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November 29, 2011 2:41 pm

Is the Occupy Wall Street Movement Occupied?

avatar by Steven Emerson

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Anti-Israel and Muslim-American advocacy groups in the United States are capitalizing on the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) to promote their own agendas.

The Occupy movement started in New York’s Zuccotti Park Sept. 17, and spread to more than 100 cities, according to the movement’s “unofficial” website. “The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1 percent of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.”

There has been an ongoing debate about the depth of anti-Semitism within the OWS movement, with some finding it rampant and others casting it as a fringe element. Those concerns were heightened Nov. 5 when more than 20 people from the Occupy Boston camp marched into the lobby of that city’s Israeli consulate for a sit-in. The group engaged in a series of anti-Israel chants including “Viva Palestina,” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Israeli apartheid has got to go!”

What is clear is that groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) have insinuated themselves on the movement to tackle issues other than economic policies.

The latest example came Nov. 18, when CAIR’s New York chapter held a rally, prayers and a march from Occupy Wall Street to make demands including:

· “An immediate end to all racial, ethnic and religious profiling;”

· “The dismantlement and disclosure of all surveillance operations;”

· An “independent commission to investigate all NYPD and CIA operations against the Muslim community.” The event was sponsored and endorsed by dozens of organizations, including the New York chapters of the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Council of North AmericaAl-Awda and the Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York.

The demonstration attracted hundreds of Muslims and approximately 50 OWS protesters, carrying signs reading, “NYPD Watches Us. Who Watches NYPD?”

“Many many other people at Occupy Wall Street stand in solidarity with Muslim communities, and all targets of NYPD, CIA, FBI and government repression,” Jen Waller, a representative of the OWS movement and a member of the New York Committee to Stop FBI Repression, said during the rally. She added that we are watching “more and more innocent Muslim men and women [that] are targeted and attract into government orchestrated terrorism schemes.”

Previously, Islamist groups joined OWS events. CAIR-NY and the Islamic Leadership Council held a prayer service in Zuccotti Park on Oct. 21 following outreach to the group by the Wall Street protesters.

The crowd of approximately 60 chanted in response to a speaker: “American Muslims have to stand with Occupy Wall Street. For a long time, American Muslims have been scared into silence. Those days are over. We are here in numbers. We are here to pray. We are here to protest. And most of all we are here to raise our voice.”

Imam Ayub Abdul Baki of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York delivered a speech saying, “We are also suffering, suffering racism and discrimination. Islamic bashing is on the increase.” Baki held up a plaque with the “last sermon of the Prophet Mohammed,” calling it “the eternal message of Islam to the world.” Baki then discussed the sermon saying “all Muslims as well as non-Muslims should be familiar with this.”

Baki’s Leadership Council (Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York) is an umbrella organization of mosques and Islamic organizations that claims to serve 850,000 Muslim New Yorkers and is “dedicated to bring Muslims on one platform.” Among its members are the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)-NY and the Muslim American Society (MAS) Youth Center.

MAS was founded as the American chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood, while ICNA has a track record of radicalism and teaching its members violence and the evils of Jews and America. ICNA issued a press release earlier this month expressing support and sympathy for the OWS protestors.

The youth branch of the Muslim American Society (MAS) held an OWS gathering in Zuccotti Park in late October. “We, the members of Muslim American Society New York and Muslim New Yorkers stand in solidarity with the protesters of Occupy Wall Street on grounds of free speech, right to assemble and justice for all,” the advertisement for the event said.

Hatem Bazian, the chairman of the anti-Israel organization American Muslims for Palestine, led a prayer service and delivered a speech late last month as part of Occupy Oakland. Bazian spoke about the amount of money the United States spends on the military, calling the United States “a deaf economy,” and stating “We are the number one producers of weapons of mass destruction.”

“Allah and his messenger are at war with those who exploit people through usury,” CAIR-Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid said Oct. 21 during a “Sermon about Occupy Wall St Movement & the death of Qadhafi” at a Michigan mosque. “And the world is hungry for this message. The financial and the housing crisis would not be what it is in America I believe, and even some non-Muslim economist wrote if the American financial system was working according to the Islamic banking system. This is a fact,” he added.

Walid drew help from the Occupy Detroit movement to hold “Crusades Against Hate” on Nov. 11, which was intended to counter a prayer event being held that same day by an organization that CAIR regards as anti-Muslim.

Other groups have capitalized on the OWS movement to promote anti-Israel messages.

In addition to the Boston sit-in, protesters in Chicago repeated anti-Israel statements made on a megaphone by an Occupy Chicago leader: “The city of Chicago is guilty of supporting the Israelis.” The speaker also announced two upcoming demonstrations to protest the “Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land.”

