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November 20, 2012 3

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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November 20, 2012 1

The Anti-Israel Movement Then and Now: What has Changed Since Operation Cast Lead?

A lit­tle more than 1100 days after the end of Oper­a­tion Cast Lead, Israel has again found it nec­es­sary to con­front rocket attacks from Gaza aimed at its civil­ians. On Novem­ber 14, Israel assas­si­nated Hamas’s mil­i­tary leader and began tar­geted oper­a­tions to destroy the ammu­ni­tion and infra­struc­ture of var­i­ous Gaza-based ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions. Now, as was the case in 2008–9, anti-Israel groups across the United States have imme­di­ately sprung into action and have orga­nized peti­tions and demon­stra­tions to protest Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tions. More than 70 anti-Israel protests have already taken place across the country.

But while the cur­rent ral­lies and demon­stra­tions have thus far con­tained sim­i­larly extreme mes­sages to those held four years ago – includ­ing expres­sions of sup­port for ter­ror­ism, accu­sa­tions of Israeli “geno­cide” and copi­ous com­par­isons of Israelis to Nazis – much has changed as well.

What’s Dif­fer­ent?

Increased Pres­ence and Orga­ni­za­tional Prowess of Jew­ish Anti-Zionists

Domes­tic Jew­ish anti-Zionist groups like Jew­ish Voice for Peace have become far more orga­nized in the past two or three years and have mobi­lized in the last few days to respond to Israel’s oper­a­tion, called Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense. While JVP played a mar­ginal role at best dur­ing the 2008–9 war (there is evi­dence of their par­tic­i­pa­tion in a total of three anti-Israel protests), JVP has been one of the lead­ing orga­niz­ers of anti-Israel demon­stra­tions against the cur­rent Israeli oper­a­tions. The group has already helped orga­nize protests in Olympia, Wash­ing­ton; Cincin­nati, Ohio; Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia and Asheville, North Carolina.

The JVP chap­ter in Boston also planned to protest a pro-Israel rally that took place at a local syn­a­gogue on Mon­day, say­ing in a press release that the pro-Israel event “claims to be a gath­er­ing for peace and the safety of the peo­ple and chil­dren of Israel, but JVP calls out this event for what it truly is:  a pro-war rally that falsely aims to rep­re­sent the Jew­ish com­mu­nity.” The state­ment also included remarks by a leader of JVP in Boston who said, “We stand here because while we grieve the loss of Israeli life, our hearts are also with the peo­ple of Gaza… Not so long ago it was Jew­ish deaths that were dis­counted and ignored,” an implicit com­par­i­son between the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and the Nazi Holocaust. 

A mem­ber of JVP’s Rab­bini­cal Coun­cil, Brant Rosen, was one of the sched­uled speak­ers at an anti-Israel protest on Mon­day in Chicago.

In addi­tion to JVP, anti-Israel Jews have appeared at other ral­lies across the coun­try, includ­ing at a protest in Boston where activists held a large ban­ner that read “Jews For Intifada” and in New York where two indi­vid­u­als held signs that read, “Israelis Against the Gaza Massacre.”

 Occupy Wall Street Gets Involved

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) move­ment did not exist dur­ing the 2008–9 Gaza War. In the lat­est con­flict, how­ever, the social protest move­ment, with its built-in orga­ni­za­tional struc­ture and mes­sag­ing capa­bil­i­ties, has proved to be extremely ben­e­fi­cial for the anti-Israel move­ment. Activists who iden­tify with OWS have par­tic­i­pated in sev­eral of the anti-Israel ral­lies that have been tak­ing place, includ­ing two events in the Florida area. At one such protest in Fort Laud­erdale on Sat­ur­day, a mem­ber of Occupy Fort Laud­erdale who attended the protest expressed implicit sup­port for vio­lent resis­tance against Israel, say­ing “The oppressed have the right to fight back by any means they have,” in an inter­view with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Two days ear­lier, an anti-Israel rally in Boston was co-sponsored by Occupy Boston (which has pre­vi­ously orga­nized anti-Israel events includ­ing a sit-in at the Israeli Con­sulate last Novem­ber) and fea­tured a sign that read, “Un-Occupy Palestine.”

A work­ing group affil­i­ated with OWS has also been using its Face­book page to dis­sem­i­nate infor­ma­tion about protests tak­ing place inter­na­tion­ally and ways to “help” Gaza by join­ing the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paign against Israel. And the web­site for the New York con­ti­nent of OWS has posted a list of all the protests tak­ing place as well.

The involve­ment of local Occupy groups in anti-Israel activ­ity does not appear to be an offi­cial posi­tion by the national Occupy Wall Street Move­ment, how­ever, which has not issued any state­ment about the lat­est round of con­flict on its Web site or social media pages.

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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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