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November 19, 2012 0

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

Over the week­end, more than two dozen anti-Israel protests were held in cities across the United States. Below is a round-up of the extreme mes­sages and signs that were on dis­play at just a small sam­pling of these demonstrations.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17

New Haven, CT

Approx­i­mately two dozen pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the New Haven cour­t­house and then pro­ceeded to march in down­town New Haven. An activist with the ANSWER Coali­tion addressed the crowd first and said, “We’re here to say to peo­ple that Israel should be ended once and for all.” She also advo­cated for Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) and encour­aged the crowd to fight “U.S. impe­ri­al­ism.” Pro­test­ers engaged in chants of “From the river to the sea, Pales­tine will be free!,” “Long live Intifada!,” and “Viva, Viva Palestina.” They held signs that read, “Resist Zion­ism and Impe­ri­al­ism” and “Israel – Guilty of war crimes.”

Fort Laud­erdale, FL

About 150 peo­ple gath­ered out­side the United States Fed­eral Cour­t­house in Fort Laud­erdale hold­ing signs that read “This isn’t war, this is geno­cide,” “Stop the new Holo­caust,” and “Apartheid+occupation=Israel.” Other signs read “Stop the Pales­tin­ian Holo­caust by Israel,” “If 9/11 deserves a moment of silence… Then Pales­tine deserves to never speak again,” and “The geno­cide goes on. Gaza needs your voice NOW.”

Activists at the rally chanted a vari­ety of slo­gans includ­ing “Hey hey, ho ho, this occu­pa­tion has gotta go!” “From the [Jor­dan] River to the [Mediter­ranean] Sea, Pales­tine will be free!” and “Gaza will never die! Free, free Gaza!” A par­tic­i­pant at the protest wore a t-shirt that said “Stop the Pales­tin­ian Holo­caust by Israel.”

Austin, TX

Activists demon­strated out­side the Texas Capi­tol build­ing for a rally called “Austin stands with Gaza.” Signs at the rally included “Israel is killing chil­dren in Gaza, stop U.S. com­plic­ity,” “Zion­ism is racism,” “Zion­ism is theft and anti-Semitic ter­ror,” and “Stop Israeli ter­ror­ism!” In addi­tion, a young child at the rally held a sign that said “Chil­dren like me are being killed with your tax dollars.”

Chants at the rally included “Netanyahu go to Hell, USA of Israel,” “Self-defense is a lie, what they do is geno­cide!” “The Pales­tini­ans are oppressed, boy­cott, sanc­tions, divest!” and “From Pales­tine to Mex­ico, all the walls of have got to go.” The lat­est chant refers to an increased effort by anti-Israel activists to link the Pales­tin­ian strug­gle with immi­grant issues in the U.S. and the U.S.-Mexico bor­der fence.

San Fran­cisco, CA

Approx­i­mately 100 pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the Israeli Con­sulate for the third straight day. Signs were held that said “Stop U.S.-Israeli geno­cide,” “Free Pales­tine, sup­port the right of return,” and “Stop Israel’s slaugh­ter in Gaza. Cut off all U.S. Aid.”

Fol­low­ing the demon­stra­tion out­side of the Con­sulate, activists marched to Union Square chant­ing var­i­ous slo­gans includ­ing “Long live the intifada, intifada, intifada,” “No peace, no state,” “While you’re shop­ping bombs are drop­ping,” and “not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes!”

 SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Pro­test­ers gath­ered at the Israeli Embassy hold­ing signs that read, “Obama Grow a Spine End the Geno­cide in Pales­tine! Quit Being Israel’s Pup­pet,” “G-d’s ‘Cho­sen Peo­ple’ Guilty of War Crimes,” “Is Wash­ing­ton Under Israeli Occu­pa­tion?” and “Cru­cify Him, Cru­cify Them…Israel’s Pol­icy,” which seemed to sug­gest that Israel was respon­si­ble for Jesus’s death. Other signs that were printed by some of the anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions that coor­di­nated the rally read, “Stop Israel’s Slaugh­ter in Gaza” and “End the Siege on Gaza.”

Press TV, an English-language Iran­ian news sta­tion, inter­viewed some of the pro­test­ers who used extreme and inac­cu­rate lan­guage to con­demn Israel, includ­ing describ­ing Gaza as a “land prison” and claim­ing that Israel “mas­sa­cred thou­sands of civil­ians” in Gaza dur­ing Oper­a­tion Cast Lead.  

New York

Approx­i­mately 500 peo­ple demon­stra­tors gath­ered in Times Square hold­ing signs that read “Israel is a ter­ror­ist state” and “Judaism Yes! Zion­ism No! State of Israel Must Go.” The lat­ter sign was held by a mem­ber of Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist orga­ni­za­tion that is a fix­ture at anti-Israel ral­lies in New York and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. A sep­a­rate pro­tester who was inter­viewed by FarsNews, an offi­cial Iran­ian agency, said that Israel is able to “get away with it” because of the U.S.: “Amer­ica is the real ter­ror­ist state and as long as Amer­ica uncon­di­tion­ally sup­ports Israel, the blood of Pales­tini­ans will con­tinue to be shed.”

San Diego

An anti-Israel protest to counter a pro-Israel event was orga­nized by the Al-Awda chap­ter in San Diego. After the event ended, the leader of the group posted a mes­sage on Face­book thank­ing peo­ple for attend­ing the protest. The  activist, Zahi Damuni, wrote that par­tic­i­pants in the pro-Israel rally were a “lot of obnox­ious racist peo­ple” and that the counter-protest “damp­ened the cel­e­bra­tion of the car­nage that their Zion­ist racist state is com­mit­ting.” He also called for all of Pales­tine to be free “from the River to the Sea,” which is a call for the destruc­tion of the state of Israel.

