We’re not racist, we just hate Jews: Antisemitism on pro-Palestinian websites

May 2, 2012 by Julie Nathan
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After Brendon O’Connell, who had attended an anti-Israel action in Perth organized by Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA), was convicted in 2011 of racial incitement, Alex Bainbridge of FOPWA, stated publicly that FOPWA “makes a conscious policy of condemning expressions of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism.” He added, “We are friends of Palestine, not enemies of the Jewish people”…writes Julie Nathan.

Julie Nathan

Regardless of how genuine or not Mr Bainbridge was in his claims, there is a very real and insidious anti-Jewish content within pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, organizations in Australia.

Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, organizations utilize both websites and facebook to promote their ideology/beliefs, propagate articles and news, and to advertise upcoming anti-Israel protests, forums and other actions. Organizations set up many different Facebook sites, often for specific events. Facebook is one area in particular where readers and members can post comments, links, and other material.

COMMENTS:

On a Students for Palestine (Melbourne) Facebook site, “EMERGENCY MEETING: Don’t let them stop pro-Palestine protests in Melbourne”, set up by “Vashti Jane” for Victorian Students for Palestine,  advertising a meeting to “DISCUSS THE NEXT ACTION” including where to hold the next anti-Israel action, a Paul Duggan posted (on 12-7-2011) the comment: “protest in the major jewish suburb Windsor, near Prahran.” This comment shows that there are some who feel it is quite legitimate to direct anti-Israel protest against Jews, including in their suburban homes, regardless of their actual views.

On another Students for Palestine (Melbourne) Facebook site, “Protesting Max Brenner’s support for the Israeli military”, set up by “Vashti Jane” for Victorian Students for Palestine a Jason Phan posted (on 10-7-2011) the comment: “i dont give a fuck , jews are pricks!!!!!” Such language is clearly antisemitic, yet when such comments are not removed for days or weeks but are allowed to remain on the webpage this indicates at best a tolerance, at worst a support, for such antisemitic sentiment.

VIDEOS:

The posting of videos on pro-Palestinian Facebook pages is common. They range from the overtly anti-Jewish through to those pushing conspiracy theories or similar sinister insinuations about Jews. On the official Students for Palestine, Melbourne Facebook page is a video promoting a conspiracy theory about 9/11, titled  911 Loose Change (full-length) posted by Hassan Elgizawy (on 12-7-2011).

On the Facebook site of the Australians Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA), based in Adelaide, Samah Manasra  posted (on 9-7-2011) the video titled Zionists are a Satan worshipping Cult! The synopsis under the video states: “To help you understand the difference between the “true Israel” and the Synagogue of Satan.”  This is the familiar terminology of traditional forms of antisemitism.

Another video posted (on 3-10-11) on the AFOPA Facebook site is Dangers Of A ‘Jewish’ State posted by Abbas Anti-Zionism . This video is highly antisemitic.   It says that “Obama is touting the Jewish Lobby’s (of whom his re-election depends) dead end agenda… And the state of Israel, with its Jewish agents entrenched in American foreign-policy making via billions of dollars… Jewish elitism has permeated every aspect of our nation’s infrastructure: whether it’s policy, legislation, security, culture, economics, and finance. “All things Jewish” is now in, but “all things Christian” is now out. If this trend continues then a Judaic tyranny never before experienced in American life will dismantle all that Christianity has bequeathed to our once free and prosperous nation.” The video was produced by Brother Nathanael, a self-styled Orthodox Christian “Street Evangelist”. This video is linked to Nathanael’s antisemitic and conspiratorial websites: http://www.realzionistnews.com/ and http://thebrothernathanaelfoundation.org/

Also on the official AFOPA Facebook page is a link to a video titled “The Hitler Speech They Don’t Want You To Hear” posted (on 2-12-2011) by a prolific AFOPA poster, Haytham A. K Radwan. This video claims to be the English translation of a speech by Hitler which blames Roosevelt for WW2 and portrays Hitler and the Nazis as being innocent and peaceful. It is the type of propaganda neo-Nazis push. There is nothing antisemitic per se in the video.  However, it is not just pro-Nazi, but aims to vindicate Nazism and its actions. AFOPA, a pro-Palestinian website, allows links to videos pushing Hitler as a man of peace.

