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August 7, 2014 4

Anti-Semitism Persists Across Latin America

Numer­ous anti-Israel protests, anti-Semitic graf­fiti, state­ments and van­dal­ism took place dur­ing the week­end of August 1st and were reported to ADL. ADL has been mon­i­tor­ing the responses and actions from Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries since the start of Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge in early July, 2014.

Uruguay:

In Pos­ito, a neigh­bor­hood in Mon­te­v­ideo, Uruguay where many Jews live, a swastika was ‘keyed’ into the front doors of apart­ment homes where the per­pe­tra­tor believed Jews lived.

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In Ciu­dad de la Costa, Uruguay, an anti-Semitic inscrip­tion was sprayed on the beach that read “Jews, out of my country.”

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Brazil:

In São Paulo, a yeshiva stu­dent was attacked when he was leav­ing the yeshiva, and van­dals wrote on the out­side of the Kiruv Achim syn­a­gogue “Nazi” with a swastika.

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After a pro-Palestinian protest in Brasilia, an anti-Semitic poster with a Magen David = swastika was glued onto the Israeli Embassy’s indi­ca­tion sign.

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Chile:

At a protest held in San­ti­ago out­side the La Mon­eda gov­ern­ment build­ing, pro­test­ers were seen with a sign that read “shame­ful for Israel, they are worse than the Nazis, the whole world con­demns them.”

Venezuela:

Mas­sive anti-Israel protests took place through­out Venezuela on August 2, and included par­tic­i­pa­tion and endorse­ment from var­i­ous gov­ern­ment offi­cials. ADL has doc­u­mented pub­lic state­ments and com­ments on social media by Venezue­lan gov­ern­ment offi­cials, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Maduro who called on the Venezue­lan Jew­ish com­mu­nity to express sup­port for the Pales­tini­ans and speak out against Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tion in Gaza. State­ments by lead­ing offi­cials, fol­lowed by oth­ers in the media and in ral­lies, have com­pared Israel to the Nazis, and graf­fiti was spray painted on a Cara­cas sub­way sta­tion read “Do good to the coun­try, kill a Jew.” Swastikas have also appeared in dif­fer­ent parts of the city.

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August 7, 2014 0

Reflecting on Israeli Society During the Conflict: The Best and the Worst

With Israel scal­ing down its oper­a­tions in Gaza and a cease­fire begin­ning to hold, Israeli soci­ety will now reflect on the last four weeks. Out of this fright­en­ing and tense period, one source of inspi­ra­tion and opti­mism has been the sense of sol­i­dar­ity and close­ness felt by Israelis.

Across the coun­try, peo­ple of every age and polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion clam­ored to help and “do some­thing.” Israelis mobi­lized to show sup­port for the IDF sol­diers serv­ing on the front – peo­ple sent food, care pack­ages, sup­plies — even washed uni­forms.  Oth­ers offered to host res­i­dents of the south who left their homes for fear of the unend­ing fall of rock­ets and blare of warn­ing sirens. Thou­sands went to funer­als and shivas for the fallen sol­diers – par­tic­u­larly those of the “lone” sol­diers – whose fam­i­lies live out­side Israel. Mass prayer vig­ils were held.

Funeral of IDF Soldier Max Steinberg

Funeral of IDF Sol­dier Max Steinberg

But while we can cel­e­brate in this wide­spread feel­ing of unity and gen­eros­ity, we can­not deny that other, trou­bling ten­den­cies also emerged over these past weeks.

Some who pub­licly dis­agreed with Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tion were called “trai­tors” and in some cases, even “Nazis.” Some protest­ing the con­flict were phys­i­cally attacked. Ten­sions with Israeli Arabs have grown. Many were out­raged by reports of some groups of Israeli Arabs who cel­e­brated in the killing of IDF sol­diers. This hos­til­ity inten­si­fied in both speech and action, and there were reports of iso­lated vig­i­lante attacks on Israeli Arab tar­gets. Indeed, when an East Jerusalem Pales­tin­ian attacked a Jerusalem city bus with a con­struc­tion vehi­cle, killing one, out of con­cern for their phys­i­cal safety of Arabs in the vicin­ity, police quickly moved to ensure their safety.

As we begin to think about “the day after,” Israelis must think about how to har­ness the pos­i­tive while reduc­ing the neg­a­tive. We must fig­ure out how to build on the sense of unity and gen­eros­ity while still valu­ing the exchange of dif­fer­ent view­points, and ensur­ing that respect­ful dis­course thrives.

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August 6, 2014 5

More Extreme Rhetoric at National Anti-Israel Protest in DC

Approx­i­mately 10,000 peo­ple took part in a demon­stra­tion against Israel in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. on August 2. The demon­stra­tion, billed as the “National March on the White House,” was orga­nized by ANSWER and fea­tured sev­eral speak­ers, along with anti-Semitic signs and chants sim­i­lar to those that we have seen at other recent anti-Israel demon­stra­tions.

Cor­nel West, Pro­fes­sor of Afro-American Stud­ies and Reli­gion at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity, claimed that Israel is guilty of “not just occu­pa­tion, not just humil­i­a­tion, but more and more every day: anni­hi­la­tion.” He alleged that “Ben­jamin Netanyahu is a war crim­i­nal not because he’s Jew­ish, but because he has cho­sen to pro­mote occu­pa­tion and anni­hi­la­tion.” West did not speak favor­ably of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama either who he claimed “is a war crim­i­nal, not because he’s black or half African and white, but because his drones have killed 233 inno­cent chil­dren and because he facil­i­tates the killing of inno­cent Pales­tini­ans in Gaza.”

Nihad Awad, the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor and Founder of the Coun­cil on American-Islamic Rela­tions (CAIR), also spoke to the crowd, insist­ing that Israel is a “ter­ror­ist state” and that AIPAC con­trols the U.S. Con­gress. He told the audi­ence “Do not accept Israeli talk­ing points. AIPAC should have its hand off the United States Con­gress. They have cor­rupted our for­eign pol­icy; they have cor­rupted our polit­i­cal leaders.”

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Many of the anti-Israel demon­stra­tors shouted insults such as “Baby killers” at a small group of pro-Israel demon­stra­tors. At one point, when a pro-Israel sup­porter showed up and tried to enter the blocked-off pro-Israel area, one man shouted “We’ve got a Nazi here!” and “more pigs, more pigs!”

Ten­sions even­tu­ally became so high that the pro-Israel demon­stra­tors had to be escorted away by law enforce­ment, pre­sum­ably for their own safety. After the pro-Israel sup­port­ers were escorted out, the rally par­tic­i­pants marched around the White House and through the streets of Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

An Israeli flag was also burned by par­tic­i­pants at the rally.

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