BDS activists protest Israel in Oslo, Norway
BDS activists protest Israel in Oslo, Norway iStock

The global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement targeting Israel has disavowed a controversial website mapping Boston-area Jewish groups a day after lawmakers urged a federal investigation of the project’s potential to be used by extremist groups.

The announcement by the BDS movement on Wednesday aimed to distance the group from the Mapping Project, an anonymous collective of Boston-area pro-Palestinian activists. The project lists the names and addresses of Massachusetts Jewish groups, including schools, community funds and synagogue organizations, that it claims are promoting “local institutional support for the colonization of Palestine” and “other harms.”

“The Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broadest coalition leading the global BDS movement for Palestinian rights, has no connection to and does not endorse the Mapping Project in Boston, Massachusetts,” the BDS movement said in a statement posted to its official Twitter account. “Endorsement of this project by any group affiliated with the BDS movement conflicts with this affiliation.”

The collective’s statement seems to be in reference to BDS Boston, which had enthusiastically shared a link to the Mapping Project upon its initial release earlier this month and identified the group as “our friends at the Mapping Project.” This led several media outlets, Jewish groups and politicians to identify the Mapping Project as a BDS initiative.

Among those politicians were the 37 members of Congress, led by staunchly pro-Israel Democrat Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Republican Don Bacon of Nebraska, who signed a letter Tuesday urging an investigation of “the use of the Mapping Project by extremist organizations.” The letter was addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FBI Director Christopher Wray, and it claimed the Mapping Project was “associated with the BDS movement.”