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April 20, 2012

Incidents of Anti-Semitism Continue to Mark Occupy Movement

With the arrival of warmer weather, Occupy Wall Street protests around the country have begun to pick up in recent weeks. While reports of rampant anti-Semitism at last summer’s protests were overblown, two isolated incidents this week indicate that anti-Semites continue to take advantage of the Occupy movement and use it as a convenient platform to air their views.
On Monday, an African-American individual attending an Occupy protest in Washington, D.C. made several anti-Semitic comments, including loudly remarking that Jewish people “try to get ahead of Black people, like they’re better than us.”

The individual claimed to be part of a group called the United Occupy Movement. A description of the group on its Web site reads, “We are the young, old, male & female, no-D and Ph.D., Christian, Muslim, Aethiest [sic] and ethnically diverse who should have a greater voice according to our Constitution.”

And just yesterday, a harshly anti-Semitic cartoon was posted to a Facebook page that claims to be the “Community Page” for Occupy Tampa. The cartoon featured a picture of a stereotypical-looking observant Jew driving a car while holding President Obama’s head in one hand and a steering wheel in the other fashioned out of the United Nations’ logo. The image evokes classic anti-Semitic myths of Jewish control, in this case of the U.S. government and the UN. Administrators of the page have since apologized for the posting, saying they’ve had “some intrusion issues” but that the administrator who posted the image has now been banned from the page.

The very same cartoon appeared in Al Watan, a Qatar-based newspaper, on September 30, 2011 at the height of Palestinian efforts to unilaterally declare statehood at the UN. The cartoon is the work of an artist named Eliot whose anti-Semitic and anti-Israel cartoons are regularly published in Al Watan.

ADL reported on a variety of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents that took place at Occupy protests last summer and fall. These incidents consistently appear to be the acts of individuals seeking to exploit the popular social protest movement and inject it with their own hateful views.

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March 2, 2012

“Occupy AIPAC” Conference Seeks to Lambast Pro-Israel Lobby and Cast Antiwar Agenda as the “99%”

An anti-Israel conference to counter this weekend’s annual AIPAC Policy Conference will begin today and includes a variety of events, rallies and public demonstrations through March 6.
 
This year’s protest event, titled “Occupy AIPAC,” seeks to capitalize on the success of the Occupy Movement and foster common cause between the popular social protests and anti-Israel efforts. The event’s Twitter feed tries to paint Israel and its supporters in the U.S. as part of the proverbial “1%” and  the left-wing antiwar movement as the 99%, a repurposing of the Occupy Movement’s rhetoric. In addition, one of the conference sessions links the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street Movement with anti-Israel efforts.
 
The conference session that is likely to feature the most egregious rhetoric is titled “AIPAC: What it is, who its allies are, why it’s dangerous and how to stop it.” It will feature, among others, Hatem Bazian, the leader of the extreme anti-Israel organization American Muslims for Palestine; Jeffrey Blankfort, an anti-Israel journalist who claims that the “Israel lobby” controls U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East; and Alison Weir, the director of the Council for the National Interest. Weir’s writings and comments have at times crossed the line into anti-Semitism, including accusing Israelis of harvesting Palestinians’ organs. According to descriptions provided on the conference Web site, the session will include a segment on how AIPAC “promotes Muslim otherness.”
 
Conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in several rallies and demonstrations against AIPAC events, including protests outside the White House during President Obama’s and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speeches.
 
Occupy AIPAC’s Twitter feed accuses AIPAC of excessive control over U.S. policy, including posts reading “We want our country back” and “End big money lobbyist control of MidEast Policy.”
 
The conference has already attracted at least one anti-Semitic attendee, Charles Carlson. Carlson is the co-founder and director of “We Hold These Truths,” an Arizona-based Christian anti-Semitic group that regularly protests outside Christian Zionist churches. In a message to his members inviting people to join him at “Occupy AIPAC,” Carlson wrote:
 
“Every political candidate for president is bowing and scraping to the state of Israel…they are not appealing for Israeli votes,  but for the tens of millions of American Christian Zionist votes…Thousands of mistaken and opportunistic Pastors also fear the truth because they have mislead their congregations.  Knowledge of Christian Zionism can drive a stake through it, to be someday buried in the graveyard of apostate, religious acts of war.”

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