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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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May 2, 2012 0

Anti-Semite to Appear at MSU’s “Palestine Liberation Week”

Update: Amir Abdul Malik Ali used his plat­form at UC Irvine to rant about Zionism’s respon­si­bil­ity for the finan­cial col­lapse, the alleged vil­i­fi­ca­tion of Islam and global cor­rup­tion issues.

The Mus­lim Stu­dent Union at UC Irvine is at it again.

The group has invited Amir Abdul Malik Ali, a vir­u­lent anti-Semite, to speak at the uni­ver­sity next week. His talk is titled “The Strug­gle Has No Bor­ders.

Malik Ali’s sched­uled appear­ance is part of a week­long pro­gram being spon­sored by MSU next week called “Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Week: Get­ting to the Root of the Occu­pa­tion.” Other anti-Israel speak­ers sched­uled to appear include Hatem Baz­ian and Hedy Epstein. In addi­tion, mem­bers of the “Irvine 11, who were sus­pended for dis­rupt­ing a speech by Israeli Ambas­sador Michael Oren in Feb­ru­ary 2010, will return to cam­pus to take part in the event.

Malik Ali, who is affil­i­ated with the anti-Semitic Sabiqun move­ment and is the imam of a mosque in Oak­land, is reg­u­larly invited to speak on cam­puses in Cal­i­for­nia. Dur­ing his appear­ances at Irvine, Malik Ali has con­spir­a­to­ri­ally claimed that “Zion­ist Jews” were respon­si­ble for 9/11 and that they con­trol the U.S. gov­ern­ment, the econ­omy and the media. He has referred to Jews and Zion­ists as “the new Nazis” and “the party of Satan.” And, dur­ing an address titled “Death to Apartheid” in May 2010, Malik Ali responded “yes” to ques­tions about whether he sup­ports Hamas and Hezbollah.

MSU at UC Irvine did not invite Malik Ali to its annual anti-Israel pro­gram in 2011, but he had spo­ken at the pro­gram every year before that going back until at least 2006.

News of Malik Ali’s appear­ance coin­cides with an arti­cle that was pub­lished yes­ter­day in The Jew­ish Daily For­ward that describes how Jew­ish stu­dents and Hil­lels have begun work­ing with chap­ters of Mus­lim Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion and other Mus­lim stu­dent groups on cam­pus. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Hil­lel chap­ter respon­si­ble for UC Irvine was quoted in the arti­cle say­ing that Jew­ish stu­dents on cam­pus are engag­ing with their Mus­lim stu­dent coun­ter­parts and described it as “a new era.” Unfor­tu­nately, MSU’s con­tin­ued will­ing­ness to pro­vide a plat­form to an anti-Semite sug­gests otherwise.

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April 26, 2012 3

Divestment Effort at the Methodist General Conference in Tampa

Should the United Methodist Church divest from its invest­ments in “com­pa­nies that sus­tain the Israeli occu­pa­tion?”

The answer to that ques­tion will be decided in Tampa, Florida, at this year’s Gen­eral Con­fer­ence of the United Methodist Church (UMC). The con­fer­ence began on Tues­day and is sched­uled to take place through May 5, 2012.

The UMC includes on its agenda a list of “major issues” that will be addressed at the con­fer­ence, includ­ing the church’s stance and efforts regard­ing abor­tion, gay rights, bul­ly­ing and immi­gra­tion. Also included in the agenda is a res­o­lu­tion on divest­ment from three Amer­i­can com­pa­nies – Cater­pil­lar, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard – until they “end their involve­ment in the Israeli occu­pa­tion of the Pales­tin­ian ter­ri­to­ries.” The res­o­lu­tion fur­ther calls on “the United Methodist Church boards and agen­cies, annual con­fer­ences, local churches and indi­vid­u­als to prayer­fully con­sider cor­po­rate involve­ment in Israel’s occu­pa­tion when mak­ing invest­ment decisions.”

The res­o­lu­tion is being pre­sented to the Gen­eral Con­fer­ence by the United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR), an anti-Israel con­tin­gent that was formed in 2010 fol­low­ing the release of the “Kairos Pales­tine Doc­u­ment.” That doc­u­ment, which calls for a global BDS cam­paign, denies Jew­ish con­nec­tion to the Holy Land and jus­ti­fies terrorism.

If the res­o­lu­tion is passed, UMC gen­eral boards will be required to present reports on their respec­tive progress at the church’s 2016 conference.

UMKR has a doc­u­ment on its web­site list­ing indi­vid­u­als and groups that sup­port the res­o­lu­tion and it takes care to specif­i­cally high­light the Jew­ish anti-Zionists who sup­port BDS. This is likely an attempt to obvi­ate alle­ga­tions of anti-Semitism. The res­o­lu­tion has received sup­port from Jew­ish Voice for Peace, a vari­ety of Israeli anti-occupation activists and two anti-Zionist Holo­caust sur­vivors, Hedy Epstein and Hajo Meyer. In his state­ment, Meyer claims that, as a sur­vivor of Auschwitz, he “[refuses] to belong to a group which is a per­pe­trator, and there­fore I do not agree to allow the state of Israel to com­mit its crimes in the name of Judaism.”

In addi­tion to the divest­ment res­o­lu­tion, par­tic­i­pants at the con­fer­ence may be asked to vote on other vir­u­lently anti-Israel res­o­lu­tions, includ­ing one regard­ing endors­ing the Kairos Pales­tine Document.

Efforts by Methodist anti-Israel activists to divest from Israel began in 2008. Then, the UMC voted to con­tinue to allow its agency staff to make com­par­isons of Israel to the apartheid regime that existed in South Africa and par­tic­i­pate in the US Cam­paign to End the Israeli Occu­pa­tion. The Gen­eral Coun­cil did not, how­ever, vote in favor of divest­ing from Israeli companies.

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