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July 21, 2014

Weekend’s Anti-Israel Protests Feature More Nazi-Israel Comparisons

Over the weekend, close to 50 anti-Israel demonstrations were held across the United States to protest Israel’s response to the latest round of rocket attacks from Hamas in Gaza. At these rallies, there were comparisons made between Israel and Nazi Germany and allegations that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people. At one of the rallies, a speaker also called for “the full liberation of the Palestinian people and the end of the Israeli state.”

Please see below for a round-up of the protests:

July 20

Houston, TX

About 75 protesters were present for a demonstration sponsored by the University of Houston’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter. Many of the protesters held signs with slogans such as “Israeli genocide, under direct US guide,” “Israel out of Palestine now,” “Stop the Palestinian Holocaust/Genocide,” “The US is complicit in genocide,” and “If 9/11 deserves a moment of silence, then Palestine deserves for us to never speak again!”

houston-anti-israel-protest

Chicago, IL

Several hundred protesters participated in a march and demonstration with signs that stated “End this Holocaust,” “I am American and I stand with Gaza because genocide is wrong!,” “It’s not self-defense it’s genocide.”  Another sign also showed a blood-stained Israeli flag with text that stated “Stop arming the murderers of Humanity.”

chicago-anti-israel-protest

July 19

New York, NY

An anti-Israel demonstration sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine was held in Times Square on Saturday. This demonstration brought out a few hundred protesters who held signs with slogans like “Zionism=Fascism,” “New Yorkers stand with Gaza against Israeli genocide,” and “History repeats Itself, Nazism = Zionism,” (with the image of a Swastika an equal sign and the Star of David).

Yasmine Kamel, a representative from the International Socialist Organization (ISO), addressed the crowd at the protest and called for the destruction of Israel, stating, “This is part of a 66 year-old occupation; a 66 year-old history of abuse, of crimes, of murder of children; of an occupation…We have to continue to resist the Israeli occupation beyond today and beyond this assault on Gaza. We have to work for the full liberation of the Palestinian people and the end of the Israeli state and the return of all Palestinian refugees.”

new-york-anti-israel-protest

Fort Lauderdale, FL

About 100 protesters demonstrated at the U.S. Federal Courthouse at a demonstration sponsored by Al-Awda, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the National Lawyers Guild South Florida, Students for Justice in Palestine-Florida, and the Broward Green Party.

Many of the protesters were holding signs that read, “This is not war it’s GENOCIDE,” “One Holocaust doesn’t justify another,” “1948+1967 = PALESTINE,” and “”ISRAEL IS A TERRORIST STATE!” A number of slogans were chanted, including “From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, Palestine will be free,” “Hey Obama shame on you! Kids are dying ‘cause of you!,” “Occupation is a crime, from Iraq to Palestine!,” and “All the walls have got to go, from Iraq to Mexico!”

ft-lauderdale-anti-israel-protest

July 18

Philadelphia, PA

Approximately 100 protesters gathered outside the Israeli Consulate holding signs that contained slogans such as “Israel praises Moses, but acts like Pharaoh,” “Stop Israeli Holocaust against Palestinians,” “No more racism, No more Zionism, No more Fascism,” and “Do you think that Israel is a victim? Zionism = Nazism” (with the Swastika and Star of David shown next to one another).

philadelphia-anti-israel-protest

San Diego, CA

Around 150 protesters attended a demonstration sponsored by the San Diego chapter of Al-Awda. The protesters held signs with slogans such as “Stop Gaza genocide,” “This Jew does not support Israel’s GENOCIDE,” and “Blaming Palestine for firing rockets at Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist.”

Many of the protesters engaged in chants of “Netanyahu you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!” “From the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, Palestine forever!,” “Long live the Intifada, intifada, intifada,” and “Brick by brick, wall by wall, Israeli apartheid has to fall!”

san-diego-anti-israel-protest

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May 19, 2014

Vassar College President To Investigate Anti-Israel Student Group Activity

In response to a series of anti-Semitic posts published on social media accounts affiliated with Vassar’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, Catharine Hill, the President of Vassar College, announced that “the college is initiating a full investigation and action on the matter” and that she will be asking the Vassar Student Association (VSA) to review SJP’s pre-organization status; the group is a “preliminary organization” on campus.vassar-sjp

Anti-Semitic and racist messages allegedly disseminated by the Vassar chapter of SJP included an article that was reposted from The Occidental Quarterly, a racist print publication that in its own words, hopes to “defend the racial group that created and sustains our civilization.” Another post that appeared on Vassar SJP’s Tumblr page was of a cartoon that used offensive Holocaust imagery to condemn alleged Israeli policies. It depicted a so-called “Holocaust” in Gaza, with a pile of human skulls topped with a sign that read “Gaza.”

On May 13, a day before Hill’s statement, Vassar SJP posted a statement on its Facebook page claiming that, “Up until this point, the social media platforms (tumblr and twitter) associated with SJP Vassar’s name have been managed by one person and the SJP general body was not involved in decisions made about what was being posted.” The group also condemned hate speech and apologized for the offensive posts.

Concern over Vassar SJP’s activity first began in February when the group organized a protest outside of an International Studies class, whose professor co-led a trip to Israel to explore water issues as part of the course. The protest reportedly lasted for at least 30 minutes, as students enrolled in the course attempted to enter the classroom. 

As the students tried to make their way into the classroom, the protesters called on them to drop the class because of the organized trip to Israel. They also handed out flyers, which apart from calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel, also claimed that “The simple act of entering and moving within the state of Israel is a freedom denied to over 5 million Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed from their homes…The indigenous people of Palestine do NOT want you to come.” 

Hill’s statement is an important step toward ensuring that Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus are made to feel comfortable and that blatant anti-Semitism and hostile rhetoric will not be tolerated on campus.

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March 28, 2014

MPAC Steps Up Involvement In Anti-Israel Activity

The Muslim Public Affairs Council, one of the leading American Muslim advocacy organizations in the U.S., has shown increased involvement in grassroots anti-Israel activity this month.

On March 30, the group will co-sponsor presentations by anti-Israel activist Mazin Qumsiyeh at two churches in California. The presentations, titled “The Importance of Palestine in Middle East Politics and The U.S. Citizen’s Role,” will be delivered at All Saints Church in Pasadena and St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach.

Qumsiyeh, a professor at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities and former professor at Duke and Yale Universities, has a long record of engaging in extreme campaigns against Israel, including advocating for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel, and participating in “nonviolent” protests against Israel in the West Bank that often turn violent.

Al Marayati at IAW Loyola

Salam Al-Marayati posting at Loyola Marymount’s mock “apartheid wall.”

After the Boston Marathon bombing last April, Qumsiyeh wrote a post on his blog deriding the “Zionist spin” of the story, which he claimed was trying to hold Muslims responsible for the attack but ignored “past false flag operations by the Israeli Mossad.” He has previously accused Israel and its supporters in the United States of being responsible for “wars on Arab and Muslim countries.”

In addition, last week, Salam Al-Marayati, president of MPAC, participated in the first Palestine Awareness Week at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The event was organized by the newly formed chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on campus. On his Facebook page, Al Marayati posted a picture of himself standing near the mock “apartheid wall.”

Although MPAC expressly supports “a just and comprehensive two-state solution,” its cooperation with and participation in events that support BDS and a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raise serious concerns about the organization’s stated platform.

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