ADL Decries Anti-Semitism Seen at Demonstrations against Israel's Gaza Operation

By Sara Burrows | January 12, 2009 | 5:01 PM EST

Pro-Palestinian demonstrator holds up sign during anti-Israel rally. (Photo courtesy of Anti-Defamation League)

( – Anti-Semitism has reared its head at anti-Israel demonstrations across the United States in response to the conflict in Gaza.
Over the last two weeks, pro-Palestinian demonstrators have called Israel “intruders,” “thieves,” “murderers,” “terrorists” and “a rogue nation.”
But anti-Israel rhetoric has become outright anti-Semitic, according to the Anti-Defamation League.  Israelis are being labeled “Nazis” and accused of “genocide,” “holocaust” and “ethnic cleansing” in Gaza.
-- “Go back to the oven! You need a big oven, that’s what you need!” a young Muslim woman shouted to Jewish demonstrators across the street from her at a protest in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Dec. 30.

Anti-Israel demonstrator holds up a sign saying "Every Zionazi is a legitimate military target." (Photo courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League)

-- More than 1,000 protestors outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., called for “Death to Israel” and “Death to Zionism” on Jan. 2.
-- A young boy at a rally in Dallas held a sign portraying the Star of David and a Swastika, with the inscription “What’s the difference?”
-- "Every ZioNazi is a Legitimate Military Target,” read a sign held by a man at a rally in San Francisco, Jan. 3.
-- Signs at a protest in Seattle called Gaza “Auschwitz” and “A New Warsaw Ghetto.”
-- Demonstrators in New York waved signs reading “Israel: the Fourth Reich” and "Palestine is our Land, the Jews are our Dogs."
Holocaust comparisons and the use of Nazi imagery are deeply offensive and have no place in a civil society, said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director. 

A young boy at a rally in Dallas held a sign portraying the Star of David and a swastika, with the inscription “What’s the difference?” (Photo courtesy of Anti-Defamation League)

"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," Foxman said.
Many of the dozens of demonstrations around the country have been organized and sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR.
CAIR does not condone the insensitive references to Auschwitz, gas chambers or ovens, said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
“We reject and repudiate that kind of language totally – it’s completely inappropriate,” Hooper told “If we had heard it, we would tell the people to stop it, and that if they couldn’t stop it we would tell them to leave the area.
“We refuse to be associated with that kind of rhetoric,” he added.
With such large gatherings of people, it is difficult to control the behavior of each individual, Hooper explained.
“Unfortunately, with the carnage being witnessed in Gaza, emotions are running very high, and some people just can’t contain themselves,” he said.
Hooper claimed that inflammatory statements at the Florida rally came from both sides.
“I heard a pro-Israel group making remarks like, ‘Come to Gaza so we can kill you,’” he said.
CAIR does not support the use of words like “genocide” or “holocaust” to describe the situation in Gaza, he said.  
“The situation is tragic enough as it is without throwing in those hot button terms,” Hooper said. “It’s counterproductive to use that kind of language, because it turns people off to the real suffering that is being witnessed on a daily basis.”