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September 22, 2014 3

Ferguson = Gaza: The Continued Invocation Of A False Comparison

gaza-ferguson-college-of-staten-island

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.

    gaza-ferguson-brooklyn-college

    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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August 28, 2014 3

Ferguson = Gaza: Manufacturing A False Comparison

gaza-ferguson-new-york

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.”
staten-island-israel-gaza-ferguson

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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August 1, 2014 2

U.S. Anti-Israel Protests Continue In Week 3 Of Gaza War

Protests against Israel’s oper­a­tions in Gaza con­tin­ued this week, with at least two dozen protests tak­ing place since Sun­day and sev­eral dozen more sched­uled over the week­end. A total of 206 demon­stra­tions have taken place since Israel’s mil­i­tary cam­paign began on July 8.

See below for a roundup of what hap­pened in select cities this week:

Sun­day, July 27 – Dal­las, TX: A group of pro­test­ers marched through down­town Dal­las hold­ing signs that com­pared Israel to Nazi Ger­many and oth­ers that said, “Stop the Israeli geno­cide” and “Dear USA, Your 9/11 is our 24/7. Sin­cerely, Palestine.”

Dallas, TX

Dal­las, TX

Mon­day, July 28 – Seat­tle, WA: A demon­stra­tion in Seat­tle fea­tured around 50 pro­test­ers who marched near West­lake Cen­ter hold­ing signs with slo­gans such as “Gaza Holo­caust Must Stop” and “Stop the Holo­caust in Gaza” (writ­ten next to a pic­ture of Ben­jamin Netanyahu wear­ing a swastika armband).

Seattle, WA

Seat­tle, WA

 

Tues­day, July 29 – New York, NY: Nor­man Finkel­stein, a long­time critic of Israeli pol­icy, orga­nized a so-called “direct action” out­side the Israeli Con­sulate in New York. Finkel­stein had announced plans for an action involv­ing civil dis­obe­nience the day before on social media, claim­ing that the action would go for­ward only if 100 peo­ple com­mit­ted to par­tic­i­pat­ing and get­ting arrested. Hours later, Finkel­stein decided to go ahead with the action, even though he did not suc­ceed in get­ting 100 peo­ple to signup.

Norman Finkelstein July 29, 2014

New York, NY

 

Finkel­stein (the sec­ond indi­vid­ual in the pic­ture above) led a group of about two dozen anti-Israel pro­test­ers who laid down on the cross­walk near the Con­sulate hold­ing signs that read “End geno­cide” and “Stop geno­cide now.” The group blocked traf­fic from pro­ceed­ing on Sec­ond Avenue and they were sub­se­quently arrested by NYPD.

Wednes­day, July 30 – Bal­ti­more, MD: A demon­stra­tion and march spon­sored by the Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine chap­ter included signs that said “Gaza = War­saw Ghetto,” “Resis­tance is jus­ti­fied when peo­ple are occu­pied,” and “Stop arm­ing the mur­der­ers of human­ity.” Nor­man Finkel­stein, who had been arrested a day ear­lier in New York City, spoke at the rally.

Baltimore, MD

Bal­ti­more, MD

Thurs­day, July 31 – West Bloom­field, MI: A demon­stra­tion was held out­side the Metro Detroit Jew­ish Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in West Bloom­field, Michi­gan dur­ing an annual meet­ing for the Michi­gan chap­ter of the Zion­ist Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­ica (ZOA). At the demon­stra­tion, pro­test­ers gath­ered with signs that read “One Holo­caust doesn’t jus­tify another” and “Israeli Occu­pa­tion = Pales­tin­ian GENOCIDE: Stop US aid for Israel’s Heinous Crimes.”

One speaker at the demon­stra­tion exclaimed that “We must demand that the U.S. government…stop sup­port­ing a fas­cist Zion­ist regime!” and another claimed that the peo­ple of Gaza are liv­ing in an “open-air prison.”

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