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January 29, 2015 0

AFA Ousts Bryan Fischer As Spokesperson But He Remains A Radio Host

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fis­cher

Bryan Fis­cher, who reg­u­larly spews anti-LGBT rhetoric, often liken­ing the LGBT com­mu­nity to Nazis, has been ousted as a spokesper­son for the Amer­i­can Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion (AFA), a reli­gious right orga­ni­za­tion, accord­ing to a report on The Rachel Mad­dow Show. Fis­cher is for­merly the direc­tor of issue analy­sis for gov­ern­ment and pub­lic pol­icy at AFA.

Although the AFA has not released a pub­lic state­ment on Fis­cher, a spokesper­son for the group told Mad­dow that Fischer’s state­ments com­par­ing gays to Nazis con­tributed to their deci­sion to remove him as spokesper­son. The AFA may be attempt­ing to appear more palat­able to the pub­lic in light of a Jan­u­ary 31 trip to Israel the orga­ni­za­tion is spon­sor­ing for Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee members.

Fis­cher, how­ever, still main­tains his posi­tion as a radio show host on Amer­i­can Fam­ily Radio, where he has courted con­tro­versy with his extreme state­ments about the LGBT com­mu­nity, Mus­lims, and African-Americans. He often uses his radio show, “Focal Point,” as well as arti­cles to den­i­grate groups he opposed.

This month, Fis­cher argued that “homo­sex­u­als” should not be allowed to run for office, say­ing, “It’s a form of sex­ual per­ver­sion and remem­ber, we’re going to have to choose between the gay agenda and Chris­tian­ity.” Aside from refer­ring to homo­sex­u­al­ity as a per­ver­sion, Fisher con­stantly used Holo­caust analo­gies to com­pare con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians who oppose homo­sex­u­al­ity to Jews per­se­cuted under the Nazis. In Fischer’s mind, LGBT activists were the Nazis.

In April 2012, Fis­cher declared, “We’re get­ting to the point where these homo­fas­cists are going to force us to wear on our sleeve some kind of iden­ti­fy­ing marker so peo­ple will know who the racists and the homo­phobes and the big­ots are.” He added, “Remem­ber when the Jews in Nazi Ger­many, they had to wear a yel­low star of David on their sleeve? We’re get­ting to the point where that’s where they’re going to make us do.” Fis­cher also said that the Nazi Party was formed in a gay bar in Munich.

Fis­cher also railed against Mus­lims. This month, Fis­cher said that “Allah rep­re­sents a demon God.” In 2011, Fis­cher claimed that Muslims—and by exten­sion, Jews– were not pro­tected by the First Amend­ment. He argued, “The First Amend­ment was writ­ten by the Founders to pro­tect the free exer­cise of Chris­tian­ity.” He added, “Islam is enti­tled only to the reli­gious lib­erty we extend it out of courtesy.”

In yet another dis­turb­ing state­ment, Fis­cher said that wel­fare had destroyed African-American fam­i­lies because young black women “rut like rab­bits” in the expec­ta­tion that they would get finan­cial awards for hav­ing chil­dren out of wedlock.

Despite Fis­cher being removed as a spokesper­son for AFA, he will still be able to reach thou­sands of peo­ple with his radio show.

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August 7, 2014 0

Reflecting on Israeli Society During the Conflict: The Best and the Worst

With Israel scal­ing down its oper­a­tions in Gaza and a cease­fire begin­ning to hold, Israeli soci­ety will now reflect on the last four weeks. Out of this fright­en­ing and tense period, one source of inspi­ra­tion and opti­mism has been the sense of sol­i­dar­ity and close­ness felt by Israelis.

Across the coun­try, peo­ple of every age and polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion clam­ored to help and “do some­thing.” Israelis mobi­lized to show sup­port for the IDF sol­diers serv­ing on the front – peo­ple sent food, care pack­ages, sup­plies — even washed uni­forms.  Oth­ers offered to host res­i­dents of the south who left their homes for fear of the unend­ing fall of rock­ets and blare of warn­ing sirens. Thou­sands went to funer­als and shivas for the fallen sol­diers – par­tic­u­larly those of the “lone” sol­diers – whose fam­i­lies live out­side Israel. Mass prayer vig­ils were held.

