One of the defenses of the anti-Semitism that has appeared throughout the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it is fringe and certainly not endorsed by the “mainstream,” whichever part of the protest movement that is. That’s fine as far as it goes, but what people should pay more attention to is not the political opposition to Israel on the left that is so fashionable these days, but rather the cultural opposition to Israel. For example, one of the many leaked email exchanges among Occupy Wall Street organizers and participants that mentioned Israel had a peculiar exclusivity to it that is still somewhat under the radar.
Here is how one of them named Andy Pollack put it in an e-mail that was published by Andrew Breitbart:
I was shocked to hear that the first speaker after the introduction would be an activist from the Israeli “tent protests,” the racist movement which was fighting for cheaper rents and mortgages for stolen homes on stolen land. OWS has responded to criticisms of inadequate leadership and participation and addressing of issues by and regarding people of color by fostering discussion and restructuring. The racist “tent protest” movement responded to equivalent challenges from Palestinians by telling them, “shut up, leave us alone, don’t divide the movement.”
I waited to hear what the speaker (Ezra something) had to say, and it was as bad as I feared. It was all about the technical issues of outreach and democracy, and not one word about outreach to Palestinians or inclusion of their issues.
When he finished I got the floor (even though there hadn’t been discussion time planned for that agenda point) and made some of the above points. Almost as soon as I began speaking murmurs of disagreement and calls of “this isn’t the time” and downward “twinkling” hand motions began. One of the facilitators asked the speaker to respond, and he said, “It’s a question of outreach. I did outreach to Palestinians in Israel who were leery of joining the movement. You’ll have to do the same in The Bronx. The issue of Palestinians in the movement won’t be settled here.”
Well, yes, Mr. Zionist, it will be settled here. There is a huge Palestinian exile community in the U.S., with that in NY being one of the biggest components. They want their land back, they want their homes back, and they want the right to return. They have no interest in a movement which haggles over the rent paid by Jews to Jews for stolen property. They can’t even return to visit because of exclusionary laws passed by your racist state.