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August 28, 2014 3

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 29, 2014 5

Some Anti-Semitism In U.S. In Reaction To Israeli Operations In Gaza

As Israel’s response to the lat­est round of rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza con­tin­ues, some Jew­ish indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions in the U.S. have been tar­gets of anti-Semitism related to the cur­rent conflict.anti-semitic-graffiti-synagogue

In Florida this week, two sep­a­rate anti-Semitic hate crimes des­e­crated a syn­a­gogue and a Jew­ish family’s prop­erty. Con­gre­ga­tion Torah V’Emunah, an Ortho­dox syn­a­gogue within close prox­im­ity to other syn­a­gogues, was spray-painted with the word “Hamas” and swastikas on its front entrance. Addi­tion­ally a Jew­ish fam­ily dis­cov­ered that one of their cars was cov­ered from top to bot­tom with eggs while the other had the words “Jew” and “Hamas” smeared in cream cheese on the windows.

In Mal­ibu, Cal­i­for­nia over the week­end, phrases such as “Jews=Killers” and “Jews are Killing Inno­cent Chil­dren” were found near the entrance to a Jew­ish sum­mer camp.

Last week, anti-Semitic leaflets, which threat­ened vio­lence if Israel does not pull out of Gaza, were left on cars in Peter­son Park, a pre­dom­i­nantly Ortho­dox Jew­ish neigh­bor­hood of Chicago.

On July 17, about two dozen anti-Israel pro­test­ers tar­geted the Florida Holo­caust Museum with graphic images of dead Pales­tini­ans and slo­gans charg­ing Israel with genocide.

Ear­lier this month, the Chabad of South­ern Nevada in Las Vegas was spray-painted with graf­fiti that read “Fre Pales­tine” [sic] and “Free Gaza.”

Sim­i­larly, in Mass­a­chu­setts, the Mon­te­fiore Ortho­dox Syn­a­gogue in Low­ell was van­dal­ized with the words “Free Pales­tine” and “God Bless Gaza” spray painted in red on its white mar­ble walls.

Amer­i­can Jew­ish insti­tu­tions have also been tar­geted online. The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail hacker group van­dal­ized the web­site of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Am Israel in Penn Val­ley, Penn­syl­va­nia ear­lier this month with the phrase “end Israeli vio­lence in #Gaza” and an image of Moham­mad Abu Khdeir, a Pales­tin­ian who was killed in Jerusalem by what appears to be a group of Jew­ish extremists.

Addi­tion­ally, the pop­u­lar­ity of some dis­turb­ing Hitler-related hash­tags on Twit­ter has grown in reac­tion to Israel’s “Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge,” such as #Hitler­Was­Right and #HitlerDidNothingWrong.

Such anti-Semitism is also evi­dent at many of the anti-Israel demon­stra­tions held in cities through­out the U.S., as well as in Europe, where the State of Israel is often demo­nized with Holo­caust imagery or other anti-Semitic expressions.

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March 6, 2014 6

Protestors At Cal Poly Pomona Prevent Israeli Soldiers From Speaking

Stu­dents at Cal­i­for­nia State Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­sity — Pomona shouted down a group of Israeli sol­diers who were invited to speak on their cam­pus by Hil­lel on Feb­ru­ary 27, 2014.cal-poly-pomona-protest-israel-soldier-adl

The sol­diers, who had intro­duced them­selves and explained that they would be deliv­er­ing per­sonal sto­ries about their lives and expe­ri­ences while serv­ing in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), were inter­rupted by stu­dent pro­test­ers who shouted “baby killers,” “rapists,” and “terrorists.”

Even before the sol­diers began their pre­sen­ta­tions, stu­dents in the audi­ence cov­ered their mouths with black tape and held posters that made var­i­ous alle­ga­tions con­cern­ing the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. Shortly after the sol­diers started to intro­duce them­selves, the pro­test­ers per­sis­tently shouted in such a way that other stu­dents in the room were unable to hear what was being said.

Although some pro­test­ers were asked to leave the room, atten­dees had dif­fi­culty hear­ing the sol­diers’ pre­sen­ta­tions. Doron Feuer, the Pres­i­dent of the Cal Poly Pomona’s Hil­lel, told the cam­pus news­pa­per, The Poly Post that, “It was extremely dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to hear what the sol­diers were say­ing, even for the peo­ple sit­ting at the very front…What was sup­posed to be an edu­ca­tional event rapidly became a dis­rup­tive and chaotic experience.”

One of the sol­diers also spoke to the cam­pus news­pa­per and claimed he felt insulted by the pro­test­ers’ tac­tics, stat­ing, “It was sup­posed to be a civ­i­lized dia­logue, but I heard hatred and I saw hatred in their eyes…We came to talk about peace.”

ADL in Los Ange­les pro­vided resources to the Hil­lel on the Cal Poly Pomona cam­pus and con­tin­ues to work closely with the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion of the Greater San Gabriel & Pomona Val­leys on the community’s response to this inci­dent. ADL is equipped with a broad range of pre­ven­tive and reac­tive pro­grams and resources to address the chal­lenges of hate on cam­pus. We work to empower stu­dents, fac­ulty, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers to stand up on their cam­puses and in their com­mu­ni­ties and effect change.

Stu­dent efforts to express oppo­si­tion to speak­ers or events on cam­pus are gen­er­ally part of a healthy cam­pus envi­ron­ment fos­ter­ing a free exchange of ideas. But are cer­tain dis­rup­tive tac­tics com­monly used by anti-Israel activists that are anath­ema to those ideals.

While anti-Israel protests may be pro­tected by free speech rights, the protests can­not dis­rupt nor­mal school func­tions, obstruct access to school build­ings, cre­ate per­va­sive, severe, or per­sis­tent harass­ment, or phys­i­cally intim­i­date or threaten indi­vid­u­als. When the protests vio­late these para­me­ters, stu­dents should alert the uni­ver­sity and ask admin­is­tra­tors to take action.

These dis­rup­tion tac­tics vary and can range from inter­rupt­ing the speaker and pre­vent­ing him or her from speak­ing to silent protests. For exam­ple, on March 3, 2014, Israeli Pro­fes­sor Josef Olmert faced silent pro­test­ers at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity as he deliv­ered a guest lec­ture to a Polit­i­cal Sci­ence class.

The stu­dents stood in the back of the class­room and held signs with provoca­tive state­ments such as, “Zion­ism = Racism,” “SDSU DIVEST,” “Boy­cott Israel.” After Olmert’s pre­sen­ta­tion, the stu­dents con­tin­ued to protest out­side of the lec­ture hall.

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