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November 20, 2012

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

Close to two dozen anti-Israel rallies took place across the United States on Monday, from Greensboro to Gainesville, Seattle to Santa Cruz. Nearly half of Monday’s demonstrations occurred on university and college campuses, an indication of how student-driven the anti-Israel reaction is to the latest round of violence taking place in the Middle East.

Below is a sampling of yesterday’s anti-Israel protests:

New Brunswick, NJ

At Rutgers University, a state university with more than 50,000 students, a rally organized by Students for Justice in Palestine drew approximately 150 demonstrators to Brower Commons. One of the signs displayed by students read, “It would be my greatest sadness to see Zionists do to Palestinians much of what Nazis did to Jews.” Demonstrators also chanted “Intifada, Intifada” during the evening protest.

At least four representatives of Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist organization, participated in and spoke at the rally. Jewish anti-Zionist groups often view their role as “protecting” the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism. It seemed to work here. Shortly after the protest ended, several students expressed how happy they were to have the Neturei Karta representatives, with one student noting, “I’m tired of being criticized as an anti-Semite for having critical views of Israel, when in fact I have no qualms with our Jewish brothers and sisters, but rather an apartheid nation.”

San Francisco, CA

A rally outside the Israeli Consulate drew activists from Jewish Voice for Peace who held banners and signs that read “The Siege of Gaza Betrays Jewish Values” and “Israelis Against War and Apartheid.”

Chicago, IL

More than 300 demonstrators rallied outside a Federal Building in Chicago and then proceeded to march to Daley Plaza, chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Speakers alleged that Israel is a “terrorist state,” a “brutal killing machine” and that Jerusalem is “occupied.” One young woman held a sign that read, “End the Nazi Occupation in Gaza!” The same sign also showed the Israeli flag with a large red swastika drawn over it and the words “real terrorists.” The rally attracted the support of American Muslims for Palestine, Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Group, US Palestinian Community Network and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Ithaca, NY

Anti-Israel students at Cornell University squared off against pro-Israel students who were holding a rally to support Israel’s actions and then marched across campus chanting, “Hey Netanyahu, what do you say, how many kids did you kill today?” “Brick by brick, wall by wall, Israel’s apartheid’s got to fall” and “When people are occupied, resistance is justified.” The rally, called “Solidarity from Ithaca to Gaza,” was heavily attended by Jewish anti-Zionists, including representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace-Ithaca who held signs that read, “Jewish Voice for Peace Says Divest From the Occupation” and “I am another Jew opposed to Israeli attacks on civilians.”

Tallahassee, FL

The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Florida State University organized a protest that drew several dozen students. The students held signs that read, “Resist Zionism and Imperialism,” “Support Peace, Defend Gaza” and “Denouncing Israel’s War Crimes is not Anti-Semitic.” One of the leaders of SJP was interviewed by local media and said, “We’re out here because Palestinians are being brutalized, are being bombed, are being killed every single day with American tax dollars and we think that’s inherently wrong.” He also apologized for Palestinian terrorism, saying it is the result of how “miserable and hopeless” the Palestinians feel and predicted that the “extremism” will only end when the situation for Palestinians improves.

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

“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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August 21, 2012

“Free Palestine! End ZioNazi Apartheid!”: A Snapshot of Al Quds Day 2012

Al Quds Day is commemorated annually with mass rallies and speeches on the last Friday of Ramadan. It has traditionally been marked by hostile rhetoric towards the state of Israel, including blatant anti-Semitism.

Al Quds Day Protest in LA

This year, for example, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described Israel as an “insult to all of humankind” and called for Israel’s destruction. Secretary-General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah similarly threatened that Hezbollah has the power to “transform the lives of millions of Zionists in Israel to a real hell.”

While the largest Al Quds Day events generally take place in the Middle East, protests are also held in cities across the United States. The protests, which took place last Friday in a dozen U.S. cities, were rife with extreme language, including signs that compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Holocaust.

In New York, L.A. and Houston, large banners reading “Stop Palestinian Genocide” were on display, as well as other signs that read, “Israel is a Cancer,” “Down with Zionism,” Holocaust in Palestine” and “Gaza=Auschwitz.” A woman in New York held a sign that said, “Free Palestine! End ZioNazi Apartheid! No $$ to ‘Israel!’ Boycott ‘Israel’.”

Speakers at several rallies also used fanatical rhetoric to denounce Israel. Rabbi Dovid Feldman of Neturei Karta called for the “dismantlement of the entire State of Israel” during an address at the Los Angeles protest. Another Neturei Karta speaker, this one at the New York rally held in Times Square, led the audience in chants of “Judaism, Yes, Zionism, No, the State of Israel must go” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.” In a media interview, an organizer of the Houston protest pledged to continue to “commemorate” Al Quds Day, saying, “This demand for justice will take place every year until Palestine will be free from Zionist hands!”

NYC Al Quds Day Flyer

A second speaker at the event in New York, ANSWER activist Sara Flounders, expressed implicit support for Hezbollah when she addressed the crowd, saying “We stand with the resistance in Lebanon today.” Flounders, who also declared solidarity with the regimes in Iran and Syria, has previously participated in conferences in Beirut attended by representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah. At one such conference in January 2009, Flounders said, “We need to militantly support Hamas…We need to make it clear that we support the right to resist, the right to fire rockets.”

Many of the protests also featured imagery and messaging designed to further fan the flames of the conflict and paint Israel as a violent oppressor. At the rally in Los Angeles, for example, several children held signs that read, “Israel is killing children like me.”

The Iranian-owned television station Press TV reported on the Al Quds Day protest that took place in Washington, D.C. and interviewed one of the speakers at the event. The speaker, Imam Abdul Alim Musa (an anti-Semitic extremist who founded the Sabiqun movement) called for Israel’s defeat and described Gaza as the “biggest open-air prison.”

Al Quds Day, which refers to the Arabic term for Jerusalem, was initiated in 1979 in Iran by Ayatollah Khomeini.

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