ARTICLE TERMINOLOGY:

Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, websites often reproduce articles from overseas. However, some of these articles contain antisemitic content and imagery. This is evidenced on the website of Australians For Palestine (AFP), based in Melbourne, where a recent article (19-4-2012), Thousands of Jewish settlers storm Qalqilia village to perform rituals  was reproduced in full from The Palestinian Information Centre. 

In this article, reproduced on an Australian website, the term “Talmudic rituals” is used, not just once, but twice. This is a popular term used on many Islamic websites such as IslamOnline and by Arab journalists such as Khalid Amayreh.  The term “Talmudic rituals” is deliberately used as it conjures up something much more sinister than simply using more accurate terminology like “Jewish prayers” or “Jewish religious practices.” To explain further the language used in Arab or Islamic media to demonise Jews:

The term “Talmudic rituals” used by Amayreh (2009c) and IslamOnline (2009a) in reference to Jews near Al-Aqsa is a coded allusion to some sort of “sinister” Jewish rituals, given that historically the Christian authorities condemned and burned the Talmud as an allegedly sinister Jewish text in an effort to convert the Jews to Christianity (ADL 2003).”

AFOPA, based in Adelaide, also has the article on their homepage, showing the first paragraph and a half, which links to the full article on the AFP website.

In comparison, a minor and less active website, Palestine Solidarity Campaign Melbourne has the same story but from the Maan News website, where the article contains nothing inflammatory or antisemitic.

This shows two things. Firstly, that there are various ways to choose to tell a story. Secondly, that anti-Israel organizations like AFP and AFOPA choose to use and republish articles with anti-Jewish content rather than articles that are not antisemitic.

CARTOONS:

An overtly antisemitic cartoon was posted on at least three pro-Palestinian Facebook websites on 28 March 2012: “Social Justice Network”, “Vigil on the Palestinian Land Day and against the threats of war on the Middle East”, and “Australians Against the War on the Middle East”. This cartoon plays directly on the 2,000 year old accusation of the Jews as Christ-killers, an accusation which not only incited hatred of Jews but resulted in ongoing massacres of Jews. The cartoon character is explicitly an image of Jesus and his crucifixion, as denoted by the Star of David at the top (instead of “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”), and a rocket (instead of a spear) into the side of the character.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EUFRA) determined the Working Definition of Antisemitism which includes examples of antisemitism:  “Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

  • • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.”

The above cartoon clearly falls within the EUFRA’s definition of anti-Semitism.

 

PROTESTING AT A SYNAGOGUE:

Two pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, organizations, Students for Palestine and Socialist Alternative, made a decision to protest outside a synagogue. Not only were they targeting a synagogue, but the protest was to be staged on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. This protest, scheduled for 25 February 2012, was part of the “Open Shuhada Street” campaign, Protest the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in Hebron

The target was stated to be Joseph Gutnick for his alleged support for families living in settlements in Hebron.  Yet Students for Palestine and Socialist Alternative decided not to target a commercial or business venue associated with Mr Gutnick, but instead chose a Jewish religious venue, which happened to have a hall named Adass Gutnick Hall. Mr Gutnick is not a member of the synagogue in question and does not attend services there.  This decision shows the protest organizers do not distinguish between private places of worship and public business enterprises, nor between ordinary Australian Jews and Israel.

It was only when the media got hold of the story and interviewed the organizer, Vashti Kenway, about the venue being a synagogue, and the day being the Jewish Sabbath, that the organisers felt compelled to change the venue from the synagogue to an office of a business in which Mr Gutnick is a director. Ms Kenway, not admitting or seemingly understanding that protesting outside a synagogue is antisemitic, would presumably still consider it legitimate to protest outside a synagogue where the congregants were all either Zionist or non-Zionist Jews.