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an anti-Israel organization on college campuses across the country, joined an OWS protest last month during its 2011 conference, “Students Confronting Apartheid,” at Columbia University.

Approximately 30 SJP students participating in the conference joined protesters at Wall Street, chanting “Occupy Wall Street, Palestine Must Be Free,” while carrying Palestinian flags.

Since its inception, SJP chapters have campaigned for divestment from companies that work with Israel, which SJP categorizes as an apartheid state, and accuses of ethnic cleansing.

This month, activists from Adalah-NY, a radical group that organizes protests against Israeli artists and products, went to Zuccotti Park to read a statement advocating boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

“Our aspirations overlap; our struggles converge,” the statement said. “Our oppressors, whether greedy corporations or military occupations, are united in profiting from wars, pillage, environmental destruction, repression and impoverishment … Palestinians, too, are part of the 99% around the world that suffer at the hands of the 1% whose greed and ruthless quest for hegemony have led to unspeakable suffering and endless war.”

OWS protests also have served as a platform for individuals to make anti-Semitic statements.

“I think that the Zionist Jews, who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government… they need to be run out of this country,” an OWS protester in Los Angeles said.

The Emergency Committee for Israel released a video featuring anti-Semitic speech and signs at OWS protests. Signs include statements such as “Hitler’s Bankers – Wall St.,” and “Google: 1) Wall St. Jews 2) Jewish Billionaires 3) Jews & Fed Rsrv Bank.” The video also calls on viewers to contact elected officials to take action against the hate speech.

The anti-Israel agenda associated with the OWS movement led “many Jewish supporters of OWS who do not identify as anti-Zionist” to believe “that they could no longer be associated with the movement,” Daniel Sieradski, a Jewish OWS supporter said in an interview earlier this month. “Worse yet, there have been attempts to push Zionists out of the movement by claiming their support for Israel’s mere existence is fundamentally racist and as such, they should not be part of any serious social justice movement.”

One OWS protest organized by Existence is Resistance worsened the movement’s “external impression of being pro-terror,” Sieradski said. Existence is Resistance (E.I.R.) is a grassroots organization that promotes “non-violent resistance through cultural arts.” E.I.R. hosted a “Kuffeya Day” at New York’s Liberty Plaza late last month “in support of Palestinian prisoners, most significantly Majd Ziada.” The photo featured alongside the event announcement is a picture of Leila Khaled, a member of the U.S. designated terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. During the event a man claiming to be from Afghanistan gave an anti-Semitic tirade, saying that “Yehudi” means “hateful thing.” (Yehudi means “Jew” in Arabic).

It’s a “Jewish idea to kill Muslims,” he added, and that America and Israel are trying to kill Muslims.

Demonstrations like the above have nothing to do with OWS’s frustrations with U.S. economic policies. But they show how Islamist groups are using the economic-driven movement to engender hostility toward Israel, and in some cases, toward Jews in general.

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  • stevieb

    Until the OWS movement accepts the connection between Zionism and the economic collapse(!), there basically is no movment. It will ALWAYS end with a pause, a ‘black hole’ where all the good work ends when it comes to indentifying the perps – because they happen to be Jewish. Which DOES NOT MEAN that the problem is Jewish, necessarily – any more than the world’s Nazi problem in the 30’s and 40’s was a purely German problem.

    However, until we can talk about Zionism and it’s control of our poltical process through control of the economic system and, of course, the media – you have NO effective counter to the ongoing criminality.

    There needs to be an global anti-Zionist movement. Until then we’re all just pissing in the wind. Fact.

  • Aaron Browne

    Where is the LOVE??? -the 1% gave us the Dot-Com Boom, the EV1 electric car to lease (until they recalled all of them and destroyed them), hand-over-fist loans during Bush’s second term, and the opportunity to move to India in order to get a job in the US by being outsourced… No appreciation for all of that money we could had made if we didnt screw it up by our own selves… The 1% should hire a bunch of Mexicans to occupy the Occupy Movement… Dont forget, the 1% also gave us the option to choose to say ‘capitalist democracy’ instead of ‘democratic republic’. We the 99% are stupid, lazy and pretentious. As long as we have a flat screen TV, and SUV, the occasional shopping spree and sports venue, alcohol/drugs -we’re happy!!! If the economy was REALLY BAD, no one would have shopped on ‘black friday’ or ‘cyber monday’… MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  • ernest

    this movement is a farce, run by a group of babyboomer grand kids upset that their priviledge will be gone, and they will be like the real 99% er, the class system has been around since time began, but u never heard a peep out this group, because they were too busy saying it would never happen to them, and also benefiting from it, and saying problems are only for those other type people….the things that happen to make phonies really show their true colors.

