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August 28, 2014 2

Ferguson = Gaza: Manufacturing A False Comparison

gaza-ferguson-new-york

Pro­test­ers on the Man­hat­tan Bridge

As events in Gaza and high pro­file police bru­tal­ity cases have con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate recent head­lines, a num­ber of groups and indi­vid­u­als have tried to find a con­nec­tion between these unre­lated events in an attempt to bring atten­tion to their activism.

Sev­eral anti-Israel groups have couched their hos­til­ity towards Israel in social jus­tice terms by link­ing the con­flict in Gaza to the events in Fer­gu­son in an attempt to appeal to a broader base of sup­port. For example:

  • Brook­lyn Col­lege Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine adver­tised a Sep­tem­ber 2 event on Face­book: “From Fer­gu­son to Pales­tine, racism, injus­tice and human rights vio­la­tions are being com­mit­ted against peo­ple of color.”
  • The Ohio Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Group spon­sored an August 25 demon­stra­tion at Ohio State University’s African Amer­i­can and African Stud­ies Com­mu­nity Exten­sion Cen­ter, “to show our love and sup­port for mem­bers of our Colum­bus com­mu­nity who have lost inno­cent loved ones in Gaza in recent Israeli attacks, to stand in sol­i­dar­ity with Michael Brown, John Craw­ford, and vic­tims of racism and police bru­tal­ity all over the US…”
  • At protests in Oak­land on August 23, anti-Israel pro­test­ers report­edly shouted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” co-opting the chant used at Fer­gu­son protests
  • An adver­tise­ment for an August 22 Indi­ana Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity event on Face­book read: “The dis­re­gard and dis­re­spect for black bod­ies and black life is endemic to the white suprema­cist sys­tem that rules the land. Your strug­gles through the ages have been an inspi­ra­tion to us as we fight daily for the most basic human dig­ni­ties in our own home­land against the racist Zion­ist regime that con­sid­ers us less human.”
  • On August 20, the Pales­tin­ian BDS National Com­mit­tee issued a state­ment say­ing, “We rec­og­nize those tac­tics being used in Fer­gu­son and the men­tal­ity behind them…the meth­ods of unbri dled vio­lence and con­trol being used by secu­rity forces are all too famil­iar to Pales­tini­ans liv­ing under Israel’s decade-old occupation.”
  • On August 20, pro­test­ers on the Man­hat­tan Bridge chanted, “From Fer­gu­son to Pales­tine, occu­pa­tion has got to go.” At least one pro­tester held a sign that read “We are FERGUSON We are GAZA, because We are Human.”
  • In an August 20 press release, Jew­ish Voice for Peace stated, “We rec­og­nize that the devalu­ing of African-American lives built into the fab­ric of US gov­ern­ment and soci­ety is mir­rored in Israel’s unequal treat­ment of Palestinians…It’s also not sur­pris­ing to see the sim­i­lar­ity in the tac­tics and tech­nolo­gies of repres­sion against those who are ris­ing up non­vi­o­lently in both places.”
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Protest in Staten Island

While some are sim­ply try­ing to rouse sup­port for an anti-Israel agenda by attract­ing like-minded activists, oth­ers have gone so far as to imply that Israel is to blame for the vio­lence in Ferguson.

This alle­ga­tion sur­faced in a tweet by Trita Parsi, head of the National Iran­ian Amer­i­can Coun­cil (NIAC). On August 14, Parsi tweeted, “Won­der­ing why the exces­sive police vio­lence? Here’s a guess: #Fer­gu­son police chief got train­ing in Israel…#Gaza.” An August 15 arti­cle from San Fran­cisco Bay View titled “Israel-trained police ‘occupy’ Mis­souri after killing of Black youth” echoed this sentiment.

Sim­i­lar com­par­isons have appeared at protests regard­ing other high pro­file police bru­tal­ity cases, such as at an August 23 rally call­ing for jus­tice in the death of Eric Gar­ner, who was unarmed when killed by an NYPD offi­cer ear­lier this sum­mer. Among the posters seen at the protest were “Google It!!! Israel trains the NYPD.”

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July 22, 2014 2

Anti-Israel Demonstrations Call for Boycott of Israel

On Mon­day, July 21, there were at least four anti-Israel demon­stra­tions held through­out the U.S. At these protests, demon­stra­tors held signs with slo­gans such as “Who would Jesus bomb?” and “Stop Israeli occu­pa­tion and apartheid,” while other pro­test­ers spoke out at a local City Coun­cil meet­ing to call for a boy­cott of Israel.

Here’s a round-up of what took place:

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

A demon­stra­tion against the Chris­tians United for Israel Wash­ing­ton Sum­mit, orga­nized by CODEPINK and the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Metro Jew­ish Voice for Peace chap­ter, brought out about 50 demon­stra­tors hold­ing signs with slo­gans such as “Who would Jesus bomb?,” “Rap­ture thru death of Pales­tini­ans???,” “Thou shalt not!! Kill #FreeGaza,” and “Netanyahu War Criminal.”