Despite the change of venue, on the Students for Palestine website the protest venue remained named as at the synagogue, and remained so until after the protest, and still remains there today. On the Students for Palestine Facebook site, which was set up by “Vashti Jane” for Victorian Students for Palestine, the venue address was changed, but the poster on that site, which showed the synagogue as the protest venue, was not removed or changed:

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS), an organization often hostile to Israel, wrote “that their decision to cancel was largely driven by a realisation of the adverse reaction to such a protest in the wider community, not because of any twinge of conscience on their own part.” AJDS notes that Vashti Kenway and the other protest organizers had no objection to protesting at a synagogue, but were only concerned for their own image.

On the Students for Palestine Facebook page for this protest, there were several comments criticising Students for Palestine and Socialist Alternative for the protest venue. Even the militantly anti-Zionist, Michael Brull, commented: “You people are so fucking stupid. I cannot believe you would protest at a fucking synagogue.” On the same Facebook page, in reference to an earlier encounter, a Joshua Slonim posted (on 22-2-2012) a comment: “Vashti, you called my friend at Melbourne University a “murderer” simply because he was wearing a Kippah/Yarmulka.”

CONCLUSION:

As can be seen from these diverse examples antisemitic content is now frequently posted on different types of pro-Palestinian online communication outlets in Australia.

These websites, including Facebook, are monitored to varying degrees. Often pro-Israel comments and video links are removed by site owners or moderators. And yet many antisemitic comments, videos, cartoons, and articles are allowed to remain. More disturbing is that some of this antisemitic content is posted by the website owners, whether on Facebook or on the official websites of the pro-Palestinian organisations.  This is clearly the case on the Australians For Palestine website with their posting of articles.

This also appears to be the case with the “Gaza” cartoon, where the poster “Social Justice Network,” posted the cartoon on his own “Social Justice Network” website placing the cartoon just under the header. He was the one who posted it also on the “Vigil on Palestinian Land Day” Facebook page.  The Social Justice Network is associated with Jamal Daoud.

The publication of antisemitic content on pro-Palestinian websites can lead to contempt towards Jews, and incitement of racial hatred, but it also lessens the credibility of the organisations that elicit and permit racist content. Many of these organisations claim to be only against Israel and not against Jews, and yet their websites and Facebook pages tell a very different and disturbing story.

 

Julie Nathan is the Research Officer for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry

 

 

[1] Friends of Palestine, not enemies of Jews

http://www.fopwa.org/2011/02/friends-of-palestine-not-enemies-of-jews/

[2] EMERGENCY MEETING: Don’t let them stop pro-Palestine protests in Melbourne

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=138803032865483#!/event.php?eid=226602450705744

[3] Protesting Max Brenner’s support for the Israeli military

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Defend-the-right-to-protest-Defend-the-Boycott-Israel-19/187847014603444#!/event.php?eid=243178329043680

[4] Students for Palestine, Melbourne

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_58804227177

[5] AFOPA

http://www.facebook.com/groups/272550069292

[6] AFOPA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfWe8qVabsE&feature=player_embedded

[7] Thousands of Jewish settlers storm Qalqilia village to perform rituals 19Apr12

http://www.australiansforpalestine.net/61710

[8]

http://islamopediaonline.org/editorials-and-analysis/julie-nathan-analyzes-islamonline%E2%80%99s-portrayal-jews-and-judaism

[9] Palestine Solidarity Campaign Melbourne

http://melbournepsc.wordpress.com/about/

[10] Maan News website

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=477551

 [11] Social Justice Network

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Social-Justice-Network/210459888974991

[12] Vigil on the Palestinian Land Day and against the threats of war on the Middle East

https://www.facebook.com/events/292286807509400/?ref=nf

[13] Australians Against the War on the Middle East

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Australians-Against-the-War-on-the-Middle-East/179263818851997

[14] European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EUFRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism

http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-antisemitism/english/

http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/material/pub/AS/AS-WorkingDefinition-draft.pdf

[15] Protest the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in Hebron

http://www.studentsforpalestine.org/?p=876

and

https://www.facebook.com/events/168601546585741/

[16] 10 Feb 2012, They say they’re just against “Zionism”

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/they_say_theyre_just_against_zionism/

