2012 September » ADL Blogs
September 24, 2012

“Zionism” Blamed for Anti-Islam Film At Protests in Houston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Protests held in Houston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. last Friday and Saturday accused Zionists of having a hand in the production of the anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims.

The rallies, which were sponsored by the Muslim Congress, a Shi’a organization founded in 2005, also featured placards and slogans accusing the America and other Western nations of harboring double standards regarding what constitutes freedom of speech.

Sign at Muslim Congress protest in Houston

Protesters at the Houston rally, which was co-sponsored by the Islamic Education Center (IEC), a Houston-based Shi’a mosque and private school with a record of employing stereotypical anti-Semitic narratives in its publications, held a banner that read: “Insult of Islam = Freedom of Speech? Inquiry on Holocaust= Antisemitism? Double Standards!” Protesters also chanted slogans blaming Zionists for the film’s production and held posters with “Yes to Moses, Yes To Jesus, Yes to Muhammad, No to Zionism” written on them.

Although they were billed as “peaceful protests” to “honor Divine Prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad,” a Muslim Congress press release issued after the events called the film “a by-product of a culture created by … war-profiteers, and the Zionist lobby.”

The same release included a resolution calling for limits on freedom of speech and asked for “all Americans of faith [to] stand together against the plans of the Zionist to disunite us, as the Zionists respect neither Judaism, Christianity or Islam.”

The Muslim Congress has regularly featured anti-Semitic speakers such as Abdul Alim Musa of the extremist As-Sabiqun group and Mohammad al-Asi at its annual conventions.

Similar to the protest in Houston, protesters in front of the Los Angeles Federal Building held up posters denouncing the film and blaming the violence seen in several Middle Eastern countries on Zionism. One poster read, “Yes to Torah, Yes to Bible, Yes to Quran, No to Zionism.”

PressTV, the Iranian government’s primary medium for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to English-speaking countries, described the Los Angeles protest as a reaction to the anti-Islam film produced “thanks to Jewish donations totaling USD five million.”

The false claim that the film was the work of an “Israeli Jew” initially spread when the filmmaker said in interviews that his project had 100 Jewish backers who had invested $5 million to produce it. It was later revealed that the film was cre­ated, pro­duced and pro­moted by sev­eral Chris­t­ian anti-Muslim activists con­nected to a net­work of anti-Muslim organizations.

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September 24, 2012

Anti-Israel Teach-in Held During Occupy Wall Street “Free University Week”

A working group affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement held a teach-in over the weekend on advocating for and supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel. The group, known as the “Global Justice Working Group,” used the session to demonize Israel and to demonstrate how the pro-BDS agenda goes hand-in-hand with the goals of OWS.

A sign at the Occupy BDS teach-in New York

The event was held on Saturday, September 22, as part of an OWS-organized weeklong program in New York called “Free University Week.”

Speakers during the event condemned Israel as a “European settler movement” and Israeli policy as extremely oppressive. Riham Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and activist with Adalah-NY, a local pro-boycott group, described the situation for Palestinians as a “struggle of indigenous people against colonizing settler tactics.” Another speaker accused Israel of having “violated every article in the 4th Geneva Convention.” The speakers represented a variety of domestic anti-Israel groups, including Adalah-NY, Punks against Apartheid, New Yorkers against the Cornell-Technion Partnership and CODEPINK’s “Stolen Beauty” campaign, which calls for a boycott of AHAVA products.

The activists also repeatedly sought to demonstrate that  the goals of OWS and the BDS movement are interconnected. One OWS speaker, for example, warned the participants that Israel trains American law enforcement and equips police with weaponry and riot control tools. A representative of the Occupy Oakland movement then deliberately “connected the dots,” alleging that the “same type of tear gas being used against them [Occupy Oakland] is being used against the Palestinians.”

Saturday’s event represents the latest effort by anti-Israel activists to inject their cause into the now year-old OWS social protest movement. Up until now, these efforts – which included waving anti-Israel signs and chanting anti-Israel slogans at OWS demonstrations – were not officially sanctioned by OWS or any of its affiliated groups. In what could be a possible shift, the teach-in was sponsored by a group formally tied to OWS and was promoted on the official New York General Assembly website, which hosts content from “dozens of groups working together to organize and set the vision for the #occupywallstreet movement.

While one might imagine that a group called “Global Justice Working Group” would focus on a variety of issues of global injustice, the group seems to maintain a singular focus on criticizing Israel. Indeed, its Facebook page and website are regularly updated with anti-Israel content, including claims that Israeli checkpoints are a “tool of suppression” and calls for the Red Hot Chili Peppers to refuse to perform in Israel. [The concert was held as planned on September 10.]

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September 20, 2012

Tattooed Shootout Suspect is White Supremacist

Alaskan Jason Barnum has been charged with three counts of attempted murder following a mid-September shootout at an Anchorage hotel in which Barnum allegedly opened fire on police officers investigating a string of burglaries (wounding one of them).

Following the mid-September arrest in Anchorage, photographs of Barnum understandably went viral on the Internet.  Barnum has many striking tattoos, especially on his head, where a skinless jaw is tattooed on the right side of his face.  Most notable of all is Barnum’s right eyeball, which is itself tattooed black.

Now, ADL research has uncovered evidence that Barnum is also a white supremacist.

Barnum has at least two white supremacist tattoos on his body:  a curved swastika and the white supremacist version of the Celtic Cross.  He has also worn white supremacist jewelry, such as a necklace with a swastika superimposed on an Iron Cross, which appears on Barnum in a picture he posted to his Facebook profile in 2011.

In comments on other people’s Facebook profiles, Barnum has used common white supremacist codes such as “1488” (the 14 stands for the “Fourteen Words” white supremacist slogan, while the 88 stands for “Heil Hitler”).  Barnum also includes as one of his Facebook “likes” the Brotherhood Motorcycle Club, while one of his Facebook friends is a ranking member of that group.  The “Brotherhood” is short for the Aryan Brotherhood and the group is actually an offshoot of the Indiana Aryan Brotherhood that is active in Indiana and Oregon. 

Some of Barnum’s other Facebook friends are also white supremacists.  An examination of these individuals and their relationships to Barnum and each other reveals that most or all of them knew Barnum from shared time spent at the maximum security Spring Creek Correctional Center in Alaska, where they seem to have composed a small white supremacist prison clique.

Last January, Barnum complained on his Facebook profile that “[too] many people like to look at me & allways [sic] think that im about to do them harm.  When on the real im a friendly guy.”

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