Funeral of IDF Soldier Max Steinberg

Funeral of IDF Sol­dier Max Steinberg

But while we can cel­e­brate in this wide­spread feel­ing of unity and gen­eros­ity, we can­not deny that other, trou­bling ten­den­cies also emerged over these past weeks.

Some who pub­licly dis­agreed with Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tion were called “trai­tors” and in some cases, even “Nazis.” Some protest­ing the con­flict were phys­i­cally attacked. Ten­sions with Israeli Arabs have grown. Many were out­raged by reports of some groups of Israeli Arabs who cel­e­brated in the killing of IDF sol­diers. This hos­til­ity inten­si­fied in both speech and action, and there were reports of iso­lated vig­i­lante attacks on Israeli Arab tar­gets. Indeed, when an East Jerusalem Pales­tin­ian attacked a Jerusalem city bus with a con­struc­tion vehi­cle, killing one, out of con­cern for their phys­i­cal safety of Arabs in the vicin­ity, police quickly moved to ensure their safety.

As we begin to think about “the day after,” Israelis must think about how to har­ness the pos­i­tive while reduc­ing the neg­a­tive. We must fig­ure out how to build on the sense of unity and gen­eros­ity while still valu­ing the exchange of dif­fer­ent view­points, and ensur­ing that respect­ful dis­course thrives.

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November 21, 2012 1

“Netanyahu, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide!”: A Round-Up of Anti-Israel Protests in the U.S. on November 20

At least ten ral­lies were held on Tues­day to protest Israel’s oper­a­tions in Gaza to thwart rocket attacks that tar­get Israeli civil­ians. Below is a sam­pling of yesterday’s anti-Israel protests:

Atlanta, GA

A rally was orga­nized by a group called “In Sol­i­dar­ity With Gaza” that drew approx­i­mately 150 peo­ple. Demon­stra­tors chanted “From the river to the sea, Pales­tine will be free,”  “Free, Free Pales­tine. Long live Pales­tine!” and “From the beach to the water, Israel is respon­si­ble for slaughter!”

A num­ber of pro­test­ers held signs that used inflam­ma­tory rhetoric, includ­ing “Israel, the new Nazis,” “Stop the geno­cide in Gaza!” “Stop the geno­cide. Save the chil­dren!” and a sign that had a Star of David with a swastika drawn in the cen­ter of it. Some of the pro­test­ers also used chalk to write mes­sages on the side­walk near the demon­stra­tion, includ­ing “Fuck Zion­ism,” “Arab Holo­caust” and “No To Genocide.”

Birm­ing­ham, AL

Approx­i­mately 30 stu­dents on cam­pus got together for an “emer­gency rally” for Gaza, accord­ing to the Uni­ver­sity of Alabama, Birmingham’s cam­pus news­pa­per. Stu­dents chanted “Gaza, Gaza, don’t you cry, Pales­tine will never die,” “Netanyahu, you can’t hide. We charge you with geno­cide!” and “From the river to the sea, Pales­tine will be free!”

The stu­dent news­pa­per also showed pho­tographs of stu­dents hold­ing signs that read, “Gaza, declared by UN, as world’s largest open-air prison” and “U.S. Tax $$ funds eth­nic cleans­ing, APARTHEID, and human rights violations.”

Boston, MA

Approx­i­mately 1,000 peo­ple ral­lied in Cop­ley Square at a demon­stra­tion orga­nized by the North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity chap­ter of Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine. The demon­stra­tors held signs that said “65+ years of Israeli col­o­niza­tion and eth­nic cleans­ing,” “End Israeli apartheid,” We say NO to Israel’s war crimes,” “US: Stop sup­port for mur­der­ous, apartheid Israel. Save the peo­ple of Gaza!” and “The mas­sacre goes on! Gaza needs your voice NOW.”

For infor­ma­tion about other anti-Israel protests that have taken place since the start of Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense, please see these pre­vi­ous posts:

“End the Nazi Occu­pa­tion in Gaza”: A Round-Up of U.S. Anti-Israel Protests on Novem­ber 19

“Israel should be Ended Once and For All,” “Cru­cify Him, Cru­cify Them…Israel’s Pol­icy:” A Round-Up of Anti-Israel Protests in the U.S., Novem­ber 17–18

Demon­stra­tors at Anti-Israel Ral­lies: “Gaza is the Real Holo­caust,” “Long live the Intifada!”

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