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ADL: Nazi Imagery abound at anti-Israel rallies

Comparisons of Israel’s actions to those of Hitler, signs altering Jewish Star of David into swastika a recurring feature at many rallies across US

Published: 01.06.09, 21:01 / Israel Jewish Scene

Of all of the recriminations aimed at Israel at scores of demonstrations held across the country in response to its military operation against Hamas, none has been more consistently or emphatically employed than comparisons of Israel to the Nazis, or the situation in Gaza to a “Holocaust", the Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday.

According to a statement issued by ADL ( Anti Defamation League), in-your-face comparisons of Israel’s actions to those of Hitler, or signs altering the Jewish Star of David into a swastika, have been a recurring feature at many rallies across the country, including protests held over the past weekend in several major US cities.

Some demonstrations have included expressions of support for Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, or for terrorism against Israel in general, ADL said. And some protesters at rallies have spewed inflammatory anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

In New York City’s Times Square, six city blocks were filled Saturday with anti-Israel demonstrators holding signs that read “Israel: The Fourth Reich;” “Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors;” “Stop Israel’s Holocaust;” “Holocaust in Gaza;” and “Stop the Zionist Genocide in Gaza.”

One sign juxtaposed gruesome images of Holocaust victims and Gazans and read, “Nazi Genocide, Israeli Genocide.”

'A deeply cynical perversion of history'

On December 30, demonstrators gathered at the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles waving Palestinian flags and holding signs, including ones that read, “Every Israeli committing the genocide in Gaza is a 'Hitler'.”

One sign depicted an image of the Israeli flag with the Star of David replaced by a swastika and above the flag, the words, “Upgrade to Holocaust Version 2.0.”

The same day, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Tampa, Florida carrying signs that compared Israel to Nazi Germany and calling for the dissolution of Israel. One sign declared, “Zionism is Cancer; Radiate it,” and other signs featured the word “Nazi” written over an Israeli flag with a swastika.

“Freedom of speech is not just a right, it is also a responsibility,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director and a Holocaust survivor. “Comparisons of Israel to the Nazis are a deeply cynical perversion of history, an attempt to turn the tragedy that befell the Jewish people into a bludgeon against Israel.

“While we have come to expect to see such and hear this type of inflammatory rhetoric in Arab and Muslim capitals overseas, it is deeply disturbing that it is appearing in anti-Israel demonstrations at home,” said Foxman. “Offensive Holocaust comparisons and the use of Nazi imagery are deeply offensive and have no place in a civil society such as ours.”

Three arrested after London protest becomes unruly; officer knocked out

# Police say 20,000 gathered outside Israeli Embassy in London
# Similar demonstrations take place in other European cities
# 3,000 protest outside temporary residence of U.S. President-elect Obama

Protesters across Europe call for end to Gaza conflict

(CNN) -- Thousands of demonstrators marched through cities across Europe on Saturday, calling for an immediate end to Israel's attacks on Gaza.
A coffee shop was ransacked as Saturday's London protests turned unruly.

Up to 20,000 people were gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in London, England, at the peak of protests there, London Metropolitan Police said.

A police officer was knocked unconscious Saturday night as the protests turned unruly, the police said.

The London crowd dismantled barriers placed in front of the embassy and began pelting officers with sticks, rocks and pieces of the metal barriers, police said. Three people were arrested.

Organizers including the Stop the War Coalition and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign expected more than 100,000 people to join the London march to protest Israel's ongoing attacks on Gaza.

Celebrities including musician Annie Lennox and Bianca Jagger, musician Mick Jagger's ex-wife, spoke at a rally before the procession, which went from Hyde Park to the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, West London. Video Watch demonstrators throw bottles, metal at police »

Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, also spoke at the rally, The Times newspaper reported.

During her speech, Booth criticized Blair over his attempts to bring about a resolution to the conflict.

"Tony Blair's only comment regarding the cease-fire has been to say that it can only take place after the tunnels in Gaza are destroyed," The Times quoted her as saying.

"What he is suggesting means that after the massacre, people will have no access to food, kerosene and medicines that came through those tunnels. That is not a cease-fire; that is a slow agonizing death," she said, according to The Times.

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone issued a statement backing the demonstration.

