New York, NY, July 16, 2014 … Since Israel’s operation to stop the barrage of Hamas rockets from Gaza began nine days ago, approximately 51 anti-Israel demonstrations have taken place in major cities across the United States, and another four dozen or so are scheduled to take place in the next two weeks.
Many of the rallies have featured calls to violence, Nazi comparisons, claims that Israel is indiscriminately murdering children, and, at times, expressions of anti-Semitism, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors anti-Israel activity in the U.S. and abroad.
The level of extreme vitriol and hatred expressed at these rallies has emerged faster than ever before, including the 2008 and 2012 battles between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. While the U.S. rallies have been nowhere as threatening or violent as those seen in Paris and some other European capitals in recent days, many have shared a similar stridently anti-Israel message that often morphs into uglier expressions of hatred of Jews and support for terrorism against Israel.
“Comparisons between Israel and the Nazis at these demonstrations are picking up steam,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “We know that the message is getting uglier when protesters against Israel twist and pervert the most traumatic event in history against the Jewish people – the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust – into a rallying cry against the State of Israel, the only nation-state of Jewish people. It is ugly, it is in your face, and it is often anti-Semitic.”
Undeniably anti-Semitic expressions have been widely reported at anti-Israel demonstrations over the past week in Europe, where a handful of violent acts have also targeted European Jews. Calls of “You Jews are Beasts” (Frankfurt, Germany) have mingled with cries of “Death to the Jews” (Paris) and chants of “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas” (Gelsenkirchen, Germany). In The Hague, Israeli and Nazi flags were equated on protest placards. In France, two groups of dozens of demonstrators broke off from the march to wage violent attacks against two synagogues.
In Los Angeles on Sunday, four pro-Palestinian activists allegedly attacked a group of pro-Israel activists at a rally held outside the Wilshire Federal Building. No major injuries were reported.
One possible explanation for how fast these rallies have devolved into anti-Israel hate-fests is the explosion of Hitler-related hashtags that have been promoted on Twitter and other social media in reaction to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. Among the more disturbing hashtags being promoted on Twitter in comments about Israel’s response to the Hamas rockets from Gaza are #HitlerWasRight, and #HitlerDidNothingWrong.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.