Brandeis University senior Joshua Nass was on a bus heading back to campus when a childhood friend he’d not heard from for eons sent him a link to a YouTube video promoting Israeli Apartheid Week, asking, “Have you switched sides?”
Nass appears in the clip for a few seconds with video spliced from an interview he gave on popular Fox Business News program “Varney & Company.” He is bookended by Roger Waters, Stephen Hawking and international Israeli Apartheid Week activists. Quotes from Boycott, Divest and Sanction leaders scroll through the screen, and an image of Nelson Mandela appears while a South African accented male voice (not, seemingly, Mandela’s) expresses support for the movement.
In an after-midnight conversation with The Times of Israel, Nass says, “I grew irate and was incredibly irritated and vexed” upon hearing that his image was being used in support of the very movements he works against as a student pro-Israel activist.
In the seconds Nass appears on camera, host Stuart Varney summarizes the background of the academic boycott against Israel while Nass nods in agreement with the facts. He is clearly not supporting the movement bent on sanctioning Israel.
But what was a college senior doing on Fox News anyway?
Nass, the head of a group called Voices of Conservative Youth, has been on Fox “dozens of times.” His organization, which he will run full time upon his June graduation, seeks to “change the way the Republican Party is perceived by the youth of this country.”
He and his Republican recruitment organization are “staunchly pro-Israel,” he says, and offer a moderate social platform. Nass speculates that the Israeli Apartheid Week movement used his likeness because it views him as a threat.
“This is a story that really paints a larger picture of the deceptive tactics that the folks in the BDS movement have resorted to,” says Nass.
Nass has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged the video’s makers via social media to a debate on “Israel as an apartheid state,” putting $5,000 of his own money on the line — to be donated to a mutually agreeable charity.
“That a 22-year-old college student of meager means is offering $5,000 of his own money should speak volumes. Rejection of my offer will expose their cowardice once and for all,” says Nass.
Nass also demands his image be edited out of the slick promotional video and an apology from the producers.
When asked if he is considering legal action, Nass answers, “We have not ruled anything out.”
The “we” in this case refers to the board of VOCY and its supporters, who have consulted with several lawyers and are weighing their options.
“We have the moral support of Sheldon Adelson and I am proud to stand with Mr. Adelson in opposing this movement because this is a movement of opposition to BDS that should transcend the youth movement,” says Nass.
Nass’s story has already transcended the Jewish world. Glenn Beck’s popular conservative news site The Blaze featured Nass, bringing him international media attention — attention Nass relishes.
“No amount of intimidation will silence me and my support of Israel,” says Nass.