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September 22, 2014 3

Ferguson = Gaza: The Continued Invocation Of A False Comparison

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Vigil for Gaza at the Col­lege of Staten Island

While Gaza and Fer­gu­son no longer dom­i­nate the head­lines, these unre­lated events con­tinue to be con­nected by a num­ber of groups and indi­vid­u­als in an attempt to bring atten­tion to their activism.

In addi­tion to pre­vi­ously reported exam­ples, more recent anti-Israel events con­tinue to link the con­flict in Gaza to the Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri shoot­ing and its after­math, couch­ing hos­til­ity towards Israel in social jus­tice terms in an attempt to appeal to a broader base of support.

Recent exam­ples of anti-Israel events that draw par­al­lels between Fer­gu­son and Gaza include:

  • Exis­tence is Resis­tance and the Cam­paign to Bring Mumia Home are adver­tis­ing an event sched­uled for Octo­ber 11 at the Mal­colm X and Betty Shabazz Cen­ter in north­ern Man­hat­tan to address “the global sys­tems that oppress us, from Fer­gu­son to Gaza.” The event will fea­ture speak­ers such as Remi Kanazi, an orga­niz­ing com­mit­tee mem­ber of the US Cam­paign for the Aca­d­e­mic and Cul­tural Boy­cott of Israel (USACBI).
  • A panel dis­cus­sion titled “From Fer­gu­son to Pales­tine: Con­nect­ing Strug­gles” is sched­uled to take place at the Uni­ver­sity of Texas-Austin on Sep­tem­ber 24 accord­ing to the event’s Face­book page. The event, spon­sored by the Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Com­mit­tee, will fea­ture at least two UT-Austin professors.
  • The City Uni­ver­sity of New York (CUNY) Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter is host­ing a panel dis­cus­sion at the CUNY Grad­u­ate Cen­ter titled “CUNY Stands for Jus­tice: From Fer­gu­son to Pales­tine” on Sep­tem­ber 22 fea­tur­ing “an evening of poetry, speak­ers, and dis­cus­sion around repres­sion and resis­tance from Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri to Gaza, Pales­tine,” accord­ing to event flyers.

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    SJP “die-in” at Brook­lyn College

  • The Col­lege of Staten Island SJP chap­ter hosted a vigil for Gaza on Sep­tem­ber 17 at which the group adver­tised on Face­book that it would “read the names of the lives lost, give speeches, and stand in sol­i­dar­ity from Fer­gu­son to Pales­tine…” The group also stated that it shares the anger of those in Fer­gu­son because “Pales­tini­ans know what it means to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity.”
  • Accord­ing to a post on an anti-Israel Face­book page, mem­bers of the Direct Action Front for Pales­tine attended protests in Fer­gu­son and spoke to peo­ple there about Gaza. On Sep­tem­ber 8, it held a meet­ing in Brook­lyn, New York to share what they “learned in Ferguson…to become more effec­tive in our resistance…”
  • Mem­bers of the Inter­na­tional Jew­ish Anti-Zionist Net­work (IJAN) protested out­side ADL’s San Fran­cisco office on Sep­tem­ber 3 with a ban­ner that read “From Oak­land to Fer­gu­son to Pales­tine, The US and Israel, A Deadly com­bi­na­tion” and “Stop police brutality…Stop the ADL.” IJAN is a coali­tion formed in 2008 that seeks to facil­i­tate global anti-Israel activ­ity on the part of anti-Zionist Jews.
  • On Face­book, Brook­lyn Col­lege SJP adver­tised a Sep­tem­ber 2 “die-in” on the Brook­lyn Col­lege cam­pus to “raise aware­ness about israel’s [sic] lat­est mas­sacre” and to remem­ber “all the vic­tims of white supremacy and insti­tu­tion­al­ized racism in the U.S., the lat­est being #Mike­Brown and #EricGarner.”

Events link­ing Fer­gu­son and Gaza have also been orga­nized by some uni­ver­sity depart­ments. At UCLA, the Law School’s Crit­i­cal Race Stud­ies Depart­ment spon­sored a Sep­tem­ber 18 event called “From Gaza to Fer­gu­son,” which accord­ing to pub­lic­ity mate­ri­als, explored “the rela­tion­ship between race, the rise of mil­i­ta­rized polic­ing and the response to dis­sent in the United States and con­sider its impli­ca­tions in a global con­text.” The panel included Hedy Epstein, a Holo­caust sur­vivor who has com­pared the Israeli treat­ment of Pales­tini­ans to the Nazi treat­ment of Jews.