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October 5, 2012 0

Anti-Israel “Tribunal on Palestine” to Take Place at Cooper Union this Weekend

The Rus­sell Tri­bunal on Pales­tine (RTOP), which aims to bring the issue of Pales­tin­ian rights to “a court of the peo­ple,” will hold its fourth and final ses­sion this week­end at Cooper Union in Man­hat­tan. Three pre­vi­ous RTOP ses­sions that have taken place in Barcelona, Lon­don and Cape Town since 2009 pro­duced con­clud­ing doc­u­ments call­ing Israel an apartheid state, describ­ing the Gaza block­ade as “slow motion geno­cide” and denounc­ing alleged “cor­po­rate com­plic­ity” in the Israeli occupation.

The tribunal’s “jury” and “wit­nesses” are com­prised of anti-Israel activists and ana­lysts like Cyn­thia McK­in­ney; Mairead Maguire, a par­tic­i­pant in the May 2010 flotilla; and John Dugard, a South African attor­ney and for­mer Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on human rights for the U.N. who authored a report com­par­ing Israeli poli­cies to apartheid, as well as Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Alice Walker, the author of The Color Pur­ple. In light of this extremely biased com­po­si­tion, it is obvi­ous what the final “ver­dict,” which will be announced at a press con­fer­ence on Mon­day, Octo­ber 8, will look like.

A num­ber of promi­nent anti-Israel activists are also sched­uled to speak at spe­cific ses­sions, includ­ing Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the Free Gaza Move­ment; Phyl­lis Ben­nis, a co-founder of the U.S. Cam­paign to End the Israeli Occu­pa­tion; and Diana Buttu, who recently appeared at a “one-state solu­tion” con­fer­ence at Har­vard University.

In fact, the tribunal’s web­site makes it clear that it will not be an objec­tive inquiry: “The Tri­bunal aims to bring atten­tion to the com­plic­ity and respon­si­bil­ity of var­i­ous national, inter­na­tional and cor­po­rate actors in the ongo­ing Israeli occu­pa­tion of Pales­tin­ian ter­ri­to­ries and the per­pet­u­a­tion of Israel’s impunity under inter­na­tional law.”

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September 24, 2012 0

Anti-Israel Teach-in Held During Occupy Wall Street “Free University Week”

A work­ing group affil­i­ated with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) move­ment held a teach-in over the week­end on advo­cat­ing for and sup­port­ing Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns against Israel. The group, known as the “Global Jus­tice Work­ing Group,” used the ses­sion to demo­nize Israel and to demon­strate how the pro-BDS agenda goes hand-in-hand with the goals of OWS.

A sign at the Occupy BDS teach-in New York

The event was held on Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 22, as part of an OWS-organized week­long pro­gram in New York called “Free Uni­ver­sity Week.”

Speak­ers dur­ing the event con­demned Israel as a “Euro­pean set­tler move­ment” and Israeli pol­icy as extremely oppres­sive. Riham Bargh­outi, a found­ing mem­ber of the Pales­tin­ian Cam­paign for the Aca­d­e­mic and Cul­tural Boy­cott of Israel (PACBI) and activist with Adalah-NY, a local pro-boycott group, described the sit­u­a­tion for Pales­tini­ans as a “strug­gle of indige­nous peo­ple against col­o­niz­ing set­tler tac­tics.” Another speaker accused Israel of hav­ing “vio­lated every arti­cle in the 4th Geneva Con­ven­tion.” The speak­ers rep­re­sented a vari­ety of domes­tic anti-Israel groups, includ­ing Adalah-NY, Punks against Apartheid, New York­ers against the Cornell-Technion Part­ner­ship and CODEPINK’s “Stolen Beauty” cam­paign, which calls for a boy­cott of AHAVA products.

The activists also repeat­edly sought to demon­strate that  the goals of OWS and the BDS move­ment are inter­con­nected. One OWS speaker, for exam­ple, warned the par­tic­i­pants that Israel trains Amer­i­can law enforce­ment and equips police with weaponry and riot con­trol tools. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Occupy Oak­land move­ment then delib­er­ately “con­nected the dots,” alleg­ing that the “same type of tear gas being used against them [Occupy Oak­land] is being used against the Palestinians.”

Saturday’s event rep­re­sents the lat­est effort by anti-Israel activists to inject their cause into the now year-old OWS social protest move­ment. Up until now, these efforts – which included wav­ing anti-Israel signs and chant­ing anti-Israel slo­gans at OWS demon­stra­tions – were not offi­cially sanc­tioned by OWS or any of its affil­i­ated groups. In what could be a pos­si­ble shift, the teach-in was spon­sored by a group for­mally tied to OWS and was pro­moted on the offi­cial New York Gen­eral Assem­bly web­site, which hosts con­tent from “dozens of groups work­ing together to orga­nize and set the vision for the #occu­py­wall­street move­ment.

While one might imag­ine that a group called “Global Jus­tice Work­ing Group” would focus on a vari­ety of issues of global injus­tice, the group seems to main­tain a sin­gu­lar focus on crit­i­ciz­ing Israel. Indeed, its Face­book page and web­site are reg­u­larly updated with anti-Israel con­tent, includ­ing claims that Israeli check­points are a “tool of sup­pres­sion” and calls for the Red Hot Chili Pep­pers to refuse to per­form in Israel. [The con­cert was held as planned on Sep­tem­ber 10.]

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