  • observer

    The author of this article is confusing “anti-zionism” with “anti-semitism” Intentionally maybe? To their credit, many Jews are opposed to zionism, and it is unfair to imply that all Jews or Israelis are among the murderous zionist lunatics who are destroying the world.

  • Walter

    Wow, this article is very shallow and clearly propaganda. First it tries to paint the large, varied and complex Occupy movement with anecdotes that are both contradictory and and not representative. Anyone who goes to the Occupy sites or spends a little time researching their many publications and reports will see that a spectrum of views, but an effort to reach consensus. The vast majority are neither anti-Israel nor anti-Jewish. In fact many Jews and other supporters of Israel participate. But just as in Israel, there are many who disagree with the policies and actions of the Israeli government, just as they disagree with many things the US government and military has done. As in Isreal, where there is a similar peace movement, to be against a policy doesn’t mean you are unpatriotic or racist. The article also conflates being against the Israeli treatment of the Palistinians with being anti-Israel. Also the article confuses being against aspects of Zionism in practice today with somehow being anti-Jewish. If the reader stops for a moment and considers are all Israelis Zionist? Are all Zionists the same? Am I anti-American if I am against Bush’s wars and now Obama’s wars? Obviously it is irrational and therefore propaganda and the essence of racism to espouse such illogical thinking. Also, I went and view the video. First is does not “interview” anyone. It is a brief and unrepresentative short piece that caught some ugly and confused people. I don’t know who they are, but they certainly don’t represent any of the many hundreds of people I know and have met at various Occupations. The video is neither reporting nor unbiased.

    • Walter

      Addendum. Thought I had seen the nasty guy at the end of the video attacking what appears to be a Jewish, yarmulke wearer. He is a street person, who calls himself “Danny Cline, Lotion Man” and appears to be a mentally ill, alcoholic. Watch his act in:

      Any even half-honest or responsible journalist would not include him as evidence of anything to do with others, especially groups such OWS.

  • Yes, OWS has been infiltrated, to the point where the Occupy Phoenix group had to shut down. They were taken over by right wing Christian Republican neo-Nazis calling themselves “militia” members, lead by a right wing extremist Christian Republican politician “leader.”

    What happened was Occupy Phoenix had their General Assembly flooded with Republican Christian white supremacists who outnumbered the actual OWS American citizens, ergo they out-voted the actual citizens. That destroyed the Occupy group.

    Right wing Christian Republican violent neo-Nazi NRA cultists tried to do the same thing in Las Vegas, they advertized for neo-Nazi NRA right wing Christians to come to the General Assembly to outnumber the actual Occupiers so that they could out-vote and take over in Las Vegas, as well.

    What happened there was the Occupy Las Vegas Gegneral Assembly passed a resolution stating that no vote by outside right wing or left wing infiltrators would be binding, only legitimate Occupiers working to dismantle the Wall Street criminal Oligarchy and their pet politician traitors have a voice in the Occupation.

    So yes, infiltration is inevitable, and nearly 90% of it is from right wing Christanic Republican traitors trying to work for their Wall Street masters to stop the growing rebellion.

  • CommonSense

    2/3 of your article has nothing to do with anything remotely related to anti-Semitism.
    That 2/3 is clearly anti-Muslim.
    How do you ever think that responding to hatred with hatred will ever solve anything?
    The problems in the middle east are not exclusively the work of Muslims. They are the work of Jews too.
    When Jew and Muslim can stop hating one another and finally regard one another as equals, there will be peace in the Middle East. Till then, please leave your racial hatred there and don’t import it here.

  • OMG.

    You guys are making me THINK.
    To me the Occupy Movement is the future of FREEDOM on this planet, it is that important, and…

    you guys,
    look for
    your enemy.

    Stop acting paranoid.
    If you want to claim you are the chosen people that’s your business and I get that by making that your business then you are bound to have some death threats, some enemies.

    But if all I hear from the jewish community is their mantra about how their enemies are being part of the Occupy Movement then I think you are all self centered.

    Grow up , The Jewish Community should at least AT LEAST be realistic enough to admit that historically their “people” were often the USURY commitees.

    So naturally when Goldman Sach’s owns the World (Cohan), a little Jewish finger pointing is bound to occur.

    But basically this tirade is no more useful to the Occupy Movement then claiming that all men cheat on their wives because President Clinton did and got caught.

    Stop trying to be the center of attention, and stop blaming my people for their fight for financial equality as anti-Semitic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!