some of the specific language used in this map and some of the literature they have online surrounding it. They use words like policing, they use some of these Jewish organizations in connection with words like white supremacy, colonization, systemic harm, oppression, the ruling class. I'm curious what you think the effects of strongly worded descriptions like this can have on how people respond to this list, not having the context surrounding it.

Burton: I mean, simply put, it's dangerous. They are using inflammatory language. They are engaging in classic antisemitic tropes of blaming Jews, Jewish institutions, Jewish influence, for all of the evils of society. And then they're pointing a finger at us and saying, "go get them."

Siegel: What went through your mind when you first saw this? When did you first see it?

"They are engaging in classic antisemitic tropes of blaming Jews, Jewish institutions, Jewish influence, for all of the evils of society."
-Jeremy Burton, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston

Burton: Well, apparently the site went live just before a three-day Jewish holiday weekend [Shavuot]. So while people started to notice it late on Friday afternoon, I think June 2, I first learned about it late Monday night when I came back online to copious emails and texts about it from concerned members of the community and from various other people.

My first thought, and I say this as someone who sits in public space pretty visibly, is that while I am somewhat inured to harassment, death threats, other kinds of weird communication directed my way — I appreciate the fear and anxiety of the many members of our community who found themselves listed in that way for the first time, and particularly to the parents at those schools who were worried about what that would mean for their kids.

Siegel: You yourself have received death threats?

Burton: Oh, absolutely. You know, if you're going to be out there as an advocate for, say, LGBTQ equality or for gun prevention or in support of the Jewish community, you're going to get various different kinds of threat and harassment. I get them all at one point or another.

Siegel: You wrote an opinion piece in The Times of Israel recently where you noted that they didn't just name pro-Israel advocacy groups in this list, but that they singled out schools, that they singled out police departments, including the Malden, Everett and Somerville police departments; Governor Charlie Baker; the Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston; organizations that explicitly oppose occupation.

And I want to talk about that broad brush stroke here a bit more, because as a Jewish person, this is something that I've experienced: the conflation between identity and religion, and politics, the state of Israel. I'm curious, you know, looking at this issue with a bit more nuance, let's say this was not a broad stroke list that conflated these things and if it did, hypothetically just single out pro-Israel groups. Is that different, in your view?

Burton: If these anonymous folks had just come after, say, the Anti-Defamation League and the JCRC for the kinds of trips that we engaged civic leaders in, or had come after, specifically organizations like AIPAC that advocate in support of the U.S.-Israel security relationship, we'd be having a very different conversation today. As I have said frequently over the last week and in that piece, this is a clarifying moment. They went after organizations like the New Israel Fund and J Street that are explicitly anti-occupation and devote considerable effort and resources towards that agenda and towards support for a two-state solution. By the way, as do we, support the two-state solution.

"They went after organizations like the New Israel Fund and J Street that are explicitly anti-occupation."
-Jeremy Burton, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston

They went after organizations like Yachad, a disability services organization, which at most has a tangential relationship to anything regarding advocacy around U.S.-Israel relations and whose only sin, so to speak, is that they provide programing for Jewish kids with disabilities to have some identity and connection to the largest Jewish community in the world in Israel.

This is clarifying. It's very clear that what the BDS movement in Boston, as represented at least in this, and among those who are amplifying it and celebrating and promoting it, is seeking the dissolution of the state of Israel, the removal of Jewish people from our homeland. That goes way beyond the achievement of two states, or equality, or Palestinian rights. They're seeking the removal of Jewish community from the public square in Boston.