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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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