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August 28, 2014

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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December 6, 2013

In First Appearance After Heart Attack, Farrakhan Continues Anti-Semitism

Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan’s first public appearance after suffering a heart attack featured a number of anti-Semitic claims about Jewish control over the American government, Black organizations and other sectors.farrakhan-indiana-heart-attack

During his December 1 speech at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Farrakhan revealed he was hospitalized approximately two months ago due to a heart attack. When Farrakhan was unable to deliver his 2013 Holy Day of Atonement speech in Alabama in October, the NOI originally said he was hospitalized for “an infection.”

In his speech, Farrakhan bluntly stated his theory about who controls the U.S. government: “…we’re gonna bring you up to speed. The American government is under control of the Zionists.” Farrakhan went on to claim that the Jewish community has power over the NOI and other Black organizations. “It’s not that I’m against the Jewish people. That’s just false…They have such power and influence that they made most of you believe that I’m against the Jewish people.”

He made similar claims about the NAACP, stating “You members of the NAACP, you want to put on a march to Washington but you don’t have no money, so who do you go to? You go to philanthropists, many of them are Jewish.” He continued, “They tell you who you can have speaking. And they told you don’t have Farrakhan. And you couldn’t say a damn thing because it wasn’t your money it was theirs.”

Farrakhan also described sending a copy of the NOI’s anti-Semitic book, The Secret Rela­tion­ship between Blacks and Jews, which alleges dis­pro­por­tion­ate Jew­ish involve­ment in the slave trade, to the “presidents of all the major Jewish organizations” as well as some Jewish public officials. This is not the first time Farrakhan has done so. The letter stated that the purpose of sending the book was to appeal to Jews who are “sitting on top of the world in power with riches and influence while the masses of my people…are in the worst condition of any member of the human family” to convince them to repair the “damage that has been done by your ancestors to mine.”

The crowd applauded as Farrakhan read the last line of the letter which claimed that if the Jews do not “make the wise and best choice,” that God “will bring you and your people to disgrace and ruin and destroy your power and influence here in America and throughout the world.”

Also in the sermon, Farrakhan compared the Jews of today to those of Jesus’ time, claiming both had disproportionate influence over the government. “Did you know the Jesus had a real problem with the Jewish community? They had power, the rabbis of that day, over the Roman authorities just as they have power today over our government,” he alleged.noi-rg-9-11-israel-tweet

Farrakhan’s blatantly anti-Semitic public statements are just one part of the NOI’s larger anti-Jewish propaganda campaign. The NOI Research Group (NOIRG), which created a website in 2012 that pro­motes vir­u­lently anti-Semitic con­spir­acy theories, tweeted and posted on Facebook a number of times that Israel was behind 9/11, including most recently (December 3) posting that “#Israel has an ugly history of deadly false flag operations, including 9/11….”

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