As atten­dees of the con­fer­ence walked inside to attend the evening pro­gram fea­tur­ing Israel’s Ambas­sador to the United States Ron Der­mer, the pro­test­ers chanted slo­gans and deliv­ered speeches. One pro­tester remarked to atten­dees, “Where in the Scrip­tures does Jesus say kill the chil­dren from the air? Where does he say bomb the hos­pi­tal? Where does he say blow up entire fam­i­lies? Where does he say engage in tor­ture? Cru­elty has noth­ing to do with Christianity.”

In addi­tion, some of the pro­test­ers made their way into the event and heck­led Ambas­sador Der­mer dur­ing his speech by scream­ing “free Pales­tine” five times. Those pro­test­ers were report­edly removed from the session.

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Port­land, OR

Fewer than 50 pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the office of U.S. Sen­a­tor Ron Wyden to con­duct a “die-in.” Some of the par­tic­i­pants laid on the ground with mock tomb­stones placed on top of them, while oth­ers held signs call­ing for boy­cott, divest­ment, and sanc­tions and an end of aid to Israel.

portland-anti-israel-protest

 

Ann Arbor, MI

Three peo­ple report­edly spoke to the City Coun­cil yes­ter­day and urged them to hold a pub­lic hear­ing on a boy­cott of Israel. One of the speak­ers, Mozh­gan Sav­abieas­fa­hani, report­edly told the City Coun­cil that Israel is an “out­law state” and that they have been mur­der­ing Pales­tini­ans “since the begin­ning.” By the end of her com­ments, chants erupted to “Boy­cott Israel, Stop bomb­ing Gaza!”

ann-arbor-anti-israel-protest

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June 25, 2014 0

PCUSA Affiliated Group Demonizes Israel With Anti-Jewish Themes

Lurk­ing not too far in the back­ground of last week’s dis­ap­point­ing vote by the Gen­eral Assem­bly of the Pres­by­ter­ian Church USA (PCUSA) to divest from US com­pa­nies doing busi­ness with Israel in the West Bank, is the ongo­ing cam­paign by ele­ments within PCUSA to dele­git­imize Israel by using bla­tantly anti-Jewish ideas and themes. A dri­ving force of this cam­paign is the PCUSA-affiliated activist group Israel-Palestine Mis­sion Net­work (IPMN), an anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion work­ing with orga­ni­za­tions com­mit­ted to dele­git­imiz­ing Israel, includ­ing the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment and Jew­ish Voice for Peace.

IPMN is most infa­mously respon­si­ble for pub­lish­ing the so-called study guide “Zion­ism Unset­tled,” which prop­a­gates egre­gious anti-Israel themes long-peddled by Israel’s ene­mies, and is, at its core, an anti-Semitic doc­u­ment. Despite the obvi­ous offen­sive nature of this pub­li­ca­tion, as well as the Gen­eral Assembly’s approval of an over­ture stat­ing that Zion­ism Unset­tled does not “rep­re­sent the views of PCUSA,” it remains avail­able for pur­chase on the PUCSA web­site where it is absurdly mar­keted as a help­ful guide on how to “pro­mote more truth­ful rela­tion­ships among fol­low­ers of the three Abra­hamic religions.”

Presbyterian_Church_(U.S.A.)Equally trou­bling is the anti-Semitism which per­me­ates IPMN’s Face­book pages, as high­lighted in a new report by the Israel-based watch­dog orga­ni­za­tion NGO-Monitor. Accord­ing to the report, the IPMN Face­book page (which was shut down in Jan­u­ary 2012 after crit­i­cism over the post­ing of extrem­ist mate­ri­als and then reopened in July 2012 as a “closed but not secret” page) con­tains numer­ous post­ings and com­ments express­ing age-old anti-Semitic themes, as well as links to anti-Semitic arti­cles and web­sites. Exam­ples include:

  • Youtube video titled: “Zion­ist con­trolled America’s des­per­ate lust for Iran War”
  • Arti­cle in “Ugly Truth”, a blog run by the anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist Mark Glenn
  • Poster mock­ing “The genetic ances­try of Jews” and their his­toric con­nec­tion to the land of Israel
  • Car­toon depict­ing a stereo­typ­i­cal “ultra-Orthodox” Jew ruth­lessly killing an inno­cent Palestinian

While IPMN’s Face­book page only has about 300 mem­bers, the con­tent is con­sis­tent with and ampli­fies some of the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic themes con­tained in Zion­ism Unset­tled.

It is greatly trou­bling that despite IPMN’s evi­dent hos­til­ity towards Jews and anti-Israel ani­mus, PCUSA has not only failed to repu­di­ate their egre­gious views but still remains affil­i­ated with IPMN. There is no doubt that false­hoods pro­moted by IPMN in Zion­ism Unset­tled have neg­a­tively influ­enced the atti­tudes of some PCUSA mem­bers towards Israel, and per­haps even Jews, and pro­vided an offen­sive back­drop to the Gen­eral Assembly’s pas­sage of the Israel divest­ment resolution.

It is time for PCUSA to denounce IPMN for their abhor­rent views and fully dis­as­so­ci­ate itself from the organization.

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