"Every day, we see appalling pictures of children slaughtered by Israeli bombs, missiles and other sophisticated weapons," he said. "Yet with more than 700 dead and thousands more seriously wounded, the international community is allowing Israel to continue its completely disproportionate onslaught accompanied by an Orwellian litany of lies."

Meanwhile, the British Press Association reported that similar demonstrations took place in other British cities, including Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Thousands took part in a rally through the center of Edinburgh calling for an end to the military campaign. About 300 shoes and red paint were thrown toward the U.S. consulate in the Scottish capital, the PA said.

Thousands demonstrated in other European cities, according to local media reports, including Innsbruck, Austria; Paris, France; Milan, Italy; Berlin, Germany; and Oslo, Norway. iReport: Protests in Paris

In Washington, pro-Palestinian activists rallied outside the temporary residence of President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday and called on the incoming leader to stop the violence in Gaza.

About 3,000 people carrying signs and chanting "Free Palestine" flooded Lafayette Park between the White House and the Hay-Adams Hotel, where the president-elect is living with his family.

Carrying a flag and wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh head scarf, Abdel-Kader Elkabil exhorted the president-elect to take action.

"Please, Mr. Obama, do something. We love you. We voted for you," he said. "I'm expecting you to do something. ... You're the only one who can do something."

Asma Mobin-Uddin drove to Washington with a group of 500 activists from Ohio. She said she voted for Obama because she believed he could "make a difference."

"President Obama, look in the eyes of your kids and look in the eyes of the kids in that region," she said at the rally. "Please, stop the violence, stop the hate, stop the occupation."

Israelis say their Gaza military operation, which started December 27, is targeting rocket-launching sites, Hamas infrastructure and the movement's leaders in an effort to stop militants from sending rockets into southern Israel.

Palestinian medical sources said that more than 800 Palestinians have been killed in the attacks, including 235 children, and about 3,300 people have been wounded. Thirteen Israelis, including 10 soldiers, have died since the operation began.

Videos Of London Demo

Protest in London on 10 January 2009 against the current Gaza offensive by Israel. The demonstration started at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, passed through Bayswater and Kensington, and finished outside the Israeli Embassy.

War in Gaza Make Violence in London 10/09/2009
Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of London today in the biggest public protest yet in Britain against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

The march began in Hyde Park, where Speakers' Corner was turned into a sea of Palestinian flags and banners condemning Israel, before making its way to Kensington Gardens. There were scuffles outside the Israeli embassy as the march passed by the gates leading to its entrance.

Missiles were thrown at police guarding the way and a number of loud bangs believed to be firecrackers were heard as riot police drew batons and attempted to push the crowd back from the gates.

A number of younger masked demonstrators attempted to climb on to the gates, near Kensingon High Street, and hurled pieces of placards and other items at police lines.

Panic rippled through the crowd, which included young children, and a number of people fell to the ground amid the scuffles.

A Metropolitan police spokesman said: "A group of protesters outside the embassy of Israel started trying to push over the barriers placed there to protect the embassy. Protesters have also attempted to throw barriers and other missiles at police.

"Officers have been deployed in protective equipment as a precautionary measure after coming under attack from a small minority of protesters."

The march began largely peacefully and included many young British Muslims as well as members of political parties. The crowd listened to speakers including trade unionists, representatives of Palestinian exiles, and celebrity campaigners such as Brian Eno and Annie Lennox.

The Stop The War coalition, which organised today's demonstration, said it believed as many as 100,000 people were taking part in the rallies at Hyde Park and in Kensington Park Gardens.

Richard Elborne, from west London, stamped his feet against the cold and explained why he felt it was important to come with his daughter Louise, five, who had made her own placard calling for an end to the violence in Gaza.

"I've been following what has been happening closely and was always against the Israeli invasion but the bombing of this school really brought it home for me and was an escalation too far," he said.

Eaisha Tareen, a physiologist from Colchester who had travelled with members of her family to take part in the demonstration, said: "It is really unbelievable what is happening in Gaza but we are heartened by the solidarity people here are showing.

"We were coming here on the underground and met a Jewish lady who had written a letter to the newspapers condemning the Israeli action and we were really impressed by that. As you can see here today, it is not just Muslims there are people from all parts of British life."

As well as the Stop The War Coalition, the British Muslim Initiative and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign were represented in the crowd.

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