10 Feb 2012, HATERS TARGET SYNAGOGUE: “Boycott” protesters plan sinister raid on Jewish religious service

http://www.vexnews.com/2012/02/haters-target-synagogue-boycott-protesters-plan-sinister-raid-on-jewish-religious-service/

[17]  Protest the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in Hebron https://www.facebook.com/events/168601546585741/

[18] Australians for Palestine: THE AUSTRALIAN: Activists abandon Sabbath protest. Comment

http://www.australiansforpalestine.net/58384

[19] Social Justice Network

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Social-Justice-Network/210459888974991

Comments

6 Responses to “We’re not racist, we just hate Jews: Antisemitism on pro-Palestinian websites”
  1. Neptune says:

    Very upsetting, given that so little of Australia is Jewish, only 105,000 of 22,328,800, 0.5%. One hears that major fears exist of “mass” Jewish immigration into a continent mostly devoid of human inhabitants. Is that so?

  2. Halina says:

    Some years ago a head of the Antidefamation Ligue of this time told me how the old antisemitism is now expressed in the fortm of anti-Zionism. KIn spite of my respect and friendship I just couldn’t believe this and didn’t considedr this very dangerous. The growing and presented in most unexpected forms (vide pestering the Brennan chocolate cafes which I didn’t before connected to the country), it is in my view more and more virulent, and has to be curbed in every possible way. The ‘islamism’ is in my opinion more dangerous to the whole world than Nazism and Soviet type communism put together.

  3. Harry says:

    Well done Julie. Too often anti-Semites try and hide behind being “only”anti Israel.

    Your detailed ananysis uncovers the truth and exposes the direct connection between anti-Semitism and people who claim to be pushing the Palestinian cause.

    As per usual, the usual suspects are far more interested in denying Jewish self determination than in promoting Palestinian self determination.

    And also as per usual, their motivation is Hate.

  4. Chris says:

    I had seen several times, an old guy very similar with Mahmoud Abbas keep coming and go in University of Melbourne, with the other old guys, and a blonde young lady, and the other young moslem lady from arabic/ turkish background with scarf. I noted that they mentioned about Moslems Brotherhood, which is a terrorist organization in the list of Government of USA, but I am not sure in Australia whether they ban them or not.

  5. Michelle says:

    I m a postgrad student from Indonesia. I support Israel and Jews, however some students in University of Melbourne, stalk, bully and intimidate etc me, one of them because of my political opinion.

    I also complained for the monitoring of Indonesia Intelligent agency toward some Indonesia students in Australia to Australia officials, which was supported and published in the age newspaper from 2007, with Tom Hyland as the author. However my complain even up to the police department, was ignored and they don’t act against the monitoring and pressure by Indonesia consulate in Australia, instead they assist each other including in banning some students with different political opinion.

    I mentioned this way, because Indonesia government since long time ago, supports and assists each other with the palestinian movement. I was stigmatized for crazy and mentally illness (even up to my former employers, until I don’t get any reference for future employments in australia) so I don’t deserve any assistance from any authorized department. It is supported by the moslems community as well.

    It is really sad but it is the fact, that they really give hard problems even to the Israel supporters i.e me others and Singapore due to Singapore really maintain the close good relationship with Israel.

    So, I hope the Jewish community in Australia, could act against this. I sometimes hate this university, Melbourne University especially their students, really bad students. I thought they are smarter for being accepted in this uni. However they hate Jews and Israel, and they support the Palestine, United Moslems intelligent body, Hamas, Osama Ben Laden, boicotting action against the Israel supporters especially in financial and political sector, do stalking, lobbying to lecturers, to officials in Australia. HOnestly but sad fact, I noted that the ultra rightist movement is getting stronger here, so they beside hating the Jews, they also hate students like me, which was expressed by bashing me and some others, on the streets. Yelling to us to go back to our country. I thought the co founder of Nazi as the Jewish and Asians hatred was Hitler, and noted he has a big fans in Australia.

  6. Kaylene says:

    Beautifully articulated and well researched article. Goes directly to the heart of the definition of the term Jew Hatred.
    Amazing word Hatred – so many politically correct, God fearing humanity really only like to apply it to food.
    So Miss Nathan you dare to name it!

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