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November 16, 2012

Anti-Semitism and Legitimization of Terror Abound in Reaction to Israeli Operations in Gaza

Anti-Israel activists are using various social media platforms to express their opposition to Israel’s ongoing military operations in Gaza and comment on the unfolding situation. These remarks frequently contain extreme language. Several statements tend to legitimize Hamas and rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilian communities. Others compare Israel to Nazi Germany.

The banner at right, for example, which has been widely circulated on Facebook, calls the operation, “the Holocaust in Gaza.”

Mary Hughes-Thompson, co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement, commented on her Facebook page: “Operation Israeli Gestapo is underway in Gaza.” Another anti-Israel activist who posted on Facebook almost immediately after the strike that killed Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari yesterday wrote: “Jewish Zionist ‘morality and bravery’ on display in Gaza is no different than that which was displayed by the Nazis in the Concentration Camps.”

George Galloway, a former member of the British Parliament and leader of Viva Palestina, used extremely caustic and virulent language on a program he hosts on Press TV, an English-language Iranian satellite station. Galloway called on viewers advocating for nonviolent resistance and/or diplomacy to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to “get off their knees” and acknowledge that diplomacy won’t be useful against Israel’s “blitzkrieg of death and gas.”  He also claimed that Palestinians in Gaza are being “gassed” and “roasted” by Israel.

Attempts to legitimize or minimize Hamas’s rocket attacks against Israeli civilians have also appeared. A student at George Washington University who is involved with Students for Justice in Palestine on campus wrote, “The Resistance has reached Tel Aviv! Long Live the Resistance.” The comments appear to celebrate that an Iranian rocket launched by Islamic Jihad in Gaza had landed in Tel Aviv. After a comment appeared questioning his support for violence, the student responded, “Violent resistance is our right” and compared the situation to a raped woman striking her assailant in self-defense.

Ben White, a prominent anti-Israel activist and author of “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide,” wrote on his Facebook page: “Israel’s hasbara says context for assault is rocket fire. Well, context for rocket fire is 64 years of expulsion and occupation.” (As a side note, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank began in 1967. White’s reference to “64 years” of occupation suggests that he considers all of Israel to be occupied Palestinian land.)

Noura Erakat, a fellow at Georgetown University and former organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, expressed frustration with what she deemed to be a response from Israel that was wholly unprovoked. She wrote on Twitter: “#Hamas has observed ceasefire, Shalit returned, now what?” [Contrary to this claim, Hamas did not observe the ceasefire and was responsible for launching more than 100 rockets into Gaza in the days preceding Israel’s response.]

Other extreme comments include statements by:

  • Julio Pino, a professor at Kent State University who infamously shouted “Death to Israel” during a pro-Israel presentation on campus last year. Pino called the action a “genocide” on his Facebook page.
  • Alison Weir, the director of the Council for the National Interest and If Americans Knew, who referred to Israel’s actions as a “slaughter.”
  • Remi Kanazi, an anti-Israel activist and rapper based in New York who wrote, “Dear Zionists: You have never ‘defended yourselves.’ You came in, stole land that wasn’t yours & maintained a racist state through massacres and brute force.”
  • Sherry Wolf, a Jewish anti-Zionist and member of the International Socialist Organization, who wrote: “The homicidal racists who run Israel have launched an all-out bombing campaign on Gaza…#FuckIsrael.”

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June 12, 2012

Press TV Airs Anti-Semitic Interviews to Mark U.S.S. Liberty Anniversary

Press TV, Iran’s English-language propaganda television station, marked the 45th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Liberty by interviewing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activists Alison Weir, Michael Santomauro, and J. Bruce Campbell.
During the interview, which was held on June 8, the trio accused Israel of purposefully targeting the U.S. warship during the height of the 1967 Six-Day War. (The circumstances surrounding the U.S.S. Liberty, an American ship that was unintentionally fired on by Israeli forces, has been regular fodder for anti-Israel conspiracy theorists.) The interview also included several anti-Semitic statements and conspiratorial accusations of Jewish control over the U.S. government.
Michael Santomauro, an anti-Israel blogger and Holocaust denier, alleged that the USS Liberty is a cover-up maintained by U.S.-based Jewish support for Israel and the disproportionate influence Jews hold over the U.S. government. Jewish interest groups, whom Santomauro claimed provide over the overwhelming amount of funding to U.S. political parties, wield their power through what he termed “Jewish PAC money.”
J. Bruce Campbell, a contributing writer for the anti-Semitic website, Veterans Today, claimed that the attack on the Liberty was part of a conspiratorial U.S-Israeli plan he called Operation Cyanide, a secret military operation that Campbell alleges purposefully sent the Liberty to get sunk by the Israelis in order to place blame on Egypt. The desired result, Campbell claims, would have been for the U.S. to retaliate against Egypt and to “drop nuclear bombs on Cairo and Alexandria.” Campbell asserted that this was ordered by the U.S. to assist Israel in creating “great [sic] Israel stretching from the Nile to Euphrates rivers.”
When asked by the host whether he agrees that Israel controls the U.S. government, Campbell responded, “I would say the Jews in America [run the United States]. Israel is a euphemism … It is really American Jews who are behind this [the Iraq and Afghanistan wars] just as it was during 1967…” Campbell also claimed that American Jews want to kill “millions of Muslims” and “thousands of Americans. This is what American Jews want, this is what they make happen through Washington D.C.”
Alison Weir, president of the Council for the National Interest (CNI), an anti-Israel organization that opposes U.S. aid to Israel, added to Santomauro’s comment about the pro-Israel lobby and characterized the U.S-Israel relationship as an “extremely unhealthy situation.” Weir also said that large sums of donations from pro-Israel groups are the cause of “tragedy, misery, violence and war after war after war.” Weir’s comments are consistent with her record of using anti-Semitic imagery and portraying Israel and its agents as powerful forces that control American policy through intimidation and deception.
Press TV, which is based in Tehran, is used by the clerical regime to provide a platform for extreme elements and activists to air their views and opinions. Many of Press TV’s U.S.-based guests are frequently invited by the station specifically for their conspiratorial anti-Israel views. Earlier this year, Weir appeared as a guest on the station to discuss the 2012 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, calling the pro-Israel lobby “very dangerous to the world” and “for Americans.”

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March 14, 2012

Anti-Israel Billboards Surface in Denver and Detroit

Pay much attention to the billboards you see on the highway? Well, some anti-Israel groups in the United States are betting you do and paying to advertise their message on prominent billboards.

Last week, three anti-Israel organizations  – If American Knew, Deir Yassin Remembered and Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends – responded to a pro-Israel billboard in Detroit by securing billboard space of their own with the message, “$8 million/ Day to Israel? Our money is needed in America!” Another billboard that recently appeared in Denver read, “Tell Congress: Spend Our Money at Home Not on the Israeli Military.” The Denver billboard was paid for by the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion, a New Mexico-based group that first displayed a similar message on a billboard in Albuquerque in 2009.

In addition to these new billboards, anti-Israel signs and advertisements have regularly appeared  on buses and subways in large metropolitan areas since 2010, including New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Chicago. The ads, which call for an “End [to] U.S. military aid to Israel,” were organized by a coalition of national anti-Israel organizations operating under the umbrella of a campaign called “Be On Our Side.”

It seems likely that the activists paying for and placing these ads are newly optimistic that their message will resonate in light of the fragile state of the U.S. economy and the national debt. The Coalition to Stop $30 Billion, for example, explains: “All this money is flowing away while America is suffering the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression.”

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