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September 11, 2014 80

Anti-Semite Christopher Bollyn Scheduled to Attend 9–11 Events in California

Christo­pher Bol­lyn, an anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist who focuses on the 9–11 attacks, report­edly will be mak­ing sev­eral appear­ances at 9–11 events in Cal­i­for­nia. Bol­lyn was one of the ear­li­est pro­mot­ers of anti-Semitic 9–11 the­o­ries blam­ing Israel and Jews for the attacks.

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Christo­pher Bollyn

On Sep­tem­ber 11, Bol­lyn will have a table at the “9–11 Truth Film Fes­ti­val” in Oak­land. Two days later, on Sep­tem­ber 13, Cal­i­for­nia attor­ney Bruce Leichty will host Bol­lyn at an event in San Dimas. Bol­lyn will also speak on Sep­tem­ber 14 at an event hosted in San Diego, spon­sored by San Die­gans for 9/11 Truth.

The San Dimas event is par­tic­u­larly trou­bling due to the host behind the event. Leichty is a prob­lem­atic fig­ure who has defended a num­ber of Holo­caust deniers, includ­ing Ernst Zun­del, who is impris­oned in Ger­many for deny­ing the Holo­caust. Leichty also rep­re­sented 9–11 widow Ellen Mar­i­ani in law­suits against var­i­ous enti­ties she held account­able for her husband’s death. In motion papers, Leichty appar­ently used research from Bol­lyn to make spu­ri­ous accu­sa­tions against a Jew­ish judge on the case. In May 2012, the United States Court of Appeals sanc­tioned Leichty and Mar­i­ani for mak­ing friv­o­lous argu­ments before the court and also high­lighted the anti-Semitism reflected in the papers filed by Leichty.

In addi­tion to host­ing this event, Leichty and Bol­lyn have other con­nec­tions, as well. A Sep­tem­ber 7 press release about the San Dimas event states that Bol­lyn “served as chair of the Ellen Mar­i­ani Legal Defense Fund” and that Leichty believes that Bol­lyn is doing “ground-breaking work that no one else is doing” around the issue of 9–11.

Bol­lyn has focused most of his research on 9–11 and has con­tin­ued to make the claim that the ter­ror­ist attacks were orches­trated by Israel and the Jews. In Bollyn’s 2012 book, Solv­ing 9–11: The Decep­tion that Changed the World, he writes, “The ‘false flag’ ter­ror­ism of 9–11 is a mon­strous Jewish-Zionist crime of our time.  The true cul­prits of this heinous crime are clearly being pro­tected by a gang of like-minded Jew­ish Zion­ists in the high­est posi­tions of the U.S. government….”

Bol­lyn has also writ­ten numer­ous other arti­cles on his web­site that accuse Jews of con­trol­ling the media and gov­ern­ment. Bol­lyn has attended Holo­caust denial con­fer­ences in the U.S. and one in Rus­sia in 2002.  He is a for­mer writer for the anti-Semitic conspiracy-oriented news­pa­per Amer­i­can Free Press and its pre­de­ces­sor, The Spot­light, both pub­lished by anti-Semite and Holo­caust denier Willis Carto.  Amer­i­can Free Press fired Bol­lyn in 2006, after accus­ing him of sub­mit­ting false sto­ries and of dis­loy­alty to the paper.

In 2007, Bol­lyn was found guilty of mis­de­meanor aggra­vated assault and resist­ing arrest, after a con­fronta­tion with police offi­cers in front of his home in the Chicago area.  He never appeared for sen­tenc­ing and has since is pre­sumed to be liv­ing in Europe with his wife, a Swedish cit­i­zen, and children.

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August 28, 2014 3

Ferguson = Gaza: Manufacturing A False Comparison

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Pro­test­ers on the Man­hat­tan Bridge

See also: Fer­gu­son = Gaza: The Con­tin­ued Invo­ca­tion Of A False Comparison

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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