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Posts Tagged ‘holocaust analogy’
February 6, 2013

House of Cards Uses Anti-Semitism As Plot Line

For us at the Anti-Defamation League, the old Madison Avenue line “as long as they spell my name right” partially applies to the new mini-series “House of Cards,” being aired on Netflix.  The series stars Kevin Spacey as the scheming and conniving Democratic whip of the House of Representatives.  In two scenes ADL is briefly mentioned.

Credit: Reuters/Melinda Sue Gordon/Neftlix/Handout

In the first, Spacey’s character calls ADL after it is revealed that the president’s choice for Secretary of State criticized Israel’s “illegal occupation” of Palestinian land in an editorial 30 years ago when he was the editor of his college student newspaper.

In the second scene, the fictional head of ADL is shown telling a press gaggle that “he’s an anti-Semite” for saying those words.

On one level, we see it as a form of flattery that the creators of the program thought of ADL for such a theme.  This reflects well as to recognition of our outspokenness regarding unjust criticism of Israel and testifies to our wide name recognition.

On the other hand, it plays into an image of ADL which distorts who we are. It suggests, as some do, that ADL will call anyone who criticizes Israel an anti-Semite with the connected implication that we are trying to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel.

The truth is that we would be sharply critical of someone who refers to Israel’s situation in the West Bank as “illegal occupation” but would not refer to such an individual as anti-Semite unless there were other things he had said, whether delegitimizing Israel or comparing Israel to Nazis or accusing Israel of crimes that fall under the category of blood libels and conspiracies.

Criticism of Israel sometimes may be legitimate, sometimes not. When it is not, it may or may not rise to the level of anti-Semitism.

We understand that “House of Cards” is fiction so we have no interest in protesting.  But the more nuanced view that we have just described is the real ADL, an organization to whom credibility is everything and one that makes sure that the term anti-Semitic is used when it is truly warranted.

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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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October 5, 2012

Free Gaza Founder Embraced by Jewish Groups Despite Recent Anti-Semitic Tweet

Update, October 10, 2012: Jewish Voice for Peace issued a statement on October 7 announcing that it  is “disassociating ourselves from sponsorship of Berlin’s current book tour in the U.S.” and would no longer endorse Free Gaza Movement-related activity. The statement described Berlin’s explanations and apology as inadequate, saying “We unfortunately don’t think her responses adequately address our concern about circulating anti-semitic materials.”

Greta Berlin, the co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement (FGM), is planning to visit the West Coast next week to promote her new book, Freedom Sailors, which is about the travails of the Free Gaza Movement and its boat campaigns to Gaza. Two Jewish anti-Zionist groups based in Los Angeles, Jewish Voice for Peace-LA and LA Jews for Peace, are sponsoring one of her appearances, which will take place next Thursday, October 11, at the Levantine Cultural Center. 

Last week, Berlin posted a virulently anti-Semitic tweet to the FGM Twitter account, which she operates, that claimed that Zionists “operated the concentration camps.” The tweet has since sparked significant media attention and outrage, even from some anti-Israel activists. Berlin and FGM subsequently apologized, claiming that the tweet was an accident and was only intended for Berlin’s Facebook page.

Berlin initially claimed that she had not watched the video, which was titled “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews,” and was unaware of its content. Later, FGM issued an apology on its website offering a different reason for the alleged oversight. The statement claimed that the post was intended to be received by a group of people on her Facebook page who were in the midst of a discussion about “propaganda and racism.” There is no evidence of this discussion on Berlin’s Facebook page.

In fact, Berlin’s Facebook page contains several other recent hateful postings. On the same day Berlin posted the offending tweet, she posted a picture to her Facebook page of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shaking the hand of a member of the anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta. Berlin added the following commentary: “if he hated jews so much, as he is often accused of, would he be warmly greeting some of them? what he hates is zionism, and so do i!”

Berlin is also scheduled to make several other speaking appearances next week to promote her book, including an appearance at UCLA, and various stops in the Pacific Northwest.

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