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April 13, 2016

Anti-Semite Ken O’Keefe On A U.S. Speaking Tour

Ken O’Keefe, an anti-Zionist ex-Marine and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist with a substantial following on YouTube, is currently on a national tour of the United States titled “F-ck the USSA/TSA/ Homeland Security Tour.” He is scheduled to visit cities all over the U.S., as well as Canada.

O’Keefe proudly announced that he would embark on this tour, taking Amtrak instead of flying. In announcing the tour, he claimed that the security polices of the TSA and Homeland Security violate people’s rights by “ordering” them to undergo a body scan, which he termed “radiation crap.” However, while ostensibly focused on security policies, his talks mostly promote anti-Semitic and anti-Israel themes.

Ken O'Keefe

Ken O’Keefe

For example, at a talk in Berkeley, California, on March 17, hosted by the conspiracy theorist group 9-11Truth.org, O’Keefe promoted a vast array of conspiracy theories vilifying Jews and Israel. He alleged that a small group of individuals—later referred to as Jewish bankers—controls the world’s money. He called these individuals traitors, psychopaths, sociopaths, pedophiles and “otherwise corrupt, immoral, lacking in empathy people” who “bought everything and everyone that can be bought.”

He went on to say that Jews control the media and Hollywood. He also claimed that Israel operates within “Talmudic dictates” and alleged that the Talmud allows for Jews to rape non-Jewish three-year-old girls.

Later, when talking about Israel’s 1967 accidental attack on an American ship, the U.S.S. Liberty, O’Keefe asserted that Israel can do anything with impunity. He added, “They even abduct, torture, have sex with and ritually sacrifice young children.” He also promoted the conspiracy theory that Israel would take the “Samson option,” and exterminate the world “if it feels that its existence is threatened.”

Earlier in the week, at a program in San Diego, also hosted by the 9-11Truth.org, O’Keefe expounded on similar anti-Semitic themes. He claimed that Israel and Mossad were behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. O’Keefe’s tour continues into the end of April, and he has stated that he plans to reach 17 cities across the U.S. and into Canada.

In 2014, O’Keefe attended Iran’s New Horizon Conference, which drew anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers from the U.S. and other parts of the world. He has also appeared on Press TV, the anti-Semitic English language station run by Iran, and has written articles for Veterans Today, an anti-Semitic conspiracy-oriented website.

O’Keefe has been an anti-Israel activist for many years. His YouTube videos, some of which have garnered hundreds of thousands of views, feature anti-Jewish and anti-Israel themes. He supports the Palestinian cause and has claimed both Irish and Palestinian citizenship. He was on a flotilla in 2010 that was stopped by Israel before the ship made it to Gaza. A number of activists on that ship were killed by Israeli armed forces and O’Keefe was arrested and deported. In addition, he was on a flotilla that entered Gaza in 2008. He was also jailed by Israeli authorities in 2004 when he attempted to enter the Gaza Strip to discuss with Palestinian representatives his proposed plan to bring 10,000 activists to the West Bank and Gaza.

As O’Keefe travels the country, it is likely that he will continue to promote virulent anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to his audiences. The sponsors of his talks often tout him as a peace activist and ignore his anti-Semitism. In some cases, they have been receptive to his anti-Semitic tropes, as they were in Berkeley, and even applauded his rhetoric.

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November 24, 2015

Campus Groups Exploit Domestic Social Issues to Attack Israel

Anti-Israel groups on university and college campuses continue to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to issues of police brutality and discrimination in the U.S., in an attempt to gain broader support for Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns and other anti-Israel initiatives from minority student groups. By employing this tactic, groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) link domestic issues to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thereby couching hostility towards Israel in social justice terms and making Israel look like an aggressor.students-for-justice-in-palestine-suhad-khatib

Below are a few examples of these events and actions from the 2015-2016 academic year:

  • Linda Sarsour, the National Advocacy Director for the National Network for Arab American Communities, spoke at Rutgers University on Monday, November 23, 2015 for an event titled “Solidarity: Unifying Communities of Color to Break Cycles of Oppression.” According to the organizers of the event, it was held to focus on a number of issues, including “mass incarceration, mass criminalization, structural violence, apartheid, racism, state-sanctioned violence, police brutality, tear gassed for fighting for freedom and equality- a reality for Palestinians living under occupation, and for Blacks fighting an unjust system here in the United States.”
  • Suhad Khatib, a member of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC), spoke via Skype at San Diego State University on Thursday, November 19 for an event titled “Resisting Oppression from Mizzou to Gaza.” In her presentation, she stated that African-Americans, Palestinians, Mexicans, and oppressed people are connected, claiming that “Ferguson taught me more about my connection with Palestine than anything else because you understand racism and systematic racism. We as Palestinians are brainwashed to think we are white when we are people of color and are oppressed.”
  • The Marquette University SJP chapter sponsored a panel discussion titled “Outlets 4 Activism,” which featured Ali Abunimah, founder and executive director of the anti-Israel Electronic Intifada blog, as a panelist. Other panelists at the event included Nate Hamilton, an activist from the #BlackLivesMatter movement and brother of Dontre Hamilton; and Oscar Hernandez, an immigrant rights activist who works as an Organizer for We Own the DREAM. The event was co-sponsored by Black Student Council (BSC), Youth Empowered in the Struggle (Y.E.S), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
  • Many SJP chapters and other anti-Israel groups across the country co-sponsored rallies and demonstrations held in solidarity with African-American students at the University of Missouri. At one of the demonstrations, which took place at Loyola University on Wednesday, November 11, Nadine Darwish, a member of Loyola SJP and Loyola Divest, stated “Now is the time to hold administrators accountable…No longer can we remain complacent as students and student activists. We have to put an end to the policies and practices that contribute to the systemic traumatization of students of color on campus, particularly Black students and my peers in SJP.”

These events are a continuation of what occurred during the previous academic year, when anti-Israel groups worked to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Ferguson, Missouri and when SJP and its partners began to publicly back different movements and offer support to various groups, while broadening support for BDS and other anti-Israel initiatives.

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October 9, 2015

Terror in Israel, A Reality We Know Too Well

By: Carole Nuriel, ADL’s Jerusalem Office

Over the past two weeks, a wave of terror has once again hit Israel. For those of us who grew up in Israel during the 1980s, this is an unfortunate reality we know all too well. Israelis suffered through two intifadas, waves of terror attacks including suicide bombs, shootings, run-over attacks, stone throwing and Molotov cocktails. Yet there is a feeling now that this particular wave of terror is different. There are a few reasons for this:

•       The terrorists’ profile: They come both from Palestinian areas in the West Bank and from Israeli Arab communities

•       Most of them are relatively young, some even teenagers

Obviously, another change is the use of social media:  some of the terrorists have declared their intention to carry out attacks on social media. This tool, which has become the new “city square”, provides a platform for recruitment, incitement, how-tos, as well as for organizing crowds to demonstrate and riot against Israeli security forces.

Israel violence

In many ways, this wave of violence represents an on-the-ground version of the recent Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, which indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilians throughout the country. This wave may have started in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but quickly caught fire to the rest of the country, and is now targeting cities like Kiryat Gat, Petach Tikva, Tel Aviv and Afula. Much like Hamas’ rockets, much of the fear Israelis are now feeling is because of the sense that no place in the country is immune from terror attacks.

Anxiety is felt everywhere, as is the nature of terrorism. I live in Modi’in and have taken Road 443 to Jerusalem daily for the past eight years. However, during the last few months I haven’t felt safe driving on 443, especially with my kids, as there have been numerous stone and Molotov cocktail throwing incidents on this road. I now feel safer taking Highway 1, even though it means a longer drive to Jerusalem. Indeed, many Modi’in residents don’t drive on 443 anymore. Something has definitely changed. Just today, I received a notice that security checkpoints will be erected at all entrances to the city, and security in all educational institutions will be increased.

Polls have shown that there is a general public consensus among Palestinians against terrorism. But last week we witnessed another kind of evil, one which greatly worries me. During Saturday night’s terrible stabbing in the Old City of Jerusalem, Adele Bennett, whose husband was killed and she herself stabbed, was reportedly spat on and laughed at by Arab bystanders as she ran to get help with a knife still in her back. What can be more insulting, upsetting and inhumane than this indecent act?

But this is not only about terror, it’s also about incitement to violence. Many of those rioting claim Israel is attempting to change the status quo on Temple Mount. This holy place to both Judaism and Islam has been the focus of clashes and provocations for years. It is hard to ignore the dangerous actions and discourse of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who have supported the Murabitun/Murabitat group, whose sole purpose is to provoke and insult Jews visiting the Temple Mount. Incitement has also come from senior Palestinian Authority officials, including President Mahmoud Abbas who infamously declared in a television interview a few weeks ago that Jews are defiling the Temple Mount with their feet.

Today more than ever, religious and political leaders must understand how easily their inciting words can lead to violence and terrorism.

There are ongoing efforts among Israeli and Palestinian leaders to deescalate tensions. Israelis hope and pray that this will be successful, and that the personal security will be restored.

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